Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Struggle of Life

There's an old favorite Calvin and Hobbes cartoon hanging in my office. It starts with the two of them walking through the woods on a bright, sunny winter day. Calvin, being mesmerized by the beauty of it all, stops and gives a long dissertation questioning why mankind had chosen in the first place to sequester himself in houses and cars while living in such overpowering beauty.

Turning to Hobbes he asks. “ That's why I want to ask you, as a tiger, a wild animal close to nature, what you think we're put on earth to do . . . What's our purpose in life? Why are we here?”

Hobbes thinks for a moment, smiles, raises his arms in the old Italian gesture and replies, “We're here to devour each other alive.” then he walks away.

Calvin watches Hobbes leave, looks straight ahead at the viewer, looks up at the sky. Then he makes a beeline for his house where he fearfully turns up all his lights and raises the heat in hopes of alleviating the fear instilled by Hobbes choice wording.

I have always loved that cartoon cause it shows so well and so simply the struggle each of us every day must make to stay alive in this very chaotic and cruel environment we find ourselves in.

Regardless of our status, be it wealthy, poor, high brow, low brow, African aborigine or American blue blood, this basic survival instinct is prevalent in all of us. It's the lub in our very first heart beat, leading us down the pathway of our years until it's final dub.

The way of survival is not merely what one needs to do in order to make it through a social/economic pinch. It's also on a far deeper level the evolutionary trail a life form has taken through the ages in order to remain viable.

In our breed it manifests a zillion different ways on a zillion avenues, but the struggle is there in all our lives pushing and prodding us into our various chosen paths.

Some, like the guys who have chosen the power/position/possession path, struggle through hard work and dedication to become our leaders and our heroes.

Some, like the criminal, having also chosen the power, position, possession path seek to circumvent the learning curve of hard work and get right to the wealthy part. These become the worst among us and often find themselves wallowing in a cage somewhere feeling sorry for themselves.

Some, like most of us, muddle along content just to have enough to feed ourselves and our family. These people, whether they live in a small house in a suburb or a thatched hut in a jungle clearing are basically all of the same mind set. They struggle to live within their inherited environment in much the same way.

And yet, the question that lies forever strongly in my mind, is why we, the core foundation of this life form called humanity, allow the wealthy and neer-do-wells of this planet to manipulate us, through religious and political means, into taking up arms against one another when we, if anything, ought to be confronting them. This thought alone literally blows my mind . . . and makes me fear for the continuity of this race.

Personally I have never feared much about a wild animal devouring me like perhaps my predecessors have. I have lived in very close proximity to Krait snakes as well as Grizzly bears and have never lost much sleep over the fact.

What I fear above all else is us being manipulated by a man, or a group of men, into believing our survival is contingent upon the killing of THEIR enemy. And I believe . . . until there is a fundamental change in the evolution of our thought, we will all be forever looking over our shoulders for a way to survive the devourer behind us . . . following.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Land of the Impotent

Does anybody remember Woody Guthrie? Or Pete Seeger? Does anybody remember the time in this country during the great union movement of the thirties when these guys organized the disenfranchised worker all across this country? Does anybody remember when men actually shoved their heels into their turf and told the massa, “Enough of the shit, we ain't gonna take it anymore!”

They sang their protest songs, they took their beatings, they stood together with nothing but ball bats as hired company thugs attacked and beat them mercilessly. These men, mostly uneducated, mostly dirt poor, mostly afraid, had within themselves the gumption to stand tall against the established rule and ultimately they kicked his ass. They chose to fight back rather than sit and watch as the ribs appeared in the sides of their children.

Thus began the rise of the worker unions all across this country. And as they grew they became more powerful till at the height of their rein in America they had Boss Hog shivering in his boots at the first sign of a walkout and strike.

Of course history played the game out and the union, once the hero of the working class, has by now become an impotent side show because of their own version of back room dealings and capitulation. The generation of strong men who fought for justice retired on their hard won pensions while the spawn who followed grew lazy and complacent. They began to use the union as their own department of “Get all you can while giving as less as you can” and ultimately destroyed it.

It seems in todays world we are back to square one again, except this time it's actually worse. This time Boss Hog has merely shoved his middle finger up our noses and with the help of his friends in Washington moved to Mexico. He bought labor from China, India, and had a zillion other ways of getting us back to walking on our knees. He even has us thanking him for his benevolence.

We have in essence become a very large and expanding bunch of winers that no one seems to have much respect for. We don't even respect ourselves. We complain about the bullshit happening all around us, but are afraid to stir the waters too much cause well, you know, we don't want to make the man angry with us. We put up with being robbed, suckered, punched in the face and kicked in our ass until we find a soft spot on the hard porch and just sit there complaining into our wine bottle. (why do you think they call it wine?)

