Sunday, April 23, 2023

Blogger Censorship

            Today, I have received notification that one of my posts has been taken down by blogger.

The post concerned has been up since July of 2012, and talks about the emergency treatment of snakebites while continuing to seek competent medical help. It covers the recommended use of a snakebite extractor and under what circumstances such a device may be used. A considerable amount of research went into this post, and at the time of posting, it was absolutely accurate.  I am unaware of any changes since that would have made any aspect of it whatsoever less than absolutely medically correct, here in the United States.

          Censorship or a request to modify should not be made when simply one person, possibly without credentials, and likely from another nation entirely requests it to be.  Europe should not hold the power to disrupt American blogs.

           I pride myself in providing accurate information on medical topics here, not only because it is the right thing to do, but because I take a certain pride in having been declared by national health in Iceland, as an excellent source of accurate medical information.

          I would normally argue the point with blogger, but they have removed the post from my side of this blog as well.

          What incentive is there for me or for anyone else to exhaustively research a medical topic and post it here, even though I have effectively been doing so for more than ten years, if it is simply to be removed, without genuine recourse ?

           Perhaps Europe will be successful in the destruction of American blogs that encourage intelligence and self sufficiency, as a way of exerting control over their own masses.


Sunday, March 26, 2023

My Non-Scientific but Accurate Way of Assessing the Economy



    You might ask what the economy has to do with preparedness and survival, but the two are inextricably intertwined. When the economy is healthy, families have the cash to prepare for the unanticipated. They are able to buy generators, medical supplies, to take classes, and experiment enough to know whether they should raise Coturnix quail or make cheese at home. In a bad economy, there is no money to invest in firearms lessons or much else. People also may not invest in as much house or as much land as they need for the future.

                 In the past thirty years or so I have used a rather non-scientific way of gauging how I think the economy is doing. However, it seems to actually be an effective one.  When the economy is good, families who are doing well regularly donate to second hand shops like Goodwill. In a good economy the goods can be surprising. One might find sterling silver, ten karat gold items, coins, rare books, satsuma vases, Wedgwood, cast iron cookware, camp ware and sterling flatware. Sometimes, surprising and valuable collectibles make their way through Goodwill. In a good economy, families donate new unopened bedding and comforters just because they have rethought the color scheme. I bought a number of quality new sleeping bags at Goodwill a few years ago, donated by a sporting goods shop. Of course, the same is true of clothing and shoes. New quality clothing and shoes are donated often in a strong economy.  When the economy begins to slip, families continue to donate, but less often. The prices in Goodwill remain about the same.  When the economy is bad or is in trouble, this is reflected rather accurately in donations to Goodwill. Many families stop donating at all. When they do, they donate used sneakers, and some items that probably should be thrown away. Goodwill notices that their dumpster is filling up more readily than it had been because the goods being donated aren't of the quality they were. This also triggers some rises in price. Right now, for example, Goodwill is charging more for used clothing, shoes, puzzles, games housewares, DVDs etc. than they ever have. When I am in town, I look at one of three Goodwill and a couple of independent thrift shops and the trends are the same. Just now, people aren't donating as much, and prices are higher than normal. I find that I can go through them all, and buy nothing, when in the past I found plenty of things that were useful to us.

                 Craigslist is also a great economic indicator. Since I live in the country, I watch three small cities in my state, and the trends are also the same. A few years ago, the free items on Craigslist were amazing. There were free RVs in reasonably good condition. There were canoes, fishing rods, construction supplies including unused bags of concrete, landscape rock, new bricks, cinderblock, boats, new house shutters, exterior doors, and fairly new furniture all available for someone to call about and pick up. Presently, this has changed. You might find used moving boxes, magazines, a couch and chairs that require recovering and have been in the alley for a couple of days. Trends now are for many things free on craigslist that someone just may not yet have the courage to throw away. Other sections on craigslist have become much more expensive. Cars for example, used to be $800-$1500, and one could occasionally find something quite nice for $3500. The car ads are now quite rare, and the prices range from 25K-35K.   One used to be able to buy a refrigerator or stove on craigslist when someone was redecorating their kitchen color scheme. There has been quite an increase in the cost of used appliances, in part because there has been a significant jump in the price of the new ones also.

