RE

60: The Life & Times of a Boomer Doomer 2

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Published on The Doomstead Diner May 24, 2017

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Stage 4 – The High School Years

In the middle of my 9th Grade year in JHS, they gave us another standardized test to see if we qualified for any of the Magnet schools that the NY Shity public schools were running at the time, Sutyvesant, Bronx High School of Science, Brooklyn Technical High School, the High School for Art & Design and the Highs School of the Performing Arts (The FAME School).  As usual I aced this test and had my choice of schools and picked Stuyvesant, because it was a Science & Math skule and I was a nerd.I picked it over Bronx HS of Science and Brooklyn Tech because from where I lived it was much easier to get there by Subway, although still a pretty long trip of around 1.5 hours every day.  For the other two schools, the only way to get there was by buses which weren't all that dependable or EXTREMELY long subway commutes.

Stuyvesant turned out to be a great choice on the academic level. The best teachers vied for positions at Stuy High, and I got some really good ones.  Frank McCourt who went on to write Angela's Ashes was my Journalism teacher and main mentor as in a teacher I went to for advice and just to talk.  Later when I went to college I would meet up with Frank at McSorley' Old Ale House, an Irish bar in downtown Manhattan not far from where Stuy was located.  I had a great Organic Chemistry teacher in Mr. Price (don't remember his first name), and because I had done Orgo already once in HS, it was easy for me to Ace in college while it gives a lot of people fits.  They weren't all stars though, my History teacher Mr. Lowenthal was ANCIENT, probably in his 70s and boring as all hell.

I also had some great classmates.  Eric Lander who sat right in front of me in many classes because of the spelling order of our last names and in gym class was a real genius who won the Westinghouse and eventually went on to founded the Whitehead Institute at MIT and did major work on the Human Genome Project.  In sophomore year, we were partners in biology lab.

Gym and athletics though took a real hit during the HS years, Stuy had a really crappy gym space in the downtown NY Shity building it was housed in, and a school packed with nerds doesn't field very good sports teams. lol.  So I didn't do any organized sports during my HS years.  My main after school clubs were the Chess Club and the Debating Team.  There we were VERY competitive, and the finals for the NYC Public School System nearly always came down to a battle between Stuy, Brooklyn Tech and Bronx HS of Science.

Stuy also was not very good for my incipient love life, as it had only gone co-ed 3 years before I got there, and only with a sprinkling of girls, not 50-50. More like 80-20.  All the new girls were snapped up by the Seniors, leaving not much for Sophomore and Junior boys.  I did manage to get a date for the Prom though at least.

However, I made up for this lack of Amour during the HS years from school in a few ways.  First off, there was summer camp where I met girls who lived in the general NYC broad metro area, and I would take the train to see them for dates once in a while.  Then I also got flown down to Oz twice a year to be with my Dad the Pigman for his court ordered visitation rights, and being an Exotic Amerikan, Aussie girls found me interesting.  Finally, in my local neighborhood of Flushing, there were still girls I knew from Junior High around, so I wasn't totally bereft of female companionship for those years.

The other main aspect of this period of my life was it was the Pirate Radio years with my friend Randy which I wrote about in Pump Up the Volume, so I won't rehash the story again here.  Just to encapsulate though, that period represented my main political awakening period.


The Bacchanalian Years

This was about a 6-7 year Era in my life, which included the College Years at Columbia and the first 3 years after college working on Wall Street.

https://img.memesuper.com/63e4fb8d025d248f8f2a9ba0fc70ab75_july-2010-investing-caffeine-animal-house-toga-meme_420-322.jpeg While studying in school was the ostensible reason for being there, the REAL reason that consumed most of my time was PARTYING!  I got to college at the ripe old age of 16, and even then you weren't supposed to be able to legally drink alcohol until you were 18, but nobody at bars or liquors stores ever checked your ID, and if they did any old ID you whipped up with a fake birthdate would work.  We ran "Happy Hours" in the social room of the Dorm on the ground floor every week, and about every night one floor or another in the dorm would run a "Floor Party".  I remember one floor party where I got the job of rolling joints from a quarter pound of Ganja, which took me quite a few hours during the week to get done.  I got real good at rolling joints though as a result of this.  By the time I was done, they were almost as uniform looking as smokes out of a pack of Camels! lol.

Just as important as Partying though was GETTING LAID, and I bounced through a few one night or one week stands before I finally met my first true love in Sophomore year, who I refer to nowadays as the Illuminati Spawn.  She was a transfer student in Sophomore Year from Bennington College in Vermont to Barnard College, the women's school associated with Columbia before they went Co-Ed, but I think both schools still exist as separate entities to this day even so.  She was a brilliant polyglot, could speak fluently in a good dozen languages and could read Ancient Greek, Latin and Sanskrit.  Her dad was a math professor at MIT, and actually he and I got on better most of the time than I did with his spawn, except when we were fucking.  She was pretty unstable overall, and dishes would fly if she got mad.  lol.  Still we mostly stayed together through Senior year, though with a number of episodes of cheating by both of us.  We broke up on graduation though, when she went to Washington to pursue a career in the State Department and I took my first job on Wall Street at Merrill Lynch, courtesy of connections from Dad the Pigman (a pal of his from the Executive Training Program at Chase in the 1950's had ended up as CEO of Merrill).

In terms of getting laid, this was even better than college!  I was making gobs of money, hitting clubs like CBGBs and Max's Kansas City and fucking half the dancers in the Joffrey Ballet Company!  There were mile long lines of Coke laid out on mirrors at every party and the food wasn't potato chips and dip like in college.  It was caviar, canapes, smoked salmon and fresh sushi and sashimi.  Afternoon lunches were picked up by Merrill Lynch as long as I got myself invited to sit at the table with the big wigs, which I usually was able to do because my dad's buddy who got me the job was the CEO! What's not to like about this life?

The JOB and the people I worked with, that's what was not to like.  A bigger bunch of assholes gathered together in one skyscraper could not be imagined.  Everybody was out to fuck everybody else, especially "low hanging fruit" investors, but also each other as they tried to climb the corporate ladder.  I also couldn't stand dressing up in the Monkey Suit every day, getting my shoes shined and bringing my costume to the Dry Cleaners every week.  So one fine clear September morning I just couldn't walk through the door and into the lobby, and took the subway back home.  Thus ended my short years as a rich and privileged scion destined to someday become a Master of the Universe.

The Medical Technologist, Chef, Part-time Gymnastics Coach & Marriage Years

I did have some savings after the Bachannalian Years, but not much since I spent most of the income on blow and booze at the clubs.  Expenses were pretty high too, it's not cheap to get all your suits dry cleaned and your shirts washed & pressed at the Chinese Laundry every week you know.  I also still had a good 8 years left to go on my college loans.

https://www.stlawrencecollege.ca/-/media/images/programs-and-courses/med-lab/med-lab-2016-5.jpg?mw=960 However, I quickly hooked on as a Medical Techologist in a lab at a Hospital I had done some Research Assistant work in the Cardiology Department as a Work-Study job during the college years, and this met most of the basic bills fairly well.  I had a very interesting schedule of 2 16 hour shifts over the weekend, starting at 4PM on Saturday and 4PM on Sunday, separated out by 8 hours where I caught some sleep.

I also caught a good deal of sleep on the job as well, since my lab was independent and isolated from the rest of the Chemistry Labs in the hospital, it was in the Cardiology Department, closed and locked down for the night other than the Blood Gas lab.During the Midnight-8 shift, few samples came in usually, maybe 5-10 a night on average, and they would take about 5 minutes to run, record in a log and report the results to whoever it was that sent you the sample.  Samples came from the ER, SICU, MICU and NICU.  If you don't know what these medical acronyms mean, look them up on Google. lol.  There were even nights I got no samples at all and could sleep straight through the whole shift and get paid for it!

Although it was paying around enough to cover all my bills, first off I was bored the other 5 days a week and second did not have enough spare income to go out doing too much else.  So I looked around for a 2nd job to take and found a job as a Sous Chef at Capsuto Freres, a very classy restaurant in Chelsea which I had frequented during the Bacchanalian years and knew the Head Chef.

I also used my free time to work out at a Y in Westchester where they had a Trampoline and an incipient Gymnastics Program starting up run by my eventually to become wife and then ex-wife.  I met her initially working out in the weight room pumping iron, getting myself back into shape after years of neglect since High School Daze, and found out she was Head of the Gymnastics Program they were starting up.  She was an ex-Elite gymnast whose dad had been on the Hungarian gymnastics team in the 1940s or 1950s not sure and had trained here under Muriel Grossfeld for a while.  So I asked her if I could use the Tramp while it was set up for practice. The gym at this time was similar to many, a "set-up & take-down" gym that was in the normal Basketball gym space in this Y. This was before there were many dedicated Private Gymnastics Clubs with permanent setups around.  That didn't start exploding until after Mary Lou Retton won the All-Around Gold Medal in 1984 (an Olympics boycotted by the Ruskies).

Like riding a bicycle, once learned gymnastics tricks are not forgotten by your Reptilian Brain.  You may lose the physical ability to do them, but the motor control is with you for most of your life, until the brain itself starts to decay.  So after getting myself back in shape (I was still in my 20s at the time), I was able to throw fulls and double backs on the tramp, and she was impressed!  We became an "item", and she asked me to help her coach tumbling, vault and bars skills, all of which I understood perfectly well even though I had no formal training as a gymnastics coach.  There was in fact no such formal training available in those years, and there still is very little.  It's something you learn as you grow up, from others who tried these things before you.  I had additional background in Physics, Mechanics, Biology and Child Psychology which helped as well on the theoretical end for developing drills for learning the skills, and for training the mind to be fearless enough to try them.

RE with a future National Team member, Age 5

So I left the world of Haute Cuisine and took on as my part-time job coaching gymnastics.  After 3 years of dating and living together, we married. After another 3 years, we divorced.  Why?

Not long after getting married, things started to go south economically.  My Union went on strike for 6 months, and I couldn't meet all the bills we had accumulated.  We took a great and memorable Honeymoon in Europe for 6 weeks, we bought a Condo and the only new car I ever bought in my life, a Chevy Astro Van so we could ship our gymmies around in bulk periodically, sort of like a Soccer Mom & Dad on Steroids.  I also still had college loans to pay off.

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/YjZZun16pus/hqdefault.jpg To cover this shortfall, I ran up my credit card bills, paying my Student Loan by taking cash advances on the CCs.  The lack of money put a crimp in the lifestyle both of us liked, which was still a lot of partying.  Arguments over money ensued, wife started cheating on me and I started cheating on her.  We got to where we couldn't stand each other, so finally I left her a note on the Kitchen Table, a Music Mix on a Cassete Tape I recorded of breakup songs, and left her with the condo and took off in the Astro Van, which I lived in for about 6 months before quitting on that lifestyle and moving back in with my mom in the McMansion in Flushing, Queens in NY Shitty.

I got out of the marriage pretty cheap as those things go, we mutually agreed to end it and no lawyers involved.  I filed all the paperwork myself and it was over for about $250 in filing fees.  I agreed to pay my half of the mortgage payment on the condo until we could get it sold, which took about another 6 months.

Once the marriage was over, I found another part-time gym coaching job at a new private gym not far from my mom's house in Flushing, and then my Union finally settled the strike and I was back to full income and able to pay all my regular bills, although the credit card balance I had worked up did not come down very much.  I plodded through another couple of years this way.

Then there was a re-organization in the Hospital, and my lab was moved in to be part of the regular Chemistry Lab.  No more sleeping on the job and getting paid for it!  I determined at this point this was not the way I wanted to spend the rest of my life, and determined to go back to school to get a Teaching degree.  It was the Reagan Era and they were crying for Science and Math teachers to keep the FSoA "competitive" with the Chinese and other nations who were starting to surpass the education system here even back then.  While I had all the undergrad credit hours in four different HS specialization areas necessary for certification (Math, Chemistry, Biology & Physica), I did not have the Education courses you are required to take for a teaching license.  I also didn't really want to be a HS teacher, I wanted to teach Elementary School.  However, my advisor in the Ed Dept in the Master's program at Queens College advised me that I was way over-qualified to be an Elementary School teacher and should go for a Secondary School license.  Sadly, I followed that advice.  I might have lasted a bit longer teaching elementary school.

The two years it took to get all my coursework and certifications in place were thoroughly exhausting.  I was coaching from 4PM to 9PM at the gym, I was in the Lab from Midnight to 8AM, and then I was in class from around 10AM to 3PM, although not continuously every day.  I got what little sleep I got during this time in the back of the Astro Van, between jobs and between classes.

Once finally fully Certified as a Public Skule Teacher, I made my applications and got a job in the Valley Stream Long Island school system, teaching Junior High through High School Science and Math, in two different schools. Thus ended this period of my life, which was the longest in one general paradigm, about 15 years.

The Grim Reaper Comes Knocking

It's looking more and more likely that my metabolic functions will Collapse before we get "The Big One" of Civilization Collapse, like the ATMs going dark or a Nuclear weapon detonation or Martial Law being declared in the FSoA.  My generally bad health has taken a turn for the worse with many new problems cropping up, although no diagnosis yet.  I definitely am suffering some kind of biochemical imbalance which may be an across the board systems failure.  I am supposed to get a full round of blood tests but so far have not been called by the laboratory to schedule an appointment.

Tomorrow I will call the clinic to get an appointment with the Primary Care NP who replaced my old MD who retired last New Year's to have a look at the latest in symptoms and also to get a referral to a neurologist & an internist.  I've developed a severe itching problem which I think is related to the peripheral nervous system rather than some skin irritation.  The skin irritation I do have I think results from the constant rubbing and scratching I do to relieve the itch. In the cause and effect sequence here, it's the Itch causing the Rash, not the Rash causing the Itch. In any event, none of the creams prescribed to me by the dermatologist has done anything to fix this extremely annoying symptom.

The issue with calling the clinic for an appointment tomorrow is that usually it takes at least 2 weeks to get the appointment.  I don't think I will die in the next 2 weeks, but then after that for her to refer me to more specialists takes another 2-3 weeks.  I don't think going over to the ER is a solution because I am not conspicuously dieing fast.  The ER doc would not be able to figure out what is wrong any better than the other docs I have seen recently.  So I just have to Hurry Up and Wait, or Hurry Up and Die, all while dealing with an incredibly irritating itch that makes the days interminably long and makes it almost impossible to sleep.

Whenever it comes here, dying doesn't bother me and I don't fear death.  I have always known I wouldn't get the full 80 years my parents got, in fact making it to almost 60 was quite miraculous.  Also, as I wrote in my Bucket List article a little while back, there really isn't anything left I haven't done that I still am capable of doing.  I don't have kids or grandkids of my own to worry about in taking my trip across the Great Divide.  I have only a few friends who will mourn my passing for a while, throw a Wake for me, and maybe remember me a while longer than that.  I am Dust in the Wind on planet Earth, as we all are.  What legacy I do leave is all written on the Internet, here on the pages of the Doomstead Diner and on many of the other groups and forums I ran over the years.  Not to mention all the commentariats I trolled. lol.

I did worry about one thing directly in the aftermath of leaving work as my bodily functions began their downhill slide, which was that I wouldn't have time to tie up my work on the Diner and that I wouldn't have my financial affairs tied up.  I was concerned all my personal possessions would be scattered to the wind along with my bank account.  However, that was over 2 years ago, and in the month following I got my Last Will & Testament written and I wrote a self obituary here on the Diner, which still sits in the drafts waiting until I croak for one of the other Admins here to publish it.  So after that, I was up to date any day the Grim Reaper came a-calling.

The intervening time has given me opportunity to write a lot more, with a few real gems in there I am glad I got down on the disc.  I also still have plenty more to write about, by no means am I burned out or do I think I have exhaustively covered every Collapse related topic there is to cover.  Collapse is ever evolving and ever changing, and there are always new observations to be made on how it manifests itself.  However, I hit most of the major points along the way here, and at some point this chronicle has to end, whether it be by my dying first or the Internet Going Dark.  If by some miracle I did last long enough to reach the latter alternative, I wouldn't have any meaning & purpose left for my life, and honestly I really don't want to live in a society engulfed in chaos, which is certain to occur once the internet goes bye-bye for good.  As a society here in the 1st World, we're simply too dependent on it for too many things.  The electrical grid, banking, water and sewage treatment, street lights and of course Elon Musk's self-driving carz.

I am glad I came to understand the nature of Civilization Collapse over the last decade, and had the opportunity ro write about it on the pages of the Doomstead Diner.  It made me a lot more philosophical about Existence, about Consciousness, and about the Nature of God.  I shifted from being an Atheist to a Panentheist a full decade before I became collapse aware, but through the lens of collapse I was able to understand these questions much better and focus my mind on how to express the ideas and my beliefs.  Much of that credit goes to my friends and fellow philosophers Inside the Diner, with whom I hashed out these ideas on many occassions on our Spirituality & Mysticism forum.

I am most grateful for the friends I have made on the Diner over these years, without them I would have no friends at all to discuss these concepts with, or who might remember me for at least a short while after I pass into the Great Beyond.  I pretty much left behind all my IRL friends by the end of my trucking years, and though I knew and saw regularly at work many people, I was never really friends with them.  They were just work acquaintances, and I spent my off work hours by myself, keyboarding out my analysis of Doom here on the internet.  I'm still doing that for the time being, but I also have had the opportunity during our Diner Convocations to meet and spend time with several of the Diner principals, and I consider them all my closest friends, my only friends.  Maybe if I make it through this latest of trials, I'll be able to join them IRL in the Lower 48.  Time will tell.

As much as I philosophically, environmentally and socially would have preferred if 10,000 years ago Homo Saps had not crossed over from Hunter-Gatherer into Agriculture and discovered Metalurgy which enabled all the cool War Toys we sport today, that just was not the path we took and nobody back then could have forseen where it would lead.  It just seemed like CFS to have as many kids as you could and make your society the biggest and strongest one, wiping out anyone who got in your way.  So inexorably over the millenia we arrived at the point we are at today, discovering in the last 250 years how to harness the thermodynamic energy of fossil fuels and build a marvelous array of toys to make our lives easier and more pleasant.  Meanwhile of course, also completely destroying the environment we depend on to live.

I don't regret being born in this era, nor do I feel guilty for all the fossil fuels I burned either directly or indirectly to make my life possible in this civilization.  I was one of the luckiest ones, born in the right place at the right time to the right people.  I got to fly on Jets to see many places, I got motorcycles and carz, I got spiffy computers, the lights nearly always came on when I flicked the switch, the toilet nearly always flushed and I never went hungry a day in my life.  I didn't get the Private Jet and Yacht of course, but I still got most of the perks of Industrial Civilization and that was done mostly on a middle class FSoA paycheck.  Now also as my time on earth in this iteration of my corporeal self comes to a close, I ALSO got some time in Retirement, over 2 years now and still running.  This is a luxury most people through human history have not had, and now fewer all the time are getting as pensions and social security programs are eviscerated globally.  If there is one thing I will regret in dying soon, it will be that I couldn't collect on my SS for a longer period of time. lol.  At least I will not go out of this world in this incarnation as a Homeless Cripple Freezing to Death on the Streets of Palmer, Alaska.

What I do try to reinforce in my writings on collapse is that while the situation is bad and now bordering on awful and likely to become positively horrific, it's still not the utterly HOPELESS situation some other Collapse Pundits make it out to be.  Sea Level is not going to rise 300' in the next decade, this is going to take quite some time.  The entire globe won't become unsutiable for habitation on such a timescale either.  Even on the more mundane level of monetary system collapse and the ATMs going dark, we won't instantly descend to Mad Max.  Even Syria is not at Mad Max level, there are still organized factions fighting it out with each other and the lights are still on in Damascus at least part of the time.  What the person who wants to try to survive the Zero Point has to do is figure out what the best strategies are for surviving these types of dislocation, because they are bound to be coming down the pike at some point.  We have a shrinking resource pie, and Homo Saps will fight over the pie as it shrinks, that's the way we are built, it's survival instinct.  1st Worlders aren't immune to this, there is no Exceptionalism to the Survival Instinct.  Currently there is still enough to go round in the 1st World, though more poorly distributed by the day.  When (not if) that is no longer the case, the FSoA and everywhere else in the 1st World becomes a facsimile of Syria today.  About the best one can hope for on the War front is that the clowns in charge don't push the button on the Nukes.

I won't regret not being around for "The Big One", I know it will come eventually and as I mentioned I don't relish the idea of trying to survive inside a failed state, which I would not be able to do in any event.  I'm barely able to keep going even WITH all the bells and whistles of Industrial Civilization still available to me!  Just in the last couple of months I have had an EKG, and Echo Cardiogram, a Nuclear Stress Test and and Ultrasound on the veins in my legs.  Not that any of these expensive tests have yet provided a clue as to what is actually wrong with me of course.  Fortunately, I am not paying for them, Medicaid is still doing that for me.  If I had to pay for this shit, I would just skip it and wait to die.  Paying still good money to stay alive at this point for me is a total waste of money.  That money can do more good helping to get the SUN Foundation off the ground after I am dead.  I am like a $1000 used car totaled in a wreck and the Body Shop tells you it will cost $5000 to fix me up.  What idiot would waste their money this way?

To tie up the latest in the Death Chronicles from RE, the main change here resultant from the latest problems is that I am going to accelerate up publishing my autobiography, to try and get all the parts out before I take the Final Ride to the Great Beyond.  I'm also writing a lot more as I race to the finish line to get as much off my keyboard as I can before rigor mortis sets in and my keyboard fingers are cold and stiff, so I will probably drop more like 3 new artiles of my own on the blog for a while to work through some of the backlog.  So check back in regularly to catch the latest in DOOM here on the Doomstead Diner.

Technological Obsolescence & Copyright Law

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Published on The Doomstead Diner May 21, 2017

Discuss this article at the Science & Technology Table inside the Diner

As regular readers of the Frostbite Falls Daily Rant inside the Diner know, I recently went on a major BINGE of buying new computer equipment to enhance my overall computing experience, which is one of the few pleasures and hobbies I have left to enjoy as we spin down to the close of the Age of Oil and the Age of Technological Gimmickry.

I haven't done any upgrades in around 3 years since I bought my last laptop, which was a relatively inexpensive model around $600 at the time as I recall.  So that amortizes out to around $200/year, far less than my other main pursuits of drinking beer and smoking cancerettes. lol.  Because of constant changes in hardware and in software, older computers tend to become obsolete no matter what, plus of course you have the issue they tend to get clogged with malware and bloat from programs you upload over the time period you own them.  At a certain point, it's jst more efficient to replace the unit then to try and clean it out.  Over the roughly quarter century of time I have owned my OWN computer, the longest any one of them lasted was around 5 years, and 3 years has been about the average for the laptops.  Towers were easier to upgrade with parts, and also early ones didn't have to communicate over the internet either.  So my first ACER tower was the longest lasting of all of them.  One real gem of a laptop also lasted about 5 years, it was a Gateway Windows XP.

In this latest upgrade, I decided since I am not moving around so much anymore, going to work every day and toting my laptop along and so forth, I would buy more of a desktop unit with a bigger screen.  Instead of a tower unit, I bought a new kind of hybrid, an All-in-One computer, which has all the computational guts of the device housed in the screen casing.  This is simlar to laptop construction, and changing out parts on such a device similarly difficult to do, but I haven't done that since the early towers anyhow.  Like a tower unit though, it comes with the bigger screen which is very friendly to an old guy's eyes.  It's also nice and Clean on the desk, not taking up much real estate there, and no tower on the floor to run wires from.  It came in at a price only slightly higher than the last laptop, at $750 or so.

https://pisces.bbystatic.com/image2/BestBuy_US/images/products/4205/4205600_sd.jpg;maxHeight=550;maxWidth=642

I accessorized it with a cool backlit gaming keyboard from Razer, and the top of the line Logitech "Mighty Mouse", the MX Master.  Then I bought a new El Cheapo Lenovo Tablet for $70 to enhance my mobile computing experience as well.  All in all, I spent a little over $1000 on this buying binge.  It's great, I am real happy with all my new toys.

While shopping however, I noticed something new with the laptops.  I wasn't in the market for buying one since I had decided on the desktop unit, but I wanted to see what was available.  The interesting development is many if not most of the new ones do not come with an optical drive anymore.  AKA CD/DVD reader/writer.  They're still coming standard equipment with the desktop units, but in fewer laptops all the time.  Why?

http://www.wcwmedia.co.uk/acatalog/micro-sd-finger.jpg Simple.  Because CD/DVDs are going obsolete as media for Music, Video and Software.  Music and Video have gone to streaming, and for people who keep their own music it's done in digital .mp3 format on small solid state memory chips or in the memory contained in a smartphone.  The chips themselves have become incresingly tiny, micro-SD cards are smaller than your fingernail.  They are also getting ever cheaper and able to hold far more data than an optical disc.  So now, not only can you store music, you can store an entire library of films as well on these things.

Taking the optical drive out of the laptop does a few things.  It makes it cheaper for the manufacturer and the laptop can be made thinner, a feature most people like.  It doesn't take up so much room in the briefcase.  It also makes the unit more reliable with fewer moving parts.

This is all good, but there are downsides to it. The first main one is they're not backward compatible with all the media you already own on optical discs, so you need to start going through your collections of music and video and converting them all to mp3 or mp4 format.  With older ones this isn't too hard, but newer ones ofen have digital copyright protection embeded in them and are difficult to copy.  It also can make moving the material from one device to another difficult, Apple tries to control that by making you use their Itunes software.  One of the main reasons I do not use any Apple products.

For music, over the years of my lifetime we saw 6 major changes to the way music was recorded and sold.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/92/fa/ab/92faabdde32b17f9415a363e2cd5b8fb.jpg 1-The Vinyl Era

This was the longest lasting, going back to well before I was born, but even into the 70s still the only commercially available media.  For the sellers of music, this medium was very good, you needed a big manufacturing plant to make the vinyl and press the records, individuals could not record music themselves.  There was little to no bootlegging of music during this period.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/de/ed/77/deed77eccfef0e3c1b29eb610d01fbfd.jpg 2- The 8-Track Tape Era

Magnetic Tape for storing music was around for quite a while, but on the early reel-to-reel recorders generally only used by professionls and fanatical amatures.  8-track was much easier to use, you just shoved the book-sized cartidge into the player and out came the music, no muss, no fuss.  8 track had the significant sales advantage that you could play it in a car, which was impossible with vinyl due to the needle bouncing around.  8 track also came mainly as Players-Only, they did not record.  So this still kept the distribution of music pretty much one way, although there were recorders around and you could do some bootlegging.

 

 

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/67/03/c5/6703c50c03db613588d45da27ad17ce5.jpg 3- The Cassette Era

Cassettes revolutionized bootlegging.  Much smaller than 8-track, around the size of a pack of cigarettes or deck of cards.  Although the car versions were usually only players, recorders were commonly available for home use.  You could record directly off the radio, or on units with two slots, record from one tape to another blank one.  You could hook your turntable to the recorder and make a tape of the record you owned, and then have the tape to play in the car.  Or sell the tape to a friend for 1/4 the price of the vinyl album you bought.  Sell bootlegs to 4 friends, you made back the cost of the album.