Why do our women disrespect us? We don't deserve any. Why do we send our kids off to fight George Bushes war in some patriotic rush when it was obvious from the very beginning the dope didn't know his ass from a hole in the ground and the whole world warned us of the fact?

Why did we listen to the bullshit and downright lies that ultimately got them blown to bits in some desert swamp amongst a people totally foreign and uncaring to our way of life or what we were supposedly doing for them? Maybe they just understood all along why we were there in the first place. Something a lot of people in this country still seem to have problems with understanding. Why did we allow all this to happen?

We were willing to fight for Boss Hog, willing to look the other way when he robbed us, even willing to bail him out. When he got caught going to far in his greed we said, “Oh we need Boss, we must bail him out.”

For this we get a peck on the cheek and the privilege of watching another mom and pop store bite the dust as a Chinese Walmart grows in our neighborhood. The impotence and ignorance of the men in this country today is astoundingly pathetic.

Where are the Woody Guthrie's of this generation? Where are the people willing to take a stand against the robber baron, to take a ball bat to his face and tell him to fuck off, he don't get no bailout.

Man, I am getting old. . . and discouraged. What will this country look like for my grandchildren after this generation of knee knockers gets done with it is anybodies guess, but I'm betting it won't be pretty.

As to your personal survival in all this. The very first thing you must do if you plan to survive any of the stuff thats coming down the pike is to search within yourselves for the manhood that your forefathers bequeathed to you . . . and use it.

Quit with the whining and get on with the New Revolution. The pendulum needs a swing to the left again because in all life there is a waning and a waxing, nothing is stagnant ...nor should be we. Life is breathing through the chaos. Don't be afraid, you can too.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fix It!

The one thing a lot of guys have forgotten in this post WW2 throw away world is how to fix stuff like grandpa did. We just give a sigh, heave it and buy another widget when the first one breaks. The new one almost certain to have been made of cheaper quality in China. The fine art of fixing things is going to soon reappear on our horizon cause when we run out of cash and have to decide on buying food or a new toaster what are we going to do?

In a past post I used the old cliche 'you can't make a silk purse out of a pigs ear.' Well I should have said “most of the time.” . . . cause let me tell you what I just did.

The other day one of my kids shows up with a broken mandolin. The back had split and broken off the front. The front had large nasty cracks in it. The whole thing was water swollen and covered in musty filth and bird shit. He had found it in pieces in a cardboard box in the back of a garage.

“Can you fix this?” He asked me.

I saw that it was very old and handmade. Since I love very old and handmade musical instruments I said ”sure” and took it home where it ended up in my loft behind all the other junk I have saved for a “one of these days I'm gonna fix it” experience.

Anyway I got it out the other day and decided to repair it. After very close scrutiny (and cleaning) I noticed that the fretboard was ebony (that's a good thing) and the top, bottom and sides all had been tooled using gouges/chisel/ scrapers. I also noticed the tuner mortises had not been done with a router, but rather had been gouged out very carefully with chisels and a lot of patience. I was impressed by the quality of craftsmanship.

I was determined to rebuild this thing and get it playing once again. My main goal being to do as little damage to the patina of the wood as possible as it was a beautiful deep coco brown, almost black with age. To sand the thing up and destroy such beauty would in itself be a travesty.

I gave it a dry bath. I re glued the back, the large splits and carefully filled the others. I lowered the action a bit. I worked on the tuners. I waxed the hell out it with a very expensive paste wax, put on a new set of strings and WOW! I have me one fine looking antique mandolin that plays and holds tune quite well.

This little story is just an example to show you yourself what can be accomplished if you put your mind to it. All it takes is a little knowledge and practice. It can even be fun. You can also help pay down your credit cards with the money you've saved. Plus it just plain feels good to know you have the ability to fix stuff.

The days of running to Walmart for a new toaster may soon be over for a lot of you common folks. So before you head to the car take the old one apart and try to figure out what's wrong with it. Usually it's no more than a broken electric connection. You will save yourself a whopping amount of cash per year if you just teach yourself to fix up the stuff you already have.

Some things have been created to last just for so long on purpose, plastic parts are made knowingly to break in a year or so. This is all a part of the throw away society we have been sucked into, BUT before you throw anything away see if you can fix it. If nothing else it's good practice.

Computers to toasters I can usually fix, but sometimes you have to face the fact that your 'thing' is dead. Save your money for these times.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

the fine art of bullshitting

Now if you think bullshitting is not an art form just take a look at the past presidential race and you can see openly just how important this art form is to the politician who must, through long hours of intense study, become a master of his trade. The canvas of promises he paints and displays openly before his admiring throng in all it's beauty is truly amazing. His glib tongue deftly laying stroke upon stroke across a broad canvas, he forms the contrast and conflict of his opponents deep shadow juxtaposed his very own brightest of light . . . while the layman postulates himself before the Master and stares upon his canvas of dreams.

