Quote of the Day
"One bleeding-heart type asked me in a recent interview if I did not agree that 'violence begets violence.' I told him that it is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure — and in some cases I have — that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more in return than he can enjoy."
Colonel Jeff Cooper
Monday, September 30, 2013
I was reading The Other Ryans Blog. He asked a rhetorical question , "what did you do to prepare this week."
After this last weekend, when the Walmart was full of pushing, shoving people I decided not to go during the day anymore. At least not until the tourist season is over and population returns to manageable levels. So today I got up at 4:00 a.m. and went to Walmart. Behold! I had the whole place to myself. No crowds, no little carts buzzing around and blocking the aisles. No octogenarians standing in little groups of 4 or more in the middle of the aisles.
I went in, got what I wanted, looked around, and went right to a register and paid. I may never go to Walmart in daylight again. In fact, I may become a pseudo vampire, living by night and sleeping by day.
Sunday, September 29, 2013
Saturday, September 28, 2013
Already did one post this evening but I was dissatisfied with it and deleted it. Sometimes when I am writing on this blog I forget other people actually read it from time to time, and I just ramble along. I've always been that way so I can say with some certainty it is not a sign of advanced old age overtaking me, at least at this point.
We have a fire tonight. It's not cold enough to need one, but it's cold enough to let you enjoy having one in the fireplace. A fire has a calming effect, I suppose the sound of the embers popping and the slight smell of wood smoke makes people unwind a little. When I went out on the porch a bit ago the wind was blowing and the smoke from the chimney was wafting back down under the porch roof . It smelled good.
My security camera system finally quit today. It was many, many years old and not very advanced but it did the job. I certainly got my money's worth out of it. Now I can get one with better features and take advantage of the greater capabilities of the systems on the market today. A good six camera wireless system with infrared is what I have in mind.
I ordered a mount and a light for my shotgun from Centerfire Systems. Not terribly expensive, but I want to see if I like it. If I do, I can think about getting something a bit more costly for a rifle. For now, I'm not buying a laser because with a shotgun, if I can see it in the light and I'm close enough for the target to be in range, I don't need a laser. If I put something on a rifle that will be different.
My daughters horse has to go to a different stable now that cold weather is coming on. This one apparently has better stalls for the horses. I will be picking up the tab on that to help her out. The thing about budgets, is that if you take money out of the budget you didn't plan on, then you have to compensate by reducing expenditures in some other cell. I don't mind, because I'm glad she saved the horse. She was already paying a small fortune each month to ride at a stable where they rent horses, and I may actually save money by her having her own horse once it is well enough to ride. I'm proud of my daughter, because she takes action to address things she sees that are wrong. I know I am being the archetypical father , but that's how I feel. I have good kids. Whatever I've done wrong in my life, and I'm sure there are plenty of line items there, my kids have turned out well. No drugs, no police run ins, and they aren't mean or hateful like so many people are. Paying for a few things like horse stalls is nothing compared to the joy my wife and I get from our kids.
Well, it's almost midnight and tonight I have to get some sleep because we have plans for tomorrow.
It's almost October. The leaves are changing early this year so the tourists are coming up from the city and the roads are crowded.
We went to Home Depot and bought some lumber and some cinder block. Then we had lunch at Wendys. It wasn't very good and to my absolute horror, Wendy's has now installed a television that you have to listen to while you eat. It's set on CNN, which I could well and truly do without.
All in all, it's been a great day so far. We came home and tried out the steam mop. What a great tool that is! It cleans the floors with no scrubbing and the pads it uses are reusable, you just throw them in the washer and dryer and they are good as new. I hate buying equipment that has disposable pieces because as soon as I buy it they quit making the parts.
I hope everybody out there is enjoying this weekend as much as I am. They don't come much better.
Friday, September 27, 2013
I like Mormons. I don't belong to their sect, but then I'm not affiliated with any organized religion. As far as I'm concerned, it's none of my business how people worship whoever or whatever they worship. At least as long as it's not some warped religion that hurts other people like Santaria or Islam.