The main downside of cassettes was the quality was never as good as a well maintained vinyl album, and in each succession of recording from one tape to another would lose still more quality.  Even the advent of the Dolby noise supression system did not make cassette as good sounding as vinyl. So although there was some bootlegging going on mostly between friends, it wasn't really pursued that much as a big time operation.  Cassettes did put out of bizness 8-track though, cassette players replaced 8 track in the cars.

https://www.computerhope.com/jargon/i/install.jpg 4- The CD-ROM Era

As the ROM acronym indicates, at the begining CDs were "read only memory".  For music sellers, this brought back the heady days of vinyl when to record the music you needed a very expensive device not commonly available as a consumer electronics item.  Your CD was a Player Only device.  CDs also vastly improved sound quality and durability, because they are digital the sound virtually never degrades no matter how many times you play it.  You also have to try pretty hard to break a CD, or even scratch it so bad it won't play.  Vinyl was pretty fragile, particularly the early stuff.  My dad had records that went back as far as the 1940s, they were thick and more like stiff plates of ceramic than later forms of vinyl.  Drop one of these and it would shatter just like a plate.  Later versions were thinner and more flexible and didn't break quite so easily, but they did tend to get scratched up and make pops and skips, and they would develop hiss over time with many plays.

With the switch over to CDs, everybody who had old music on vinyl or cassette they wanted to listen to on the new high quality CDs had to buy it all over again.  What a BOON to the music industry that was!  Those were likely their most profitable years ever, up until recently.  Not only were people buying new music, they were replacing entire collections of old music.

The non-recordability for the individual changed just a few years later, when optical drives for computers became read-write.  I had one of the first and they were rather clunky and difficult to use, but they improved quickly.  Now you could bootleg a copy of music you bought that was just as good as the original.  The real era of bootlegging began in this period.  High School students would form clubs, one person would buy a CD and then make copies for everyone else in his class.  So a CD costing $10 ended up costing each person $1 or even less, depending on the size of the club.  This was of course illegal under copyright law, but extremely hard to prosecute and very small time.  In aggregate though, it definitely cut into music industry profits.

https://regmedia.co.uk/2011/10/06/napster.gif 5- The Digital Age- The Napster Era

The advent of the internet and development of music files that could be passed back and forth over the net completely changed the music business, and caused the industry fits for several years.  What were small local music trading groups in schools exploded over the internet to thousands of people doing it every day, and this SERIOUSLY cut into the music biz profits.  They had to go after this vigorously, and they did.  First there were high profile cases against individuals who had downloaded music from one of the file sharing services, frightening people from trying this because large fines were levied against them.  Then they went after the services themselves, getting them shut down.  Bootlegging this way still persists of course, but not nearly to the level it did during the Napster era.  The main reason for this is Digital Copyright Protection.

6- The Digital Age- Digital Copyright Protection

Besides the music industry, another important industry was having bootlegging problems at the same time, the Software industry.  Like music, software to run your computer in that era came packaged on CDs, and if you went into Best Buy in those years there was a HUGE library of titles on the shelf you could buy.  Those libraries have shrunk to practically nothing now, since all software is installed to your computer over the net.  I will discuss that issue further down the line here.

Being geeks, the folks having their sofware copied had better ability to prevent this, and developed Digital Copyright Protection (DCP) for their discs which made copying if not impossible, quite difficult.  At first it was just passwords (yes, I remember when a program came on a disc and you just plugged it into the computer and loaded it), then registration became necessary and the number of computers you were "licensed" to run the software on was limited, as well as the length of the license.  So after a year, the program could shut itself down if you didn't pay another year of licensing fees.

Other forms of DCP have been developed now embedded into the code of music CDs, making them difficult (although again not impossible) to copy.  Websites that have a lot of music on them such as YouTube will actually check the code and music signature against their database of copyrighted music, and prevent you from uploading it unless you make some tweaks to it like slightly speeding it up or slowing it down.

As mentioned earlier, Apple makes it more difficult to copy music by forcing you to use their Itunes program for these transfers.  They are also a major content provider of music now through their Itunes stores.  If you are using an Apple computer or phone, you pretty much have to buy the music from Apple.  That's called Vertical Integration of a market.

All of this DCP pretty much killed the overall bootlegging industry, and the big Music companies began to show a profit again.

http://deepjams.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Online-Music-Streaming-Deep-Jams-Image.jpg 7- The Streaming Era

This is where we are at now.  The internet has become so ubiquitous and so fast that many people don't bother trying to collect their own music library at all.  They pay a monthly fee to a provider that has copyright ownership of many titles, and when they feel like listening to some tune they just surf to the website and play the tune straight off the cloud. Between 4G and free Wi-Fi, in most of the industrialized Western countries, there is nowhere you can't get signed on to the internet.  Here in Alaska if you drive from the Mat-Su Valley to Fairbanks you'll get some dropouts, and off the main Parks Highway you'll lose coverage pretty quick, but in populated areas this is almost never the case.  So for their daily Music Fix, many Junkies now simply fork over the cost for a monthly service, and get music that way.  In aggregate, this replaces the revenue the Music Industry once made by selling it on physical media.

The weakness of course for the Music Lover is that if/when the Internet Goes Dark, they won't have any music to listen to at all, even while their computer or smart phone is still working and they still have electricity to charge it up.  So if you wanna have some music to enjoy collapse by after TSHTF, it would be a wise idea to store at least a few favorites as your own mp3s on a couple of devices and SD cards.

——

Video is more or less a mirror of the Music era, with the earliest personal video possible being 8mm cameras.  Then you had some clunky B&W Video Recorders, big ass shoulder held Camcorders which reduced in size over time, to today where you have pocket size cams and smart phones that do video.  None of those were ever very good for bootlegging Hollywood films though, that only came about with DVD recordability in the last decade or so.  In the current digital age, all the same parameters that apply to music apply to video as well, so I won't go over this history in detail

The Software bizness deserves some more depth though, so let's look at how that developed.  Much of it was in terms of the progress of storage media for the software that was available, as well as actual computing power and the sheer size of the programs that developed over the years.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Floppy_disk_2009_G1.jpg/1200px-Floppy_disk_2009_G1.jpg

1- The Floppy Disk Era

The first "floppies" were truly floppy.  They were around 12" in diameter and soft, you could bend them although not a good idea to do that.  The magnetic recording disk inside the cardboard enclosure was similar to that used for audio tape recording.  A simple program could be stored on such a disc, and if you wanted to use it you would pull it off the shelf, load it to the computer memory and then use the program.  You didn't store your programs on the computer itself, because they didn't come with much internal memory.  There was also no need to have it "installed" on the computer, it just ran once you loaded it.  No passwords, nada.  Very EZ to copy.

A few short years later "Floppy" discs got a stiffy. lol.  They shrunk in size to a little under 4" as I recall, encased now in hard plastic rather than cardboard.  Definitely more durable, but not much increase in memory storage capacity.  I got my first Windows OP system, Win 3.1 on Floppies of this type.  Around a dozen or so of them packaged with the computer as I recall.  So if I needed to do a system restore at some point, I could do it with those floppies.  I kept them for several years, I think I restored twice with them.

By the time I got my next computer, CD-ROMs had come out, and the OP systems and programs were packaged with your new computer on them. I got an"OEM" (original equipment manufacture) copy of Win XP this way.  I remember reading somewhere that if they had had to package that OP system on floppies, they would have needed 100s of them in your box to load to the computer.  CDs were an enormous advance in total storage capacity over Floppies.  In the early days though, they weren't recordable, and some files were getting too big to hold on floppies.  So we got Zip Drives for a while.

http://i.nextmedia.com.au/news/zipdrive.jpg 2- The Zip Drive Era

Zip drives were essentially Floppies on Steroids, similar size plastic casing but a bit thicker.  They had a capacity around 10-20X the amount of data as a regular floppy as I recall.  They were good for storing the early digital pictures on mainly, and for condensing the rack of regular size floppies onto one disc.  So if you had 100 normal floppies to find something on, now you could reduce that to 5 or 10.  They weren't cheap though, and as a storage medium did not last very long since recordable optical drives came out and rendered them obsolete.  Internal hard drive memory on the computers was also increasing rapidly at this time, rendering it unnecessary to have a shelf full of floppies or zips with all your programs and data on them.  You could store it all on the computer itself.  My first Tower Unit had the magnificent capacity of 500MB of disc storage space. For those of you unaware of what those prefixes mean, there are 1000 Megabytes in a  Gigabyte, and 1000 Gigabytes in a Terabyte. You get more storage today than my ACER had on a cheap microSD card costing less than $5, and on your hard drive if you don't have a terabyte of storage it's a loser. lol.

https://www.computerhope.com/jargon/i/install.jpg3- The Optical Drive Era

To my mind, this was the heyday of the personal computer, in the 1990s.  Great programs were available on CD which you could shop for and buy off the shelf at your local Computer Superstore, as well as in discount stores in the Mall where people would sell old discs for $2 and then you could buy them for $5.  A program that might have cost $40 just a year or two earlier, and just as good as new!  I had (and actually still have many of them) a huge library of these CDs, and up through about WinXP was able to install them on each new computer I bought, for maybe a decade of time.  By the time Win7 came out though, many of them simply would not install on the OP system, and nowadays I would be surprised if ANY of them did on Win10.  I don't even try this anymore because it would probably fuck up the whole OP system and crash the computer.  So they all just sit in a case waiting for the day some Code Jockey resurrects a WinXP or earlier computer to load them to.

http://cdn.ttgtmedia.com/rms/onlineImages/130415_009_290X230.jpg 4- The Cloud Era

CD based libraries of software available to buy in stores off the shelf have become almost non-existent, they have gone the way of the Dinosaur.  You can still order a CD of a program online rather than downloading it directly from the Cloud, but it's generally not the preferred method, and it doesn't do you much good in terms of trying to load it to multiple computers anyhow.  All the DCPs are embedded on the disc, and you're still going to need to pay yearly licensing fees for them whether you download or order the disc.

In many cases now as well, the actual program isn't housed on your computer at all, you're working with client-server architecture and in order to use the program, you MUST be connected to the net.  Not only that, the files you create get stored on the cloud, not on your own computer, and again in order to access those files you must be net connected.  You are no longer the owner of your own files, whoever you bought a license from to use their software is.  The moment you stop paying licensing fees is the moment they can cut you off from all your files, and that could be anything from digital pictures you edited with their software to software you yourself wrote, helped along by cool bells and whistles and shortcuts provided to make such development quicker.

—–

In conclusion here, once again the Conduit Scheme of holding ownership and Property rights by a few large corporations has taken over from the early freedoms we had as computers and the internet developed.  As a writer, I am still pretty fortunate in this because all you need to write is a text editor, and that can be as simple as Notepad and is still installed on on computers natively.  It would be pretty difficult to have a functional computer you couldn't at least type text into without being connected to the net.  However, for Musicians, Artists, Photographers and Software Developers, the control you have over your own material becomes less by the day.

From my POV, in the long run this won't matter all that much since I expect computers and the internet to disappear from our civilization as collapse progresses onward.  Not sure of the timeline on this, but not too far down the pike from now.  In the meantime, I suggest using all strategies you can think of to avoid using cloud based programs, and to avoid and circumvent Digital Copyright Protection.  It's destructive to the advancement and dissemination of Human Knowledge.

Sexual Appeal 2

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Published on The Doomstead Diner May 14, 2017

 

Diiscuss this article at the Psychology Table inside the Diner

https://sp.yimg.com/xj/th?id=OIP.M0921fbca5260ac17243feb04f171b932H0&pid=15.1&P=0&w=300&h=300 A few weeks ago I wrote an article on Sexual Appeal, taking a look at what Homo Saps find appealing, colored of course by my own personal lens and experience.  A generally male-centric and heterosexual centric view of this overall, I'm sure LGBTQ people have a completely different take on it.  As a former Satyr, one time serial monogamist and current celibate monk I have a reasonably large swath of experience to draw on for making such analysis.  Not everyone agrees with all of it, there was particularly some dispute over  sexual appeal for older married people.  That's not in my experience bag to draw from, so there I am just speculating.

This week, an off topic thread, the Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS thread accidentally brought the sex  appeal issue back into the forefront of my consciousness.  I likened El Trumpo's behavior as POTUS to some lyrics from an REO Speedwagon Pop Tune, "Take it on the Run".

But I know the neighborhood
And talk is cheap when the story is good
And the tales grow taller on down the line
So I'm telling you, babe
That I don't think it's true, babe
Or even if it is keep this in mind
You take it on the run baby
If that's the way you want it baby
Then I don't want you around
I don't believe it, not for a minute
You're under the gun so you take it on the run

Just like someone who has been cheating on their significant other, The Donald is perpetually making up lies and stories to try and cover up his indiscretions.  He probably has had a lot of practice with that in the world of sexual relationships as well as in his bizness dealings and now in politics too.  That doesn't necessarily mean he is very good at it, just that he has had a lot of practice and is now a habitual liar. The thing about such people is that they always get tripped up by their own lies, because they tell so many of them they can no longer keep track and keep them self-consistent.  Even worse of course if you have a large staff and press spokespeople who are unaware of the latest lie you concocted on Twitter over breakfast.  So the longer this clown show goes on, the deeper the hole gets for His Trumpness.

Anyhow, back to the topic of sexual appeal, which is the focus of this post, not the pathological lying of the Clown-in-Chief.

http://images.complex.com/complex/image/upload/c_limit,w_680/fl_lossy,pg_1,q_auto/wmdljltgayn9bru1e3zn.jpg Having decided to use the "Take it on the Run" metaphor in one of my Inside the Diner posts, I headed over to Utoob to find a vid to embed, and the first one I encountered is the one you see at the top of page here in the Header.  It features a bunch of Models with the kind of look popular in Fashion Magazines of the era, shot mostly in arty Black & White with the models making a lot of pouty come-hither looks for the camera.  The models are all quite young, I'd estimate between 16-22 the oldest.

Now of course in modern Amerika the 16-17 year olds are not fair game for anyone over 18, but that doesn't stop the fashion photographers from dressing them up to look HOT, and as long as the clothing nominally covers all the important body parts, it's perfectly legal to sex doll them up for a fashion shoot.  The girls/women doing this stuff are definitely coached by the photographers (usually male, but not always) on how to make sexy "bedroom eyes" looks at the camera, but in truth they don't usually need much coaching for this, because somewhere around when they hit puberty, they realized they were HOT and began practicing on their own in front of the mirror to tease the boys in their school.

This selection of models reminds me of all the HOTTEST girls at Summer Camp, in High School and in College from when I was around 10-25.  Well, we didn't have too many of them in my HS, since it was a Science & Math HS for nerds which only 3 years earlier had gone Co-Ed, but there were even there at least a couple of pretty hot ones around.  In college, there were quite a few, not just girls from Barnard, Columbia's sister-school from when they were gender segregated (where my Illuminati Spawn girlfriend was enrolled), but also from FIT, Fashion Institute of Technology where more than half the women students were hot tickets.

So these were the girls/women you chased after, starting in mainly your teen years after you yourself also passed puberty ( I got an early start, I didn't wait for puberty. lol.  My first real girlfriend was in the 4th Grade, her name was Lynn.  I had a crush on an older teenage girl Monica when I was in 2nd Grade in Brasil and also on my 2nd grade teacher Miss Ellen who was probably in her mid-20s, but I never got to hold hands with either of them. 🙁  I did get to sit on Miss Ellen's lap a few times though. 🙂 ).  Generally speaking also in the early teen years you would get rebuffed after being given the Bedroom Eyes look, and then all the girls would gather together in a Gaggle and Giggle over your impetuousity to think that you were good enough to go out with them!  One has to have a strong constitution as a male to get a lot of these rejections and maintain your sense of self-esteem.  Persistence does pay off though, and if you keep knocking on the door, eventually you get one to open up and invite you in. 🙂 (sorta like the Jehovah's Witnesses. hahahahahaha.)

Unfortunately, as often as not and perhaps more often, you find that what is behind the pretty face and hot bod is not what you thought it would be in your fantasies.  The girl had spent so much of her early teen years on developing her "look" and flaunting her fabulous bod at anyone who would look at it and pay attention to her that she never got round to developing anything else in her personality.  Or the personality that did develop was so wickedly narcissistic that after a couple of weeks you were sick to death of her.  Besides both of those downsides, said hot tickets were almost always very high maintenance, as in you had to sport a nice fat wallet to afford to take them out to the best restaurants, drive them around in the latest model carz and bring them home to a nice spacious renovated loft in SoHo, not to a closet sized studio on the Lower East Side (before it was gentrified), or worse yet, your moms' house in the upstairs apartment.  Scoring Hot Tickets for me went downhill fast in this period.  Once you pass a certain age and your wallet waistline shrinks past a certain point, this class of women becomes unavailable to you.  You're not even circulating in the same environment as them either, as you did at camp, in HS and in College.  The only time you might run into one of them is at some trendy club if you could get in, and then you better have a spoon to stuff up their noses if you want to get some attention.  You do NOT run into them at Walmart! lol.

http://www.internetdict.com/wp-content/uploads/related_images/2016/01/19/how-to-be-a-waitress_1.jpg So for myself, once off the Wall Street Gravy Train, I stopped chasing after the REALLY hot tickets and stepped it down a notch to more conventionally "pretty girls" who weren't quite so obsessed with how they looked, although if you dropped the makeup and hot clothing on them in some cases would have been as visually appealing as the model girls.  That was the serial monogamy phase and carried me through the rest of my sexually motivated relationships until I went the celibate monastic route about a decade ago.

What you find sexually appealing has tons to do with very early childhood visual impressions, which include both the people who surround you (your parents and relatives the most early), and then later what you are exposed to in the media, TV, Film, Fashion Magazines, Rock Stars and so forth.  Music in fact provides a very good analogy, because you also tend to remain attracted to the music you were exposed to in your early teens and twenties as the music you listen to for the rest of your lifetime.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/e6/db/29/e6db295e15bc00a300c2990406473426.jpg My mom for example was a big Frank Sinatra fan, going well into the 1970s when the "Chairman of the Board" still had a fairly solid fan club of former 1940s era Teeny Boppers, of which my mom was one.  Even though Rock & Roll from the Boomer generation had mostly taken over the airwaves by the 1970s, there still were a few AM stations featuring the tunes of Frank, Tony Bennett, Bing Crosby,  Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis and others.  Those were the tunes she liked to listen to, while I suspect wistfully remembering her teenage years.

Thing is here, you can most certainly listen to your favorite tunes from your youth, for me that includes bands like the Jefferson Airplane, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, the Moody Blues as well as all the Folk Singers of the era, but you can't really go back and chase down the Hot Tickets anymore.  To paraphrase Bruce Springsteen in My Hometown, "Those Girls are Gone for you now RE, and they ain't never comin' back".  lol.

In looking back on it all now, the sex drive aspect of life was a major time and energy waster for me.  I'm not saying that is true for everyone, but it was true for me.  I'm also not saying that it's a waste of time to look for companionship and love in your life, people are social animals and tend to need that, especially early on in life.  You seek and need approval from your parents and mentors and your peers.  You want somebody you can trust to tell your deepest darkest thoughts to and unload on when you feel overwhelmed.  For me, sexual appeal actually got in the way of that, because the type of physically appealing female I was attracted to was often quite unsuited for any of that.

I also am DEFINITELY not saying that if I had it to do all over again I would have given it all up as soon as I hit puberty and become a celibate monk back then!  It was a lot of fun doing all that skirt chasing!  Of course, I paid the price for it too with a lot of angst and suffering.  For every Honeymoon, there was a Divorce too to work through.  What I AM saying is I'm glad it's all over and done with! lol.  In the selective memory disc of my mind, I can save all the good times and delete all the bad ones.  I remember enough of the bad ones though that whenever I wake up alone in my digs in the middle of the night, I am grateful for the fact that there is nobody else here in the bed next to me.

The Endless Salad

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Published on The Doomstead Diner May 14, 2017

Tortellini-Kalamata Olive-Hearts of Palm Salad

Discuss this article at the Pantry inside the Diner

 

Today we had our first Community Potlatch (Potluck) Dinner here in the RE Community. 🙂

Our new Property Managers, a Husband & Wife team organized this meal as a way to introduce themselves and to discuss some important issues we have here, including our water quality ( we have our own micro water treatment plant now), maintenance and safety not to mention of course the Dog Poop, the Cigarette butts, and the Domestic Arguments and other yelling which penetrates the walls.  I personally have a schizophrenic upstairs from me who is decompensating all the time.  She's not dangerous, but she is very loud and very vulgar, usually in the wee hours of the morning.  She can go super fast, like Tourette's on Steroids, and pitch out 100 Fucks and 100 Shits and 100 Cocksuckers & Mother Fuckers  in no more than 5 minutes of one of these episodes, which sometimes go up to an hour in length before I suppose her vocal chords are exhausted or maybe the voices in her head get tired of her yelling at them.  Next door to her upstairs, there is a couple with young kids, and they don't understand biological psych problems like this, they just hear all the cursing and so do their kids.  They are not happy about this problem.

Anyhow, I will go into more about the meeting that followed the Potlatch Meal in a future article, for today I will just talk about the FOOD end of it! 🙂  It dovetails nicely with an article I wrote a couple of months ago but haven't had opportunity to publish, with a lot of other shit going down in the world of Doom these days.  The article is about feeding yourself a healthy diet with Salads, focusing on homeless people who get their nutritional allowance from the SNAP Card program administered by JP Morgan Chase here in the FSoA, at a tidy profit for JPMC.  By sheer chance (or the Finger of God), our building of the 10 or so in the complex was assigned Salads.  Since I have been experimenting with Salad recipes for the last couple of months, I was able to whip up my current favorite, a Tortelloni-Pomodore salad with a variety of veggies cooked Al Dente.  The Salad at the top of the page here is similar, just without the pasta.  I forgot to shoot a picture of it before it got devoured.  It was about 3X the size, came in around $12 and served about 15 people at the meal. Quite a few got left out if they were too late lining up at the buffet.  However, there was plenty standard Potato Salad and of course the Burgers and Hot Dogs so nobody went hungry.

Anyhow, lets now go into the principles of the Endless Salad in a little more detail.

———————

The task of feeding oneself on a limited budget and with limited cooking ability that is typical for the Homeless Person is the main focus of the SNAP Card Gourmet Series. In the early stages of Homelessness, the victim of this aspect of the Collapse of Industrial Civilization these days probably resorts to eating mostly from fast food outlets, where you can get convenient and calorie laden foods with no cooking ability at all. The price these days for a fast food meal isn't all that cheap though, even a 1/4 Pounder, Fries and a Coke meal from Mickey D's comes in at over $5, which is the daily limit for the SNAP Card Gourmet budget. Obviously, nutritional value of this meal is quite low as well, and it doesn't even taste all that good either!  So it's a pretty big waste of your limited budget for nourishing yourself.

RE Preps his Chicken Soup

Once the budget drops down sufficiently far, the next step for the Homeless Person is to go to Canned goods like Chili and Soups, which can be purchased at the grocery store for between $1-2 a can and then heated up either over an open flame in a homeless encampment, over  single burner propane camping stove or in a Microwave at the nearest Convenience Store.  This reduces cost, but it's not much tastier and not very nutritious either.  The whole commercial canning process removes or destroys most of the nutritional value in any of the veggies or meat items dropped into a commercial soup or can of chili. It will keep you alive though, it is within budget and if you supplement with some also commercially produced vitamin tablets, you probably won't get scurvy or some other vitamin deficiency relted disease.

Can the Homeless person do better than this and have a really nutritious diet at a price affordable on the SNAP Card Budget of $5/Day in the FSoA?  Yes he/she CAN!

One of my current solutions to this problem is what I now call the "Endless Salad".  I started with the endless salad a few months ago after dropping into one of the local Food Superstores (Carr's, the Safeway affiliate up here on the Last Great Frontier) and passing by their deli section, which had one of those "make it yourself" salad bars.  Lots of nice choices of fresh veggies to include in your sald at this bar, although coming in pretty pricy at around $9/lb.  Depending what stuff you drop in the salad, 1 lb is probably enough nutrition for the day, but $9 is almost double the SNAP Card Gourmet Budget.

The Food Goodies at the Salad Bar at Safeway that day were quite a nice selection, they had a Greek Style Tomato Salad with Olives and Feta Cheese, a Pasta salad with Cheese Torteloni and chunks of Ham, fresh Green Peas, Cottage Cheese and numerous other possible selections for your fully loaded plastic container of your finished Salad mix.  For the Homeless person, this is a great and healthy way to eat, as it requires no cooking whatsoever and is coming in slightly cheaper than Fast Food meals, although still above the Snap Card budget of $5/day.

http://calgaryiscool.com/files/2016/02/SaladBarweb.jpg The thing is, all the INGREDIENTS in that salad are much cheaper than $9/lb, for the most part.  Tomatoes for example which formed the bulk of the weight in this particular salad I composed can be purchased as cheap as $2/lb for Roma tomatoes from Mexico, and I can often get hothouse organic Tomatoes-on-the-Vine for around $3/lb. So as I ate through about half the salad that day, I went out and bought some tomatoes and refilled the container with them,and also some Hearts of Palm from a can which I really like for nostalgic reasons, they were a favorite of mine when I was a kid in Brasil.  Then as this started to run out, I bought a small avocado for $1, and this now refilled the container.  I had to add now a bit more salad dressing to the mix, as the original salad dressing was mostly being digested in my alimentary canal, somewhere along the path out the door anyhow. lol.

Now, many of the contents of your salad can be consumed raw, but some cannot be at least if you want to make a salad that will really provide you with all the nutrition you need in a day.  The pasta is the main one here, that requires boiling some water in a small pot and throwing some frozen cheese tortellini into it for 5-10 minutes, depending how al dente you like it.  You want this pasta in there for carb energy and protein and fat from the cheese.  This is EZ Homeless cooking, no harder than heating up a can of Campbell's Chunky Soup.  You can pick up a 1 lb package of frozen cheese tortellini around here for around $3.50, and actually when cooked it close to doubles its weight because of the water it absorbs.  So the original tortellinis I paid $9/lb for get replaced by the same tortellinis that cost me only $1.75/lb when cooked up.

The problem here for the Homeless person now is the storage of the forzen tortellini prior to cooking it and throwing it in your new salad.  Not a problem for me because I am not homeless and do have a refrigerator, so I think about these issues when composing up my meals and feeding myself.  For quite a few months after my injury, there was a decent chance I would end up as a Homeless Cripple Freezing to Death on the Streets of Palmer, Alaska, so my mind became preoccupied with solving this problem in advance just in case it came to pass, which thankfully it did not.

https://images.heb.com/is/image/HEBGrocery/001572423-1?id=o-IQf2&fmt=jpg&fit=constrain,1&wid=296&hei=296 Far as the tortellini goes, you don't actually need to keep it FROZEN until you use it, at least if that is within a couple of weeks.  Refrigeration is enough, I experimented with this to make sure.  So you could keep your 1lb bag of formerly frozen but now just cold tortellini in your cooler with a block of ice in your Stealth Van.  Similarly, you do need to keep your leftover salad cold from day to day in some sort of refrigeration, so a Cooler is pretty much an indespensible item for the Homeless Person.  If you are so far off the cliff you are pushing around a shopping cart, this is pretty much impossible, so you need to be up at the next level of homelessnes minimum, where you at least have a car with a trunk you can store your cooler in or a Storage Unit runs around $40/month for the smallest ones which are more than sufficient for keeping your cooler and and all your gear like tents and sleeping bags and food safe while you hang out all day at the library or an internet cafe and run your Homeless Cripple Guy Blog & Forum over the free WiFi. lol.

Now, in terms of "recipes" and what you actually will drop in your salad, this is in large part up to you and what stuff you like, but there are some limitations here, at least if you are not consuming the whole salad same day and storing it in your cooler overnight as leftovers to eat the next day.