It seems the only time you get the truth, or even an honest opinion from this breed is to listen to these people AFTER they leave office. Generals, Senators, all the way down to the local yocal member of the school board are so steeped in spinning bullshit during their career you just can't trust a word they say.

Obama knows the art form and used it well. He is a Master at his trade. Obama's emotional work centered on hope.

McCain, a Master in his own right, chose a different emotional theme for his canvas. McCain's centered on fear.

More people responded to hope than fear so Obama won the bullshit (tell them what they want to hear) session in spite of the fact most people who voted for Obama probably instinctively knew he couldn't keep most of the promises he had painted for them. They were, in the light of current events, wishful thinking at the most.

I personally believe he will be far to busy just keeping the ship of state afloat after the disastrous last eight years of George Bush to do much else. Hell, man we will be lucky to have a monetary system at all by the end of next summer, let alone enough cash to do anything much to help the poor and needy middle class in this country.

So how does this all pertain to our personal survival?

A man who understands the nuances of bullshitting can and will survive longest among his fellows. He knows it is far easier many times to convince an enemy than to kill him, especially if he is out gunned and outnumbered.

He knows instinctively if he practices faithfully and becomes an adept, the sky is the limit.

He knows a good line of bullshit and a glib tongue can get him shelter, water and food even when outnumbered and living amongst his enemies. Even when facing certain death the true and fearless artist can sway his captors into his camp by merely corralling them with his tongue.

A great bullshitter has to be in charge of his own mind. He must be intelligent and wise to the ways of man and of the world. He must not just control the room, he must own it. People must love him. They must look up to him. Want him to lead them. He must be a chameleon shape shifter able to capture the essence of a rainbow for them. He must like the apostle Paul “be all things to all men.”

The greatest, the most satisfying, the loveliest words that the truly masterful bullshitter can hear is for his following to say with heart felt conviction.

“Our leader speaks the truth.” . . . . . . . . . .

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


The number one requirement for any kind of survival is to have control of your mind. Without that you might as well just go out and jump off a cliff and save yourself a whole lot of hard work cause your not going to be successful anyhow.

So let's discuss 'mind' a bit. I have an idea concerning 'mind' that works quite well for me so I'll share it with you knowing full well that ultimately you must use your own facilities of reason and creativity if you have any hope of understanding 'mind' and consequently surviving anything at all. You can listen to others, you can be of 'one mind' with others, but the final decision before you act must always be your own.

Some people argue that the brain created the mind. Some people argue that the mind created the brain. It all depends on how you look at it and how you were taught, but I go decidedly with the latter. Before the brain there existed the mind.

The American Indian called this 'mind' the Great Mystery. The various religions of today call it God. Though I take the American Indians explanation, it's all the same thing, and after about forty years of reading and studying the works of others concerning it, I am of the persuasion that few really know what the hell they are talking about anyways.

The one thing I know as absolute fact is that everybody from the car salesman to the prophet of God is in the act of attempting to steal yours. What's the purpose of any slanted advertisement? To steal your mind. What's the purpose of government spin? To steal your mind. What's the purpose of religious doctrine? To steal your mind. What's the purpose of anyone who tries to convince you of practically anything? To steal your mind. What is seemingly the greatest joy of most people on this planet? To give it up to them.

Because it is a troublesome and huge pain in the ass to have to reason within yourself and to make your own decisions. It's also quite frightening to realize you and you alone will be held responsible for any decisions you do make. And to make it all the worse, most people in the real world believe themselves inadequate to do the job of policing their own mind. Fearing their own creative capability they most humbly take the advice of others and many times find themselves on a path to nowhere, pissing and moaning all the way over the edge of a cliff.

It doesn't have to be this way. You are a powerful spiritual being in possession of the greatest tool the Mystery/God has for you . . . Your own mind. Don't be afraid of it. Learn to use it. Don't give it up. It's your greatest weapon.

But like all powerful weapons you must be careful how you use it. There are rules. Break them and the price you must pay is very heavy. Follow them and the joy they bring you is beyond measure, in this world and beyond.

A simple explanation for all this would be: The first time you do something evil your conscience throws up a red flag, STOP! You do it anyways. The next time you do the same thing your conscience throws up a red flag, “stop!” . . . the next time, “stop.” . . . the next time “nothing”. Your conscience now compromised, has finally stopped bothering you. It doesn't give up though, it just merely takes another route. The route called, “as you sow so shall you reap” . . . or Karma (same thing) and you have in essence just created a whole lot of hurt for yourself by breaking the rules.

The good news is that the effects of Karma go both ways. And the GREAT news is that once you decide to use your own mind you will soon realize this. By realizing that, you will also realize just how powerful YOU actually are. You will see YOU are a creator in your own right. You have the power to create your future by the thoughts and actions you take today. Misery or joy? You're choice.