But the Mormons have something going for them. The ones who survive and don't drop out to become meth heads or prostitutes go on to have strong, loving families. They have a lot of common sense, and their community is one of the best organized in terms of preparedness I've ever known. Back in their early days, people were scared of them because if you got a mob up to go burn out the heretics, the heretics shot the hell out of their assailants. They are not pacifists. I read a book about the great westward movement in the 1840's, and the immigrants headed west over the Oregon Trail were a lot more afraid of the Mormons than they were of the Souix, which tells you something.
The Mormons let outsiders use their canneries, and don't charge them any more or treat them any different than they do Mormons. They put their program for determining supply stockage levels based on age and gender on line for anyone to use. And, they have this excellent book.
With this one book, if you didn't know anything at all about survival procedures or long term planning, you could get a good grip on everything you needed to get started. It's a great resource manual.
I've got mine out this morning doing a little research, and I thought I'd mention it while I was thinking about it.
It's raining again, but hot hard. Just a steady drizzle coming down out there. Sat out on the porch and smoked my pipe for awhile with the dogs, they were all keyed up about something and I needed them to settle down. No telling what set them off.
I am pretty sure that Monday was the last day I left the mountain. Maybe it was Tuesday. The wife will be home tomorrow evening, and we may go to town Saturday. Last weekend she was too tired, and if she's worn out from work we will just stay home this weekend too. She can watch the shows she liked that the satellite receiver taped over the week, and I have some projects I can work on in the shop. We're content with just staying up here unless we feel like going to town for supplies, or a movie and dinner.
Heard from my two brothers. They've been fishing off the Oregon coast on my youngest brothers boat. They go way out there, out of sight of land. Not me. I went on the great houseboat expedition with them on Lake Shasta some years back, but I'm not going out on the briny blue. I have literally sailed the seven seas, but that was on big navy ships with a crew of sailors who knew what they were doing. I'm not all that certain my youngest brother reaches the same high standards in terms of seamanship. He once went flying with me, so he says I should go boating with him. Maybe when I am older and on my last leg, and looking for a way to avoid the nursing home. Not before.
Yesterday I was looking over my medical supplies inventory because a friend asked me to do a post on what we keep here. Today I was looking over the medical supplies themselves because I accidentally cut a good gash in my leg. I've got it patched up enough to last until my wife gets home. She can fix it then, or decide we need to run into town. I won't do that unless I am about to lose the leg though, because the emergency room costs a fortune and our insurance doesn't pay all of it. Besides, it's a chance for her to practice those skills she learned running her dad's mission clinic in Nigeria and Niger.
It just turned into Friday about five minutes ago, so I guess I should try to get some sleep. It's been a long day.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
The Red Queen shook her head, "You may call it "nonsense" if you like," she said, "but I've heard nonsense, compared with which that would be as sensible as a dictionary!"Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking Glass
This book was made into a mini-series over in England. I tried to get a copy but was never able to, because DVD players there use a different format than ours here.
Then about four years ago, there was a second mini-series based on the book and it was shown on American television.
It's not a bad story. A virus being developed in a UK lab inadvertently is released into the general populace, causing a pandemic and die off.
The story is about the few people who are immune, and how they cope. If you want to get a feel for the very different mind set of Europeans, this is a good way to do it. I'm not being critical or disparaging their beliefs. I find some of them very hard to understand, and they fly in the face of my own personal experience of life, but to each their own.
There are some interesting scenes in the story. One of the protagonists is an anti-hero, a criminal who escapes from prison after killing the guard who lets him out of his cell as everyone is dieing. He has a Browning High Power hidden away, but alas he loses it when he tries to car jack a couple who stop to help him and the woman squirts him in the face with hair spray. There is a mad petty bureaucrat, intent on rebuilding government with her as the Empress and everyone else toeing her line. When someone crosses her, she holds a five minute Kangaroo court and shoots them with her Beretta 92.