Traditional Amerikan Salad Food like Lettuce is really bad.  It gets wilty and brown overnight, even if refrigerated.  It also doesn't have all that much nutritional value for the price, its main value is in fiber and roughage to scrub out your colon. lol.  I don't include Lettuce in my salads, for Green Leafy Veggies I use Baby Spinach leaves usually, which are quite good and tasty even when soggy and a great source of vitamins and minerals, particularly high in iron which is good for your blood cells.  Although usually I dispense with the leafies altogether and use other green veggies like asparagus or zucchini. Baby Spinach doesn't brown very quickly though, particularly when coated with a dressing that has some vinegar in it, which tends to keep everything in the salad better looking and does some preservation as well. So if you like some leafy in there, it's a good choice.The whole salad is often better the second or thrid day after composition after marinating in the dressing, as opposed to most leftovers which deteriorate in quality over a few days.

https://www.californiaavocado.com/getattachment/412db3db-b024-40f2-af24-eb660e17435f/Guacamole-Autentico?width=640 Also bad if you are keeping the salad around for a few days are Avocados.  They also quickly get brown and ugly even if coated with a dressing that is acidic.  However, they do have good nutritional value unlike lettuce, particularly in the area of adding vegetable fat to your diet, and I like them for their texture whether a little stiff in chunks or smushed up to make Gaucamole.  So if I do feel Avocado inclined on a given day for my salad, I buy a small one for around $1 and add that to the salad mix for the day.

As with most Food preparation and consumption, you do a lot better if you work in small groups rather than as an individual.  In this case, you can usually consume everything in one sitting with no leftovers, so no storage problems.  Food packaging also tends to come in sizes good for 4-6 people to eat at one sitting.  For a single person, given the food storage of leftover problem, you often will do better with individual portion microwavebales, although nutrititon & taste quality is low.  However, you can buy Michelina's Frozen Dinners at around $1 each, and 3 of those plus a vitamin is enough for me in a day.

To finish up this SNAP Card Gourmet installment, I will list some ingredients which work very well and last several days nicely as you keep adding new ingrediends to make your Salad and Endless one.

http://www.houwelings.com/gifs-2/Roma-Tomatoes-on-the-Vine.jpg Tomatoes

Tomatoes are my #1 Ingredient in a Salad.  High in Vitamin C and Vitamin A, good roughage, nice texture and very tasty!  They also keep well for several days when marinated in the salad dressing of your choice.  They are the base component of all my salads.  The best are the hothouse organics and now recently available are Heirloom Tomatoes as well.  The small grape tomatoes and cherry tomatoes are nice, but overpriced coming in double the cost of Roma Tomatoes, which are my choice if I am going cheapy.

http://www.seriouseats.com/images/2014/09/20140910-olives-vicky-wasik-2-kalamata.jpg Olives

Along with the Tomatoes, Olives are an essential for my salads.  They provide a nice counterpoint to the Tomatoes.  Here it depends on your own taste as to which olives to use.  To me, the typical Green Olives are a little too salty.  Black Olives a little too bland.  My favorites to use are Kalamata Olives, which are a bit more expensive but JUST RIGHT!  Sometimes I do mix in some Green and Black Olives though to fill it out and keep the overall cost down.

http://www.greek-islands.us/traditional-greek-products/greek-cheeses/greek-feta.jpg Cheese

You want some cheese in there for taste, texture and fat and protein nutrition.  I generally use crumbled Feta Cheese and crumbled Blue Cheese or Gorgonzola.  Sometimes shredded Parmesan, and occassionally I will chunk up a block of Sharp Cheddar or Swiss Cheese.  If you are using either Feta or Gorgonzola, buy it in block form and crumble it yourself.  It's a better value that way and it keeps better in the fridge too.

http://benihbunga.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/ASPARAGUS-350x233.jpg Asparagus, Green Beans, Eggplant etc

I like to add these veggies, but you do have to do some preparation before adding to the salad.  I do a fast steam or sautee with them to soften them up just a bit, when raw they are too crunchy for me with my limited set of teeth. lol.  If you sautee also, you can add some chopped up garlic to the mix which adds flavor and nutrients. This is especially good with the Zucchini and Eggplant, which absorb the garlic flavor during the sautee.  Not so good with asparagus or green beens, here steaming is better.

http://www.specialtyproduce.com/sppics/874.png Hearts of Palm, Artichoke Hearts, Baby Corn, Bamboo Shoots

These are "Premium Items" which come canned.  A can of Hearts of Palm around here usually comes in around $5 by itself, but you don't use the whole can in one salad. I recently found them on sale for $3 though, and stocked up with several cans. I usually get 5 salads out of one can, for $1 cost per salad.  You can pick the exotic ingredient of your choice for any given salad.  You will need refrigeration and tupperware though to keep the ingredient good for more salads after cracking the can.  By themselves, Hearts of Palm are really good with just a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil sprinled over them.  Fabulous texture.

http://brightcove.vo.llnwd.net/e1/pd/1033249144001/1033249144001_1398168323001_ari-origin05-arc-141-1326843239426.jpg?pubId=1033249144001 Beans

I don't usually include these, since if I am in the mood for beans I usually have them in a Black Bean soup or ladled over a pile of rice as tradition Brazilian style Feijon, sprinkled with "Pimiento", aka HOT Sauce!  I'll meat that up with an Italian Hot Sausage or a Brat that I usually can pick up for around 70 cents each in a 1 lb pack of 5 for $3.50.  Sliced into discs, I usually get 16-20 of them, enough for almost a meat bite in every scoop of soup!  One sausage is plenty of meat protein and fat for the day, the only issue is with refrigeration, you have to finish the whole package within a week or so, and I can't always do this so ending up throwing out some of this food.  Kills me when I have to do this.  If you work in larger groups though, this should not be a problem.  4 people is about right for meals for a day for typically sized food packaging with no leftovers.  For single person meals, sadly if you do not want the leftovers problem generally you need to go with the Frozen Michelinas dishes and Canned Soups as your main sustenance. In my last few years in the working world, that is what I lived on, along with vitamins.

Including the beans in the salad though they keep as well as everything else, and pretty much any canned beans are good for this and they are CHEAP!  A can of beans goes for $1, and you use no more than 1/2 can for any salad of 1 lb size.  Kidney Beans, Black Beans, Garbanzo Beans or Black Eyed Peas all work well here and provide protein and carbs to your salad.  "3 Bean" salads are pretty popular because of this, but I still prefer beans hot in soups or gumbos.

https://sc01.alicdn.com/kf/UT8StVfXWXXXXagOFbX0/tofu-for-sale.jpg Tofu

Tofu is an ingredient not to everyone's taste, it's pretty bland on its own.  It is however a great ABSORBER of flavors (mainly the dressing you use in this case), as well as a great source of protein.  Like with some of the veggies above though, you need refrigeration of some sort to store it for a week or so.  Cubed up for your salad, you use no more than 1/4 of a block of Tofu for a given salad, and to keep the remaining Tofu good, it needs to be refrigerated for the next salad construction.

Meat & Animal Protein

All in all, this gives you a pretty comprehensive and nutritious meal, but for me something is missing, which is ANIMAL PROTEIN! I'm not a Vegan Vegietarian type.  There is some animal protein in there coming from the Cheeses and Tofu, but I like some MEAT in my meals!

There are a few ways to do this.  You can buy a cheap canned ham and cube it up as one choice, or do similar with a hard salami. You can fry up some Bacon and crumble it into the salad.  You can dice/cube up a chicken to add to the salad.  The choices here are endless, but I don't usually add the meat directly into the salad, what I do is have a Meat Side Dish that goes with the salad instead.  Below are a few of my favorite El Cheapos.

http://www.tupperware-katalog.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/landscape-1458570310-delish-deviled-eggs.jpg 1- Deviled Eggs – I make these with my own special Deviling recipe, and two deviled eggs plus half a pound of the super salad is about as much as I can consume in a day.  There are endless ingredients you can drop into a deviled eggs recipe, traditional is to drop in pickle relish but I am not a big fan of that.  I like to spiice mine up with some Wasabi or Hoseradish. I don't decorate them when just making for myself, but if you are contributing to a Potlatch, doing decoration is a nice touch.

http://del.h-cdn.co/assets/cm/15/10/54f93752912cd_-_del1010-bumble-bee-canned-tuna.jpg 2- Canned Tuna or Salmon–  A can of Fancy White Albacore goes around $2 up here usually these days, but this is enough animal protein for me for 2 days, so adding this to the salad meal is only about $1 extra. If you buy the large size cans you save a lot of money, but you need sdeveral people to finish it quickly. I also jazz it up with Mayo, chopped onion, lemon juice and whatever else I have hanging around in the cubbards, although of course the Homeless Person does not have the extensive cubbard I do to get real creative with this.  However, Canned Tuna + Mayo is enough to add all the animal protein you need or want in a day plus fat from the Mayo.  Canned Salmon is better mixed up as a dip with cream cheese & sour cream, then add some fresh dill and green onions to that.  Whether it is Tuna or Salmon, you place an ice cream scoop size lump in the middle of your salad for a nice presentation for yourself.   Or you can just put it in a separate tupperware container and eat together with your salad.

http://images1.phoenixnewtimes.com/imager/u/original/6547316/brown_tinned_anchovies.jpg 3- Anchovies

Not usually too popular with most people, because they are so salty.  However, once dropped into the salad with all the dressing and tomato liquid, the salt disperses and they are a nice counterpoint to the tomatoes along with the olives.  Anchovies also come in small cans and one is just right for your 1 lb salad mixture, plus you get the olive oil they were packed with for more good vegetable fat.  The main issue is one of price here, at $1.75 a can for only one salad, this is expensive.

http://stockfresh.com/files/s/saddako2/m/65/3259498_stock-photo-canned-smoked-oysters.jpg 4- Smoked Oysters

This is on the pricy end of canned fish products, although if you spread it out over 2 salads not too bad.  It might be a nice variation to throw in for your animal protein once in a while.  I haven't actually dropped these in a salad though.  If I buy a can of smoked oysters, I just usually have them plain or on a piece of french bread.  Used to be on a cracker, but with my limited dentition, crackers are mostly out these days. lol

https://i2.wp.com/imperiodosfrangos.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/herbes-de-provence-rotisserie-chicken-1085252l1.jpg?fit=350%2C350 5- Rotisserie Chicken

Rotisserie Chickens cooked for you in the supermarket are a great value even if you have an oven and home to cook a raw chicken which comes in around half the price of a cooked one.  It's great convenience, they are marinated and spiced nicely usually in a few varieties, and around here they still come in at only around $7 each.  Right out of the rotisserie they are great to eat just by themselves with no prep at all and the second day pretty good just microwaved.  I'll usually eat about half the chicken this way, The Breast and a Leg on day 1 and the Thigh and both Wings on Day 2.  The other half of the chicken then gets chopped up into small cubes to make a chicken salad, good for at least 3 days added to the rest of your salad.  Preparation is basically the same as with canned tuna, although with the chicken I prefer to add Tarragon and/or Paprika for spicing it up.  Major bonus here also is that once you have got most of the good meat off the bones, you throw the stripped carcass into a slow cooker to make chicken broth for use in Matzoh Ball or Wonton Soup which will feed you for still another 2 days.  There is plenty of meat still left on the bones and after stewing a few hours it all falls off the bones into the broth, and then you just sieve it and pick out the bones.  You easily get all the animal protein you need for a full week out of 1 Rotisserie Chicken, so that comes out to $1 day, well inside the SNAP Card Gourmet Budget of $5/day.  The only downside of these chickens is they are all industrially raised and fed on GMO crap and injected full of hormones and antibiotics too, and sometimes the meat can be stringy.  You have to shop around at your local stores to find the best of the lot here, I have 4 different places to go, Carr's (Safeway), Fred Meyer (Kroger), Walmart and 3 Bears.  Although the cheapest, Walmart's are the worst. Carr's has the best ones and most expensive, and Freddie and 3 Bears about the same.  Because 3 Bears is right next to me, those are the ones I usually buy when in a chicken kind of mood. lol.

Steak

Steak is a great animal protein addition to your salad, and what I like best of all here is to buy fresh Fillet Mignon and slice it thin raw and add it to the salad as Steak Tartare.  This is however very expensive by the pound, about the best I can get on sale for Fillet Mignon is $15/lb. I only will use maybe 1/4 pound most for a given salad, but that is closing in on $4 for that ingredient alone, which is getting way over normal SNAP Card Gourmet pricing.  More commonly if I want to add Steak as the animal protein component to the salad, I will buy Ribeye or New York Strip cut, Barbecue them Pittsburgh Rare (black on the outside, still mooing on the inside) then slice thin like the Fillet.  These cuts I can often find on sale for $6/lb, and recently 3 Bears had Ribeyes on sale for $4.59/lb, and astonishingly low price since usually that is the price for ground beef around here.  Even at $6/lb though, 1/4 lb of this thinly sliced into your salad is only a $1.50 addition, so still well within budget.

Note: Photo at left is my Valentines Day Ribeyes from 2015 charing over the BBQ. 🙂

Eggs

The easiest thing to do with eggs is simply to hard boil them, then chop up and add to the salad.  2 eggs is plenty for the 1 lb salad mixture and they come in super cheap, around $2.50 a dozen around here, so call it 20 cents an egg for 40 cents to add your animal protein to the salad.  You may however prefer to make an Egg Salad, mixing up with Mayo and other ingredients of your choice and have on the side like you would a Tuna or Chicken salad. A particular favorite of mine these days is to make Deviled Eggs out of them (as detailed above), and then have 2-3 Half-Eggs along with the salad.  I add Horseradish Sauce, Stone Ground Mustard and Wasabi alog with the Mayo to make the Deviled mixture out of the yolks to refill the White half egg container, but you can choose whatever Deviling ingredients you like for this.  Many people like various types of Pickle Relish for this.  Besides adding flavor and variety, this also adds calories from the mayo as well so gives you a bit more nutrition for each egg.

The possibilities for stuff you can add to your Endless Salad are of course themselves endless, at least right now while the cornucopia of food is present on the shelves of your local food superstore and you have a working debit card or SNAP card to buy the stuff with.  You can also make it cheaper if you grow your own tomatoes, green beans, asparagus, bean sprouts etc to add to the salad.  Raise your own chickens, you can now add your own chicken meat and eggs to this too!  You probably could cut your costs down to $1/lb this way and be more self-sufficient, but of course not if you are homeless, you need a Doomstead to do all that.

Eat smart, eat tasty, eat cheap & eat healthy with the SNAP Card Gourmet! 🙂

 

How I Survived Collapse: Chapter 23

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Published on The Doomstead Diner May 10, 2017

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Kenny and Kirsten finished the meal off with the Molten Chocolate Cake, a warm chocolate fudge cake with coconut sorbet, chocolate sauce and toasted coconut, along with Coffee spiked up with Bailey's Irish Cream and Kalua.  As they walked back out to the van, Kenny asked the inevitable question of the night.

"So, ummm, do you want to sleep in the van tonight or go back to your dorm?"

Kirsten already had this planned out.

"Let's sleep in the van!" she said enthusiastically.  "It would be really cool to do it in a van!" she remarked with a giggle. "Let's park in the dorm parking lot though.  Then if we need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night we can go in the dorm for that.  I'm not really up for pooping in a bucket unless I have to.  I'll try to put that off until after TSHTF."

Kenny got a laugh out of the doomer reference. "Eh, you get used to it.", he remarked. "Athough, I do generally try to avoid using the bucket because of the disposal issue and use public bathrooms as much as possible.  It just makes things easier overall, like most of the conveniences of industrial culture.  I like your plan though!" he said with a smile.  "I've never done it in the van with anybody, it's a Virgin."

"Well, we'll make it a great First Time for the van then!" Kirsten remarked."Is it a Boy Van or a Girl Van?  Does it have a name?", she asked.

"Gee, I don't know." Kenny responded as they drove toward the dorm parking lot.  "I haven't given it a name."  Kenny wasn't much into symbolism and had never thought about giving his Stealth Van an anthropomorphic name or gender identity.  How could you determine if maybe your Van was Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Queer instead of being a conventionally Heterosexual Van?  There were no genital organs on a Van he could examine to try and nail this down.  Was his Chevy Van attracted to Fords or Toyotas or other Chevys?  Maybe it even liked Pickup Trucks or Sports Cars instead of other Vans? He didn't know.

"Well, we can figure it out together then!" Kirsten remarked enthusiatically as she removed her vest, blouse and bra, with the Toilet Paper Stuffing spilling out onto the van floor as the bra came off.

"You STUFF YOUR BRA?", Kenny remarked as he pulled the pre-tied Target purchased Necktie with the perfect Windsor Knot over his head and removed his shirt.  He knew there was something a bit different about her physical appearance than the first time they had been together, but it didn't hit him until he saw the crumpled bundles of Charmin TP dancing across the floor of the van.

Kirsten let out a huge laugh.  "Good Grief Kenny, did you think I grew B size Boobs over the last week?  When you are built like a Carpenter's Dream, you have to make some adaptations." she retorted as she yanked off the 3" Spike Heels that brought her slightly over 5' in personal altitude..

"Carpenter's Dream?", Kenny asked, never having heard this term.

"Flat as a Board and Easy to Nail", Kirsten dead panned to fill him in."None of the tops in the women's department are cut right if you're as flat chested as I am, to get anything cut right you have to shop in the kids department.  Except my lats are too big so my overall chest size is too large to fit those right either.  So when I do dress up, I stuff the bra." she said with a smile.  "You could think of it like a sort of prep storage system!  Handy place to keep toilet paper if you need it!"

Kenny nodded.  "Yea, you can probably carry as many preps in there as I stuff in my Cargo Vest!", he responded as he removed the last of his articles of clothing.

"ENOUGH TALK!" Kirsten declared, jumping his bones.  "Let's get down to bizness!"

——

Kenny managed to survive the night with Kirsten, although the Van shock absorbers had a serious workout. He doubted the suspension system on the Van was that stressed even when negotiating the rutted up logging road into his Doomstead location.  He determined to look into getting some Heavy Duty Bilstein Performance Shocks at Auto Zone, O'Reilly's or NAPA to take care of this problem in the future.

After showering and cleaning up in Kirsten's Dorm suite and meeting some of her roomies briefly, Kirsten and Kenny headed over to the International House of Pancakes, for a massive breakfast to replenish energy and bodily fluids expended over the course of the night while doing the Horizontal Bop.  Kenny selected a traditional Bacon, Eggs and Homefries meal, with sides of English Muffins and Buckwheat Pancakes, with the eggs fried over-EZ.  Kirsten went for a Spanish Omelete with Homefries & Sausage, with sides of wheat toast and Buttermilk pancakes.  On the way to IHOP Kenny stopped off at Safeway to buy a bottle of REAL Wood's Vermont Maple Syrup to drizzle over the pancakes instead of the cheap High Fructose Corn Syrup generic imitation Aunt Jemima maple syrup served up by IHOP.

After breakfast, Kenny dropped Kirsten off back at the dorm.  No name had been agreed on for the van, so Kenny and Kirsten promised each other they would ponder on it, and Kenny promised her that he would call as soon as he got back from Spokane, where he wasn't really going.  After a lingering kiss goodbye, Kenny drove over to the storage unit and exchanged out his landscaping gear for his preps, then hooked his trailer for the drive to his property to spend a night of peaceful recuperation prior to the early morning wake up call for his "riding lesson" with Karen.  Mr. Johnson was pretty pooped and needed a night off.

Arriving at the Doomstead, Kenny unhooked from the trailer so he would be able to easily drive over to Karl's place in the morning, and since it was still light out decided to do some log splitting with his Leveraxe, specifically designed for wood splitting by having a counterweight on the upper right side of the blade designed to pull the head to one side on impact to help ply the wood apart.  He pulled out his Husqvarna chainsaw first to section up one of the trees he had cut down with Karl in preparing the site for the Fire Ring and outdoor picnic table they had built.  He considered waiting until Karl brought over his 34 Ton Swisher electric start log splitter, but needed to get in his daily exercise and kill some time anyhow.

After working up a decent sweat, Kenny took a sponge bath over by the stream and then settled down for dinner, which was pretty light since he had gorged himself the night before at the Red Bird and then again in the morning at IHOP.  In fact, he went over to a spot to dig a latrine hole for a major deposit resultant from those meals and now well digested by his alimetary canal where he intended to try planting a Black Walnut tree, even though the climate wasn't currently suited well for such trees.  With some global warming though, it might thrive, although it would take a few years before producing good nuts to squirrel away for the winter.  The Humanure deposit would provide good fertilizer for the tree once planted.  Until then, the worms and other microbes would work on it.

For dinner he just had enough appetite for a can of Campbells Chunky Beef Barley Soup and a small portion of the Pomodore-Tortellini salad with crumbled Feta Cheese and Kalamata Olives marinated in Greek dressing he had put together from the salad bar at Safeway before leaving Missoula.  Finishing off the night at his computer workstation, he surfed over to the Doomstead Diner to find out the latest breaking newz in Collapse and cleaned up his mailbox deleting the gobs of spam dropping in there each day.  Finally, he finished off the day smoking a spliff from the fine Ganja he picked up from Kareem and put himself to bed early for a good night's sleep before an active day ahead with Karen.

———-

After an early wake-up call at 5AM from his smart phone, Kenny took a sponge bath down by the stream,, then had a quick breakfast of 2 hard boiled eggs, a banana, Teriyaki Beef Jerky and French Guilloteau Soft Goat Cheese spread on a Baguette, washed down with Organic Cranberry Juice from Knudsen.  Tidying up the van and getting all his gear properly stowed for the bouncy ride down the logging road took another 15 minutes, most time consuming of which was to properly stow the Dell All-in-One Computer so that it was insulated from vibration and knocking around while going over rough terrain.

To accomplish this and thoroughly insulate his sensitive electronic equipment from road vibration and bounces, Kenny build a storage box inside one of his cabinets that hung from the roof of the van with bungee cords.  This by itself insulated the equipment from vibration, but then on top of that he had 3 shelves lined with 1" Open Cell Foam with cutouts to fit each of his sensitive electronic devices.  The Dell by itself took up one shelf, then the other shelves had his laptop, his tablet, a spare Smart Phone, modem and wireless router, his GPS units, his FRS walkie-talkies, his digital Shortwave Radio Receiver, his Night Vision Scope and Binoculars and two spare Micro Computers, one running Mac OS and the other Linux.

Setup for any of the computers was EZ upon pulling them off the shelf, everything was hooked together either with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, so there was no clutter of wires to deal with.  It was just a matter of plugging in to the Van power supply which was native 12V DC, and for most of his equipment he had native DC-DC transformers picked up on the cheap from China  for $15 which could convert 12V DC to any voltage 8-80V to power them, along with several DC-AC inverters in various wattages as well to convert to 120V AC when necessary.  For most of his own equipment, this wasn't usually needed, but it was good backup.

Around 7AM, once everything was ready, Kenny fired off a text message over the SMS to Karen to see if she was up and ready to go riding.

"Hey Karen, r u up?"

Less than a minute later his Galaxy Mega tuned with the jingle he had set for Karen.

"Sure am!  When will u get here?"

"Maybe 20 minutes.  I slept at my Doomstead last night."

"OK great!  Did u eat?"

"Yup.  I'm ready 2 ride!"

"Cool!  I'll get the horses saddled up!  C U when you get here!"

Signing off on the chat, Kenny fired up his still unnamed Van and headed on down the road for another day of Kollapsnik Adventuring with Karen.

Bye, Bye Miss R/COLLAPSE Pie

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Published on The Doomstead Diner May 7, 2017

 

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Another one bites the dust.

Last week, after 2 years participating on the Reddit sub r/collapse, I threw in the towel and called it quits.  Before I go into the reasons for that, let me review my medium-length history of participation there and the reasons I subscribed in the first place.

Despite the fact I have been floating around the Collapse Blogosphere for a full decade, I was never aware of the r/collapse sub.  In fact, I wasn't even aware of the whole Reddit platform.  I only found out about it after discovering the work of Allen Stromfeldt Christensen on the blog From Filmers to Farmers, and he mentioned to me that he occasionally made links there.  So I went to check it out, and there were indeed quite a few good links to Collapse articles around the net to be found there, and they changed pretty regularly.  There is a complete turnover of links on the Homepage about every 24-48 hours, depending on how many net "upvotes" a given article receives from the subscribers.  The links themselves are dropped on by subscribers, and these two features are the main "hooks" that make the whole Reddit platform pretty unique as a social media platform for people who are interested in any given topic to come together and discuss the topic, with the jumping off point being the article associated with the link.  Beneath each link is a comment stream, which also any subscriber can join in and drop in his or her 2 cents.  In that sense it is not much different from the Diner Forum, where we also drop in links to articles, and then discuss them further in the commentariat.

The main difference here is that because the various threads drop off the home page so rapidly, no thread goes longer than a couple of days before it drops off the map and is never read again, and then you move on to the new hot topic of the day.  This means first off that no topic really gets in depth analysis, and second the same discussions repeat themselves over and over again as a new article with the same general theme goes up a day or two later.  Rinse and repeat.  However, when I first subscribed I wasn't aware of the nuances of the structure of the software and how that affected the overall discussion, I only began to see it as time passed.

http://cdn.inquisitr.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/girls-gone-wild.jpg On first joining, the platform seemed quite cool, it was remarkably EZ to drop on a link for discussion.  It only takes a few extra seconds after you read an article to copy the URL and then paste it into the submission box on Reddit.  This works the same regardless of what sub you are interested in, whether it is r/collapse or r/futurology or r/girlsgonewild. lol.  So I started dropping on links there, and getting into discussions/debates/arguments with the other r/collapse "Redditors" as they refer to themselves, much as we at the Doomstead Diner refer to ourselves as "Diners".

This all began fairly genially, and in the first few months of my participation, the links I dropped on were received quite well by the community, and quite often they would receive many net upvotes and rise into the Top 5 of the day, which generally if you want some discussion of the link is where you want it to land for at least a few hours.  There was some negative blowback to this though, which is that my posting patterns drew the attention of the then team of mods, mainly Stumo, Eleitl & Great Pumpkin at that time.  The mod team there changes and morphs over time as some old timers who are fed up or bored leave, and other new ones are appointed to take over this relatively thankless and unpaid job.  The fellow who originated this sub is long since gone, and I am given to understand the sub had it's ups and downs prior to my arrival on the scene 2 years ago.  That group of mods told me they had greatly improved r/collapse with their excellent moderation policies.  Of course, everybody thinks they do a great job in moderation! lol. I can't verify the claim, since I wasn't around in earlier incarnations of the sub.

Anyhow, the additional attention started getting more and more of the links I made deleted, and so I began to complain about it.  At this time, I made my complaints in private in PM to the mods, and then had some extremely long, tedious and time consuming arguments with them on what was and was not Collapse Worthy material.  This of course did not get fewer of my links deleted, it got more of them deleted! lol.  I also got threats of being banned from the sub if I continued to complain.  So at this time I created an Insurance Policy of my own sub, r/globalcollapse, to drop links on which were being deleted from r/collapse.  I also boycotted r/collapse for a while, not making any links but just dropping in the commentariat periodically.