It's not just a nice thing to feed the hungry, or help out the old lady down the street, or have compassion on those without by sharing what you have with them. It's not about just getting a bunch of bullshit accolades from the church you attend or your name on some pew.

It's about EVERYTHING you are and EVERYTHING you will ever become. It's all about YOU and how you use your own mind to create either harmony or discord in the world around you.

So as you read the signs of the times and begin to fear the results of losing your “stuff” . . . also begin to realize that this may just be the first time in your life you will be fully alive.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Well that's about as far as we can go in the natural world with this survival stuff. It may just be all we really need to do. Prepare for the day that will never come. If you've gone this far and you have thought out a plan of action so you don't get caught with your pants down then you can merely keep yourself informed and relax a bit.

One more thing though. If the worse happens and you really do have to go into survival mode how are you going to cope? We talked about living in closer proximity to one another. We have given up our life style that begins behind a huge door called privacy. OK now what?

What are you going to do when/if the electric goes down? Just think about it. Everything we do is tied into the power grid. Entertainment, utilities, appliances, phones, practically everything. Shut it down and we are instantly thrown back at least to the rural thirties. Generators are good for a short time, (maybe a couple hours a day) but they waste precious fuel and are often a noisy pain in the ass.

Oh darn! Looks like we ain't done after all. Man, it looks like we are just getting started. The scenario of sitting in a darkened, cold room with ten other people bother you? It is conceivably quite a real one. It could happen in real time to you.

Are you spiritually prepared for such a thing? How are you going to contain your impulse to choke old uncle Fred if he coughs just one more time? Now that you are able to survive, do you really want to? HA! Sure you do, you just need an attitude adjustment, that's all.

Many family members these days never really talk to each other. They watch TV together. They sometimes eat together. They play computer games or listen to music or a zillion other things to entertain themselves, but they seldom sit down at the table and have a good conversation.

All that TV, computer game, mp3 player (yeah you gotta charge the batteries right?) stuff goes when the power goes. You can read. You can play music on your own instrument. You can write using a pencil and paper. But to really entertain yourself you will have to do it together by playing cards, board games, and stuff like that. Learn to tell stories (kids especially love to have someone tell them a story) and have open dialog with each other. Learn the art of bullshitting . . . yes it is an art form in it's own right, just ask any black dude or observe a group of blacks having a great time doing it.

You will have a lot of free time cause food preparation will be simple. Cutting firewood and stuff only takes up so much of your time. There will be long hours to either sit and stare at each other or get really creative and have some fun. Fun is important. If you can laugh at yourself and your circumstances you have the battle half licked at least.

And you must have faith. The real kind, not that phony stuff you practice in church every weekend. Your particular faith is IMO not nearly as important as having it. If you believe Christianity is the only game in town, that's cool, but please dear God don't be proselytizing it to me when you have me cornered in our ten person room. I'll be stressed out enough. That goes for Judaism, Buddhism, Moslemism, Jingoism and every other ism know to man on this planet.

I follow the Zen Taoist philosophy of life . . . My Way may not be your Way, but it works for me. I would rather sit at the table and study an acorn than to listen to you quote from a book of rules. . . Whoops see how easy it will be to get into an argument? Gotta be careful to always be on your toes in the brave new world.

I believe that this social/economic crisis can be great fun if we merely begin to realize the only goal to life is experiencing the path we are currently on.(and we don't spend all our time crying and bitching about our lost "stuff")

The past, it lies behind us.
The future lies ahead.
Live life in the moment.
Or live amongst the dead.

Believe that and this whole thing can become one great adventure.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Family: Your Secret Weapon

The greatest asset anybody will have in the coming social/economic tumble will be his immediate family. So if one chooses to do nothing else than just wait to see what happens he should rekindle the family fire by getting in touch with as many people on the tree as he knows. Now is the time to kiss and make up while there is still a semblance of law and order. You are going to need each other soon.

Because I grew up in a violent, totally dysfunctional family I personally never felt I had one. As soon as I could reach the doorknob I was gone. Oh, I came around for food and a bed, but somewhere along the way I had totally disassociated myself from the rest of them. I stood in one room staring at three strangers who happened to be my father, my mother, and my sister, while they stood in another. That's all I can remember.

Therefore once I got married I didn't do so very well with my own. I tried, but man, I screwed up big time. It was like I was a ten year old who just stole a car and decided to go for a joy ride. Along the way I picked up a pretty girl hitch hiking and in the excitement of the moment decided to marry her. Of course it all ended in a divorce cause my wife was just as bad and as young and as dumb as I was.

It took my daughter to teach me about family, and only then after she married into a large Italian one and I got to observe it first hand to see how it's supposed to work. I used to sit and watch the in-laws during a family gathering and think, “wow man, so this is how it's supposed to be. I could really go for having a family like this.” Well now I do.