In one scene, two people are battling it out with a Browning over and under 20 gauge and some other sporting gun I can't remember now. It's meant to be very intense but I think most Americans would find it ludicrous, as I did. This brave new world is full of violent predators, but no one seems very interested in putting a stop to their depredations.
The thing that made me think of this old series is my custom of reading blogs , both from this country and from others. There are a lot of people out there who have never, ever seen actual violence. They've never seen the reality of a societal breakdown or a loss of social order. The veterans coming back from overseas now have. I certainly had my experience of it in Lebanon during 1982-1983. The naivety of a lot of people who haven't had that experience is frightening, but I suppose it's understandable. I don't say everyone has to have had that experience to be realistic, but many who have not don't have any understanding of what will happen in such a scenario. I don't argue, or try to point out where their ideas are perhaps a bit unsound. I wish I was articulate enough to do that, but hard experience has taught me that most people are not receptive to that kind of warning until they've had something shock them out of their complacency. Then too, it's not my business or my concern. My responsibility is to my own family and my friends. Jesus will have to take care of the rest of the planet.
One positive thing I should say is that Europeans are unfailingly polite. Even when they don't agree with you, and say so, they're tactful about it. You know how it is here, you get a certain number of individuals who like to punctuate their comments with fire and brimstone insults because obviously, if you don't agree with them you must be a Cretan. I've never seen that on these blogs. It seems to me that most Europeans I've come across who are interested in self sufficiency are "preppers" and not "survivalists." There's a difference, and sometimes it's a not so subtle one. "Prepping" strikes me as a kinder, gentler version of the life style philosophy. If you want to take care of intruders, feed them, nurture them and bring them in to live with you, that's more of a prepper mindset. If you want them to move it on down the road and take care of themselves, that's more old school survivalism.
I'll keep on reading these blogs even if I find them incomprehensible on occasion. There's one Scottish blog I really like, not least because the writer is a great moderator, one of the best I've come across. She's also a pretty brave person and I admire that. So, see! I'm not all that opposed to diversity in some respects! ;-)
The first book starts with an asteriod strike on the moon that is much more severe than scientists anticipated. It follows the life of a young girl as she and her family cope with the resulting chaos.
These books would be a good way to reinforce what you've already told your own kids about the reasons that you are making changes in your own family's lifestyle. Reading this series would give youngsters a wider vision of the bald fact that life doesn't always just go on the same, day after day.
The books are available either in hard back or paper back. I would imagine they are also readily available on Kindle. Because they were written for young people there is nothing graphic or inappropriate in any book. That doesn't make the stories any less interesting but it does relieve parents of the necessity of reading them first. If you do pick one up, you may wind up reading the whole series anyway. I did.
The books are published by the childrens division of Harcourt. They are collectively called The Last Survivors Series.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Every day, when I read the news, there are stories about young women disappearing. Or, having disappeared 20 or 30 years ago, being found buried in some field. It almost never seems to happen to men. Even in our rural county, we have had women who were out jogging on the back roads simply disappear into thin air. Some years back, a young lady walking on one of our state park trails was kidnapped and murdered by a psychopath. That was so horrific the state changed the law against carrying in state parks. She'd had a concealed carry permit, but being a good citizen she obeyed the law and left her gun at home. The guy who killed her, being a psychopath, did not obey the law .
I have a wife and daughter. My wife works away from the home county and my daughter lives up North. They both had concealed carry permits, but let them lapse. My wife teaches, so she couldn't carry her gun in her car. My daughter moved to a state where it was difficult if not impossible to get a concealed carry permit.