During this time there was a changeover in the Mod Squad from Link, Peter & Julie Stumo, Eleitl & GreatPumpkin to Moe, Larry & Curly BabblesMcDrinksalot, BrandotheNinjaMaster & Goocy and the flavor of the articles left up versus those deleted changed significantly.  The site became much more highly weighted toward articles which were Climate related, particularly those which had a subtext that Near Term Human Extinction is just around the corner.

http://images.zap2it.com/assets/p184387_b_h3_aa/mod-squad.jpg   https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/ae/Healthywealthy.jpg

This then had the knock-on effect of attracting many more Nihilists & Misanthropes into the commentariat, turning it into a facsimile of the commentariats on Nature Bats Last (Guy McPherson's Cult Website for Fans of Secular Eschatology) and Our Finite World (Gail Tverberg's Actuarial Website for Fans of Leonardo Sticks, Endless Power Point slides and analysis ripped off without attribution from other bloggers, most notably Steve Ludlum of Economic Undertow & myself).  I quit the commentariat of both those websites a while back because it's a complete sewer, and the commentariat of r/collapse has morphed into the same thing, albeit with a somewhat younger demographic.  Not a week goes by where some recent millenial High School graduate/College Freshman drops on a Selfie post about how depressed they are and "what should I major in since the world is going to shit?"  Should I Party like it's 1999, buy a Hunting Knife and go out in Buckskins in the Bush Rewilding, or put my nose to the grindstone and study Eco-Forestry and Geoengineering to Save the Planet?  Followed by the requisite damnation of all Humanity and the Hopium we go Extinct as quick as possible to put Mother Earth out of its misery.

As I observed this metamorphosis occuring on r/collapse, I got more and more fed up with it and started getting in more arguments inside the commentariat, drawing the wrath and attention of a few of the Group Think enforcers who specialize in pitching Napalm to disrupt threads.  Any thread I myself began no longer got many net upvotes and so rarely would make it into the Top 5 links on the Homepage.  I was being seriously Brigaded by the majority of people now attracted to the website who buy the Nihilistic meme that Guy McPherson carries the Torch for as Cult Leader.  Essentially, r/collapse and in fact all Reddit subs are just Popularity Contests, and if you follow the Party Line and Group Think of the sub as the Mod Squad filters it, you will get lots of upvotes and your links will rise to the top of the page.  If you post contrarian links and argue with the Enforcers of the dominant majority that brown-nose the Mod Squad, your links will be Brigaded and downvoted to oblivion, and the Enforcers will forget about any topical argument and simply do character assassination, aka Ad Hom argument.  You will be called an imbecile, clueless, demented, narcissistic, morally corrupt and any other adjective with negative connotations the Enforcer of Group Think has in his vocabulary that is a synonym for STUPID or INSANE.  The Mod Squad allows this to go on as long as the person pitching the Napalm is a Brown Noser on their side.  If you respond in kind, you immediately get a WARNING to stop or your account will be Banned.  This is biased and incompetent moderation, and it results in a very uniform Group Think on a website.  You will find this to be the case on Nature Bats Last and Our Finite World as well as r/collapse.

So once this began to be a feature of nearly every thread I participated on whether the link was one I made or another Redditor did,  I went complaining again, this time publicly though with Meta threads, examining the nature of the moderation.  This nobody liked very much, not the mods or the nihilists either. lol.  So now, I get warnings from the Mods if I continue making meta threads, I will get a 30 day banning.  This is enough for me, no point in continuing participation on this website, it's a waste of my time.  Bye, Bye, Miss R/COLLAPSE Pie.

Bye, Bye, Miss R/COLLAPSE Pie

(sing to the tune of "American Pie" by Don Maclean.  Alternative lyrics by RE)

A long, long time ago
I can still remember how r/collapse used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those doomers dance
And maybe they'd be happy for a while

But February made me shiver
With every new link I'd deliver
Bad news in my PM file
The Mods sent another one to Collapse Wilds

I can't remember if I cried
When I read about the Whales that died
But something touched me deep inside
The day r/collapse was fried

[Chorus:]
So bye, bye, r/collapse Pie
Surfed my laptop to the website but the website was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey 'n rye
Singin' this'll be the day that r/collapse fries
This'll be the day r/collapse fries

[Verse 1]
Did you write the book of Doom
And do you have faith in endless Gloom?
If Guy McPherson tells you so?
Now do you believe in Near Term Extinction?
Or can you make some critical distinctions?
And can you teach me how to see systemic connections?

Well, I know that you're a climate fan
And think that Retail Bankruptcies should be banned
You all dropped on the downvotes
So now r/collapse just strikes one note

I was an annoying old Alaska cripple
Who tried to make collapse more comprehensible
But I disappeared without a ripple
The day r/collapse was fried

[Chorus:]
I started singing bye, bye, r/collapse Pie
Surfed my laptop to the website but the website was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey 'n rye
Singin' this'll be the day that r/collapse fries
This'll be the day r/collapse fries

[Verse 2]
Now for ten years I've been covering Doom
From the keyboard on my desk in the living room
But that's not how it used to be
When the world was younger and all seemed great
But then civilization could not pay the freight
And the end became clear for all to see

Oh, and while the king was looking down
r/collapse Mods were all a-frown
The linking was adjourned
A quitting verdict was returned

And while Misanthropes read from the book of Death
The Preppers tried to grab a Breath
And Junkies snorted Crystal Meth
The day that r/collapse was fried

[Chorus:]
We were singing bye, bye, r/collapse Pie
Surfed my laptop to the website but the website was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey 'n rye
Singin' this'll be the day that r/collapse fries
This'll be the day r/collapse fries

[Verse 3]
Helter skelter in a summer swelter
The birds flew off with a fallout shelter
Eight miles high and falling fast
It landed foul on the grass
The Mods figured they knew better
So RE dissected them with endless Metas

Now the halftime air was sweet perfume
While Doom Pundits played a marching tune
Kunstler and Tverberg got up to dance
and hit us again with the same old rants

Martenson & Orlov came on to do the AMA
So Doomers would visit their sites for pay
Did they have anything new to say?
The day that r/collapse fried?

[Chorus:]
We started singing bye, bye, Miss r/collapse Pie
Surfed my laptop to the website but the website was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey 'n rye
Singin' this'll be the day that r/collapse fries
This'll be the day r/collapse fries

[Verse 4]
Oh, and there we were all in one place
Millenials and Boomers lost in space
With no time left to start again
So come on, Trump be nimble, Trump be quick
But The Donald sat his asshole on a candlestick
Cause fire is the devil's only friend

Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage
The stench from his Cabinet began to smell
No POTUS could send us quicker down the road to Hell

And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite
I saw Satan laughing with delight
The day that r/collapse was fried

[Chorus:]
He was singing bye, bye, Miss r/collapse Pie
Surfed my laptop to the website but the website was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey 'n rye
Singin' this'll be the day that r/collapse fries
This'll be the day r/collapse fries

[Outro]
I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news
But she just smiled and turned away
I went down to the sacred store
Where I'd heard about collapse in years before
But the man there said common fucking sense wouldn't play

And in the streets, the Doomers screamed
The Misanthropes cried and the Nihilists schemed
But not a word was spoken
The r/collapse website was all broken

And the three men I admire most
Thompson, Hicks and Carlin's Ghosts
They caught the last train for the coast
The day that r/collapse was fried

[Chorus:]
And they were singing bye, bye, Miss r/collapse Pie
Surfed my laptop to the website but the website was dry
And them good ole boys were drinking whiskey 'n rye
Singin' this'll be the day that r/collapse fries
This'll be the day r/collapse fries

[Chorus:]
They were singing bye, bye, Miss r/collapse Pie
Surfed my laptop to the website but the website was dry
Them good ole boys were drinking whiskey 'n rye
And singin' this'll be the day that r/collapse fries

60: Life and Times of a Boomer Doomer Chapter 1

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Published on The Doomstead Diner May 3, 2017

 

Discuss this article at the History Table inside the Diner

 

Unbelievably, I made it to the Big 6-OH, my 60th year walking the Earth as a Homo Sap Meat Package in this iteration of incarnations of my immortal soul.  My last Big Birthday Party on the Diner was 5 years ago when I turned 55. That was when we first launched the Diner, and now it is getting close to 6 years old itself, 10% of my total lifespan.  That's a pretty significant chunk of my life!

Actually, my focus on Doom predates the Diner by quite a bit, I got started down this Rabbit Hole after the collapse of the investment bank Bear Stearns in early 2008.  Actually a bit before that since I was observing the lead up to this in 2007.  So call it a solid Decade now as a "Kollapsnik".  Given I am now 60 years old, that is 1/6th of my life or 16.66%, even more significant.

I can break up my life into defined segments, each of which almost is a life unto itself.  When I look back on these segments, it's almost like I am looking at another person entirely, they each are so different in their own ways.  But I do know it was always "me" in that body at that time, it just morphed as time went by. To begin this autobiographical post, I'll start with the beginning and work through the stages of my life, to date.  Then maybe some speculation on the future for me, although I don't think I have much of one of those left anymore in this meat package.

As it turns out here after finishing this tome, it came out a lot longer than I figured it would when starting it.  It's LOOOONG, even by my standards.  So rather than waiting until my actual Birthday of August 31st, I'll start publishing installments in EZ to Bite off chunks of my life over the next few months, rather than all at once.  I will publish the whole thing together though on my 60th Birthday, so if you want to wait until then to read the whole thing all together, feel free to skip over these installments.  Feel free also to skip over the complete story too if you aren't curious about how I got to where I am today.  From my POV though, it's a pretty entertaining story! lol.

This has advantages, for both me the writer and you the reader.  For me, first off it gives me a lot more in the way of weekly material to drop on the Diner, rather than slamming it all down in one post.  On a non-fiction level, it's like my serial novel How I Survived Collapse.  Having a lot of material "in the can" takes the pressure off feeling like you have to write something every day, although I just about always do so it's not a problem for me to have material to drop on the Diner each week.  Besides that though, I always feel like I might be dead tomorrow, so getting this stuff out before I actually croak and having a chance to talk about it with friends is a nice bonus before my trip across the Great Divide. 🙂

For the reader, the advantage is obvious, it comes in small enough chunks you can read it over Morning Breakfast on a workday or Sunday Brunch or while on a coffee break at work on your smart phone.  You don't need to dedicate a whole lotta time to reading my life story in any given week and being bored to tears by it. lol.

By itself, it's not a Book-length autobiography, but if you patch it together with all the other autobiograpical stuff I have dropped on over the years like the Over the Road Trucking series, the Pump Up the Volume Pirate Radio adventures and the Excellent Mexican Dental Adventures, along with all the stuff in my Online Diary (Diners Only) about my Health issues and Legal Battles, you could easily get a full length book out of that.  I'll leave it to some historian of the future to put that one together though.

Meanwhile, here is Part 1 of my autobiography…

————————————–

Stage 1- Birth in NY Shity – Age 5

My Birth in NY Shity until Age 5 living in attached type town housing.  Bedrooms were on the second floor, there were 3 of them, my parent's bedroom, my sister's bedroom and my bedroom and the bathroom in which I was toilet trained.  I vaguely remember that.  On the ground floor there was a foyer entry, living room, dining area and kitchen.  Below ground was a basement and garage.  We had a small backyard and I remember a clothesline that my mom would hang the laundry out to dry on, we did not have a dryer in those years.

http://www.remarkablecars.com/for-sale/data/6859/buick-1957-special-269591.jpg We did have a car though, a 1957 Buick Convertible, same year I was born.  It was red, gigantic and had the tailfins on the back.  It was bought used in around 1960 I think by my Dad, who was building his career as a Pigman Vice President at Chase Manhattan Bank, now known as JP Morgan Chase after numerous Mergers & Acquisitions.  Manufacturers Hanover Trust and Chemical Bank were both subsumed into Chase Manhattan, then Chase and JP Morgan merged later on.

The Buick lasted almost to when we left for Brazil, and I remember the numerous trips to Rockaway Beach during the summer we took in it.  There  were no seatbelts in the car, and there was a big bump in the road we would always hit and my dad would speed up the car to hit it so we all went flying up out of our seats, singing "Here we go loop-de-loop, Here we go loop-de-lie".  On one of these trips to Rockaway Beach when I was around 3, my dad took me out for a walk on the jetty and made me throw my Baby Bottle into the ocean.  That was my first major contribution to ocean pollution.  He felt I was clinging on to the baby bottle too long and this was a good symbolic way to get me to mature some.  It didn't work, I am still immature. lol.

http://www.screeninsults.com/images/bozo-the-clown2.jpg I have numerous memories from this period, crashing my tricycle into the back wall of our underground garage; locking myself in my parents bedroom while trying to "fix" the latch mechanism; bouncing myself off my bed I was using as a trampoline and smashing my skull open; Bowling with plastic Bowling pins in the upstairs hallway, making popcorn and chocolate cake with vanilla icing with my older sister in the kitchen etc.  I remember watching cartoons on TV and my mom taking me to the filming of the Bozo the Clown show in a NYC Studio, where I was frightened to death by the real life Bozo who looked nothing like the cartoon character, and we never went in to see the show because I was crying.  Waste of money on those tickets.

I remember also the pack up for our move to Brazil, when I was forced to give up my Bunk Beds that I had just got and had coveted for probably a year before I got them.  I cried over that one too, but when we got to Brazil my parents bought me a new Bunk Bed so I was happy again.  Which brings us to Stage 2.

Stage 2 – The Brazil Years

This was an almost idyllic time in my life, because of the difference in Economics between Brazil and the FSoA in the 1960s my dad's salary bought us a much more luxurious life than it did in NY Shity.  We had a full floor luxury apartment, a Maid, a Cook and a Driver.  The apartment was less than a block away from Ipanema Beach, and I spent almost every day after school for a couple of hours at the beach body surfing and building sand castles.

I went to a Private School for brats of the Military, the State Department, the CIA and Bankster Brats, "Escola Americana", chartered by the UN as a "United Nations" school.  My 3 best friends were the kids of the FSoA Ambassador to Brazil, a Military brat and a brat who was son of a man who ostensibly worked for the Fisheries Dept of the UN, but in fact was likely CIA.

http://www.wingclips.com/system/movie-clips/searching-for-bobby-fischer/hate-your-opponent/images/searching-for-bobby-fischer-movie-clip-screenshot-hate-your-opponent_large.jpg I was however blissfully unaware of most of this at the time, and enjoyed my days body surfing at the beach, reading a lot of Sci-Fi in Kid Book form mostly, the Adventures of Tom Swift series and also the Hardy Boys Detective series.  My dad bought me subscriptions to Popular Science and Popular Mechanics and Scientific American at this time also as my reading skills and comprehension improved.  He also taught me to play chess around age 6 and we played regularly until I started beating him regularly around age 8. lol.

The first Star Trek episodes came on our Black & White TV in the later years as well, dubbed into Portuguese. I became a big Star Trek fan in those years, in fact what was known after it went off the air as a "Trekkie".  I went to the first Star Trek Convention in NY Shity after I got back to NY, but that is skipping ahead to the next portion of my life.  I identified heavily with the Spock character, and prided myself on being analytical and logical.  I dressed up as Spock for a couple of years for Halloween once returning to the FSoA.

I also got my first witnessing and understanding of class difference as I played futbol (soccer) with the boys from the favelas on the beach and saw the way they lived as opposed to the way I lived.  Mostly we all were friendly, but there was an undercurrent of resentment you could always sense, even at 8 years old.  Similarly, although the servants in our household were always deferential to me, you could sense their resentment as well.

I began to get somewhat politically aware then in my last years in Brazil, as one of my friends (son of the CIA guy) was 3 years older than me and he was very into the music of the era, including a lot of Folk Protest music including the likes of Phil Ochs, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, and many others.  Upon my return to the FSoA, this political aspect of my life grew quite a bit.

Stage 3 – The Junior High Years

This period actually includes late Elementary school 4-6 grade as well as Junior High 7-9 grade which I actually did in 2 years not 3, courtesy of the "SP" or Special Progress track the NY Shity Public Skules ran at the time for "gifted" students.  So roughly a 5 year portion of my life in the Age of Oil.

It wasn't quite as idyllic as the Brazil period, my parents got divorced and with my mom we took a big hit in lifestyle and economics.  No more maid, cook or driver of course.  More than that, at least in the first couple of years no car either.  Mom did get a small McMansion in Queens out of the divorce settlement though, and overall we were better off than most of the folks in the lower middle class neighborhood of Flushing, Queens this McMansion was located.

http://www.static.zhan.com/uploadfile/2016/10/07/426881_20161007224630144G8.jpg It was at this point in my life I got identified as an "IGC", or "Intellectually Gifted Child".  This because on a standardized IOWA test in the 4th grade I scored off the charts with a college level reading ability and math ability. I'm pretty sure I didn't get a single question wrong on that test, as I recall it was fantastically simple and I finished it in about 30 minutes of the 2 hours alloted to the test to fill in the dots with my #2 Pencil.  So began a 4 year episode of meeting with shrinks who were testing me all the time, every Saturday during the school year at a center in Jamaica my mom dutifully brought me to on the subway.  Since the IOWA test wasn't good enough at discrimination, I got my first try at the SAT in the 5th grade.  Then a variety of IQ tests too, and interviews.  I was a fucking lab rat for 4 years.  By year 4 I was sick of it and started puposefully answering questions wrong and being terrifically uncooperative with the Shrinks. I think I was 12 or 13 not sure.  I got let out of the cage at the end of that year. lol.

The other important aspect of my life over those years were the Summers spent at Camps of two varieties.  One was a "Primitive Skills" camp that was all Boys which I attended for 2 of those years, and then a ritzy camp for upper class kids run by a fellow named Werner Rothschild.  Not sure if he was related to the general Rothschild clan, but he probably was.  Camp Merrimac in New Hampshire, near the town of Contocook, pronounced "contokit".  It was mostly populated with Jewish kids, I was I think the only Unitarian at the Camp in those years.  I got my first sexual experiences at this camp, and I also got to watch Neil Armstrong make "One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Mankind" on a TV dragged into the main barn where our Socials and Dances were held every Friday.  Every Friday Night at the end of the Social, I danced with my Amour of the Week to the strains of "Sealed With a Kiss", and then scooted off to behind the Science Cabin for some SEX action, where I normally regularly dissected living frogs knocked out with a little choloroform to attempt Heart Transplants on them.  None of the frogs ever lived through one of those operations. lol.  Me and the girls survived our sex experimentation though, fortunately.

The all Boys primitive skills camp wasn't quite as entertaining on the sexual exploration level since there were no girls around to do this with, although there was a director at the camp who had a fondness for taking photos of me while naked showering and such. LOL.  Other than getting photos of my naked body recorded on film though, I never got molested during this period.

What was real fun about the primitive skills camp though was learning all the techniques for survival in the wilderness, although granted we had nice industrially produced knives and tents and canoes to use in the learning.  The wilderness areas we hit back in the 1970s were still pretty pristine and not over camped, and I remember many occassions filling up my canteen with water straight from a clear running stream, no boiling or water purification tablets.There were frogs everywhere and we often ate frog's legs for breakfast and dinner.

As I moved into my early teens, I became a lot more politically aware and music aware, and my friend Randy from Brasil moved to my neighborhood with his CIA dad when he was transferred to work at the UN Headquarters.  Thus began my Pirate Radio adventures, which I have written about before here in Pump Up the Volume.

 

Coming in Part 2: The High School, College & Marriage Years

Sexual Appeal

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Published on The Doomstead Diner March 23, 2017

Johnette Napolitano            Janis Joplin

Discuss this article at the Psychology Table inside the Diner

A few weeks ago I ran across a You Tube Video of an acoustic performance of "Joey" by the band Concrete Blond.  They were a 90s Alternative Rock Band that never got super popular, and this was their biggest hit, but they did last pretty long into the early 2000s.  I wasn't a big fan of this band, but I remember the song Joey very well and in my trucking years it played fairly often on the radio on the alt-rock and college stations I tuned into in those years as I cruised the interstate across the country.

Inside the Diner, we run a continuing thread with favorite Music Videos called the Diner Juke Box, and a while back I put up the Vevo Official Music Video of Joey.  But then in doing my general nightly music scan of old music I like to listen to periodically, I ran into another video with Joey as the tune behind it, put together by a fan with still images of their performances as the visual accompanyment.  What struck me in watching that video was the astonishing resemblance of the lead singer of Concrete Blonde Johnette Napolitano to another favorite singer of mine from the 60s, Janis Joplin.

I thought at first that Johnette was a lot younger than she actually is (she's still alive) and might have been the reincarnation of Janis, but after a bit of Google Research I discovered that Johnette is just about precisely my age, born just 22 days after me in 1957.

Then after doing more searching this time on You Tube directly instead of Google, I turned up yet another video version of Joey, a Live performance on Dennis Miller's show in 1992.  At this time, Johnette was 35 years old like me and garbed out in a mini-skirt and looking HOT!

Now, let's return to reality here.  How many 35 year old women can garb up in a mini-skirt and look this good?  It was a small number in the 1990's, and it's even smaller today.  MOST 35 year old women today look more like this:

http://i3.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article7458924.ece/ALTERNATES/s615b/PRODUCTION-Juliet-Canham.jpg

OK, maybe not that fat, but I could have Googled truly OBESE women (or men), of which there are many cruising the aisles at Walmart everyday. The percentage of highly attractive 35 year old people of either sex wandering around there is quite small these days, except on TV shows or in the Movies.

Call me SHALLOW if you want to, but I just do not have nor did I ever have any sexual attraction to a really FAT person.  Nor do I have any attraction to really UGLY people, OLD people or to really STUPID people either.  I am (or was) also highly conventional in my sexual attraction to others.  I wasn't "polysexual, "ambi-sexual", "multi-sexual" or any of the other modern New Age definitions of sexuality or gender identity, I was an old fashioned heterosexual.  Nowadays, I am an ASEXUAL, and we asexuals are given the short shrift overall in discussions of sexuality.  Which is kind of remarkable since there appear to be a growing number of asexual people out there.

Today, I find the whole idea of sex to be gross.  Even if I do see a female who is sexually appealing to my old self, then I think about all the rutting around and it grosses me out.  lol.  I can't even look at Movie Star quality females anymore and get sexually aroused by them.  I can't look at Nudie Pics of females in Porn Magazines without thinking about the gross and disgusting acts to be done in the process of having sex. lol. It's even worse if it's a hard core porn magazine depicting sex acts in graphic detail.  I haven't seen one of those in over a decade, but the last time I did I wanted to heave the technicolor yawn.

So anyhow, going back to the old days when I was being led around by the needs of my Johnson to get laid, my conventional sexual attraction to only females plus the fact I eliminated anyone who was FAT, UGLY, OLD, or STUPID, it of course seriously limited my choices in places I could put the Sausage when I got the urge.  Fortunately in my younger days I was sufficiently appealing myself to Quality Females that I managed to find a few who also met my standards.  Maybe about 50 different ones across my rutting lifespan, with most of those occuring between the ages of 18 & 30.  This cross-appeal issue does limit your selection, because not only does the female have to be sexually appealing to you, YOU have to be sexually appealing to HER too!  So if 1 in 20 females appeal to me, and I only appeal to 1 in 20 females, that means there is only a 1 in 400 chance of hooking up with the right female!  Those are actually pretty good odds overall, if you get FAT or get OLD & UGLY, it's more like only 1:1000 females would find you attractive,and only 1:1000 people would find them attractive, meaning it's a 1:1,000,000 chance the two of you would find each other to have blissful moments of rutting.

Today, I can't even IMAGINE any reasonably attractive female that would want to have sex with a decrepit old cripple like myself, even if I was interested in doing the rutting AND would pay her vast sums of money too. lol.  Going the other way, would I be the least bit interested in fucking the 60 year old Johnette Napolitano or Grace Slick or Patti Smyth of today?  Hell no!  They're all OLD BAGS now!  In my memories and in my dreams, they are still the hot young chicks they were in 1987 or even earlier, when we were all around 20-30 or so.  But today?  They're all somewhat better maintained then the average 60+ female, but still are saggy and wrinkly just like me!  Imagine a Porn Movie with 2 old wrinkly people as the Porn Stars. Would you go see this movie as a turn on or download it off the internet on Netflix?  Not a chance. This one dies a quick death at the Box Office.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/c6/e6/1a/c6e61a35b150c3f960bdc5e612109fc2.jpg

Not only that, but also the whole driver of procreation is no longer there either to rut with a 60 year old female, menopause is in the rear view mirror (OK, rarely women in their 60s are still fertile and get pregnant, the record on this one is around 70 by some Indian woman).  So, practical guy that I am, this whole bizness seems like a big waste of time & energy to me now.

Of course, some old married people keep their sex lives going long after the chicks have left the nest and long after their good looks are gone.  This I think is done through a combination of Nostalgia and Imagination.  Usually sex is done in the dark in bed, so you don't actually SEE the other person, except in your mind's eye, where you probably visualize them as they looked when you first married them.  So that is OK too for these folks, but on average as time goes by married people have less sex all the time.  When you're first married, you do it every night.  After 10 years of marriage, you probably are down to twice a week.  After 30 years of marriage, if you do it once a month that is probably a lot. lol.

Generally speaking as a biological function, sex is fun and appealing from around the time you reach puberty to maybe 50-60 years old, but after that it loses its appeal overall.  The best sex years are from around age 20-40 I think, although the early experimentation years are fun too.  After you have spent say 30 years doing it though, I don't see much point to it thereafter.  Your mileage may vary on this though.  lol.

Sex?  GOODBYE TO YOU!

Patty Smyth then…

…and Patty Smythe now…

Not bad for a woman in her 50s, but still not the Patty Smyth of 1982, which is the one I keep in my mind's eye.

How I Survived Collapse: Chapter 22

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on April 27, 2017

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Kenny pulled the van into the parking lot of the Red Bird Restaurant & Wine Bar, finding to his delight that it had electrical outlets for block heaters in the parking spaces.  Even though his two Deep Cycle Marine Batteries were usually fully charged just from driving around to do his landscaping, if he found an available outlet with free juice he would always plug in to top off the big batts as well as charge up all his smaller electronic devices with Li-I batts.  A full charge to the whole setup gave him a week at full normal usage for everything, and with reduced usage he could go 2 weeks to a month without any recharge at all, although he did have his solar PV panels and RV Wind Generators that could keep the system charged up most of the time if he was frugal in usage.

Kenny and Kirsten held hands as they walked across the parking lot to the entrance, past numerous Mercedes, Jaguars, Hummers and even a couple of Teslas.  At least half had a sticker price in the 6 figures, while he had only paid $5000 for his 2003 model Chevy Van in pristine condition from a Florist who only used it periodically for local deliveries.  The van was definitely the low rent car in a parking lot!

Walking into the restaurant slightly before the peak hours, it was only about 1/2 full of filthy rich Pigmen and Pigwomen dressed to the nines.  The Maitre d' greeted them warmly and seated them at a prime location table since they were dressed properly and were an attractive young couple.  Kirsten was also well known at the Red Bird since it was a favorite of her mother's while the big alimony checks were still coming in from her pigman dad, the Petroleum Engineer prior to his arrest.  Kirsten and her brother Kirk ate there about once a month with her on a weekend, when they weren't down in Houston for the bi monthly court ordered visits with dad.

Once seated, the Wine Steward came over and didn't even bother asking them for IDs, although as was typical for young college age who had not yet passed the magical 21 age for buying alcohol, they both carried fake IDs.  However, the wine steward had seen Kirsten in with her mother for many years, and he knew even when she was younger her mother would pour her some wine to go with dinner.

Kenny opened the Wine List, but never having frequented establishments like the Red Bird and not being a wine drinker, he was quite clueless, so he decided to let Kirsten make the choice.

"Kirsten, do you have a favorite?" he asked, holding his breath and saying a quick prayer that she wouldn't order the Loyola Howell Mountain 07 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley, priced out at a whopping $448 for a half bottle carafe.