Those guys taught me far more through observation, and far better, than Dr. Phil with all his degrees ever could. Besides ain't that how puppy mutts learn? By watching the old hound dogs and mimicking their ways? Well this old mutt done learned a huge lesson in reverse. (by watching the kids)

When I was in the army in Asia I used to go into a village and wonder how all those people could live so close without killing each other. A little hut spilling over with family members would be my greatest nightmare, thought I'd rather live amongst, and be safer with, the pigs under the hut.

Of course I lived practically on top of a whole platoon of soldiers, but we weren't natural family. The guys in my platoon were my brothers. Those people back home were not even close to that.

In the US I have built huge houses for two people. Most homes I've built had private bed rooms, private baths and rooms for people to hang out alone in private. Private is a huge word in this country, but guess what? If it gets even close to what I believe is coming down the pike this privacy nonsense is all about to disappear. I envision us all living pretty much like the illegals down town. Ten to a room. Won't that be fun?

The hardest part of this whole thing will be getting along with each other. This is gonna take a whole lot of hard work and dedication. There is going to be a lot of stuff going on outside the family perimeter. People fighting for food, people fighting for shelter, people fighting out of fear and anger, people fighting and robbing and killing just because they found out they could get away with it, all kinds of good stuff. The one place you don't want to be fighting is in your compound. One that will probably be filled with family members.

Alone I know I could weather the storm easily. I would merely go back to Alaska and get lost in the bush close to Prince William Sound and if the bears left me alone I could live quite well. I would become a bonified wood rat. (I almost was one once) After the first year I wouldn't even want to come out.

But I have family. I have grandchildren. And I am dedicated, especially if the shit hits the fan big time, to the safety of them and everyone else in my immediate family to the loss of my own life if need be. Cause as an old man I have learned that I would rather dive head first into the hut amongst my family than to be safe underneath in my spot amongst the pigs.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Last Stand

When things get really rough this is where I'll make my last stand. 200sq ft.+- cabin. A small wood burning stove. An outhouse behind the shed. A couple oil lamps and I've just projected myself back to the future.


This property I own is all hillsides and trees, therefore not much good for farming. The only flat, treeless spot is where I have my buildings. To make it even worse, because of the tightness of this narrow valley there is not even enough sunlight to grow much of a garden. Six hours a day is all I can muster in the sunniest spot, and that just happens to be over a small wetland. So I'm kinda screwed when it comes to growing my own food.

In order to survive a potential food crisis I have only two options.
1.To eat the naturally growing stuff (animal/vegetable) like the Delaware Indians did before me who used it to supplement their basic fare of corn/beans/and squash. . . or
2.Barter something I created for food and other essential stuff.

I will do both of course, but for now I am working towards getting myself in the position to barter.
I have chosen to build an old time clay oven in which I will bake bread, pizza's and other stuff for barter. The one I use now is too small, but if the future demands it I will build an oven capable of baking twelve loves of bread at a time. This is completely doable and would cost nothing as all the clay, stone, sand, etc. are here already.

I may also look into building a still like the old hillbillies used to do. White Lightening, bread, pizza will make me the most popular, unexpendable dude in the valley (and you don't want to be deemed expendable in the brave new world.)

Before the social/economic upheaval begins I will know every plant, animal and insect in this area that can be used for food. I will eat food that the locals would never think of eating, thus assuring a continues supply. I will bake bread using ground cattail root powder and insects if necessary, whatever it takes. If you die on my turf I will eat you . . . but I won't kill you just for the privilege :-)

So the plan is complete and already set in motion. Now hopefully we will never have to use it. Hopefully the world can wake up and overcome the future depletion of our oil supply. Hopefully the trickle down affect (the only time this theory works by the way) we are already experiencing won't get any worse. Hopefully the world can read the tea leaves and back up before it's too late. But without first having to experience the pain I doubt it. . .next . . . Family the Secret Weapon.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Last night I watched a documentary about Katrina. WOW! If the way the government handled that situation doesn't wake you up to it's ineptitude nothing does, nor will it ever.

The Feds totally blew it. The State totally blew it. The City totally blew it. And the people who are waiting around for these guys to come to the rescue . . . still? You are totally blowing it.

Lookit, you gotta get off your collective asses, ban together and help yourselves cause that empty road in front of your house ain't filling up soon with repair trucks and barrels of money. The money's on it's way to Wall Street and the repair trucks ran out gas in the white mans neighborhood.

You people know what triage means? That means that in combat if you make it back to the field hospital after being wounded the doctor does a quick check to see how bad the wound is and if you are about to die. If in his opinion you are, they wheel you behind the tent to make room for the guys who have a better chance of pulling through. Guess where you guys in the lower ninth ward are?

And that extremely large Charity Hospital thats just sitting there empty after all these years? Wasn't that the hospital where most of you poor went for health care? Well, bad news, the government is still arguing about whether rebuilding it would be worth while cause it would cost so much money, in fact millions of dollars.