I bought them the best mace units I could find. I got them cell phones with GPS locators. Still, I worry. Especially about my daughter. She is a hostess at a restaurant and works nights. She is also very independent, and very pretty. I always nag her about parking close to the doors at work, because she works late some nights. When the manager wanted her to park around back in a poorly lit employee parking lot, I called the guy and we had a frank and open exchange of views. He had a daughter so he eventually agreed she could park out front. I made her promise me that when she got off work, if it was late she would get one of the men to walk her out. They don't mind. I also give her the big "situational awareness" spiel periodically. Don't walk to your car talking on a cell phone. Keep your head swiveling between the door and your car , no matter what time of day or where you are. Never let some guy you don't know get close to you. Never go near a car that pulls up near you, if they need directions they can ask a cop. When in doubt, scream and run. Yell "rape!" That should bring some help, there have to be a few men in the crowd of sheeple.
I taught my wife and my daughter firearms use, but that's of little help if you don't have a gun. I hauled my daughter to Karate lessons, 72 miles round trip, two days a week, for ten years. But the girl who was killed up on the trail had a black belt in karate. The guy who killed her had a gun. I don't take so much comfort in the karate thing anymore.
It really bothers me that some mincing pimp of a politician puts my wife and daughter at risk because the egotistical "we know how you should live" SOB makes laws that prevent my family from carrying a weapon to protect themselves. I do what I can, but I guess I will worry about my wife and my daughter until I die. And maybe after.
Raining outside , and the middle of the night. The shakes are a lot like a metal roof, the rain makes a lot of noise. I got up and watched The Time Machine on television. This was a version that I hadn't seen before, and they took some liberties with the book but it wasn't bad.
Supposed to rain and thunderstorm all tonight and tomorrow. I suppose it doesn't matter if I'm up late now because I can sleep all day. Didn't have anything planned. My daughter called around nine. She was upset because one of her exotic lizards had died. It was an Argentinean Tagu, a type of monitor lizard. Apparently it was not doing well at a pet store so they gave it to her to get rid of it. She kept it alive for two years but it had been injured somewhere along the way and finally just gave out. I told her she had done all she could do, and there are some things people don't control. It's a hard idea to get used to though.
I think I'll listen to short wave for awhile. I should be able to get World Wide Christian Radio Network, which is a fine station. Some of their broadcasts are truly bizarre but some of it is survivalist related and pretty interesting. If I'm still up at four thirty I can pick up Australian Broadcasting Corporation and they have good programs. We'll see.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Adjunct Professors the New Working Poor.
I have to go to town this morning. I don't much feel like making that trip but I need to get in there and get a few things . I have enough to do there, at different places, to justify the use of the fuel and time.
I need about 12 bales of hay to make the annual winter house for the dogs, but that will have to wait til this weekend. Getting the lumber will be all I feel like handling today. Each fall I construct a "block house" out of hay bales for the dogs, with just a tiny entrance on the protected side. They can squeeze in there and be warm even when the temperature gets below zero.
Miscellaneous cats sleep in there as well, so everybody stays warm and I don't have to worry about them.
I have enough firewood. I still need to take my kerosene jugs and fill them up. That gives me 50 gallons of kerosene for my backup heaters. If the power goes out, I have to keep heat on in the outbuildings or the pipes will freeze and burst.
In the main house it doesn't matter, because my propane heaters have no electric controls. In the apartment there is a propane heater, also equipped with analog controls. But the shop and the barn enclosed spaces have to be heated with kerosene if the electricity fails.
Monday, September 23, 2013
Clear and cold this morning. About 52 degrees when the sun came up. In a month or so it'll be much colder but for now that will do. Humidity is low as well, which makes for a nice day.
I have nothing planned. I need to work on the porch some, and there are a few other minor fix it up jobs to do this week but I'm not in the mood to drive to town today. I need to get some lumber to do the repairs. It will have to wait til tomorrow.
This would be a good day to reorganize the store rooms. Over the summer I've been putting cases of food, jugs of water, sacks of feed and all kinds of things here and there. I keep the store rooms orderly , but by rearranging I could make a little extra space. Just before winter sets in I buy a lot of supplies that are bulky and take up room. If we have a blizzard, I don't want to run out of anything like feed.