"mmm, I think the L'Ecole Number #41 '11 Merlot from the Columbia Valley is pretty good.  Is that OK with you Kenny?" Kirsten asked.

Looking down the Wine list and finding it listed for the bargain price of $52 for a carafe, Kenny breathed a sigh of relief.  At least he wouldn't have to do 2 days worth of lawns just to pay for the wine!  "Sure, that sounds great Kirsten."

"OK Francois," Kirsten said addressing the wine steward, "we'll have the L'Ecole Number 41."

"Very good choice, Miss Kirsten.  I will bring it while you are looking over the dinner menu." he replied in  a fake french accent.  His real name was Frank and he came from Boise, ID, but he had put on the accent when he first applied for the job 10 years earlier and never dropped using it at work.

"Damn, this place is sure ritzy, Kirsten.  It's no Red Lobster, that's for sure!"

"Yea, this is how the "other half" eats, or actually the other 1%.  I'm not going to be eating in these places much more though,since my dad had his bank accounts frozen.", Kirsten replied, admitting to Kenny that her status as a little rich girl had changed.

"No kidding?" Kenny asked.  "What happened?"

"After the big Hurricane down in Houston his company went bankrupt.  Then during the Chapter 11 filing the government regulators found a lot of anomalies on the books, and he got charged with several securities frauds and violations of environmental regulations.  They locked him up for 20 years and all his assets were confiscated.", Kirsten replied.

"Wow!  I'm sorry to hear that Kirsten!  That must have been rough."

Kirsten shrugged her shoulders. "No not really.  My dad was an asshole.  The roughest part is for my mom, she's not getting the alimony anymore so shes going to have to sell our house here and move into a smaller place.  Fortunately the house is in her name, and so is the stock portfolio she got in the divorce settlement.  So she should be OK, just not living the high life anymore."

Kenny nodded.  "Yea, we went through kind of the same thing when my dad died, my mom also had to sell our house.  Of course it wasn't quite at the same level though.  But the money she gave me was enough to get my landscaping business going, and she's doing OK now in Spokane working for my Uncle the Dentist."

Francois came back to the table with the wine, smoothly pouring it into the fine crystal wine glasses.  "Shall I send your Waiter over to take your order for dinner?"

Kirsten laughed.  "Oh no, Francois!  We haven't even looked at the menu yet.  Give us about 5 minutes, OK?

"Certainly, no problem Miss Kirsten." he replied, walking back off to the Wine bar.

"Well, we better look in the menu and see what to order." Kirsten said opening up the booklet. "If you want to keep it cheaper, we can just order some appetizers off the Wine Bar menu." Kirsten offered in consideration of Kenny's wallet.

Kenny looked at the prices on the main dinner menu and they weren't too bad with entrees in the $30-40 range.  About double what he might pay at a Red Lobster, but at least from reading the menu and smelling the odors wafting in from the kitchen and other tables the food was going to be way more interesting.

"Nah, let's live it up! Like you said, we're probably not going to have too many more opportuities to eat food like this, especially after TSHTF!"

Kirsten giggled.  "Yea, who knows, tomorrow could be Doomsday!"

"So what's good?" Kenny asked.

"Oh, it's all good, just depends what kind of meat or fish you like.  The meal is served complete with the sides so all you need to decide is what kind of main dish you are in the mood for.  Do you want to order some appetizers too?" she asked.

"Definitely!" Kenny replied.  "Let's go the whole 9 yards!"

Taking a couple of minutes more each to make their decisions, they came up with 2 different appetizers and 2 main meals, so they could both share and have a taste of the other dishes.  Almost as if by magic as soon as they had made their decision, their waiter Nathan showed up at the table.  Like most professional wait staff at high end restaraunts, he kept his eye on all the tables in his section, and could quickly recognize the body language of the Diners when they were ready to order.

"Are you ready to order now, Miss Kirsten?" Nathan inquired, even though he knew the answer.  Asking the female at the table first what she would like also was standard protocol.

"Yes.  For an appetizer, I'll have the Charcuterie & Cheese Plate with the Beef Bresaola, Duck~Pear Pate, Manchego Cheese Puff, Aged Asiago, Grilled Bread and Mustardo.  For salad I will have the Mediterranean Grilled Octopus & Shrimp Salad with Chickpeas, Cucumber, Fennel, Baby Kale, fresh Herbs, Kalamata Olives, roasted Red Peppers with the Red Wine Vinaigrette dressing.  For dinner I will have the Montana Raised Grilled Lamb with the Pistachio, Mint, roasted Garlic and Honey crumble.  Also on the side the Roasted Okinawa Sweet Potatoes, Lamb Jus, grilled Vegetables." Kirsten replied, which Nathan punched in quickly to his Samsung 3.0S Tablet, which now substituted for the pad and paper he had used in earlier years.

"And you sir, what will you be for dinner?" Nathan asked, not yet knowing Kenny's name to file in his memory bank of customers, of which there were hundreds of regulars.

"My name's Kenny." Kenny replied before pitching out his order.  More friend and acquaintance making was important for building the SUN☼ Community after TSHTF.

"Pleased to meet you Mr. Kenny", Nathan replied in the formal fashion used by staff to address customers.

"I'll have the Pan Seared Scallops with the Butter seared Brussel Sprouts, Bacon, pickled Mushrooms, Butternut Squash coulis and Almond crumble for an appetizer.  For salad, I'd like the Farro Beef Salad with the Arugula, Orange, Candied Olive, Fennel, Grilled Beef, Walnut, Cucumber, Lemon, Olive Oil & Shaved Parmesan.  I'd like the Pork Three Ways with the Vanilla Bean brined Tenderloin, seared Belly and crisp roast Pork Croquette.  The Rhubarb Glacé, seared Greens, Tomato~Mustard Seed Relish on the side." Kenny replied, reading the list of food goodies off the menu.

"Oh excellent choice on the main dish Mr. Kenny." Nathan replied as he punched this order into the tablet.  We have a new pork supplier from Texas who is supplying us with organically raised Mangalitsa Pig meat, which is the sweetest and juiciest available.  I am sure you will enjoy it."

"That sounds terrific Nathan! Can't wait to have a taste!" Kenny replied, and he was genuinely salivating now at the prospect of the meal.  The only problem would be packing all that food into his stomach at one sitting.He wondered if high end restaurants made doggie bags if you couldn't finish the meal?

"So, what's the latest in the world of Collapse Kenny?", Kirsten asked to get some dinner conversation going while waiting for the appetizers to be brought out by the wait staff.

"Well, first off we have a plan for bringing more people out to our SUN☼ Community once TSHTF." Kenny responded, reaching into his wallet and handing Kirsten the Level 1 Biz Card with all the contact information on it.  "This is the top level of contact information only for very trusted friends.  Keep it safe and don't pass on this information without talking to us first." he added, handing her the card.

"So does this mean I'll actually get to see your place and Karl's next time we go out?" Kirsten asked.

"Yea, probably the weekend after this one if you're not busy. Would have been this weekend except for getting the email from my mom." Kenny replied, keeping his white lie going for his excuse for begging off from the weekend with Kirsten to spend alone time with Karen.

"Oh sure!  That would be terrific Kenny!" Kirsten replied in her typically effusive manner.  "I can't wait to see how real Kollapsniks live!  I really liked Karen too, and Karl is very cool for an old guy!  He sure was amazing with that sling demonstration.  I never saw anything like that."

"Yea, me either actually.  I've watched a lot of YouTube vids on this and practiced a fair amount, but I could never pull off a stunt like that.  Must have taken him years to develop that skill." Kenny agreed.  "Also, I may be hooking up with Kareem and his organization.  Do you remember Kareem from High School?"

Kirsten laughed.  "Remember him?  Who could forget somebody 7' tall?  And 'organization'?" she giggled.  "I think you mean 'Gang'.  Everybody in Missoula knows Kareem and his buddies run Ganja and Prostitutes.  Kind of a tough bunch of folks to hook up with, don't you think?"

Kenny nodded, with a grin.  " 'Organization is the polite word'.  'Gang' has very negative word baggage associated with it.  But yes, it's a gang, but as gangs go I know several of the people besides Kareem who are in it, Hawk is in it and I dated his sister Sparrow in High School.  I think Kim is in it too, and he was in my Computer Programming class.  Fucking genius.  So I don't think they are bad guys, just guys from the wrong side of the tracks who are trying to get by in a world of collapse."

Holy Guacamole! My Excellent Mexican CHEAP Dinner Recipes

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on April 23, 2017

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The general focus of the SNAP Card Gourmet series is to find ways to feed yourself with "relatively" healthy food at a price you can afford on a SNAP Card budget, which generally comes in the neighborhood in the FSoA right now of $140 per person, or somewhere around $5/day.  So whenever I write one of these SNAP Card Gourmet posts, I try to stay inside this parameter of $5/day for your nutrition needs.  This meal goes a bit over the target price, but it's a huge meal and you could shrink it some to stay inside the $5 target.

In this episode of TSCG, we're going to discover how to make a fabulous Mexican style meal for 4 people, coming in around $6/per person.  There's very little in the way of "real cooking" in this recipe, it mostly uses off the shelf frozen or canned foods, along with some fresh veggies, like Avocados for your Guacamole.  You can of course make it somewhat healthier if you make your Burritos and Chimichangas from scratch, but it won't be any cheaper.  In fact it will probably be more expensive that way.  So this falls under the category of cheap and filling calories, but not too high on the Nutrition scale.  It also falls under the category of EZ to prepare, you only need a Microwave and a couple of pots on a double burner electric hotplate.  So if you are wedged into a Section 8 one room Bates Motel with your wife (or husband) and 2 kids, you can probably cook up this meal and save a lot of money off the cost of the same thing at a Taco Bell, Chipotle or Qdoba, where it will cost you around $12-16.

The meal starts with the main entree of either two Burritos, Chimichangas, or Enchiladas your choice there.  They come in packages of 8 from El Monterey for around $5.00 around here, probably somewhat cheaper in the lower 48.

http://www.elmonterey.com/shared/2014/04/8-ct-family-pack-beefandbean-burrito.png

To these frozen delights, prior to microwaving you spruce them up with slices of cheddar cheese, around $4.00 for an 8 oz package which you lay over the top of them so it melts over the Burrito.  You might want to use Pepper Jack cheese instead, your choice. You further add calories to this by serving with a dollop of Sour Cream, a pint of which comes in around $3.00.

The real piece de resistance is your Guacamole, which you make from 2 avocados mashed up and a package of Guacamole mix so you don't have to buy all the separate spices like cilantro and lime, etc.  $4.00 for the Avocados, $1 for the mix, total $5.00 for the guacamole.  You can sometimes get avocados cheaper than this on sale.

https://www.californiaavocado.com/cmspages/getfile.aspx?guid=c9815aa2-bd0b-4442-9e00-178a5498dbcd

A bottle of Salsa, another $3.  You'll probably have left over Salsa to use in another meal, but we'll count the whole cost of the bottle here.

Your final addition to the meal can be either refried beans at $1/can, 2 cans probably enough but if you have big eaters maybe 3 cans.  Other choice would be Black Beans & Rice, which comes in around the same price of $3.

Total cost for the meal per person is $6, which is over the SNAP Card benchmark of $5, but for a once a week Mega Meal, not too far over and you can easily make up for it through the rest of the week with some days of cheaper eating, like making spaghetti or peanut butter sandwiches, etc.  To be honest for myself, this would be 2-3 days of meals for me, not one.  I am perennially eating more leftovers than I do freshly cooked meals these days.

Since the meal is pretty heavy on the Calories but thin on the Vitamins, you're also going to want to be sure to take a multi-vitamin with it, which adds maybe 50 cents to each serving depending on the quality of vitamins you buy and the size of the container.  Vitamins always need to be accounted for in your total SNAP card budget for the month, and one should always try to buy the largest size and have it last a few months than buying smaller sizes every month, it comes in cheaper that way.  Vitamins keep a long time, you don't need to worry about them going bad.

In the next episode of the SNAP Card Gourmet, we'll look at a much HEALTHIER style of eating and which takes no cooking whatsoever.  It's also one of the few meal types you can put together for a single person without ending up with tons of leftovers you need to eat every day for a week so you can work through it all.  I call this the "Endless Salad".

Until then, Bon Apetite Diners!

How I Survived Collapse: Chapter 21

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on April 21, 2017

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After work on Wednesday, Kenny dropped his trailer at the Storage Unit, then headed over in the Stealth Van to Target, which also actually was in a strip mall on his parking list because there was also a 24/7 Mickey D's in a separate building on the corner for drive-thrus, but utilising the same parking lot.  It was always better to have a real toilet facility available for middle of the night emergencies, rather than using his shit bucket while in town.  That left you with the waste disposal problem and the cleanup of the bucket, so the Van didn't end up stinking like shit after a while.  He did use a liner in the bucket, usually the Oil Polymer Shopping bags that the stores provided when you bought mechandise, they fit pretty perfectly into a 5 gallon bucket.  Still, there was always some cleanup to be done and it was time consuming.  It made life much more convenient and easier if you could just go into a public bathroom and flush the toilet and send your shit to the Great Beyond of the local Sewage Treatment plant.  No muss, no fuss, and FREE toilet paper! Besides, on each of these trips he would fill up a quart size container with the city water, then pour it into his 5 gallon water container in the van to keep it topped off with potable water that didn't need purification, filtering or boiling.  There was always a slight Chlorine odor to this purified city water, but it was tolerable.

On his way to the Men's Clothing area in the gargantuan Superstore, Kenny cruised through the Camping Department to see if there was some prep he didn't already have worth buying but couldn't find anything really cool, so just settled for buying a couple of packages of Firestarters from Coughlan's.  He couldn't walk through the prep cornucopia currently on the shelves and not buy ANYTHING.  His addiction to prepping was too strong, and as far as the one time use items like firestarters, you could never stockpile enough of those!  Same with Mountain House Freeze Dried foods and quart size cannisters of propane.  If any of these items were ON SALE, he couldn't resist purchasing them, even though his 10'X20' Storage Unit was already bursting at the seams with this stuff.

After exiting the Camping Department, he mozied over to the Automotive department to see if there was some 12V Electric hardware he might be able to use after TSHTF, and saw ON SALE a modified sine wave 140W Inverter for only $12!  That was a MUST BUY, especially since it was the only one left on the shelf.  140W was plenty to run his laptop as well as a few diode lights in the van simultaneously, and most of the time he did not need more electricity than this.  Only if he was using or charging up some of his power tools did he need a bigger inverter than that.  However, he did have in his preps some larger inverters, in case he needed to power a refrigerator or power tools that a 140W inverter could not handle.  He tried to keep in his preps inverters of various load capacities to maximize the efficiency of the system, based on the load he was drawing.  It was very inefficient to use a really powerful 1000W inverter if all the power you were drawing was 100W!  The small modified sine wave inverters were CHEAP, and he could have many of them.  Pure Sine Wave Inverters were EXPENSIVE, and for the most part except for a few specialized functions really not necessary.  Working with a relativey limited amount of cash for his total prepping, Kenny was always careful to get the most bang for the buck he could.

Heading over to the Konsumer Electronics department, Kenny wanted to look for any cool new electronics that might help in his prepping, but got way laid on this when he ran into his old flame from HS, Sparrow, the Lakota who was Eagle's little sister.  He was looking at new High Speed micro-SD cards that would work with his new Sony Cybershot Mark V pocket camera, which he bought to start making Pics and Vids to send to RE on the Doomstead Diner documenting their ongoing SUN☼ Community building project.  Just as he was looking at a 128 Gig Lexar card, Sparrow tapped him on the shoulder, causing him to jump a bit.  Getting physically tapped was even more disconcerting than the phone calls he was now getting, disturbing his Wa. Turning around and seeing it was Sparrow who tapped his shoulder and not store Gestapo Security or worse the FBI relaxed his nerves.

"Hey Sparrow! Nice to see you!" Kenny said with a big smile.  Sparrow was just as pretty as ever, and wearing her own home sewn clothing as she always did.  It even featured some native beadwork that her grandmother had taught her, although it was very small and did not overwhelm the dress to make an in your face statement, just enough to pay homage to her heritage. "What are you up to these days?"

"I'm in the Nursing program at Missoula State University.  I just matriculated into the major and should graduate with a bachelor's degree in Nursing in 2 more years.  That is, if TS DOES NOT HTF before then, of course." she said with a wink.  After almost a year of dating Kenny during High School, Sparrow was fully aware of his Kollapsnik take on the future.

"Wow, that's GREAT Sparrow!" Kenny replied.  "Nursing skills are going to be very important after TSHTF. You would be a very valuable member of any community.".  Kenny was comfortable talking this way with Sparrow, since they had discussed such things many times during the time they were dating.  Sparrow never said too much, she mostly just listened, but she was a wonderful girl to talk to because she did listen. "How are you paying for school though?  Are you taking out student loans?  Going into deep dept to get a degree these days is pretty risky."

"Oh no, no debt.  I have a Full Ride Scholarship from the Terminators that covers everything beyond the scholarships I got from the Lakota Council and my National Merit Scholarship based on my PSAT test scores.  I can't tell you how greatful I am to you for all the help you gave me in preparing for that exam, I never could have done so well without your help.  Everybody thinks you got a perfect score on the SATs, is that really true?" she asked.

Kenny laughed. "People keep asking me about that stupid test.  The secret will go with me to my grave, unless the ETS database is hacked or my mom spills the beans." he replied.

Sparrow giggled. "Mr. Secretive as always.  Just be honest for a change and cough it up!" she replied, in a more assertive manner than Kenny had ever heard from her before.  It was a bit disconcerting, because Kenny did not like to be thought of as dishonest, especially by friends. Sparrow had clearly changed psychologically since High School, if not all that much physically since they dated.

"I also heard from Eagle that you might be joining up with the Terminators.  He said you met with Kareem to talk about it.  Is that true?  That would really be GREAT!", Sparrow said flashing a big smile.

"Not sure yet on that one Sparrow.  I have to talk with my people first, and then meet with the Terminators.  But I do think it could be a very beneficial partnership, so I hope it works out.", Kenny replied sincerely.

"Well, I sure hope it does.", Sparrow replied. "Well, I gotta go.  I got finals coming up here and a lot of studying to do tonight.  If you do meet up with the Terminators, I'll show up to give my support. I'm not an official Terminator because the gang is all Male, but because I am Eagle's sister I get a lot of respect.  Not that they always listen because they are a bunch of stupid macho males, but I do my best to keep them from being too big of assholes.", Sparrow remarked sarcastically.

"OK Sparrow, I hope the meeting does go through and I will be glad to have your backing in developing a partnership.  We'll just have to see how it goes."

Sparrow gave Kenny a kiss on the cheek and walked off toward the checkout counters, and Kenny got the pangs of nostalgia you always get when you run into an old flame.  But now there were two new flames in his life, and he needed to pickup the right outfit for fancy dinners, so he pushed his shopping cart on down the aisle to the Men's Wear Department.

Looking at the photos he had Googled up of people eating in fancy restaurants, he had decided to go with a Blue Blazer and Gray Dress Pants, with Black Dress Shoes. He picked up a black leather belt for the pants, looking for a sturdy one that could be useful as a prep.  There were ties in a variety of designs, and he picked a pre-knotted Tie since he wasn't entirely sure if he could still tie a good Windsor knot, which he was never very good at anyhow since he so rarely got dressed up in this kind of get up during his life.  A few Weddings, Funerals and his High School Graduation were the only times he had ever garbed himself this way, and it was always uncomfortable.  It was tough for him to imagine how the Suits on Wall Street dressed themselves this way every day.  He also picked up a Fake Gold Wristwatch and Fake Silver Tie Pin in the Jewelry department to fill out the "look", and ended up spending more than he planned coming in at $271.82 after he scanned it all in at the self-checkout register.  He chalked it up as a necessary expense though for further development of the SUN☼ Community.  Even more important though, it would help in getting laid! 🙂

With all his purchases encased in a few polymer plastic shopping bags which would eventually serve as liners for his shit bucket, Kenny headed out to the van to get a good night's sleep before tackling his work for the next day, which included 3 small suburban lawns to mow, as well as a few more tree limbs to perform surgery on Dave The Doctor's property and chop up into mulch.  A solid day's work that would net around $300, which would pay off what he had spent on fancy clothes.

Kenny rose early to get going on the day, hitting the Missoula Fitness Club for his morning workout and shower, and then back to the storage facility to hook up his trailer with his landscaping equipment.  It was a rather annoying day with light rainfall, making the grass cutting quite difficult, with his zero turn mower getting regularly clogged up.  By the end of the day he was pretty well soaked to the bone.  However, after dropping off the trailer again at the storage facility and getting a nice hot shower at the fitness club and dressing up in the new Dress for Success clothing, he felt refreshed and ready for his date with Kirsten, and got on the road to the campus of Missoula State University to pick her up around 5:30PM for their 6PM Reservation for dinner.  Since he still had ample time, he decided to bring the Stealth Van over to a Car Wash facility to get it cleaned and spruced up also, forking over an extra $20 for a wax & tire job so it would really SPARKLE!  Of course it did not sport the nice Mercedes or Tesla Model X look of a successful bizman, but at least it didn't look like the dipshit muddied up work vehicle which it was most of the time.  Besides, he wasn't going to pay for Valet Parking, so the Maitre d' would not see the vehicle anyhow.  It was mainly to impress Kirsten that he was a clean and well organized man who she could depend on.

When the slaves at the car wash got finished Waxing the sheet metal and scrubbing the tires and pasting tire shine oil polymers over them, Kenny sent a text over the SMS network to Kirsten, telling her he would be at the front door to her dorm in about 15 minutes.  She responded quickly that she would be ready and down in the lobby, and give a honk on the horn when he arrived.

Upon arrival, Kenny gave a honk on the horn, and Kirsten came out covered by an automatic folding Totes Umbrella manufactured in China, and then scooted herself into the passenger seat.

"Wow Kirsten, you look GREAT!" Kenny effused, complimenting her getup.  The tiny ex-gymnast and rock climber was fit out in a white silk blouse with billowy gauze sleeves, with a green vest that disguised her flat chest, although she had stuffed her padded bra with some toilet paper to make it look like she had at least A size tits, a common fix among flat chested gymnasts. Complimenting this was a short skirt and 3" spike heels to at least get her past the 5' mark in total height, which she hated wearing because afterward stretching her calf muscles back out was somewhat painful, but it was more elegant and also better to look somewhat taller.

"You look GREAT too Kenny!  You should suit up more often, you could be a male model!", Kirsten joked.

"Yea, maybe they will photograph me in an Armani suit with a chainsaw in one hand and an AR-15 in the other for the cover of Survivalist Magazine" Kenny joked back, lightening up the conversation.

Not to be outdone, Kirsten came back with her own quickie joke.

"Nah, you should pose NUDE with a Chainsaw in one hand and an AR-15 in the other, that would really get some attention!" she said with a giggle.

Bested on this reparte,  Kenny bowed out gracefully.

"Uhhh, no, I think I'll pass on that one." he replied.

12 Step Plan for a Better Tomorrow on Planet Earth

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on April 18, 2017

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12 Steps to a Practical & Achievable Program for a Better Tomorrow

In the We Need Peace thread Inside the Diner begun by Diner JoW, Diner JRM said I don't provide practical solutions for resolving the problems that Homo Sap faces.  This after I accused him of that same issue, and basically only providing Woo-Woo and Poetry as a solution.

I have of course provided practical ideas on many occassions, not to mention the fact I both founded and fund the SUN☼ Project.  I don't have a high regard for people who just pitch out Negative Waves without providing some sort of solution to the problems they see.  So I always try to do this, although granted we have any number of "predicaments" which do not lend themselves to EZ or painless solutions. 🙁

My ideas however are sprinkled willy-nilly over 5 years of Diner posting in many different threads, and are somewhat difficult to track down despite trying to keep this database fairly organized over the time period.  I personally have more than 25,000 posts up, that's a lot to sift through (that is NOT including my Blog articles, which generally are much longer expositions on topics that are brought up inside the Diner and need a more detailed examination).  So I thought this might be a good opportunity to provide a Reader's Digest version of a 12-Step Program for a Better Tomorrow on Planet Earth, so Diners are all aware of my Plan and we can rest this idea that I don't have a plan permanently.  I digested this down to 3000 words, which is doing real good for me! 🙂  So now, without further ado, here's THE PLAN! icon_sunny

————

12 STEP PLAN FOR A BETTER TOMORROW ON PLANET EARTH

Step #1-  Die Off of 99.9% of the Population of Homo Saps

This resolves a lot of problems, from overuse of the land and ocean to the amount of carbon we put up in the atmosphere.  It won't significantly hurt the genetic diversity of Homo Sap, there will still be 7.3M meat packages walking the earth at any given time, which was more than enough for most of human history and should be plenty moving into the future.  No official extermination plan needs to be concocted for this, the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse will do the job without direction as they always have in the past.  They are very dependable.

Step #2-  Elimination/Extermination of the Greedy Elite still left standing

In order to make sure the same mistakes of the past are not repeated, the folks who ran the last show into the ground need to be eliminated.  This does require active decision making on who is most guilty and what sort of punishment they deserve for Crimes Against Humanity.  Is merely sentencing them to being Humanure collectors for the rest of their years walking the earth as a corporeal meat package enough punishment, or do they need to be dispatched to the Great Beyond in the most agonizingly painful and long lasting way we can conjure up?  For this we will need a legitimate Judicial System and Court of the Inquisition.  No Pigman should have his Journey to Hell expedited without Due Process of Law.  We need to take the Moral High Ground here on this.  No Lynchings on the Lamp Posts still standing!  No pushing them off balconies of empty skyscrapers either!  No Feeding them to the Lions! (if there are any left)  At least not until the High Court has handed down its decision and the last appeal has been exhausted.

Step #3- Replacement of the old Elite with a new Elite of Homo Saps with a High Wisdom Quotient

We will need to design a Standardized Test for Ecological & Economic Wisdom, testing various wannabee Elites for their knowledge of the biosphere and how to maintain it in a sustainable manner, as well as how to economically distribute the produce in a fair manner.  There will need to be Checks & Balances and Watchdogs to ensure the new Elite do not become as corrupt as the old Elite. Since there will be no monetary reward for being a member of the Elite (see Step #4), this should be less of a problem in the future of  a Better Tomorrow.

Step #4-  Elimination of Money and substitution of a Potlatch or "Gift" Economy

Distribution of the wealth the society is able to extract at a sustainable rate from the patch of land they occupy will be done by gifting each citizen with an equal portion of that produce.  Citizens will be required to work for their share of the produce, in some form.  If they are disabled and incapable of physical work, they will be required to do tedious accounting work to keep track of all the numbers, or perhaps do arbitration work resolving disputes, or write books, tell stories, make music, etc.  If they are mentally incapacitated and can't handle difficult numerical or social issues and have no artistic ability, they will need to do physical labor of digging holes and fixing housing every time it gets knocked down by the latest extreme weather event. If they cannot do either physical or intellectual labor, they will be gifted with nothing and die of starvation.

Step #5-  Migration to Upper Latitudes and Altitudes

For the 0.1% of the remaining population of Homo Saps, it will be necessary to migrate to Survival Zones on Earth where wet bulb temperatures remain within the range that both HS and the plants and animals they depend on can survive.  In the Northern Hemisphere, this includes neighborhoods like Scandinavia, Siberia, Alaska, Northern Canada, Nunavut and Nova Scotia. Coastal Greenland also might be habitable if it has enough clearance above current sea level, say 10' as a starter. In the Southern Hemisphere, less available land mass in the upper latitudes, perhaps Argentina and Southern Australia until the Ice Sheets melt off of the Antarctic Continent, at which time that might become colonizable.  That will take some time though, those ice sheets are quite thick.