                  Garage sales and free sales work similarly. In good economic times, when people move, they often place very low prices on household goods as they are confident that they can recoup these similar items where they are going in pretty short order.  Lately this is not happening, People have been selling items for near the new price, and trying to take more of their goods with them, as they are not at all confident that they can afford these items again when they get where they are going.

                I think it is a fair assessment that as the economy is squeezed in the US, that families do not part with goods as readily. This means that when others seek to find items that could well be purchased with light wear, they find this more difficult. This makes it harder for young families to establish themselves, harder for young people to move out, and it makes it harder to prepare in advance for emergencies or for tough times.

                 My non-scientific way of assessing the economy says that we are in genuine trouble economically as a nation just now.  Preparedness is therefore more necessary than it ever has been.



Friday, March 10, 2023

Introducing Jace Medical




     For those who could benefit from this:


This is a company whose physicians will prescribe a supply of appropriate antibiotics for anticipated emergencies, for a fee.   This may be beneficial for those taking trips, or doing coastal cruises. It could also be a good idea to have this for natural disasters or during pandemics when getting medical care could become difficult.

    This group also allows you to call and consult with them as needed, during such events.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Important Update: Your Bass Guy is Now Anglers dot Com



 For those of you who have the access of ability to fish for survival food, this is an update to a prior link I had given.


This site was formerly:


     I strongly encourage everyone to develop some fishing skills before they are needed. It's also a great activity for you to pursue with your kids and grands, as you convey some important life skills.



Tuesday, August 2, 2022

The Descent is Here



This abandoned restaurant is not a photo I took yesterday. It is a stock photo, but I believe you get the idea.



     I have spent a large part of my life living in the world that exists while simultaneously preparing for one in which there is a disaster, a governmental collapse or some other kind of devastating change. I came to it as a result of writing care plans for those with serious medical problems who would require support of some kind following hospital release, and in the course of doing this in the 1980s, I found that the systems on which we all depend are fragile, if not inadequate.

              Other than episodic tornadoes, an earthquake, hurricanes and a financial collapse in 2008, other than personal tragedies, life for my family has gone on. It hasn't always been easy, buy it hasn't been impossible. So many of the concerns of the preparedness and survival community had not yet happened, until now.

              As a consequence of living on a farm, working from home, writing books from home, and aiding family, I haven't been out as much in the last couple of years.  I also don't go to a lot of cities when I do get out, preferring instead to arrange to pick something up on the edge of a city, gather it, and head home. This week, I did something different. I needed to take a relative to some places he wished to go and this involved going out for lunch and to some shops we hadn't been to in about three years. It also involved driving to a city within a days drive.

            Like many cities, this one is primarily Democrat run.  There are a few "Black Lives Matter" signs which look to be permanent.  Across the main roadway through town, there are groups of new inhabitants who are from Africa.  You can tell this because Africa, which has about fifty-two nations at last count, has many different types of distinctive facial structures and colorations.  I noticed some of them who looked like the students I had taught in college who were from Eritrea. Several of them were tall, like men, but had very skinny legs like young children. As they crossed the road in a dangerous and illegal fashion, one could see that two of the men had to have been treated for rickets, by their bony bent legs. I'd heard that this city had taken a large number of refugees from a number of nations, but I hadn't seen them until now. I couldn't help but think they had come during a time where they were likely to see some deterioration here. 

          We weren't able to have lunch at the place we had planned.  It was closed for good.  The building and surroundings were not being maintained as it had been. There was also non-specific trash in the parking lot.  We found another place for lunch. It was empty, and despite the fact we ordered the lunch special, the total for two was $27.00 .  This was in part due to the food, the drink, the sales tax and the meals tax the city levies, which must be significant.  It was a decent meal, but hardly expensive fare.  Along that stretch of roadway, a number of businesses were gone now, and a few were working on small scale renovations.