Gary in Alabama was talking about how he needed another outbuilding. I am going to have to do something along those lines about my water storage. I now have about one hundred 2 gallon jugs stored in the barn store room and there's no place in there to put anymore racks. If I build myself a good sturdy outbuilding, say 10 X 10, and purpose designed it for nothing but storage, I could free up a lot of room . There's a good place , flat with good drainage, where my old chicken yard used to be.
I like Thanksgiving and Christmas, too. The holidays are always pleasant here, especially if it is snowing around Christmas time. The kids come home to visit and that's always a good time.
Sunday, September 22, 2013
I saw a video a few years back of a Somali gang going down the street gleefully beating up anybody they found. Didn't matter, age, sex , or race. They filmed it themselves. First they beat up an old guy on a bike, then a young mother carrying a baby, then two little kids getting off a school bus. At that point I turned it off, couldn't handle anymore.
This weekend , as anyone who watches the news knows, Somali terrorists affiliated with Al Qaeda attacked a mall in Kenya. They killed at least 65 people. Muslims were released, but Christians and "Westerners" were simply slaughtered. They particularly looked for women and small children.
All the newscasters are saying you can't protect malls. That's true. The Talking Heads are saying that some of these terrorists were recruited in the U.S. from among the families brought to this country by the churches. What a surprise! How shocking! If there are 85,000 of them in the country, and you only have to recruit 15 or so to do one of these massacres, how much do you want to bet it happens here before long? Why not, we imported the Somali "sea" for the terrorists to "swim" in and we've supported it financially by subsidizing Somalis in this country to the tune of millions of tax dollars.
Personally, I thought it was interesting to see Obama whining about the need for more gun control this afternoon when it's pretty apparent that these days, you either protect yourself or you wind up face down on the floor in the mall with some Islamofascist standing over your bleeding body. In this case, I think when it happens the people who imported this crew should take some responsibility for the results instead of laying it off on "God."
How the United States acquired a Somali population.
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Lehman's Non Electric:
Lehman's sells Amish products and lots of little cutesy things that are useless. They also have a massive listing of food and equipment that you'd love to have if the power goes out. Everything from a wide selection of lamps, to washtubs and scrub boards, clothes wringers, and well bucket torpedoes. They have a big catalog, which is free. Just go to their web page and click on catalog request.
Lehman's Non Electric
Major Surplus and Survival:Major Surplus and Survival has a wide selection of military surplus equipment from all over the world. When I read the survival magazines like American Survival Guide, they are always full of super expensive gear. I can always look at the Major Surplus and Survival catalog and find something from a fraction of the price that serves the same purpose. I've been buying from these guys for years and never had a problem.
Their catalog is free. Just go to the web site and choose the "catalog" button on the left side of the page.
Major Surplus and Survival
Sportsman's Guide:Over the years, I've probably bought more tools and equipment from these people than any other supplier. When my kids moved up to Canada to go to school in Vancouver, I largely furnished their apartments with gear from Sportsmans Guide, because I knew they'd be moving in a couple of years and wanted their furniture and household goods to be light, easily packed, and cheap.
Sportsman's Guide comes out with about six different catalogs. You can go to their web page and order three of them at any given time. I usually get the Shooting catalog and the Surplus catalog. You can buy an annual membership for thirtyfive dollars that gives you a discount on the catalog prices and also lets you use the four pay plan, whereby your purchases over one hundred and fifty dollars are broken into four monthly credit card payments at no additional charge. What I like best about Sportsmans Guide is that if you order something, and they run out, you can go on back order. When the product comes in, if there has been a price increase you get the original order price.
Emergency Essentials:Emergency Essentials sells long term storage foods, both canned and bulk. They also sell hard to find items like plastic lids for cans. If you use coffee cans to store things in, and open the cans frequently, the lids eventually split. You can get lids here , in multiple colors, for very little money.
Their catalog is free.