Also possible survival zones in lower latitudes may be found at higher altitudes.  Spots in the Rocky Mountains, the Andes, the Alps, the Sierra Nevada, the Appalachians, the Urals and the Himalayas may provide Lifeboats for a few isolated tribes of Homo Saps.  Depending on latitude, anywhere from 3000' to 6000' might be enough to keep the temps within reason, while still providing enough Oxygen to survive.  Nobody will be surviving above around 27,000' though, you won't find a tribe living on top of K-2 or Everest.  That's the Death Zone.  Even 20,000' is rather dicy.  Call the survivable locations between 3000' and 12,000' in the Middle Latitudes.  Equatorial regions are Unsafe at Any Altitude. (thank you Ralph Nader) The new Death Zone.

Step # 6-  Alternative Food Production

This will take place over time during the migrations.  Greenhouses will be built using Scavenged glass from McMansions and Carz, and seeds carried by migrating Homo Saps will be first planted in the controlled climates of the greenhouses, then dispersed for outdoor growing once the climate warms sufficiently for those plants to thrive in the upper latitudes.  Birds and land mammals will also migrate northward, carrying seeds from more southern plants in their gut, and the entire ecosystem will migrate northward in this way.

Similarly, fish species currently found in equatorial waters will migrate north or south, eventually to end up in the Arctic Ocean or in the sea surrounding Antarctica.  When the carbon begins to be resequestered and it's possible once again for Shellfish to form shells as Ocean pH begins to go up again, a New Great Barrier Reef will grow from coral around the coast of Antarctica.

Step #7- New Goobermints

New Goobermints will form up in the given locations of the surviving Homo Saps.  With much smaller populations widely separated in geographical space, the populations will be no larger than 10,000 Human Souls.  Various forms of Goobermints will be tried during the spin down as the societies shrink in size, including Fascism, Communism and neo-Feudalism incorporating Slavery.  All will fail, with the final system being neo-Tribal, with the communities being Gooberned by the Elders of the tribe related to other members by no more than 2 degrees of separation, and so concerned with their well-being.

Step #8- Procreation and Population Control

Rules and Taboos will be put in place and enforced on procreation.  Tribal permissions will be required in order to marry and procreate.  Difficult to pass "Rites of Passage" will be implemented at Puberty and only those who pass the tests will have procreation rights.  Once carrying capacity for the land has been established and reached by the population, new procreation rights will only be issued out when a tribal member dies, leaving an open seat at the table.  Children conceived while the Tribe is at carrying capacity will be aborted or exposed after birth, unless an Elder member of the tribe who is sick or otherwise ready to go to the Great Beyond volunteers to do so and offers his/her life in exchange for the newborn infant.

Step #9  Animal Treatment

With a highly dispersed population of Homo Saps, most animals will live in the wild and be hunted for meat.  Ceremonies will be performed when an animal is caught and killed for it's meat to Honor the life of that animal.

A few domesticated animals will be kept for production of Milk and Eggs mainly, although Wool also from sheep is good fiber to work with for making clothing and blankets.  Domesticated animals will be treated humanely and given good room in a barn to shelter in and not be overcrowded to pass diseases around.  Such animals dispatched to the Great Beyond for meat also will be given a Ceremony on death to Honor their contribution to the life of the Tribe.

Step #10- Medicine and Health Care

All members of the Tribe will have equal access to what medicines and repairs are still possible to do.  This does NOT include operations like Heart Transplants or Kidney Dialysis, nor does it include keeping alive severely deformed infants.  Even Diabetes is probably not treatable, as to get the constant supply of insulin necessary you would need to slaughter too many pigs.  Minor operations like appendectomies may still remain possible, as well as setting broken bones and sewing up major wounds.  Dentistry limited to preventative maintenance (tooth and gum cleaning), extractions and building of Dental Appliances to assist those with lost teeth in chewing, made from the teeth of dead animals or dead Homo Saps with some good teeth left.  However, mostly people with no teeth left will eat soft foods like soft cheese which melts in your mouth, sour cream and butter for fats, mashed potatoes for carbs, fruits and berries which crush easily with just your gums, soft boiled eggs and broths rich in animal protein made from boiling left over bones from large animals, fish & chicken, their internal organs as well as discarded vegetable matter. Meat can be ground to an easily digestible consistency.  Liver pâté also very good 🙂  I prefer pâté made with chicken livers, but braunschweiger made from pig liver is also pretty good.   Nuts and other crunchy foods will be crushed with a Mortar & Pestle and the powder added to the mashed potatoes along with grated cheese for a more nutritious and tasty dish. (I am an expert on eating with few teeth 😀 )

There will be no cost for the medical care, as of course there is no money.  Providers of medical care will have this as their primary work, rather than digging holes, gathering foods or crunching the numbers on the latest harvest.

Step #11- Education & Knowledge Retention and Advancement

Current Paper books will be kept in Sacred Libraries, protected from the elements as best as possible given the technology that still exists and handled with care by all readers. Librarians will be charged with the task of keeping the books organized and searchable, and making sure the readers handle them with care. Paper and Inks made from naturally occuring dyes is possible sustainably, although not in anywhere near the quantites it is produced today.  To utilize the paper being produced effectively and efficiently it will need to be rationed, so anyone who wants to write down his thoughts/ideas will need to demonstrate their value first by explaining them orally and/or diagramming them out on a renewable surface such as scratching it into the dirt or using a chalkboard.  You will need a source of chalk for this of course.

All children will be taught to read and write and do math so that it is possible for them later to record their thoughts and ideas this way, as well as do other helpful tasks for the tribe such as the aforementioned Accounting, as well as Engineering tasks like building Bridges, Windmills, etc.  They will also need this ability in order to access to the body of knowledge stored in the Sacred Libraries.

However, given the overall shortage of paper, the primary form of retaining knowledge from Generation to Generation will be through Oral Tradition.  So there will be a nightly exercise in memory practice, and stories, poems and music will be recited from memory by elders in the tribe, and after repetition over many years, at the time of the Rites of Passage will need to be repeated by the Acolyte in order to get reproductive rights.  This is only one of many tests that must be passed in the Rites of Passage.  Others include the Test for Survival, where the Acolyte is sent out into the Wilderness for a year with just a knife and clothing and a week's worth of food, and must come back alive at the end of the year.  You don't survive this, obviously you do not get to reproduce.  It's a risk you take. A tribal member can elect not to take these tests and continue to live with the tribe, but will not ever earn reproductive rights.

Step #12- Spirituality & Religion

A discussion of the spiritual connection with the Universe we can discern with our senses as well as what cannot be discerned this way will be encouraged in each member of the tribe.  There will be no specific dogma attached, but a Weekly meeting will be held where all members of the Tribe discuss with each other their beliefs and their take on Existence, God, the Afterlife, Good & Evil etc.  There will be Taboos in place against Tribal members Napalming each other or making Ad Hom arguments in these discussions. lol.

———-


OK!  That is my 12 Step Program for a Better Tomorrow, which I think is practical and realistically achievable given the parameters we are currently faced with.  Is it an IDEAL solution?  Well obviously not if you won't consider a 99.9% Die Off of Homo Saps as part of your solution.  However, I don't see any realistic way possible to steer clear of such a die off anymore, so that is a parameter I have to work with in creating the rest of the solution.  Then I have other parameters like what the technologies I think can be maintained are and what patches of the Earth surface I think might still be decent Survival Zones.  Overall, this limits you quite a bit in making a realistic assessment of the situation.

Things I do not see as very realistic are:

1- All of Humanity will all of a sudden wake up from their collective stupor and become environmentally conscious and active and will sacrifice their current standard of living (measured in terms of things like electricity on demand, happy motoring, thick and juicy ribeye steaks on the table etc.) in order to maintain a sustainable system for all at a lower economic standard (which for 7.3B people, would have to be quite low).

2- All of Humanity will all of a sudden grasp the futility of War and Peacefully coexist on the planet, sharing the resources left equitably.  Homo Saps have NEVER done that in all of recorded history, and I see no indication they will start now.  The highest likelihood here is there will be fights over the resources until the population has been knocked down sufficiently that what resources remain or are renewable are enough for the remaining population, and their ability to make war on each other is significantly reduced by lack of resources with which to pursue such wars on a Global Scale.

3- A movement with no Leadership and no plan for how to rebuild society can possibly arise spontaneously with agreement from the majority of the population of the earth.  Most of the people ambulatory right now are completely clueless, and without leadership to explain the problems to these dummies in a way they can understand as well as provide them enough food to meet their daily needs, you simply have no chance of success here.  They will latch on to whatever leader pops up and promises them a good job and food on the table.  These folks always pop up in such times, see Trumpty-Dumpty for this.

I am not into Woo-Woo solutions that don't address the real problems before us.  It's all well and good to be at peace with yourself and develop a philosophy that is "intimate" with Nature and that encourages Peace, Love and Understanding between all Homo Saps, but it's not realistic at all that this will spontaneously and suddenly appear in huge populations of people that currently positively HATE each other, including but not limited to Sunnis vs Shiites, Christians vs Muslims, Pakistanis vs Indians, Han Chinese vs Uyghurs, Jews vs Arabs, Blacks vs Whites etc, etc, etc.  These folks are not destined to Love each other.  They are destined to KILL each other.  That's the reality, as uncomfortable as it might be.

Despite this unfortunate set of parameters, this does NOT mean that Homo Sap will go Extinct in the Near Term, nor does it mean that all Knowledge we have gained over the millenia will be lost either.  It does leave open the possibility or even likelihood that after such a massive crash, remaining Homo Saps will gain a better understanding of their close relationship with Nature, and develop new societies with better "Human Nature", which overall is really a social construct more than it is biologically determined by genetics, IMHO.  Evidence for this is that societies prior to the Age of Agriculture had far different norms in terms of their behaviors, and even in today's world there is huge variation in "Human Nature" between societies.  Asian Cultures for instance have a much different attitude toward "Face" and how you are perceived by others than Western society does.  We can change, we can adapt, but it's not going to happen in time to stem a massive die off of the current population, which has to occur anyhow because the overall ecosystem is just too stressed by too many Homo Sap meat packages walking the earth at the same time.  Somebody's gotta GO here, and go they will.

https://static5.comicvine.com/uploads/original/3/35816/1686263-the_four_horsemen_of_the_apocalypse.jpg

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have saddled up and they are riding.  I hear the distant thunder every day, pounding through the earth from places like Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia.  Those Hoofbeats will arrive too in the 1st World, and then whoever is left standing will have 2 choices left.

1- To lay down and die with the rest of the dead Homo Saps.

2- To Buckle down and Build a Better Tomorrow.

I will take Door #2 Monte.

http://www.retroland.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Lets-Make-a-Deal.jpg

Or in the words of my literary idol and hero…

http://quotes.lifehack.org/media/quotes/quote-Hunter-S.-Thompson-when-the-going-gets-weird-the-weird-722.png

 

Clan of the Copyright Bear III

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on April 15, 2017

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Prior articles on this topic:   Clan of the Copyright Bear   Clan of the Copyright Bear Revisited

 

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/_X4m6D06X_kM/R7D3uOmHekI/AAAAAAAAAFo/gQYUAZVuoE0/s320/caravan.jpeg Yesterday I cross posted the last part of Allan Stromfeldt Christensen's (ASC) 6 part Music series, which mainly was a paean to his favorite music band, Fanfare Ciocârlia.  It's a bunch of Gypsies who are not real big commercial successes (although doing OK since there is a Wiki entry about them), and besides their type of music is dying for other economic reasons in the neighborhood it developed.  So the series had Collapse Relevance because of that, and was worth cross posting on the Diner.

ASC has a few idiosyncracies, among them he rejects watching any video these days after studying to be a filmmaker, or "filmer" as he refers to it on his Blog From Filmers to Farmers.  He also switched himself off the internet for a number of years, and as he notes in this series even stopped collecting any music, although he got forced to listen to it in elevators. lol.  However, he mellowed out on the internet and now runs his own blog, and he is collecting and listening to Gypsie Music again too!  So we got this 6 part paean to Fanfare Ciocarlia as result.  Embedded in this last part though is a discussion of copyright issues, which I brought up years ago in an article I wrote, Clan of the Copyright Bear.  I linked above to that article which I reposted on the Diner years after I actually wrote it during the Napster Era, but I am not going to quote from it or even re-read it now, to attempt to respond just to what he wrote in this article in a fresh manner.  I did send him the link to Clan of the Copyright Bear though sometime back, and this portion is clearly a response to that:

Somewhat similarly, it’s been pointed out to me while writing this series that the practice of copyrighting music is a rather recent one, and that in times previous to when even sheet music was around the traditional way in which musicians made their money – i.e. living – was via giving performances. It was then suggested to me that since copyrighting music stems the traditional free flow of music (“stealing” music) and since by these traditional standards charging over and over again for the performance of a particular piece of recorded music is absurd, ripping music off of YouTube is therefore justified. Can the aforementioned Gypsy saying be interpreted to justify this theft of recorded music? As far as I can see it, absolutely not.

One issue with recorded music is that by unavoidably placing it in a physical format – be it on parchment, plastic, zeroes and ones, whatever – investment is required for the recording, mastering, the medium itself, etc. This costs money, and as opposed to performances, most of the proceeds from sales of recorded music is siphoned off by middle men. In effect, to a certain extent recorded music is little more than an advertisement for the performances of musicians since this is where their living is predominantly made.

So while the aforementioned Gypsy saying was inferring that one “steals” influences from far and wide – as opposed to stealing whatever one wants – the simple fact of the matter is that music is by no means a biological necessity like food (which in some cases can be justified stealing), and if one really has a problem with copyrights on recorded music or recorded music in general then rather than refusing to hand over one’s money the simple thing to do would be to refuse to hand over one’s ears; or, simply grab an instrument and play music on one’s own or with friends and family – the “traditional way”.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/cd/a0/88/cda088b74031db5eca744d4bbf745011.jpg Now, first off, at least in recent years (the last 40 or so) it hasn't taken a whole lot of investment to make a physical recording of music.  Going back to the Cassette Tape player era, I brought my cassette recorder into concerts I went to and made bootleg tapes so I could listen to the concert again later. I PAID for that concert!  $10 in 1970s dollars!  The investment cost here for doing this recording was $100 for the cassette recorder from Radio Shack and another $3 for a TDK 90 minute tape cassette.  Primitive of course compared to now, but with the Dolby and the general tendency of vinyl of the era to get scratched up, actually a bit better than the vinyl in terms of durability.

http://musicmall.hu/3578-home_default/tascam-dr-05-v2-digitalis-felvevo.jpg Today, you can professionally record music for the cost of some quality mics from senheisser, a good mixing board (or you can use software on your laptop) and a decent music editor.  Then you can burn CDs or distribute the mp3s via your website.  This is not a cost intensive bizness to get into nowadays, unlike the era you needed manufacturing plants to press out vinyl records.  For doing quality Bootlegs today instead of the clunky old cassette recorder I used which recorded in mono, you can today substitute a really spiffy portable stereo digital audio recorder.  The Tascam you see at the left here is the model I have.  $100 in 2014 dollars when I bought it, which adjusting for inflation makes it about half the cost of my old cassette recorder.  I didn't buy it for bootlegging concerts, I bought it to be able to do On Location recordings of lectures for the SUN☼ Project as well as audio interviews and rants for the Diner.  However, it would work great for bootlegging concerts, as long as you have a good seat and the people around you aren't screaming too loud.  Better at perfomances of Classical Music or in Jazz Clubs than Rock Concerts for this reason.  lol.

GREAT CONCERT from Heart in 1977 I recorded, and I PAID good money for that concert too!  So now I am supposed to ALSO go to the record store and spend ANOTHER $10 on their latest vinyl album?  Pay TWICE for the same tunes I listened to already and recorded on my cassette player?  WTF would I do something so stupid?

Interesting YouTube Stat:  This vid from Heart has 1.5M Views, as compared to the 4M

views for the Fanfare Ciocârlia vids I watched

Heart also doesn't just get paid over and over again because of idiots buying their records, they ALSO get paid over and over again every time it airs on a Radio Station in your neighborhood.  The stations have to pay royalties for using their music in the daily programming of course.  So for a few hours of work over a few days writing a song and then recording it in the studio in 1976, for the next 40 years these folks get paid OVER AND OVER again for the same thing!  Nice gig if you can get it of course.

Nowadays, just about all the music you ever wanted to listen to and have time for listening to comes for free over You Tube videos or the radio in your car.  You can't generally pick the music you listen to off the car radio, but making playlists is a pain in the ass anyhow.  What comes up is what comes up, and you occassionally get some old tune you forgot about pop up.  Pleasant surprise while you are sitting in traffic.

Of course, you're not going to find Fanfare Ciocarlia popping up on ANY Radio Station in the FSoA, and likely not in Oz either, so if this is the music you want to listen to, you'll probably have to buy it…oh wait!  No you don't!  They have their stuff up on YouTube!  This one is doing fucking GOOD!  Over 4M views!  They are POPULAR!  At 4M views on YT for this track alone, their Ad Revenue is GREAT!  I wish I could get 4M views for my Collapse discussions!  I'd be doing just GREAT! I could build a SUN☼Community!  lol.  Very EZ to convert a YT vid to an mp3, so WTF would I pay for this?  They are making good money off the YT Ads already!  I need to support them off my meager disability income? What?

Now, after listening to 3 of their tunes, I can say I am not the fan of their music that ASC is.  Give me Jethro Tull, Queen, Pink Floyd, Phil Ochs, Joan Baez etc etc etc any day over this stuff, but to each his own of course in the music appreciation biz.

The bizness of Music Copyright though is only the tip of the iceberg as far as Intellectual Property goes, it also reaches into the area of writing (which I do a lot of) and IT in terms of software that runs your computer.  It even extends to the Human Genome itself!  You can lock up pretty much anything with patent law and copyright law if you have enough money to pay the lawyers to do it for you.

How many times has Bill Gates been paid over and over again for copies of Windows on all the computers you bought in your lifetime?  How many times was Steven Jobs paid over and over again for the Iphone OP system before he croaked?  Every time you bought a new phone or new computer from a portion of your measely paycheck, you were stuffing the pockets of these already filthy rich Pigmen!  You supplied them the money to fly around in Private Jets while you drove a 10 year old Toyota Junkmobile!  Property Law, whether intellectual or physical property is what allows this to occur.

This however is not the worst of the outcomes of Intellectually Property, nowadays Monsanto, Genentech and others have the patent rights to YOUR genome, and most of the Plant and Animal Kingdoms too!  No, they didn't invent your genes or even play the music first, but they tied up the patent for them first because they sequenced them first.  This would be like going to a concert and having perfect pitch, listening to the music and scribbling it down in that funny ♫ clef ♫ notation and then quickly scurrying over to the copyright office and getting rights to this music for the next 100 years!  Even the musicians who came up with it to begin with are fucked if they didn't know how to write music notation, and now THEY have to pay YOU to play their OWN Music. lol.

I am all for creative people being compensated for their creativity.  It is just insane though to KEEP paying them over and over again for the same fucking idea, all wrapped up with legal protections for "Intellectual Property".  Do you know how Robert Abplanalp got rich (he funded Richard Nixon)?  He invented the little Plastic Spray Valve on the top of all the cans of Hairspray and Spray Paint ever sold.  Tell me that is not ridiculous please.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-JqQz1-LwI9A/TV8uMKiQnrI/AAAAAAAAADQ/opVM6Hc8-lY/s1600/Robert+Abplanalp+.jpg

Let me make another analogy here, in the physical world of FOOD.

http://wp.production.patheos.com/blogs/monkeymind/files/2016/03/Johnny-Appleseed-300x300.jpg If I were to go out and plant an Apple Tree, does that mean I should be paid forever after for every apple that tree produces?  In today's world defined by property ownership, that is indeed often the case, as long as you own the land you planted the tree on and you pay Da Goobermint yearly taxes to protect your Property Rights to that land.

However, prior to this concept of owning the land developed (which came with the advent of large scale Agriculture), no individual owned the Apples that the tree grew over the years.  The person who planted the tree had no more right to those apples than anyone else in the tribe.   What the apple tree gave up each year thereafter was a GIFT to the tribe as a whole.

It is similar with any intellectual property, be it writing, artwork, music or software.  Once created or elucidated, this becomes IMHO the property of All Mankind, not of any individual.  In the Academic world (to an extent these days), this comes in the form of presenting your ideas and discoveries in a Journal, which other academics read basically for free although if you subscribe to a lot of Journals that can run into some serious money.  Hooked up with an academic institution though, the Library has subscriptions to the journals and you read them off the library computer these days.  In my day, you went to the Stacks and pulled the journals off the shelf, but same general idea.  You do have to pay tuition though to the University to get access to the stacks, unless you are employed by them as a professor or at least a janitor.

This essentially free distribution of accumulated knowledge is what allows us to "Stand on the Shoulders of Giants".  The information flows freely as it is discovered or elucidated, then the next bunch of people have that stuff to work with and develop still more new ideas.  In theory, there is no profit motive in this, you just do it because the topic and problem interests you, and then you want feedback from others concerned with the same topic or problem.  Of course, this has NOT held true in recent years though as academics who publish often do try to get patents before they publish.

Imagine if Watson & Crick had filed for a Patent on the Double Helical Structure of DNA they elucidated with Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin?  How many of you even know who Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin were, and just know the names of James Watson and Francis Crick?  If Watson and Crick had filed such a patent, both would be richer than Bill Gates and Steve Jobs (before he croaked) put together, and likely Richer than God right now.  Meanwhile, Maurice and Rosalind would be in court filing lawsuits to try and get their share of the goodies from working on this research and probably get stiffed because Watson & Crick had the better lawyers and their names on the initial paper. lol.

http://www.ba-education.com/dna/dnafour.jpg

http://cnx.org/resources/d084027fb744b62987637c2a5fe5fc68113984e5/Figure_19_06_02a.jpg

I am all for paying people for being creative and inventive.  I am a creative and inventive person, and would like to be paid for that too.  But there IS a limit to this, and to keep paying people over and over again just because they got a brainstorm one night and had a great idea or composed a musical tune which hits the top of the charts in 1977 and gets replayed on Classic Rock stations for the next 40 years is just RIDICULOUS!  It's all legal construct that creates Conduit Schemes based on ownership of property rights.  Tie up property rights legally, physical or intellectual, you get rich.  You don't gotta work no more.

Far as the gents from Fanfare Ciocarlia are concerned, I doubt they are getting as rich as Bill Gates from their intellectual property, but that is not really the issue, it's the principle that counts here, and if I actually did like their music and could find it for free on You Tube, I sure the fuck would not pay for it.  How stupid is that?  I'll pay for their shit when they start paying for mine.  Or we can barter for it.  Or I just won't bother listening to it, and that goes for music I actually LIKE also.  I'll pay to listen once.  Not Over and Over again.

How I Survived Collapse: Chapter 20

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on April 12, 2017

 

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As Wednesday rolled around, Kenny noticed his bag of Ganja was running low, and he needed to replenish the supply.  He really missed being able to supply himself with the Medicinal Weed by growing it hydroponically in the basement of his old McHovel. He couldn't wait to get his Walipini built with Karl's help using a big ass Daiwoo Back Hoe and Front End Loader so he could start growing some nice Sinsemilla in there for his personal supply, and perhaps a Cash Crop now that at least Medical Marijuana was legalized in Montana.  Perhaps until the Walipini was finished Karl would let him grow some in the Earthship Greenhouse area?  He'd have to ask him about doing that.

Meanwhile, his main source of reefer was his friend from High School Kareem, an immensely tall black guy around 7 feet in height, although a bit thin and lanky.  Kareem did his business out of the Mall, generally parking himself on one of the benches in front of the Macy's Anchor with his Wireless Ear Buds on listening to Rap Music and surfing the internet on his Iphone.  He wasn't hard to miss even sitting down, since even sitting he was still taller than most of the shoppers heading into Macy's.

Kareem was sitting on his bench, trying to act like all was normal and it was just another day out at the Mall selling the Mary Jane.  Normally, he got very little in the way of flack from the local Gestapo, generally there were bigger problems to attend to than a small time Ganja seller, and he also paid out a few bribes as necessary.  However, these were not normal times, and the investigation over the Drive By shootings at the 7-11 was still ongoing.  The Gestapo had shown up the previous night at Kim's Auto Body Shop during the evening meeting looking for Kensoto, who was pretty well hidden couch surfing in Atlanta in the West African community for the moment, with fake ID as Ibrahim Kanshasa.

All the Terminators at the meeting were questioned by the Gestapo, but they did not get much information.  The Terminators had several days to get their story straight, and the line was that Kensoto had gone missing the night of the shootings and nobody had seen him since.  When they finally left, Kim immediately sent an encrypted message to Kensoto that he was now on the Radar and would probably have to make a decision of whether to return and face a probable indictment, or to stay permanently underground as a fugitive.  There was still no word back from Kensoto, and the whole clusterfuck was keeping him preoccupied.  When Kenny tapped him on the shoulder he was briefly startled since he was focused on playing Sid Meyer's Civilization on his I-phone and blasting Kanye West into his earbuds.  He pulled out the earbuds and gave Kenny a big smile.  He was a good customer, even if he was a little far out with his Doom scenarios, although Kareem was starting to think he might be right.

"Yo Kenny!  How's it going dude?" Kareem greeted him.

"Oh, you know the usual.  Cut a lawn here, dig a hole there.  Haven't seen you at the gym lately, you're going to get flabby!", Kenny joked.

"Yea, things have been busy lately…", Kareem responded without going into detail.  Much as he would have liked to unload to Kenny, he wasn't that sure of him yet.  He had proposed the idea of offering himmembership in the Terminators, but so far no decision had been reached.  "…so, you still 'preppin up' these days?", Kareem asked changing the topic.

"Sure am!", Kenny replied. "In fact, I have a new plan for developing an off grid community for when TSHTF.".  He pulled a card out of his pocket, a Level 2 card with his cell phone number and email address on it. Considering he was buying reefer from Kareem, he seemed safe enough to give a level 2 card to. He also would be a good person to have around, he was a mighty intimidating presence at 7 feet tall.  "If things go south in a hurry at some point, give me a call or email me.  I'll let you know where we have our Doomstead set up."

Kareem took the card and dropped it in his wallet.  The "we"" Kenny used sounded interesting.  He always thought of Kenny as a Loner, it was interesting to find out that he apparently had friends involved in his collapse planning.

" 'We', huh? Got yourself a Gang of Kollapsniks?", Kareem asked, semi-sarcastically.

Kenny laughed.  "Well, I wouldn't exactly call it a gang, but there are a few of us.", he responded without specifying any numbers or the fact his "gang" currently only consisted of himself, an old guy and two really HOT women.  He'd have to get to know Kareem better before he let on any more information about the Doomstead.

"Well, thanks for the invitation, if we do get the kind of collapse you were always spouting off on back in High School, I'll definitely give you a call.  Here's my card too." Kareem said, handing him one of the Terminator's Biz Cards with their Public phone number and email, which Kim monitored and filtered for malware and viruses.

Kenny noticed immediately that the email address was on an Icelandic Server with a .ic file extension.

"Wow.  Iceland Server!  That's cool Kareem!"