You people gotta understand that when your sending 12BILLION dollars a month to shore up a government in Iraq (who doesn't even give a shit about you in the first place) you're gonna be a bit strapped right now. You are expendable. Iraq got a nice cot and a hot cup of coffee inside the triage tent . . . sorry.

The fact is that in a situation as large and as bad and as catastrophic as Katrina was, in spite of the advertisement, government is too large, too cumbersome, too disorganized to really do much to alleviate your situation. Unless you are a person of means you are written off till, like the old black man said, “ I never seen that woman (local councilwomen for his district) till election day. Then she's down here knocking on my door looking for votes.” That about says it all.

Now you take Katrina and you ask yourself what would have happened in this country had we been attacked with a nuke . . . or take the closer fact that when this social/economic situation spreads and things really get rough for you, who you gonna call? The Feds? The State? The County? Ghost busters? How about your neighbor?

You better get your collective minds straight BEFORE the deed and get this stuff figured out. Have a plan of action. Don't sit around relying on Uncle Sam and his REMFS. It's your ass on the firing line. Preserve it. Find your Way to survive without them.

Pssst...I gotta go away for a couple days.....see you about Thursday.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A map, A compass and a K-bar

OK....Lets say you've made it this far. You've opened your eyes and become aware of the dire situation that trust in big government and complacency has gotten you into and you've decided to take control of your life again. (or for the first time)

You have gotten yourself out of debt. You have gotten yourself into good shape in every aspect of your life to the best of your ability. You are alert to your immediate surroundings and you have acquired a certain skill level when it comes to reading the terrain you happen to find yourself in. Good job. You and I are now in the same boat.

I used to brag when I was younger that you could parachute me anywhere into the jungle or mountains with an area map, a compass, a K bar fighting knife and I would do just fine. I had been meticulously trained to do so and was confident in my training.

That made survival perhaps not a walk in the park, but doable. Even if caught in thick forest when the lights went out and black was the only color in town you just hunkered down till daylight arrived. Then you quite easily took stock of your situation, reoriented your compass to the map, reoriented your map to the terrain, picked a destination and off you went. The K bar at your side would help you dig up or stab enough food source to keep you alive, (usually grubs, an occasional snake and stuff like that) plus enable you to build a shelter if necessary.

Today there is no preparatory training, it's what's called “on the job” training. The rules and the terrain vary greatly, the tools are different, many times it's a seat-of-your-pants operation being run in a fog. It's more like trying to navigate through three tier jungle in the middle of the night. Yeah, you can do it, but it is dangerous as all hell. Let me tell you, that bright sun alleviates a whole lot of fear and anxiety.

In this environment your map is just the game board you happen to find yourself playing on and it varies with each player. The rivers may all run the same direction, but your mountains and your valleys vary greatly from your fellow gamers.

Personally I wouldn't follow anyone's advice too far unless I was absolutely positive he knew his ass from a hole in the ground and we were both oriented towards going in the same direction anyways. Lots of advice coming down the pike these days. Be careful who you listen too.

Now the compass is a bit fuzzy in this equation because, well, there really isn't one. There is no arrow to point the way save your own intuition broadcasting from the center of your own mind. This can be scary cause it doesn't take long to realize your the captain of this boat and if it ends up on the rocks guess who gets the blame? (remember the fiasco in Valdez) Watch and be careful when you feel like taking a nap! You might just screw up my fishing grounds.

Think, study, read the tea leaves, pray, but learn to trust your mind and your gut above all else. . . and if neither work too good? You're dead meat. (remember the wolves?) They're licking their lips waiting for you.

The K Bar is a marine fighting knife. It's made of the best steel and follows an old tried and true design. It's deadly as all hell and a good tool for cutting, carving, pounding, etc. I would not get rid of mine for anything. Break in my house in the middle of the night and you won't have to worry about a loud muzzle blast or a whole lot of yelling and carrying on, just watch out for that long shadowy figure hurtling himself at you holding something in his hand. You have approximately two seconds to think, focus, raise your weapon and fire . . . or face the inevitable heart burn. :-)

Weapons are only for the extreme situation where you must preserve the lives of you and your children. Other wise they are just eye candy for Ramboized scairdy cats. I get a kick out of these guys who somehow think that having ten various weapons and a thousand rounds of ammo are gonna help them defend themselves. Real world says they will die after shooting quite quickly perhaps three wild rounds into the ceiling.

So let's not waste a lot of time on that stuff and get real about surviving the storm.

Your greatest weapons will be your neighbors and your ability in forming alliances with as many of them as possible. Even the ones you don't particularly like, even the ones you absolutely hate. It's in these people you will find your strength. Together all of you can pull through this thing and come out better than when you started. But you will all need each other. Just think of the time immediately after 911, and the time during Katrina when people helped each so much, even to the tune of risking their own lives. Good people always rise to the occasion, but to make a real difference they need purpose,focus and leadership. Make sure you pick a leader for your group who knows that sacrifice doesn't just mean getting to be the boss.