Ready Reserve Foods:Primarily a place to find long term storage food, but they do sell a lot of gadgets like pail lids, lid openers, and other things related to preparedness.
The catalog is free and you can also download it as a pdf.
Ready Reserve foods
Walton Feeds:In 1999, I bought an entire 18 wheeler load of supplies from these guys. I am still eating it and it's still perfectly fresh. Although I bought many cases of canned supplies, the vast majority of the shipment was bulk food in nitrogen flushed pails, with the product stored in mylar. Other than corn meal and powdered milk, everything stayed fresh after I opened it long enough to use it up. Walton Feeds is still pretty primitive net wise. You can download a print out of their prices and products, but they don't have a catalog.
Friday, September 20, 2013
Got back on line tonight , because I felt guilty about missing the postings on the blogs I usually read every day.
A lot of people were really mad. Some were depressed, some were feeling ill, and some seem to have forgotten to take their medication.
I got through about the first 15 of 50 something blogs I read and so many of them were unusual in this respect I decided to quit til tomorrow. Not everyone was having a rough time but enough for it to be noticeably abnormal. It isn't that I can't handle a rant or a rave here and there, I certainly do enough of that myself.. It's just surprising to see so many out of sorts when it's out of character for them.
Most of these folks , though not all, are usually pretty upbeat. But the last couple of days must have been rough on more people than me because the attitude meter is pegged out between "I don't care anymore" and " I am so mad I am going to have a stroke."
On the one hand, it's reassuring that I'm not the only one who gets mad or tired or feels like I can't keep up with the world ever so often. On the other hand, I hope this is not something like "World War Z" where we are all going to go berserk. ;-)
Things have to get better folks, because they can't go down hill much more for very long.
It would be nice to write that I have accomplished something of significance in the last few days, but it wouldn't be true. Other than working my way through the labyrinth of the state motor vehicle department to solve the "you can't have your cars in Ohio" issue, I haven't done anything constructive.
For the most part, I have been sleeping and reading. Mostly sleeping. Why I have no idea, but one good thing about being retired is you can pretty much do what you want to do. That includes sleeping all day.
I read Lights Out again. Can't think how many times I've read it since it was released in book form back in 2010, but several times.
Lights Out details the aftermath of an EMP event. Crawford was not a professional writer, and if the book was edited the editor was not particularly good at his job. Like a lot of survivalist fiction, you just have to be willing to put up with an unpolished final product in order to enjoy the book. If basic grammatical errors drive you crazy, you'd be well advised to pass. However, in the survivalist genre, that would mean missing some of the very best books.
At the time this book started showing up on the net, a lot of basic tenets of the survivalist philosophy were being questioned, just as the same issues were being considered by the population at large. Crawford tried to delve into these and to show a workable solution to what he considered to be inevitable societal changes, particularly in gender roles. There were also tumultuous discussions going on about the place of government in an individual's life, what obligations people have to one another, about the use of force in self defense, and the nature of the society that might replace the current system post collapse. There is a great deal of radical feminism in the book. The writer tries to reconcile the views of extreme feminism with reality, and fails abysmally but you have to say at least he had the courage to tackle the subject.
As always when you are talking about survivalist authors, Crawford went to such pains to insulate himself from charges of sexism or racism that that there are inconsistencies and outright anomalous weaknesses in his plot. His protagonists include heroic Hispanics, Asians, and African Americans while his villains are all brutish white motorcycle gangs or redneck thugs. You can hardly fault him for that. It's a facet of American society now that people in positive role models as shown by the media are generally minorities, while those who are shown breaking into your house at night to steal your television are invariably white. Statistics don't bear these portrayals out but political correctness makes it obligatory. It's just something else you have to hold your nose and swallow if you want to learn from the book.
One thing you have to give the author, he does know survivalism. If you read the book, it's loaded with useful information on how to do things, how to build things, how to solve problems. Not just philosophical things but hard facts, such as how to put in a windmill to pump water.