        For a formerly lovely city this was like a trip in some ways to a place that is post war.  This city used to have pretty trees, landscaped areas around stores, large clumps of multicolored daylillies, varietal roses, and bushes with lots of different textured leaves and flowers. Apparently, despite the fact that landscaping is done outdoors, the COVID era meant that landscaping and perhaps paying for landscaping ground to a halt, on  the government, private sector, retail and food service levels.

        There are more bodegas and even an El Salvadoran restaurant now. It is not unusual to hear Spanish being spoken here. Having learned French and Russian, this places me at a distinct disadvantage because I don't understand what they are saying.

        I don't shop in a lot of retail stores, which is a good thing because many of them are permanently closed. I also mentioned in a prior posting that one of the Burger King restaurants that closed about three years ago, is now being used by homeless teens and twenties, as they are climbing the fence around the children's padded play area, which allows they to safely sleep in the sleeping bags they bring in backpacks.

        I used to have a small shared office in this city, but a bus stop outside it changed the type of people who would wait there. There are now people panhandling for their copay at the methadone clinic. Who knew that methadone clinics had a copay ?  Doesn't that defeat the whole purpose ?  I let the office go in the past year thinking that it might not be a safe place to be when I need to run in to use the phone, the fax or get mail.

        There is no one thing we can point to in terms of defining the deterioration of our cities. There are many things going on and many things that would need to be addressed.  Until then, it's probably best to avoid most cities, particularly at night.


Monday, July 18, 2022

The Importance of Family History in Health Promotion



       Recently, I was talking to the child of one of my father's cousins who is about my age. It was interesting to see that we shared many things. She is intolerant to milk and shares a couple of the medical diagnoses that I do. On further discussion, I discovered that our grandparents and their children are remarkably consistent in the same medical issues with which my own family has coped. For the most part, many of them live into their nineties. This is interesting because it gives any physician who is following any of us a wealth of information. Since there are a number of physicians in the family dating back all the way to the Civil War, the family has been pretty good about conveying not only the medical histories, but the eventual causes of death throughout the family. Interestingly, very few physicians really ask about family medical history, and then they are often quick to dismiss it.  Although it is true that an individual may develop an illness that has not before been seen in that family group, much of the time, the family history does give important clues to the issues that may befall individuals in the present day.

                  Case in point, my own physicians have been especially obsessed with colonoscopies and mammograms looking for cancer, when no one in either branch of our family has ever had cancer.  However, we have a compelling history for persistent arrhythmia, even in the young, which caused the death of even the young, including my beloved youngest son at 12.   We also have a compelling history for persistent low Vitamin D.  It's taken many years for an endocrinologist to say that she believes that our family has a Vitamin D utilization disorder and that is why that regardless of supplementation, we still come up low, and require prescription doses of the vitamin along with regular surveillance via labwork.

                This is important because too many times our busy physicians play the odds. They expect us, as Americans, to die of coronary artery disease, cancer, or Type II diabetes.  Some of them are singularly focused on this triad.  Sadly, if you have something else, you may well die before it is detected.

                 This is a call to get your family medical history from the relatives you believe will be the best historians. Write this down and relate it to your physicians. If your physician brushes you off, then find another.  This is also true of mental health issues. The brain's difficulty in balancing dopamine, norepinephrine, GABA, etc. may well be hereditary, and under present technology is diagnosable and treatable.

                  The singular obsession with the big three, to the exclusion of the things that actually impact my own family, almost cost me my life.




Sunday, June 19, 2022

The Value of the "Free Sale"



    All my life I have enjoyed garage and yard sales.  I have met neighbors, made lifelong friends, bought a few heirlooms, and a few times, made some money and cleared up valuable space before moving, by having my own occasional sales.  Some of the sales I have attended stand out in my memory as really exceptional sales, but many if not most, were of things I didn't need, and I came away with little, or nothing.  It's well worth stopping, but we don't always depart with things we needed.