Kareem laughed.  "LOL.  Doomers aren't the only ones who need to be concerned with security.  In our business, it's pretty important too.  Kim our IT guy is a total freak about this stuff.  Speaking of which, are we doing any business today?" Kareem inquired.

'Oh, definitely!", Kenny replied.  "A couple of things.  First I'd like to pick up a Kilo of tha shit from Colorado if you still have some.  That was pretty good and better than that Mexican trash you laid on me a few months ago."

Kareem laughed.  "Yea, that shit was not the greatest, I admit. But you can't always get the real good bud from the small suppliers.  We do the best we can, and try to keep at least something in inventory all the time.  Let's take a walk out to my van, I have a couple of different varieties available this week.  The Colorado ganja is gone, but I have some from Idaho and from Oregon, along with the Mexican shit which I'm sure you don't want even though it's a lot cheaper."

"Yea, understood.", Kenny replied. "Speaking of suppliers, I was considering getting back in the business of growing, now that Medical Marijuana use has been legalized in Montana.  However, since recreational use still isn't legal, I could use some underground help in distribution."

"I'm your man!", Kareem said, flashing a big smile.  "I remember smoking some of your bud in High School, that was really first class ganja!  How much do you think you'll be growing?" he asked, as they reached the van.  "Let's go for a drive, I don't want to do the deal here in the parking lot, too obvious."

Kenny got in the passenger seat and Kareem got in behind the wheel, barely squeezing in with the seat all the way back and a raised roof on the full size Ford Econoline.  A quick drive over to the rear parking lot of an abandoned warehouse got them the privacy necessary to do the deal in relative safety.

"Probably a couple of kilos a month once I get my Walipini fully set up.", Kenny estimated.  "I may have a small amount of product this year from a smaller greenhouse arrangement, but full production not until next year, or maybe over the winter working with grow lamps and heating the Walipini."

"Sounds like a decent amount of smokeables.", Kareem replied as they got out of the Captain's Chair seats in the front of the Van and Kareem opened the side sliding door for Kenny to have a look at his current inventory of products.  "We can work out the pricing and split of profits once you have some product.  If it is as good as I remember, I probably can get $100-$150/ounce for it retail.  So should make a few grand a month easy, long as we can move it all anyhow."

"As long as the FRNs are still working, that will be a good supplemental income. It will buy a lot of good preps.", Kenny replied as he sniffed the Ganja from Idaho and Oregon to compare. He didn't bother with the Mexican trash. The Oregon buds were considerably fresher and more pungent in odor, so it was a no brainer.  "How much for the Oregon bud?" he inquired.

"Good choice." Kareem nodded.  "$120/ounce."

"Any discount for larger quantity?", Kenny asked.

Kareem sensed a big sale in the making.  Most of his clients could only afford a half ounce or less at a time, and often he would sell by the joint.  This sale could make his whole day!

"I'll go $400 for a 1/4 pound.", Kareem replied.

"DEAL!" Kenny replied, reaching in his back pocket for his Snakeskin Wallet he had made from a Rattlesnake he decapitated with a Fast Hatchet when out on a camping trip during High School.  Withdrawing 4 Benjamins from the wallet, he handed them over to Kareem, and Kareem took 4 Ziplock Glad Bags of the Oregon Bud from out of the secret compartment in the bed of the van.  It was almost his entire stash of the stuff that he would carry around at one time in the van.  Most of the inventory was kept at various secret locations around Missoula, and he would replenish as necessary.  Only the very top officers in the Terminators organization knew where these drops were, himself and Kim.

"Excellent deal!", Kareem said as they boarded the van for the trip back to the Mall parking lot. "I will talk to the rest of my officers to see their opinion on taking you on as a supplier.  It would entail your joining our organization and taking the Terminator Oath of Loyalty."

Kenny considered this as they pulled into the parking lot at the Mall.  He wasn't a big Joiner, generally having preferred to work on his own over his years as a prepper.  However, the decision to try to create a SUN Community rather than go it alone as a Solo Doomer meant that this sort of joining and cooperating with others would be necessary.  It really would depend on the other people in Kareem's Terminator Gang, and what the Oath of Loyalty said.  Gang Bangers generally had a bad reputation, but Kareem seemed like a decent guy.  Also, Gang Bangers generally had pretty good fmiliarity with weapons, and those might very well be necessary to Protect & Defend the Doomstead against Zombies & Rogue National Guard and Police forces.

"I'll give it some thought Kareem.", Kenny replied cautiously. "I'll have to talk it over with the rest of my group."

"That's fair.  I need to talk it over also.  Maybe we can get together next week and work on it."

"OK, send me an email when you work something out." Kenny replied getting into his own van.  "Right now I gotta get back to work!  Got a big ass lawn of an ER Doctor to cut today!"

Kareem waved as Kenny drove off, and then walked back inside the Mall to see if he could make a few more sales for the day. The sale to Kenny already made his day, but every bit of profit was good, and besides it kept his mind off the problems Kensoto was having, somewhat.

The issues of both Kenny and Kensoto would have to be discussed in detail at the next meeting of the Terminators.

HISC Novel Meta: Parody vs Realism in PI-Fi

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on April 5, 2017

https://nishitak.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/gullivers-travels.jpg

Gulliver's Trravels by Jonathan Swift put Gulliver in a lot of throughly unrealistic situations.  But there was meaning behind the "Little Endians"& "Big Endians".  Most people of the era did not grasp what he was parodying.  A good parody requires that only a few people can see through what you are doing with the parody.  If it is too transparent, it's not a good parody.

Discuss this article at the Collapse Narratives Table inside the Diner

Yesterday I published an article from Jason Heppenstall of 22 Billion Energy Slaves on the topic of "PI-FI", shorthand for Post-Industrial Fiction.  It's an analogy to "Sci-Fi", the shorthand for Science Fiction.  The genre is relatively new, although you could count older dystopian films like Mad Max as a part of this futurology sort of narrative.  However, probably more directly on point would be stuff like James Howard Kunstler's "A World Made by Hand".  Jason has written a novel of his own, "Seat of Mars", and I  am currently writing one of my own, "How I Survived Collapse".

Inside the Diner in the Forum, I got some negative feedback on my PI-Fi serial novel, How I Survived Collapse.  The basic gist of the criticism is that the novel isn't realistic enough.

I thought this would have been obvious, but it's not intended to be realistic at all.  It's a cartoon.  It's a parody of the Prepper Fantasy World.  It's meant to be light entertainment, it's certainly not meant to describe the reality of the world to come, or the reality of anyone living the off-grid lifestyle on a small farm currently.

I am trying to make it semi-believable by using real locations and roads etc.  I had to do some Googling to find the Quinn's Hot Springs Resort and then hit Google Earth for the neighborhood around Lolo National Forest.  All the restaurants I have dropped in so far are real places, and I Google up their menus also and wine lists!  That's the Foodie in me.  Do I know the quality of the soil on Karl's Doomstead and what he could actually grow there?  Hell no, I'm not a Permaculture PDC Professional!  However, I give him stuff like Raised Beds and Potato Towers and Hydroponics so that in idealistic theory he can grow whatever he needs on this doomstead.  He's got Hunting and Fishing available too!  A running stream to dam up and set up Micro Hydro power plant! His own Mountain to put up Wind Turbines on!  A pond for raising frogs and trout to smoke!  Talk about idealized and unrealistic!  You'll never have ALL of that in one location.

In looking at all the rest of the suppositions made here in HISC, let's start with all the utterly unreal characters in the novel.

First off there are the main characters of Karl and Kenny.  In order to have enough money to set up this idealized Doomstead, somebody had to have gobs of moolah to fund the whole thing.  So Karl got invented as a savvy Wall Street investor turned Prepper.  That solved the money problem.  It should only be that EZ to find deep pocket preppers to fund your SUN☼Community IRL!  lol.

For Kenny, you have a young genius who gets into prepping at the ripe old age of around 13 while he is still in Junior High.  Then he elects not to go to college but instead run a landscaping bizness and live out of his van.  He's an expert in Martial Arts, Fencing etc. Besides that, he becomes a chick magnet too! lol.  If this doesn't clue you in to the fact this is total parody, you have completely missed the boat here.

The women are all HOT, Athletic and Intelligent.  They're practically world class at everything from Kayaking to Mountain Climbing, and they love camping too!  How many women have you known in your life that loved camping, besides car camping with all the comforts of home? I can count them on the fingers of one hand, and that was in my younger years when they were young too.  I do know there are a few women who like roughing it into their later years, but I've never known one personally.

Then there is the Gang of Terminators, which is running in Missoula with a whole bunch of other gangs too! Are there gangs of this type in Missoula, MT?  lol, no of course not.  However, I had social issues I wanted to cover in the novel, so I invented gangs in a sleepy MT town!  Then in order to cover security and internet issues, this gang needed a hacker/computer wizard, so I gave them one of those.  They are also doing very well financially, making gobs of money selling ganja and running prostitutes too!  Everybody is just swimming in money in this cartoon!

Another criticism is related to the unreality of the doomstead life.  How were the Horses being fed?  Who was milking the goats?  Who was in the kitchen all day butchering the chickens, canning the produce and making the goat cheese?  This is one of those things like Warp Drive in Sci-Fi narratives.  You know faster than light travel isn't possible, but you suspend your disbelief for the purposes of following the narrative.  You know food replicators and matter-energy transporter systems aren't possible either, but does this stop you from enjoying an episode of Star Trek? It's FICTION!  That's the "Fi" part in Sci-Fi or PI-Fi.

Now what my critic Farmer MacGregor apparently wants is something grittier and more realistic, telling the tale of the REAL life of the small farm doomsteader like he is.  If that's the kind of PI-Fi novel he wants, he should write it!  lol.  But then he will say, "no I don't have time to write this, I have to go outside and milk the goats for real".  So he wants me to write this story, except I don't want to write that story, I want to have some fun writing!

There is enough dystopian shit going on IRL that I write about in non-fiction every week.  In order to counterbalance that and lighten things up some, I write a parody novel which by it's title is upbeat, since you know from the get go at least the main characters will survive.  You can root for and identify with your favorite cartoon character and wish you were that person.

Nothing in this novel is the least bit realistic and should not be taken an attempt on my part to paint a realistic picture of our current world or the world to come.  For that I would have to write something far more dystopian and I would find writing The Road or Children of Men to be a rather depressing exercise. lol.  Besides, it's been done.

On the other hand, fantasizing about a bunch of preppers who have plenty of money to buy all the toys they want, where all the women are gorgeous, sexy and hot to trot and where everybody lives Happily Ever After is a lot of fun! 🙂

I slip in a lot of references that only regular Diners who have been around a long time will recognize.  For instance, the whole Romance Novel parody aspect of this comes from a Diner whose ex-wife wrote Romance Novels and who ran a website dedicated to this genre.  Such novels are very popular amongst the women folk, and the collapse blogosphere is sadly deficient in this demographic.  A Survey on this came up with only 14% female readers across a half dozen or so websites I posted the survey to.  I toyed with the idea of writing more graphic and steamy sex scenes similar to the ones these novels have in them, but elected to keep it light there. lol. I personally do not like either pornographic novels or movies, I always found the depictions of sex to be rather disgusting even when I was bizzy doing it myself.  I don't know if this will draw in more female readers, but it's worth the effort and fun to write also as long as you're not writing all the grimy sex details. lol..

Another parody I have a lot of fun with is all the gadgets and gear that Prepper Websites like Canadian Prepper are hawking all the time for sale, or at least to get a freeby from the company producing the item for themselves.  So every time one of the characters needs some gadget, I go Googling on the web to ‌find a "best in class" item and drop in the brand name and model number. lol.  There is NOTHING this group of intrepid preppers does not have!  Short Wave Radios, Electric Vehicles, Solar Panels and Wind Turbines, Micro Hydro power, and of course Gunz and Ammo out the WAZOO!  I haven't got to it yet, but Karl actually has RPGs and C4 Plastic Explosives stored in an abandoned shaft in his Gold Mine! lol.

Despite the fact this is all intentional parody, I'm still trying to communicate important ideas in a lighthearted sort of way.  It IS important to prep up to enhance your survival chances (and they are small regardless how well prepped you are).  It IS important to form community and gather more people together for self-defense and to distribute out the work load and have people who are good craftsmen in one area or another.  It IS important to consider security issues, self-defense and protecting yourself from the ever more invasive Police State. It IS important to consider transportation issues and how you might work around them for at least a transition period.

Sci-Fi almost NEVER reflects the future in any remotely realistic fashion.  Ever see "Starship Troopers"?  Not the LEAST bit realistic, but absolutely HILARIOUS!  How about "A Boy and His Dog", with the young Don Johnson as the survivor and Blood his Telepathic Dog locating girls for him?  lol.  Also hilarious.  Why does PI-Fi need to be any more realistic and serious than this stuff?  It's FICTION! Have some fun with it!

 

OK, now that I have taken this week in meta commentary to defend my approach to the HISC Novel, next week we will return to the novel and Kenny will hook up with Kareem to buy some Ganja. 😀

Last Great Frontier Climate Update

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Published on The Doomstead Diner April 2, 2017

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Climate Report from the Last Great Frontier

There have been reports coming in from many neighborhoods in Canada and elsewhere that the Winter Weather for their neighborhood has been anomalous, mainly reporting warmer than usual winters.  This has NOT been the case in my local neighborhood of the Matanuska-Susitna River Valley of Alaska, which these days functions more or less as a bedroom community for the one somewhat "Big Shity" in Alaska of Anchorage.  I put the BIG in quotations because Anchorage has maybe 400K people in it.  Compare that to a Big Shity like Lagos, Nigeria or Mexico City which are around 20M these days, it's Chump Change.  The only other Shity of decent size in Alaska is Fairbanks, which serves as the main conduit hub for Oil still flowing from the North Slope.  Fairbanks has like 60,000 people, which is probably less than the number of people who lived in my old neighborhood of Flushing, Queens in NY Shity.  These two shities are dropped into a neighborhood more than twice the size of Texas!  Although certainly more than in the past before the Industrial Revolution, Alaska remains one of the lowest population density locations on the planet.

http://i.usatoday.net/sports/_photos/2008/02/28/iditarod-med.jpg Why such low population in this place?  The first obvious reason is that generally speaking in the winter over the last few Millenia, the place is fucking inhospitably COLD!  Not everywhere is equally cold though, coastal areas have their climate somewhat balanced out by the Ocean, preventing seriously outrageous cold like you can get in interior places like Fairbanks in the winter.  Or even in places like Standing Rock in North Dakota, smack dab in the middle of the North American continent and decently far north too.  I remember getting off a plane in Minot, ND on one job seeking trip in mid-February when the temps without the wind chill were 30 Below Farenheit. With the wind, it felt like 50 Below. That is fucking COLD weather!  Despite that, and despite the fact that prior to around 1750 or so there was no central heating or even Franklin Stoves, hardy people did manage to live in these locations

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/ff/32/b1/ff32b12a69eccb82b3b87a0cc28cac5d.jpg Here in the Matanuska-Susitna River Valley, even in the past it rarely would get THAT cold.  You might get a stretch of a few days in Minus Double digits over the winter, but mainly the typical average was Positive Teens Farenheit across the whole winter, which for me generally is not too bad.  You just Suit Up for this type of weather in general.  When it gets sub-zero though, you run into problems of all kinds.  I will detail a few of them further down in the article here.

Not that it is impossible to survive sub-zero weather if you have the right kind of clothing and good shelter insulation (snow works good, see igloos), but it can get rather uncomfortable.  You want a small shelter not much bigger than a doghouse, not a real big place to keep warm.  If the shelter is small enough, your body heat and that of your friends and dogs will keep the space pretty warm.  But if you are alone even in a small apartment, your body heat is not enough to do jack shit to warm up an apartment.  Thus in the modern era for people living in these types of dwellings in cold climates with the availability of fossil fuels to warm them up during the winter, we developed Heating Systems.  Actually the first real decent ones came from Founding Father Ben Franklin, with the Franklin Stove.  They have seen much improvement since that time though, from the Techno POV anyhow.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/4e/f7/95/4ef79572b5d1e5c5ff73c77ce4fb41a4.jpg The modern heating system usually consists of a Boiler and then piping that moves the heated water through the digs in some manner to radiate through the place.  When I was a kid in New York Shity, the apartments all had metal "Radiators", where the hot water/steam circulated through and radiated heat into the apartment.  Associated with this were all sorts of CLANKING noises as some steam moved through the system and condensed, but overall they worked OK.  It was a big improvement over the "Cold Water Flats" at the turn of the 20th Century that many immigrants had, with no heat and no hot water at all.  My grandparents lived in such flats on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in those years.

As time passed and the McMansions started going up, other heating systems were devised, such as forced hot air quite popular in many large buildings with an HVAC system.  The same ducting used to move the Cold Air in the summer from the HVAC compressor could also be used in winter to move the Hot Air from the heater through the ducting.

Another method devised was to run the piping for the hot water under the floor instead of into unsightly radiators sprinkled in each room.  The McMansion I lived in after returning from Brazil had one of the earliest of these systems, and it was quite interesting because some areas of the floor you walked on were really HOT!  lol.  The house was built in the 1950s I believe.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/aa/8d/f4/aa8df4ea26cf777decdd443a3f215539.jpg My current digs also have the heat coming up from pipes under the floor, but they have improved on such systems now and I no longer detect any real hotspots.  However, they do have their downsides, particularly when something goes WRONG.  Because these pipes are under the floor or inside the ceiling if it is the heating system of the floor above, they are pretty hard for a maintenance man to get to.  Over this week when I had my own problems with my heating system, in another unit the residents moved out without notice to management, turned off the heater and left some windows open too!  With temps outside dropping into the negative digits farenheit, as you might expect the pipes froze up in under a day.  Then when the MM went in to restart the boiler, the pipes EXPLODED, and water rained down from the ceiling to the apartment below.  He spent most of the day on that one tearing out the ceiling to get to the leaking pipes.

My problems were not near so drastic as this, thank God.  After a fairly major snowstorm on Monday, on Tuesday the temps started rapidly sinking.  Normally with snow temps are not that low because the air will not hold much moisture, but in this case we got one wet weather system followed immediately by another super cold snap.  My first techno problem of the week was not my heating system though, it was my carz.

http://www.einsteinsoilery.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/jumping-car-battery-meridian-boise-eagle-garden-city-idaho-oil-changes-auto-maintenance-e1360867326422.jpg The first result for me was BOTH my (old) cars ended up with DEAD BATTERIES!  One night of -15F or so and below, and batteries are just not real happy puppies.  I put off going on a Beer Run on Monday and Tuesday to wait for the Plowboys to clear the parking lot and roads of snow, but by the time I tried to start my carz on Wednesday, both were dead as doornails.  This was a real problem, because by Wednesday I was running low on beer and cancerettes!  lol.  So I had to do some rationing until hopefully I could get one of the cars started by Thursday.

My Carport has an electric outlet as most carports in Alaska do for people to plug in Block Heaters to keep the engine block warm in really cold temperatures.  I don't have a block heater installed on either car, I haven't found them necessary.  Rather what I do in real cold temps is to keep a Trickle Charger plugged in through the 12V DC Cigarette Lighter outlet, and if you do this no matter how cold it gets the Batt has enough JUICE to crank over the engine.  Unfortunately, I have been lazy about doing this, because it just hasn't got that cold here over the last two winters.  Both were "unseasonably" warm with little snow.  So complacency set in.  The major cold snap took me by surprise and by the time I realized it was that cold outside, the carz were already dead.

http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NTAwWDUwMA==/z/cjEAAOSwRLZUCpDK/$_35.JPG?set_id=2 So I get out the trickle charger and plug in, but even by Thursday it still did not have enough juice, so I went a full day until Friday lasting on 3 full cancerettes and old unfully smoked butts, 2 beers and a pint of vodka from my Barter Preps. lol.  On Friday, I finally did get the engine to turn over and restocked.

The car problem was relatively minor though compared to the HEAT problem which turned up on Thursday.  Actually, I think the heat in the digs died on Wednesday, but I just didn't notice it until Thursday.  It takes a while for everything to cool down through the whole system, and at first I thought it was just that since it was so cold out, more cold air was leaking in and reducing the overall temp in the digs.  I compensated by throwing on another sweatshirt.  By around 8PM Thursday though, another sweatshirt is not enough and at this point I throw on an outdoor winter coat.  I now finally go to check my Thermostat, and it is DEAD!  Blank.  It has an electronic readout, and said nothing.  Now I finally grasp my heating system has gone in the crapper.

http://images.lowes.com/product/converted/044387/044387975070lg.jpg So now, the Prepper in me kicks in, and I pull out an electric space heater and drop it under my desk where the heat stays contained somewhat and get out a kid size sleeping bag to pull over my legs.  Then I get on the phone to call the Emergency Number of the management of this complex to get a Maintenance Man in to fix my heating system.  Miraculously, said Boiler Pro showed up inside the 30 minutes they said he would, at around the 25 minute mark.  It took him about an hour to diagnose and preliminarily "fix" the problem, I heard the boiler go back on and he told me the internal temps would pick up quickly. At the time, it was around 45F in the digs.

So, I am confident the problem is resolved and go to sleep.  BUT, I wake up around 3AM and the place is STILL COLD!  Now up to 53F but this still is not terrifically comfortable unless you have layered up.  So I call Emergency number again, and he comes over somewhat exhausted and sleepy to scope out the problem again.  The SAME guy does all the plowing of snow around here, so he has been on the go for a week straight, practically 24/7.  He EARNS his money for sure!  This time he adjust the pump speed and the boiler temperature so it maintains a hotter base temp.  He also brings over another electric space heater which I plug in to have two of these things running.  If I am sitting at my desk as I mostly do, it's fine.  Anywhere ELSE in the digs, it's an ICE CUBE!  He tells me he will come back in the morning for another checkup on the system.

Morning arrives, no calls or knocks on the door from the MM.  Finally around 10 AM I call the Emergency number again for an update as to when he might arrive, at which time I am informed of all the more pressing disasters he is facing, like the aforementioned frozen and exploded pipes in another unit.  Besides that, there are another 4 residents with problems similar to my own, and some of them have no heat or hot water at all, whereas I have some now.  So I tell them to push me to the back of the queue, and when he gets done with them he can come back to me.  At this point I am in no danger of freezing to death, plus I wanted to make my Beer Run. lol.

http://www.gatewayplumbing.com/images/steam%20boiler%20ind.%20water%20heater.png He did return later in the day, around 4PM, and this time we added water to the system and upped the total pressure.  This seems to have finally done the trick, and the digs are now at a very pleasant 65F. 🙂

Now, why do all these heating systems go out at the SAME time, even leaving out the stupid problem of the people who turned off their system and left open windows while exiting without notice?  The reason is because in real cold weather these systems don't just work intermittenly for short periods, they have to work and pump heat and water CONSTANTLY.  There are old components in there, old pumps, old solenoids, old thermostats, old switches and valves.  Under a lot of strain, something gives out and the system quits.  Similar to car batts and starter motors, this type of techno gimmickry doesn't work very well in really cold weather without CONSTANT maintenance and input of energy.

Anyone who thinks EVs can work in an environment of extreme cold is simply out to lunch.  If a batt won't hold juice to even START an ICE motor, how is it going to hold enough juice to drive you around all day for Happy Motoring when it is -15F BELOW ZERO?  It's not, and besides that the batts themselves get damaged when they get to cold for long period of time, so if you are not operating the car every single day, your battset is going to take some damage through the winter.  Well, if you keep it on a trickle charger it won't, but you do generally need grid power available for this.  You don't get enough sunlight above 60 Latitude to make Soalr PV very effective, and windy days for your Wind Turbines are very intermittent.

One of my fellow Diners Palloy who lives in the compelte OPPOSITE type of environment I do, a Tropical Rainforest made the sarcastic remark about how stupid it was to live in an environment where you depend on these techno gadgets for your daily living, and he is right about that to an extent, but of course in the environment he lives in you have a ton of insects, malaria, snakes and just plain old mold spores growing all over your digs.  The reason many people do not live in Tropical Raiforests is quite similar to the reason they don't live in Arctic climates for the most part.  Neither one is super conducive to living comfortably for Homo Saps!  It's like the Three Bears Porridge problem, where one place is a little too HOT, another a little too COLD, and can you find a place that is JUST RIGHT?  At the moment sure you can, the only problem is that all the JUST RIGHT places are packed to the gills with tons of Homo Sap meat walking around, or driving around.  The only places you can get some SPACE for living have some issue that prevented many Homo Saps from moving there over the generations of multiplying up in numbers.

http://s1.ibtimes.com/sites/www.ibtimes.com/files/styles/lg/public/2013/11/08/typhoon-haiyan.jpg Now, could *I* survive up here in Alaska without a heating system in winter?  Not anymore I couldn't, that is for sure.  By the same token though, I don't think I would last too long in the Tropical Rainforest either.  I have low tolerance for heat and humidity, and with all those bugs and snakes around I would probably run into a health issue from them at some point too.  A snake bite requires a hopsital trip, and is there one close to me I can get to in time with anti-venom? What if my spine gives out and I am in terrific pain, can I get drugs to help me with that?  Will my location be flooded out in a Super Typhoon?  How about a Tsunami washing me out to sea?  Plenty of death vectors in his neighborhood as well as mine.

In Alaska at the moment, an old cripple like me is completely dependent on the techo gimmicks created through the Age of Oil to keep his ass from either freezing to death or starving to death.  Also dependent on modern medicine as a new health problem seems to crop up each day.  But, if you are still reasonably young and healthy, Alaska is still a good survival zone, even in the absence of modern central heating systems and carz with batteries to start them and gas to run on.  You don't absolutely NEED central heating, although it sure does make life a lot more comfortable, just as in fact HVAC makes living in the tropics a whole lot more comfortable.  Difference of course is you can HEAT with just a FIRE, to COOL you need compressors and motors.

Given Average Global Temperature is RISING therefore, is it better to hole up in a low population zone that is already HOT, or in one that is still pretty COLD?  You can probably make a case for either one if you try, but the bottom line on both types of environments is that you want to be in a low population zone with good resources, particularly with respect to food of course.  NEITHER a Tropical Rainforest OR the Alaska Bush is a very comfortable place to live.  That is WHY so few people live in such places!

As for me, I am hoping next Winter returns to matching up with total global temp increases and we get another mild winter up here so my cars will start and my heat will stay on all winter, and I can go out on the porch and smoke a cancerette without freezing my nuts off in 5 minutes.  Just have to see how it goes of course.

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Malls on Mars

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on April 1, 2017

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It was announced today that Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Eddie Lampert will be joining forces and offering up an IPO for a new corporation, MOM Incorporated which will move all the Malls currently on Earth to Mars, where the Real Estate prices are quite low and taxes are non-existent.  Goldman Sachs will underwrite this IPO and is setting the price on Opening Day at $20/share for an initial Market Cap of $1T, dwarfing even the market cap of Alibaba, Google, Apple and Amazon put together.

Investors are excited about the potential for MOM.

"MOM could give birth to a whole new form of retailing", remarked one of the Tyler Durdens from Zero Hedge, speculating in his article how Mars was the New Frontier for Free Market Capitalism.

"There is no regulation or Goobermint interference on Mars. The new Malls will be completely free of Environmental concerns and will usher in a new era of Prosperity on Earth as the products are shipped in from elsewhere in the Solar System." Tyler added.

George Soros and Crispin Odey also believe this is a great new investment opportunity for their Hedge Funds, and Bill Gross has committed to buying all the bonds they issue with money he borrows at negative 1% interest rates from the Federal Reserve.