The fact that I've read it more than once is the best endorsement I can give it. I'm sure it's still available free on line, but the book is not expensive.(I've since been told it's not available on line for free now) I know a lot of people liked One Second After. So did I. It's better written, smoother in delivery, and not as steeped in political correctness. I'd say read both, rather than just discarding Lights Out because the literary style isn't as good as One Second After.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
There was a huge moon last night. I was up before dawn, and walked out to where there's a good view. The moon was orange just before the sun came up. It looked like something out of a science fiction movie. Nights like that I don't even turn on my security lights, because the moon light is enough for the night vision.
Forgot to give Ragnar the Ferret his medication last night, and woke up to the sounds of a terrific ferret fight. He had attacked all the others in their sleep. Ragnar is peaceful enough when he has his medication, but when he doesn't, it's a darn good thing that they don't make little ferret sized pistols or there would be a tragic mass shooting in the snuggy bags. I gave him his drugs and he settled down. Even when he has his meds, he has a tendency to beat up the girl ferrets. Some people like to dress their ferrets up in cutesy little outfits. I think I will have a "strong man" t shirt and a pair of boxer shorts made up for him. I have a friend who told me the old strong man t shirts, which nobody wears anymore, were once called "wife beaters" because the guys who wore them got drunk and beat up their wives. It was a woman who told me that so don't think I am being flippant. ;-)
Not much else to tell. I am going to let the dust settle from all the car furor. Tonight I'll go out and hold what the Japanese call a "moon viewing." Just sit out and enjoy the moon light, and relax.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
There was a letter from the state department of motor vehicles. It said the registration on the Commander was being pulled because the insurance had lapsed.
I called USAA. They said it hadn't lapsed.
I called the tax collector at the court house. They handle titles.
The lady who answered the phone said the letter wasn't about the insurance. I told her that's what it said, and she told me that was just to get me to call the courthouse. Ok. That doesn't make sense to me but whatever. It turns out, it's about a new state law.
I own the cars, and they are registered in my home state, where I live. For years that has been fine. The vehicles are registered in my home state, but the street address for insurance purposes is where ever the kids are living, currently Ohio. Now our assembly has passed a new law. If your insurance address isn't in state, you can't have plates in this state. Even if the address on the title is in this state. It would have been nice if they had told me that before I spent $456.00 renewing the registration on five vehicles recently. Because they don't give you any of your money back when you change the registration.
I called the DMV in the state capitol. The computer said they were "busy" and hold time was ten minutes. It repeated the same message for the next hour and forty minutes on the speaker phone. Promptly at closing time, the computer hung up on me.
So now I have to get both cars registered in Ohio, and my kids have to get Ohio drivers licenses instead of the ones they have now. If they move somewhere else for work purposes, I'll have to repeat the whole time consuming, expensive process. In the last five years they've lived in Florida, Kentucky and Ohio so it isn't as unlikely as it sounds.
It's another Southern Comfort and Coke afternoon. That's not good but dieing of a fury and frustration induced heart attack would be worse.
I notice I am having more and more one drink evenings. Sometimes I have a two drink evening. I promised my wife I would quit regularly drinking when we got married. She didn't mind the occasional drink but didn't like it to be a habit. She made me get rid of my bar that I had at the house, and I had to quit bringing home cronies from the base after Happy Hour, which I also had to quit going to.
That seemed small potatoes as a trade for her marrying me, and it was. But I need to be careful about starting up again. She doesn't ask a lot and keeping a 31 year old promise seems reasonable. I tell you though, the things I've been putting up with lately do make a nice cold drink welcome.
E.M. Forster certainly was prescient when he wrote his tale of the future. The inhabitants of his future world live in automated bliss. Everything they need is provided for them by machines, and because they have no need to leave their comfortable quarters, most don't. There are few original thoughts or ideas, because everything has already been thought of . People amuse themselves by doing little projects on art or literature and sharing them over an interconnecting communication system, but no one really has any original thought.