                       Some time ago, someone started the "free sale". They are probably inspired by the "free stores" that I have read existed in the Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco in the 1960s, where no one threw anything away. They gave it to someone who needed it. Consequently, one didn't buy much before looking in one of these free exchanges for it.   The free sale is a garage sale where all of the items in a designated area of the sale are free.  Some of these sales have some additional rules, such as each person may take a certain number of items, but many of them do not.  Because the items tend to disappear very quickly, it's probably wise not to travel too far to free sales, but to be especially diligent about checking them out, when they occur in your own area.

                        I went to my first free sale about five years ago. It was a distance from my home but in an area I'd lived in and liked, and so I made a point of being there early. The couple was moving to Hawaii, now that their kids were grown and out of the nest, and so they had thirty years of things that might not fit within their new home, with regard to space and new decor.  They had given things they cared about to their children and other relatives, moved the things they were taking with them to storage, and now the house and the outdoor space were still filled with lots and lots of items they planned to give away. Some sales are giving away household contents but selling cars and riding lawnmowers or RVs or boats that are also at the home. I know this because I talked to them before taking any of their things. My mother used to say that she couldn't go anywhere with my father and I without our making a lifelong friend. Although I think my mother's statement is a little bit exaggerated, I do learn a lot from people in my travels. Talking to them is valuable.  At this particular sale,their rule is that they preferred their things going to individuals and families and not people who planned to sell them, and although you could take as much as you wanted, they asked that you only took things you genuinely liked. I remember the sale well.  Furniture, clothing, new ladies shoes, rugs, lamps, and all things household.  That day I came away with cases of Sam's Club canned goods with an expiration date that was still a year off. (A lot of pineapple) I also gathered about sixteen compact discs, some of which were unusual and nearly new, and reflected the eclectic musical tastes of my children. I took some really nice new books on art.  I also took home several heavy glass or crystal vases, one of which was a Murano, as I often have flowers from the farm in vases around the house.  I was the first person at the sale, but when I left forty minutes later, most of the items were gone. Neighbors who had arrived without cars had quickly picked up tables and rolled up rugs, and had quickly emptied the house, and a lot of the yard.  People who drove up as I was leaving weren't sure it was worth getting out of the car before driving off to the next garage sale.  At the time, I wasn't sure that giving away the gatherings of thirty years in one morning was economic wisdom. Certainly, I enjoyed the sale, but would our generous hosts regret giving away all those expensive towels, curtains and furniture ?    They were smiling.  They were free of the things that complicated their move, which was apparently a move they very much wished to be making.

                    The COVID era killed not only the free sales for a while, but the garage sales as well. They are only just beginning to get started again.  I went to a few of them yesterday. The people who engage in having a free sale have many reasons for doing so. Sometimes, they are shedding household objects they gathered during a marriage, and since that has ended, they are happy to let them go. Sometimes, the family or couple is undertaking a move a distance away or even an international move, and it makes sense to them to regather items they need, in the new setting.  Sometimes, they are liquidating an entire household for relatives, after someone's passing, and they can only be present a short time and don't wish to spend gasoline and time shuttling everything to a high end auction house or to Goodwill.  Such sales are now part of the landscape, and represent good opportunities to gather cooking and survival supplies sometimes. Please consider shopping at one when you can.

                      Remember that having a free sale may well be the fastest and cheapest way to empty a house and a garage, after of course, you have diligently removed family pictures, important sentimental items, coins, family jewelry, and guns. Also make much slower and much more considered arrangements for pets prior to such a sale, if they are not coming with you. Be careful about excluding the items you wish to keep from the free sale. One Charlottesville couple spent six weeks posting ads on Craigslist in an attempt to get a wrapped painting they had inadvertently given away during their free sale, which had sentimental value to them.

                   Lastly, as people empty the house, you may even find the family who is willing the enter into a contract to purchase the remaining home, as they can now see how spacious it is empty.  Keep that in mind.