Friday, May 31, 2013

A New Alternative to Conventional Horse and Livestock Fencing


  This week I discovered a new type of fencing which is being sold primarily for horses and cattle.  This type of fencing promises to be less expensive and more durable than conventional plastic fencing, or the ribbon styled electric fence that is being seen more often in many places.  It also should require less maintenance and repair than conventional wood might, as some horses do something called cribbing, where a horse tends to chew and potentially destroy his fencing, stables, etc. while swallowing air.    This fencing is also very positive in terms of the environment.


             The owner places posts, wooden or I suppose some types of smooth metallic could be used, and then recycled relatively inexpensive rubber line can be interwoven, providing a sturdy reminder for larger horses.  This particular product is constructed from recycled stock car racing tires.  If it were not recycled in such a fashion, then it would be taking up space in a landfill somewhere.  This fencing is said to be strong and extremely durable.
             I also believe that if you used perhaps four instead of three strands as shown here, that this fencing could be used in grazing pastures for other types of animals.   Llamas, goats, miniature ponies, ostriches and perhaps even emu, and many other animals could have this type of fencing used in their grazing pastures.  I would probably select conventional fencing electrified or with barbed wire affixed to the exterior in places where you wish to protect livestock from wild animals outside the perimeter, particularly overnight.
            The seller of this type of fencing offers a ten year warranty on the product itself which does not apply to the installation itself.

              There is absolutely no maintenance required to the rubberized fencing, which makes it incredibly attractive for grazing areas to me.

              It's present price is:

1 INCH 70 FEET $.10 per foot plus shipping
2 INCH 30 FEET $.20 per foot plus shipping

Rubber fencing can look quite good.

Farmowner has used wooden fencing for crucial areas and rubberized fencing in others.  This also offers some flexibility if you have not completed your thinking on design or if more animals are coming or being born.

                  This type of fencing has been used for forty years, and yet I had not seen it in my state.

This is made to weather windspeeds in excess of 200 mph.

Information on proper rubber fence installation:


  Please go to the link above for pictures and additional information:

 These pictures and directions above are the work product and property of Jim Tonseth and his rubber fencing company.     I have included them for informational purposes.
I do not have any financial interest in Jim's company, I simply think this is a good idea for certain applications.

This fencing, even in Virginia's extreme heat, should last 20 years.

   This also has the benefit that your animals will not be injured by the fencing as can happen with wire fencings, and certainly with barbed wire types.

There are other companies that sell a similar product, but this one is the least expensive I have located.

This looks quite attractive when used in large areas.

Prior posts on animal and livestock fencing and related topics include:

Update:  I spoke with Jim today and he relates that this rubberized material is made with both fiberglass and kevlar, as it had originally been used as stock car racing tires and had to be capable of enduring quite a bit of abuse.
             To answer Ian's question below, Jim is not aware that this type of fencing has ever been used in a place which endures 40 degrees below zero. He suspects that it would expand and contract under such conditions, but he does believe it would work.

     For those of you who would like to explore this furthur, Jim Tonseth's contact information is:

Questions or orders, please call:

Jim Tonseth        704-213-3382 (Cell)
                        704-637-7886 (Home)

Andy Hoyle        336-688-6761 (Cell)

Email Address

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Upcoming Radio Interview by John Wesley Smith



   I was interviewed recently by John Wesley Smith regarding, my book Rational Preparedness: A Primer to Preparedness.

 You can hear this interview tomorrow on   Thursday at 1 PM Central Standard Time (That's 2 PM in Eastern Standard Time)  at the
following link:


John discusses this interview in the following article at:


A Nurse Talks about Rational Preparedness on Destiny Survival


A Nurse Talks about Rational Preparedness which appears in Before It's News




        John is a great interviewer.  He is calm and asks great questions.  Please tune in if you can.

I do believe the show will be archived afterward, and so it should be possible to hear this episode   in its entirety afterward.


           Meanwhile,  I have to tell you about a musical group I only recently discovered.

A group of Miami based musicians who have won Grammy awards for other projects got together in order to advance a more conservative, and shall we say, less socialist political agenda.   Their music is not only seamless, and the guitar work is incredible, but the songwriting and performance is very strong.  These are just a couple of the songs from their new album.    This group calls themselves The Voters.


This is a wonderful Medley of the songs on this album


    Their album is called Electile Dysfunction.   You can purchase it on Amazon at:

or go to their website:






Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Benefits of Raising Chickens

These are Silky chickens.

   There is a trend in the United States permitting those in quasi urban and suburban neighborhoods to own chickens.  Most of them have restrictions sufficient to prevent all night cackling, and I have read that many cities outlaw roosters, but I see the change in zoning to allow at least some chickens,   as a good thing.  Chickens allow families to have eggs, often in abundance, and that alone, can make them very worthwhile. Chicken manure when composted can be some of the best fertilizer.
          Chickens can also be incredible pets.  We have raised several injured chicks by hand who were simply thrown away by the feedstore, and each of them grew to be intelligent, cooperative and loving creatures, and one of them was a congenial rooster.   At our maximum here we had one hundred chickens. We presently have about fifty and they are either Rhode Island Reds or Bantams.  Many mornings I eat a large hard boiled brown egg fresh from one of the hens.    Linda from the blog  Practical Parsimony can vouch for what fantastic companions chickens can be. 