The means for travel still exist, but people don't go anywhere so the huge airships glide back and forth between their ports, empty. Visiting the surface of the earth from the communities underground is considered atavistic and can land you in deep trouble with the community.
Slowly but surely, a great change is taking place in this secure world. The Machine, the device which regulates all and provides all, is breaking down. No one knows how to repair it, or even seems to give the possibility any thought because the break down is so slow that at first, it simply seems inconvenient. By the time the inhabitants realize how far advanced the deterioration is, it's too late to do anything about it even if they had the skills or initiative.
I have a reason for thinking about this book today. On Friday, 6 September I sent a package of documents to my tax accountant in the city. It had taken me some time to acquire them, since not all brokerages will let you get financial information by down loading it. A lot of that kind of thing has to be ordered and then you wait for the mail to bring it. I sent the package priority mail, with a guarenteed delivery date of Monday, 9 September. It reached the sort facility of the U.S. Post Office on the 7th. And there it sat , untouched, until the 12th of September. At that point, they declared it undeliverable as addressed, and it sat in the post office until the 16th. On the 16th they magically discovered that the address was correct, and delivered it. Over a week late, but they delivered it.
There was a time when the Post Office here was a byword for reliability. "Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet..." Remember that ? But the machine is broken and it's grinding to a halt. This instance is only a pin prick, until you look at what else is going on. The water in most major cities (and some small towns) is dangerous to drink. We routinely have outbreaks of deadly diseases like Escherichia coli and Salmonella in our food supply. The transportation system in the country is in appalling condition. Anyone who hasn't seen The Crumbling of America, a two hour History Channel program, should take a look at that.
Care for the mentally ill is virtually non-existent now. My state simply closed the state funded facilities for those people a few years back. The governor of the time touted the savings but pumping mentally ill people into the streets to become homeless vagrants or murderous Morlocks seems a poor way to save to me.
Since 2007, vast numbers of middle class people have lost their jobs, and shortly thereafter, their homes. If you take a look at the actual numbers, even when they've been toned down for propaganda purposes by the government, the swath cut through middle class families is staggering.
Full time jobs for people in their twenties and above seem to be a thing of the past unless you have someone with an "in" who can get you decent work. For the rest of the population, now you have to try to scurry between two or more part time jobs to make enough for a cheap apartment.
I'll bet everyone who reads this could add some facet of our civilization that just isn't working correctly or at all anymore.
Like the people in The Machine Stops we can all see these things happening but no one quite knows what to do, how to fix it. So no one will do anything and it won't get fixed. I tease other folks about doom and gloom prognostications on their blogs, but it's hard not to feel a little apprehensive sometimes over the way things are working out. If you have kids, then it's worse because you absolutely know that the quality of life in their adult years will be far less than that you enjoyed at the same ages. Right now, you can help your kids, grown or not. You can keep up with how they are doing and try to help them with whatever problems they are having to work out. But what happens when you aren't around anymore, and leave them in this quagmire on their own?
Monday, September 16, 2013
Today I am not doing any serious thinking, or any serious work. I feel tired. Instead, I believe I will drive North East, further up into the mountains. On the way, there's a tiny little town. It used to be a cigarette smuggling hub, but the feds closed that down. Now there is a post office, shut down years ago. There is a gas station and convenience store, and a general store. The general store sells reloading supplies, ammo, boots, guns, and everything else. I will stop off there. My wife loves to go because they have nice women's clothing, but I am cheating today and just going by myself.
Then further up the road there's a good cafe, and I'll have lunch there. At the end of the trip is a big, deep blue lake. I will get myself a cold coke in a glass bottle and little cellophane bag of roasted peanuts. I'll pour the peanuts into the coke, and sit under a tree in the grass. I'll watch the clouds go over the lake. Then come evening time I'll go home and do the chores.
Sometimes I just need to spend a quiet day doing nothing, away from my mountain top.