As the guys on the fringe see what you are doing they will come and ask to join instead of spending their time figuring out how to rob you. That leaves the really bad true blue criminal who may just, once he sees what you are about, decide to find greener pastures to wreak his havoc in. We hope this will be the case, but there are times when, even though you have the best intentions, once the normal order of law enforcement has broken down you will have to defend yourselves and your children from the truly evil crowd.

I personally would not go half way in any endeavor of this sort. I would simply kill the guy. There is absolutely no room to work around these guys. He'll just keep coming back for more. Survival demands you be the first to attack and the last to give in. Hopefully the situation will never arise for you and yours. Now how are we gonna deal with the neighbors?............coming up.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Years ago we were all suckered into this game called “buy now, pay later.” We were so happy to sign on the bottom line and grab the “sorta” free item that our parents had to sweat and save up their money to buy. “Whoowee far out! I can get me a new car today!” . . . and away we went, diving head first into the slave masters back pocket. Never even realized it cause we were so pumped about the “stuff” he allowed us to buy on his credit.

Last time I looked at a credit card the interest rate was 29.99% if you defaulted and missed a payment. Now this sorta thing would have made Tony Soprano blush, but not the bankers. Hell no, it was all good business cause you were forewarned. Remember to read that itsy bitsy print on the brochure? Or were you just too excited to get your paws on the new TV to bother? Old grandpa would be rolling over in his grave.

Well nows the time to get smart and get out of debt anyway you can. I did by selling and downscaling. It was easy for me to do cause I didn't use credit cards except to buy building material from time to time. I paid them off before the month was out. That is smart, puts you ahead of the game . . .

I saw on TV the other night that the average household credit card debt in the U.S. Is $8,500.00. That's average. That means a hell of a lot of people are way over that. In the coming economy that pretty much on its own makes everybody dead meat when it comes to the highly touted credit rating system.

Warning!.......”We're gonna ruin your credit rating!”

“Go ahead, who gives a shit. That may be just what it takes for me to wizen up and jump off your rat wheel.”

But if you do that they can also lean your house and attach your wages and a bunch of other stuff I don't even know about.

Answer. Research it, talk to them, kiss their ass, do the best you can do to get the things paid off. Then BURN the suckers and start saving like Grandma did. You might just save your house and your sanity even if you do have to wait on purchasing the newest computer.

PsssT.........don't bother waiting on the feds to bail YOU out as they are to busy shoveling money to their friends on Wall Street. You know the guys who like to throw $400,000.00 parties? You? You're on your own brother. Get smart.


In any survival situation the basics are overall pretty much the same. You find yourself in a predicament. You have for some reason had your normal lifestyle pulled out from under you and are in a state of flux as to what to do about it.

Now what? What am I gonna do? Why me? On and on the questioning comes, like twenty foot waves while you're rowing in a ten foot boat, till you can't stand it anymore. Now is the time to quit with the bitching, sit down somewhere and begin with the thinking.

Basic survival 101 says you need shelter, water, and food to survive. You need the first two ASAP while the food can wait a few days or so, but if you don't replenish your energy soon, you're gonna be dead, it's that simple. Life itself becomes very simple because all the peripherals melt away as the big three take over your entire focus. Again your particular situation dictates your action when it comes to the three necessities.

Living in the country I first would research the edible food sources that grown in the area, both plant and animal. I would find, if any, where the springs were and where and what kind of medicinal herbs grew in the area. It makes no sense to rely on survival formula's that you learned in a long ago jungle or desert. All that counts is what exists in your immediate vicinity. If you find it an impossible situation, pack up and move when the time is right to a place where you CAN survive.

Living in the city would be an entire different set of circumstances. What will you do when the grocery shelves are empty? When the bottled water is gone? When the utility has cut your power and heat? You gotta do something. Personally I don't have a clue as to what I'd do except flee the city.

I can visualize serious difficulties above and beyond anyones comprehension in the major cities of this country if it gets bad enough. I'm not sure there is an answer to the question except get out of the city.

More immediate than even shelter,food,water may be your financial situation. There are millions of people in this country living on credit. They can still easily obtain the three essentials, but, especially in the mortgage arena, they may be in a world of hurt right now today.

Jobs are drying up. The banks are moving in. Soon you could find yourself watching from the lawn as your home and entire load of “stuff” goes on the auction block. You may then find yourself homeless in a sea of uncaring.

Right now while you have the swimming room get out of debt!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Way

In Western thought “The Way” is the path towards obtaining a future goal.

In Eastern thought “The Way” IS the goal.

The Way of Survival is a bit of a mixture, but the emphasis is on Eastern thought. To merely survive the coming crisis, but to survive and be left standing in dead corpses we could have kept alive is unacceptable.