"This is a Riskless Investment." said Gross.  Da Goobermint of the FSoA pays us to borrow money from them, then we loan the freshly printed money to MOM at 5% and they pay us for the privilege of using the money we borrowed.  There is no chance they can go bankrupt, because Elon, Jeff and Eddie are all TBTF, so if they run short of cash we will loan them more money."

Progressives and Union Organizers were sceptical about the potential of MOM however, since many jobs as retail sales clerks and Starbucks Barristas would be off-planeted to Mars.  However, with no Brown People or Asian People to staff the malls, it was unclear at first how this problem could be overcome. Some suggestions were made that Suicidal White People with no future on Earth could be transported to Mars to staff these Malls.

The questions that have arisen as to how the new Malls on Mars would be staffed were initially difficult to answer, but Ray Kurzweil assured investors this would not be an issue, since the malls would be staffed entirely by robots who would not need Health Insurance or Retirement Bennies.

"Homo Saps are entirely unnecessary in this equation." said Kurzweil.  "The Malls on Mars will eliminate the need for any Homo Sap Useless Eaters, and commerce between Singularity Microchips will be the Profit Center of the coming Millenia." he detailed, in a meeting with POTUS El Trumpo.

The Donald was satisfied with this answer on a bizness level, but still somewhat concerned with the blowback.

"Will the robots have Pussies I can grab?" The Donald asked Kurzweil?

El Trumpo was assured by a Japanese Manufacturer of Sex Dolls that the Robot staff would have fully functional and wet pussies to grab, and would never sue him for sexual harrasment.  After being given a prototype model to practice with, the Donald was convinced this was the wave of the future and had his daughter Ivanka buy a 25% stake in MOM and lobbied Congress with his great Negotiating Skills to give the new corporation Tax Exempt status for all their operations, on Earth or on Mars, and everywhere else in the Universe until the End of Eternity .

Negotiations were held in Brussels for a new "Trans-Planetary Partnership" (TPP), and passed after a rousing speech by Jean-Claude Juncker reinforcing to all the unelected delegates that "When it gets serious, you have to lie."  Mario Draghi promised to do "whatever it takes" to get MOM off the ground and vowed to print enough Euros to walk on in a continuous stream from Earth to Mars.  In fact, you would not need to walk at all, it would be a moving sidewalk of Euros!

Jimmy Hoffa rose from the dead from under the gridiron of Giant Stadium in the Meadowlands to decry the move of Malls to Mars by the MOM Corporation and the legislation of the new Trans-Planetary Partnership.

"This will destroy good paying Amerikan Jobs in manufacturing!", Hoffa was quoted as saying after his resurrection.  "The Teamsters cannot support this legislation unless all the Robots are Unionized and pay dues and we have guaranteed protection against Scab Robots!"

Trading was suspended in MOM stock on the second day of trading when it was revealed in an email hack from Wikileaks by Julian Assange that Elon Musk was in fact a disguised Alien Reptile and all the profits from the new Malls on Mars would be off-planeted to a small island on a remote planet in the Betelgeuse system, the off-planet tax haven for billions of Reptiles Hitchiking their way around the Galaxy.

The future of MOM remains uncertain at this time, however there are rumours of a merger between Goldman Sachs and the Ferengi which could salvage the deal.  Goldman is offering 7B Homo Sap Useless Eaters as collateral, in return for 1 ounce of Gold Pressed Latinum and 2 Dilithium Crystals to power the malls for 1 week on start up.

The future of Civilization on Planet Earth depends on making this deal!  We urge all of Humanity to buy stock in MOM, even though it is run by Reptiles.  Geckos are cute, right?  Warren Buffet's GEICO insurance does well with a Gecko Mascot!  Gotta love those Reptiles!

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How I Survived Collapse: Chapter 19

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on March 30, 2017

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Kenny had barely gotten out of bed in the van on Tuesday morning when his cell phone rang, causing him to jump.  He still wasn't used to getting phone calls so often, especially ones that were not during business hours.  Looking at the screen, it wasn't a number he recognized either, but it was from his local area code so probably not a Bot Call.

"Hello?" Kenny greeted in typical phone fashion.

"Hi Kenny!  It's Karen. I got your phone number from my dad.  I was calling to see if you might want to start working on your horseback riding skills this weekend.  We could also go do some Kayaking on the Clark's Fork River.  I have a two-paddler Kayak along with my single we could use.", Karen invited.

Kenny's mind was racing.  He certainly wanted to take Karen up on this offer, but what would he tell Kirsten if she called?  Well, when she called was more like it.  A quick brainstorm hit his gray matter though, since he had just received an email from his mom.  He would tell Kirsten that he had to go to Spokane to visit with his mom this weekend!  Brilliant!

"Sure! That sounds great Karen!" Kenny replied enthusiastically, as Mr. Johnson woke up from slumbering in his boxer shorts.  He would have to take care of this problem himself before going out to do his day's work on the lawn tractor.  Riding around all day in the hot sun on the Zero-Turn Mower with a stiffy would not be fun, so Ms. Hand would get a workout this morning.

Karen was a little concerned after the slight delay in Kenny's response, but his enthusiasm was evident in his reply, so she figured he must be interested in her.  Probably he's cheating on Kirsten she thought to herself, and had to figure out an excuse to give her for not getting between the sheets with her over the weekend.  However, all's fair in Love and War, so she wasn't going to let this bother her!

"Cool!" Karen replied. "We can meet at dad's Doomstead and do some riding around the pasture for the first day, then head over to Quinn's to do some Kayaking and have a nice dinner.  They have great food!  It's expensive, but I get an Employee Discount.  You can meet some of my friends too, Big John the Bartender and Alexis the Maitre 'd and Julia the Head Chef and the rest of the staff.  It's a great bunch of folks! Then on Sunday we can maybe go riding to the Lean-To if you take to riding OK on Saturday."

"That sounds like a terrific weekend Karen!  Should I pack some formal clothes for the dinner at Quinn's?  It sounds fancy.", Kenny inquired.  He didn't have much experience with high end restaraunts, so he wasn't sure of the protocols in such places.  Fancy restaurants to him were chain restaraunts like Olive Garden, Red Lobster or Outback.

"Well, Quinn's isn't TOO formal, but most of the guests do dress for dinner in more elegant clothing than cargo pants and hunting vests with lots of pockets for their preps.", she laughed, knowing Kenny's basic form of dress.  She figured he didn't have much more than that given his business in landscaping and his weekends spent out preparing for the Collapse of Industrial Civilization, along with the fact his Van and Trailer living arrangement didn't have a ton of room for storing many different sets of clothing.  She wasn't yet aware of his Storage Unit system for keeping a lot more preps than she had already seen, including different types of clothing.  Mostly those other clothes though were winter gear, vests of different weights dependent on weather, rain gear etc.  He didn't have any real "formal" clothing.  He did wear a suit to his High School graduation,but he had given it away to the Salvation Army because it no longer fit.  He wasn't the skinny teenager he had been in High School anymore, he was 20 lbs heavier with solid muscle mostly in his shoulders and chest and had grown another 2 inches as well, mostly in the long bones of his legs and now stood close to 5'9".  Not as tall as Karen who was close to 6' if not maybe a bit more than that and WAY taller than Kirsten who probably did not even hit 5' in height, but still bigger than he was in High School.  So neither the jacket nor the pants fit anymore.

Kenny laughed.  Karen had already noticed what his clothing style was and had him well pegged.  "Yea, OK Karen, I'll stop by Target and pick up some more "appropriate" clothing for dinner at Quinn's.  I don't want their first impression of me to be as a Psycho Rube Prepper!  Some of these folks might be good members of our SUN Community after TSHTF!"

"Yea, I already thought of that Kenny.", Karen replied.  "Glad you are OK with 'dressing for success', at least for a dinner anyhow!"

"So what time should I get to Karl's place on Saturday morning?", Kenny asked.

"Earlier the better!" Karen exclaimed.  "Can you make it by daybreak at 6AM or so? That way we can get the riding lesson done and make the drive over to Quinn's and be on the river by the afternoon."

"Well, that's pretty early for me since I have an hour drive to Karl's place, but yea I think I can make it.", Kenny replied, agonizing over the early wake up call for Saturday.  He would have to get up by 4:30AM to get cleaned up and presentable and then make the drive to Karl's Doomstead by 6AM."

"GREAT!", Karen replied.  "Be sure to bring your A-Game, because the river is running big right now with the spring runoff from the Rockies.  They're not even letting the guests raft the river right now, the flow is too big.  Only the Whitewater Kayakers are out on the river right now."

Hearing this newz, Kenny got a little nervous.  While he had done some canoeing and flat water kayaking over the years, he had no experince with Whitewater Kayaking, and going down the Clark's Fork River at the height of the spring runoff was probably not the best way to start this sort of adventuring.  However, he certainly was not going to appear to be a fraidy cat to Karen!  Sink or Swim!  Take the Bull by the Horns!  He revved up his GUTS and sounded as Macho as he could manage, given his knees were banging together as his legs shook at the prospect.

"Wow! That sounds FABULOUS Karen! I can't WAIT to get on the river!", Kenny lied.  "At least I am a decent swimmer, and Karen was a Nationally Ranked Whitewater Kayaker, so she probably can handle it by herself and I'll just be providing backup." he reassured himself in his head.

"OK, see you Saturday morning!" Karen responded.  ""Gotta go out now for a run with Huckleberry.  She's frisky this morning, and so am I!", Karen remarked with thinly disguised sexual innuendo.

Karen hung up the phone and Kenny did a quick Relief Job on Mr. Johnson with Ms. Hand before getting on the road to get his lawns cut for the day, and a couple of tree surgery jobs as well. This was very good paying work, although the Insurance he had to carry to do this work cut into the profit quite a bit.  Still, worthwhile work as it extended his season on either end, plus whenever there was a major storm he got a LOT of work and sometimes made $1000/day this way, often paid for by Da Goobermint who would hire supplemental contractors.

He was swinging from one of the tree limbs with his Pole Saw in his climbing harness later that afternoon when he felt his Smartphone Vibrate in the lower pocket of his Cargo Shorts, but at least now he was no longer jumping when the thing fired off.  He was getting a bit more used to getting phone calls all the time now.

Looking at the display, it showed that it was Kirsten. Kenny took a deep breath and got his lies ready.

"Hi Kenny, it's Kirsten!" she bubbled up in her usual effusive manner.

"Hi Kirsten!  I'm swinging from a tree branch right now, so can't talk much but what's up?"

"I was wondering if we were going out to get some climbing done and more camping this weekend, maybe this time on our own so we can have more alone time together?", Kirsten cooed into her I-phone.

"Oh, no, I can't this weekend Kirsten.  My mom called me and she wants me to come for a visit with her in Spokane where she is living now.  She's also going to come visit here over the Memorial Day Weekend, so you'll get to meet her then."

Kirsten was disappointed, her first night with Kenny was just great sex, maybe the best she had ever had.  However, it did cheer her up some that Kenny wanted her to meet his mother, that was always a good sign that a guy was serious and not just screwing you for fun.

"Oh, that's a bummer.", Kirsten said a bit dejectedly. "Well, what about getting together Thursday Night?  We can go out for Dinner and then you can come and stay over with me in my dorm room.  I live in a suite with 3 other coeds and have my own room.  Or we could overnight in your Stealth Van.  I never did it in a van.", Kirsten giggled.

Back came the Woody, and swinging from a Western Red Cedar with his Pole Saw in one hand and the smart phone in the other, there was no relief in sight for this one.  He would just have to suffer.  There also was no way he was turning down another night with Kirsten, even though he knew he would probably be cheating on her with Karen over the weekend.

"Sure, that sounds great Kirsten!", Kenny replied with genuine enthusiasm.  "Where do you want to go to dinner?  What kind of food do you like?"

"Well, I like the Red Bird Restaraunt & Wine Bar.  It's pricy, but we can Go Dutch if you want.", Kirsten replied, concerned that Kenny's income might not be enough to drop a C-Note on dinner.

Kenny had expected Kirsten to name Red Lobster or another chain, and was a little surprised by this choice, although then he remembered she was one of the "Cool Kids" in High School who came from rich families.  Now he had TWO fine restaraunts to go to in one week and cough up the FRNs to pay for the food!  That was two more than he had ever dined at in his entire life!  However, he certainly did not want to appear "unsuccessful" to Kirsten, any more than he wanted to appear to be a Fraidy Cat to Karen and demure from kayaking down the Clark's Fork River at the height of the spring runoff.  He was a successful and macho Kollapsnik!  A Big Swinging Dick swinging from a Western Red Cedar with a 4HP Gas powered Huskvarna Pole Saw in his Right Hand and a Samsung Galaxy Mega Smart Phone in his Left Hand!

"Oh no Kirsten, its on me.  Landscaping Biz is doing real well so far this season.  I have a bunch of these tree surgery jobs to do since the winter storms this year messed up so many trees.  I'm sure the tree I am hanging from right now will pay for dinner!", Kenny replied hopefully, not sure what the fucking dinner would end up costing.  Whatever it cost though, it was worth it for another night of bed wrestling with Kirsten!  He also would get at least two evenings out of formal clothing he would purchase at Target that before the weekend.  He would have to go online to Google up some pics of what the upper class actually wore these days to fine restaraunts?  Tuxedos?  Armani suits?

Kirsten was relieved Kenny offered to pick up the tab.  Since her scumbag World Class Geochemist father had been arrested by the FBI and was awaiting trial for his Crimes Against Humanity, his bank accounts had been frozen, her mother was not receiving her Alimony payments and she had to take out a Student Loan to pay for her current semester at Missoula State University, along with the dorm room rent and her books too!  She did not have a huge debt yet, but she could see where it was going to quickly accumulate, and for the first time she realized why Kenny had chosen not to go to college at all.  He was MAKING MONEY!  She was going in DEBT!

Still, in front of her friends she played the part of the Little Rich Girl, she didn't want to be pitied and snubbed because she was poor now.  It was more difficult daily to keep up the facade though, and dropping some of her meager bank account on dinner was not something she really wanted to do, but would have done if necessary to further nail down Kenny.  He was a GOOD CATCH!  A hard working and smart guy, and great in the sack too!  Plus his friend Karl was pretty cool, and appeared to be very well off financially even if he was a little eccentric and an old Boomer. Despite the fact she felt like she was in competition for Kenny's affections with Karen his daughter, she liked her too!  So she was determined to make this work.

"OK, Kenny, I'll let you pay it this time.  But the next dinner is on me!"  Kirsten replied, figuring she would cook dinner for Kenny, as the best way to a man's heart is through his stomach.

"Sounds good Kirsten!", Kenny replied.  "What time should I pick you up for Dinner?"

"I get out of class at 4PM on Thursday.  I'll make reservations for 6PM for dinner at Red Bird."

"OK, I'll be by the dorm at 5:30 to pick you up.  See you then!"

After hanging up the smart phone, Kenny went back to work whacking off Tree Limbs and stacking them in a pile to come back later with his Dr. Chipper wood chipper powered by a Briggs & Stratton engine and turn th pile into valuable Mulch.

He returned to the Storage Unit to drop the trailer after work, and then went online to Google pics of Fancy People having Fancy Dinners to see what they wore these days.  He was gratified to see they weren't wearing Tuxedos like in the old films from the Great Depression where Nick & Nora Charles were out consuming expensive food while the rest of the population was starving, but still paying a Nickel at the Movie Theater to see how the Upper Class was living and live themselves vicariously through that.  Not too many Armani Suits either, although most of the men seemed to wear a collar shirt and tie with a Blazer.  So he elected to buy those a Target after work, along with some dress pants and leather shoes instead of his usual Sneakers or Hiking Boots.

The total cost for the outfit wasn't too bad, since it was all sewn up by cheap child labor in India and Pakistan, coming in around $100 when all was said and done with all the accesories like a tie pin, matching leather belt and a faux Gold Wristwatch.  Split over the two fancy dinners, this was only $50 for each one, and he might get further use from this clothing later, so it wasn't a completely wasted investment.

Satisfied he had his weekend plans reasonably in order, Kenny spent the next two days working long hours to get as much done as he could and not lose too much income by taking off Friday from work.  After hanging with Kristen on Thursday, he would drive to his own property on Friday to spend the night in the Stealth Van, so that he would not have to wake up so early to meet up with Karen at Karl's Doomstead.  He could get an extra hour of sleep in that way.

The rest of the week was speant pleasantly, as Kenny fantasized about the coming weekend of Doomer Sex Gone Wild.

The Church of Youth in Asia

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on March 26, 2017

Discuss this article at the Psychology Table inside the Diner

A couple of weeks ago while surfing on r/collapse, I ran into another one of those comments that really bugs me in the collapse blogosphere, that we (as in all Homo Saps) deserve to die because we are all responsible for destroying the ecosystem.   I also got in a dispute with one of the mods who had deleted one of my comments because I included in it the tag line from the Church of Euthanasia, "Save the Planet.  Kill Yourself.".  Over on Nature Bats Last when I participated in that commentariat there was another misanthrope Pat who used this tag line to close all his posts, until Dr. McStinktion finally told him to stop because it made it look like he encouraged suicide.  At this time he also put up a bunch of suicide hotlines on the sidebar as well, because of course his message tends to attract depressed and suicidal people.

Anyhow, I decided to put up a Selfie Post titled The Church of Euthanasia on r/collapse to address this topic, and below you will find the OP as well as a selection from the comment stream;  If you want to read all the comments, follow the link to the thread on Reddit r/collapse.

Following the excerpt from the comment stream, I'll look at another misanthropic group out there, the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement.

OP by RE

One of the things that bugs me most on collapse websites is the rampant misanthropy you find in some people, who will often spout off on how Homo Sap DESERVES to die and they can't wait for it to happen. According to this logic, "we" as in everybody living on the planet are all equally and collectively responsible, so it would be better if we all were dead, the sooner the better.

I'm sorry, I'm not taking responsibility for the collective mistakes of mankind and giving myself the Death Penalty for this.

However, there actually was a CHURCH OF EUTHANASIA which sported the tagline, "Save the Planet. Kill Yourself."

On September 13, 1993, motorists driving on the Massachusetts Turnpike witnessed an unusual sight: A highway billboard for the Museum of Science in Boston had been covered by a ten-foot-by-ten-foot black banner with the words "Save the Planet—Kill Yourself" painted in white.

Taken to it's logical conclusion, this is where misanthropy leads to. Hating all people because you think they are all collectively responsible for the state of the planet and all should be dead as soon as possible is what gets this type of behavior going. It's just plain wrong.

————————–

From Wobinidan

You haven't really explained what's wrong about it other than you don't like it. I don't hold those views that you describe, my utopia is an earth that lives within its means, not one littered with corpses.

However, it's hard not to feel a little misanthropy when observing the incredible damage we are doing to the planet in the name of vanity. Every skyscraper is a middle finger to the ecosystem that made us possible. With that in mind, I can see the appeal of removing humans from earth.

But I wouldn't kill myself because a poster told me to. Unless there were boobs on it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

————————-

From RE

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you need an explanation of why it is wrong, you already are off the deep end. Get real. Advocating self-extinction either by killing yourself or not procreating exhibits an ungodly amount of self-hatred for your own species. If you are that deep down the Rabbit Hole, you are beyond salvation.

SAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN

I will publish a full article on this Rabbit Hole next week on the Diner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

————————-

From Toktomi

Apparently you do not see any options other than "to help extinction" or to "try to survive the Zero Point".

I don't even understand what "survive the Zero Point" means, but I do understand that virtually no dichotomy can withstand close scrutiny despite my extensive experience in using vegetative dichotomous keys for identifying plant species.

I would suggest that maybe there is a bit more to this issue that what you have distilled it down to. For example, it is not necessarily misanthropic to believe that humans in possession of virtually unlimited energy occupy the niche of parasite of the Earth's biosphere which opens up a whole set of complexities to the issue that you have not addressed.

It appears to me that you are focusing on one small subset of all possible cognitive positions regarding this issue in order to draw an overarching, broad brush conclusion.

I don't know. It just seems like there is a lot more that could be said before arriving at "It's just plain wrong." Perhaps, you could start at the beginning and credibly establish what you describe as "rampant misanthropy" and corroborate and quantify your assertion that people "often spout off" about how "Homo Sap DESERVES to die".

Well, it's rather obvious, I suppose, that I don't see what you see and apparently I am not alone.

I will offer one last thought before shutting my yappy rambling face. While I agree with the abstract notion that it is not logical for anyone to accept responsibility for the collective mistakes of humanity, I don't find it threatening. The one thing among humanity that I find threatening is the act of declaring oneself to be in possession of truth or the inability to conclude a discourse with an admission of the possibility of being wrong. "The illusion of knowledge is at the root of all conflict." [a self-quote]

And, yes, I could be, and most likely am, wrong.

——————————–

From RE

I don't even understand what "survive the Zero Point" means

It refers to the discontinuity of a mathematical function. Right now we are experiencing exponential growth. At some point this function will break and there will be a population crash. The goal here is to survive this crash to begin the process of rebuilding the planet.

In terms of what my focus is, it's to keep on living (not myself, the species). That is the opposite of people who think the human race deserves to go extinct. What is so difficult to understand about that?

Finally, I don't find anything "threatening" about the idea of accepting collective responsibility, I merely said I wouldn't be a part of it. If you want accept collective responsibility for destroying the planet, feel free, be my guest. It makes no sense to me, but apparently it does to you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

———————–

From Goocy

According to this logic, "we" as in everybody living on the planet are all equally and collectively responsible […]

This is an excellent point. The world's richest 10% of the population emit 50% of all carbon, while the poorer half is responsible for just 10%. I'm not spelling out the conclusions to euthanasia, but killing yourself definitely doesn't make much sense in light of this data.

 

 

 

 

 

 

———————–

From RE

If you want to talk gross generalizations, you can't go further than this. Blame the ENTIRE SPECIES! "We're ALL ROTTEN! There are NO good people who deserve to live!"

It's just ridiculous. The self-hatred involved here is just astounding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

————————

From Goocy

This also extends to the anti-breeding sentiment around here. Not reproducing is a form of collective suicide.

And I don't hate myself enough to play that game. I'm making an active effort to keep my carbon footprint below the limits of sustainability. So I'll have one child (below replacement, and within the carrying capacity of my own land) and refuse to feel guilty about that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

————————-

From RE

In terms of not breeding, that is actually the technique that the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement promotes, not killing yourself. That one belongs to the Church of Euthanasia, I attributed that tag line incorrectly originally.

However, they do amount to the same thing in the end, which is to extinguish the species purposefully because you think "we" are all so horrible. We're all Cockroaches in need of Extermination, etc.

No, we're not all bad people, there are good people. Unfortunately, we do have a lot of bad people running the show, because the system selects for that. We need to eliminate the system and eliminate the bad people, the cockroaches that infest our collective kitchen.

Bring on the Orkin Man!

 

 

 

 

 

 

———————–

From Nick16

To be fair, many of us would probably be dead for a long time if euthanasia was legal. The uncertainty of suicide, the prospect of suffering, and the pain and lack of comprehension from one's social circles, can weigh more than the hatred for our species. If death was guaranteed with a single, painless injection, and without any of the stigmas related to suicide, the story would be different, and an unprecedented number of humans would no longer walk the earth.

Personally, if euthanasia was legal, I would decide to die even if we weren't collapsing; I find my biological urges too tiresome and the prospect of an ever deteriorating body is too taxing on my psyche.

 

 

 

 

 

 

————————–

From RE

Well, if there was a Youth in Asia clinic on every street corner along with Ads promoting it on TV and Tweets regularly hitting your cell phone promoting it, I'm sure it would be quite popular.

Text to Mom:

Hey Mom! Won't be home for Dinner tonight! I have an appointment at the Youth in Asia clinic after Soccer practice. You can give my steak to Fido.

———————————-

  http://www.captaincynic.com/mediapush/voluntary-human-extinction-movement_xcx_frmimg_1241546706-3364.jpg

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a9/Voluntary_Human_Extinction_Movement_-_motto.jpg

Now, compared to the Church of Euthanasia, the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement looks positively benign.  They don't ask for people currently walking the Earth to commit Seppuku, just don't reproduce.  Which means for the most part people stop fucking, although the VEHM has Sodomy as one of their basic principles for getting this extinction job done.  What do you think the likelihood is that all 7.3B people currently ambulatory will choose to stop having children?  What is the likelihood you could forcibly sterilize all of them?  What is the likelihood you could pass out enough free condoms which never fail to everybody?  Your chances of winning the LOTTO twice in a row are better than this.  It's just ludicrous and it's not gonna happen.

In reality of course, anti-natalism is just as misanthropic as euthanasia is, the only difference here is you put off the final extinguishing of the human race into the next generation, and YOU get to live out your life, at least until you descend into a Children of Men scenario.

At least in that dystopian scenario, the lack of fertility arrived spontaneously and mysteriously, but the outcome of trying to do this purposefully likely would not be much different.  The HOPELESSNESS involved here gives people very little reason to stick to any kind of social norms, so you just end up with a big conflagration.

Now, this is not to say I am not in favor of limiting reproduction somewhat if possible, clearly if we want to achieve some kind of sustainable situation for Homo Sap, I certainly am in full support of this idea.  Exponential Growth on a Finite Planet just is not possible.  However, you can't achieve this by sterilizing everyone and nobody procreating anymore.  If you could somehow do it, that amounts to a Species Wide Seppuku, and is no different than the Church of Euthanasia, just it delays it out of your lifetime.

https://polygrafi.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/seppuku.jpg

The general belief system in both the case of the Church of Euthanasia and the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement is that Homo Saps are BAD SPECIES, and EVERYBODY who is a member of this species should DIE!  At least the CoE people are a bit more ehtical in this and put this extinction into your own lifetime rather than your unborn children, but they both are nihilistic concepts and approaches.  They also demonstrate an astounding level of self-hatred and self-contempt.

So what DO we need to do to reduce the population in a manner consistent with survival of the species?  NOTHING!  The problem takes care of itself through the 4 Horsmen of the Apocalypse!  Famine, Pestilence, War & Death will reduce the population of Homo Sap without any direction from anyone.

http://www.bookofrevelation.net/ch6-4horsemen_pastorpack_small.jpg

In general, when the 4 Horsemen come a-calling, the weakest in the population are culled first, the elderly and infrim and infants who cannot be supported by the population or are most susceptible to disease..  The poorest are used for Cannon Fodder in the Wars as well, and then the Richest are strung up by their Gonads or filled full of lead in a Ruskie Basement like Nicholas & Alexandra Romanoff in the Bolshevik Revolution.

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/07/18/article-0-0200AC3100000578-813_468x551.jpg

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/18/c6/f0/18c6f090f29d01e0bdc4a66f1062b156.jpg

We all gotta go sometime.

The thing is, unlike everyone commitng mass suicide a-la Jonestown, some people are left alive here, and they are mostly of healthy breeding age, so you get a reboot after the culling is done with.

Sadly, because of the depth of the Overshoot and the degree of degradation to the environment, this particular culling event is likely to be the largest ever in gross numbers for Homo Saps.

Just because MANY people will die though doesn't mean EVERYBODY will die, at least not in the near term anyhow.  So the objective for the individual who wishes to live and see his or her children live also is to position yourself as best as possible for the coflagrations to come.  That is no EZ task of course, and besides planning will take a good deal of LUCK as well.  Percentage aren't good here, particularly not for residents of the Big Shities.So if there is any way you can do it, the time to GTFO of Dodge is NOW.  Better a Day Early than a Minute too Late.

http://prepforshtf.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Get-Out-Of-Dodge.jpg

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