We must do this thing together. We must adapt to and enjoy the ride together. That way when it's all over we will be standing, perhaps in a different environment, but, it will have been one hell of a merry ride that produced lots of stories to tell the grandkids.

So how we gonna do it? As a start the most important thing to do when on a survival path is to first get your mind fine tuned and under control. Because every thought you act upon from now on will be creating either a stepping stone or a stumbling block for you. Every step you take down this path will have far reaching consequences.

The weak and sick will be eaten by the wolves. Only the strong in mind and body will survive once the safety net has been shot full of holes.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Your Way

Do you have one? What are you doing to secure yourselves and your families for the coming social/economic crisis? Anything? Do you even believe there is a problem? If so are you just sitting around praying it will all be over soon and you can go back to life the way it was just a few short months ago? Praying for work to pick up? Praying the slump will be over? Praying Jesus will come soon to whisk you away in the rapture? Praying McCain(or Obama) will get elected and straighten up the whole mess?

Whatever you believe and however you pray is your own business. You have that right. But if you take the time to study some of these social/economic trends (and there is a plethora of information out there) it's not difficult to see the net is quickly closing around us as we swim like a school of salmon in a smaller, smaller circle.

The guys in the middle of the net don't feel a lot of pressure yet. But the guys against the ropes are totally freaked out and in virtual panic cause they sense they are about to be trapped, hauled in, dropped in a hold to suffocate and eventually be eaten.

Are you having a hard time breathing yet? Right now it depends on where you live I suppose, (in Ohio the guessing is over) but I predict that soon the whole country will be kicking and splashing around gasping for air except for the guys who have prepared. Wasn't that the boy scout motto? Be Prepared.

Anyways it's smart to do something to get your lives under control regardless of whether we continue our tip toe through the tulips or not.

So why don't you just sit down with your family and figure out what you can do just in case this old nut knows what he's talking about?

Monday, November 3, 2008

My Way

Once upon a time I had a lovely cottage sitting on a pristine lake in the midst of one of the only old growth forest regions left in the state of Ohio. I loved the place, but as lake front became more popular and my land more valuable I decided to sell and move further South where the cost of living would be a whole lot less.

It seemed the right thing to do as I was near retiring, the EPA was about to force us to rebuild our ancient dam and I was a little apprehensious as to what was taking place in the homebuilding business (to many things to go through) I was a part of.

I put the lake front place up for sale and sold it a week later for three and a half times what I paid for it. The couple who bought it immediately tore the old cottage down (that fit perfectly into the woods) and replaced it with a McMansionesque nightmare (that didn't). That's what they were doing during the boom time. The money spigot was wide open and the banks were, what can I say? Drunk?

My wife and I bought the acreage we live on now. Shown is the 1200 square foot (plus576 sq.foot loft) cabin I built mostly by myself. I also built a smaller 200 +- square foot cabin, two outbuildings and a storage shed from the lake front profits. We also paid off two vehicles, credit cards and every other bill we had. My goal was to, after everything was finished, break even. And that we did.

We now live on Social Security exclusively. My wife gets Medicare and I am a life time member of the VA hospital care program so we don't have to buy expensive health insurance. Life is good.

It took plenty of thought to get here, but as I look back, I was also very, very lucky because it was no more than six months later that property values plummeted. Had I waited just a bit longer I would have been stuck holding the bag.

Down here I have two deep springs so I'm fairly secure when it comes to water supply. This I will be able to share with my few neighbors if/when the power goes out. The small cabin is decked out for burning wood and I have oil lamps for light. I am going to dig an outhouse as well just in case. I have built a clay oven that sits outside along the tree line for baking bread and pizza's, anything that will bake actually.

All that I've done so far is just common sense stuff that would be smart to do if you live in the country like we do regardless of the situation. I have not gone overboard, nor do I brag about anything (well at least not till now:-)) This is as far as I will go until the situation warrants a change. But I am ready for anything.

What I've done to this point has little to do with your own lives because, as I've stated earlier, everybody's circumstances are so different. The one thing we share in common though, are the principles involved. The principles of survival are pretty much the same regardless of where, when, why you find yourself needing to. And the first most important principle is your mindset. Where's yours?

What To Do?

It is impossible to give a pat answer for such a question because every one of us has a different situation to address. I will share with you what I did, am in the process of doing and what I expect to do, in the following essays, but it will ultimately be up to you to choose the Way to your particular survival.

The survival I'll be talking about in this blog is not the same as the “jungle training” I once took, nor does it have anything to do with the “survivalist” movement going on in a lot of the Western States.

We are not going to be talking about stocking guns and ammo. Nor is this going to be an "ultimate guide to killing your neighbor". This blog is all about getting re-acquainted with him and the two of you learning to survive together.

So I'll just get started telling my story and by doing so perhaps I'll be able to help you begin to write your own.