Chicken coops don't have to conjure Great Depression era shacks.  They can be attractive additions to yards, and actually a selling point to a particular home or an area.

I love this one.  It looks like it has a screen door.

This one has a greens tray for growing greens for them, or for you.


This coop can be moved around your yard, permitting your grass to recover, and allowing your hens weekly fresh grass.

              All the pictures above which have appeared on this blog post were taken by, and were constructed by

     Laughing Chickens.     

   They are custom built, but are available to be constructed and sent via UPS in modular fashion, so that they can be easily assembled all over the country.    They are also constructed of reclaimed wood.

You can e-mail the owner at:

 You can call Duck at     (415) 295-4696

You may see additional and larger pictures at the Williams-Sonoma catalog online.


         Or, you can use all of this as inspiration, and build your very own

    We have so many eggs at the moment , but they decrease in Winter.

This is what we do with them:

*Have eggs for breakfast.   (We all have low total cholesterol)

 * Make a variety of different quiches, and freeze them in the freezer as quick dinners or lunches.
    (We make Quiche Lorraine, Broccoli and Cheddar, Chive and Cheese, Veggie and Herb)

* We cook them and add them to dog, and sometimes cat food.  Our animals are long lived and have great coats.

* Eggnog when the season is right.

* Give or trade some to friends.

*Make your own egg custard.

Egg custard recipe
(Although we use white sugar instead of brown in this, and we use less.)


This is another chicken coop builder who makes wonderful structures:

This allows you to walk inside and collect eggs without a lot of bending or squatting.

     The two coops at the bottom of the post come from:



     This is the excellent post on eggs which Linda mentioned in her comment above. Please take a look. It discusses not only freezing eggs, but also increasing the Omega 3 fatty acids in the eggs by having the chickens eat greens.

Additional UPDATE:

      These are additional chicken coops that a man on Craigslist will build for customers.  This is a reminder to check Craigslist in your area to see if someone in your own area does this too !


Friday, May 24, 2013

Civil Rights Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Marine Veteran

Brandon Raub today

   Brandon Raub is a former US Marine.  You may remember last year, I brought to your attention that Mr. Raub wrote some unflattering things concerning the present regime on his Facebook page, which was supposed to have been private, and there only for his friends and his family.  The FBI is apparently able to read anything you place on Facebook, without a warrant, and so you might consider as to whether you want an account there or not.

Raub served tours of duty in both Afghanistan and Iraq as a Marine from 2005-2011.
       Consistent with the evolving culture of intimidation with the present regime, he was promptly arrested by Chesterfield County, Virginia law enforcement. A group of US Secret Service and FBI descended upon his home.  He was arrested and immediately taken to a psychiatric facility a distance from his home, which made it difficult for friends and family to visit him.  He was in effect, isolated from friends, family and his attorney.  The message being that if you badmouth the present regime, then you must be crazy and so we'll help you cool your heels in a funny farm for awhile.  This of course will help to discredit such individuals when they try to talk to others afterward.

       A week later a judge released Mr. Raub as there never had been any reason for locking him up.  He never was a danger to himself or to anyone else. He didn't even own a gun.
       This week the Rutherford Institute's lawyers are filing a lawsuit in Federal Court . The complaint, filed in  Richmond, Virginia alleges that Raub’s seizure and detention were the result of a federal government program code-named “Operation Vigilant Eagle” that involves the systematic surveillance of military veterans who express views critical of the government. Institute attorneys allege that the attempt to label Raub as “mentally ill” and his involuntary commitment was a pretext designed to silence Raub’s speech critical of the government and that the defendants violated Raub’s rights under the First and Fourth Amendments.

        Many people will be watching this case carefully.   We presently have a regime which systematically spies on our veterans,while looking for ways to keep guns from us,  uses the IRS to suppress fundraising of the opposition, sells weapons to Mexican cartels,  collects broad brush e-mails and communications from the Associated Press, and from the Fox network, fails to defend its own diplomats in unstable countries, and spends money egregiously.   The culture of intimidation is more like the old KGB than it is our beloved America.  This is what we presently know.  Imagine how much we don't know.  Our Constitutional rights are being diluted and disregarded on a daily basis.  Write your Congressman and Senators regarding this travesty and the others now, while it's still legal under this administration to do so.

Here is the full complaint as filed in a Richmond Virginia Federal Court

If they forcibly hospitalized Brandon Raub for his political views, I wonder what they did to the performers of this song:

 America's Coming Back                                                 by The Voters

Our prior posts, on this topic, which I wrote when this first happened can be found at:

What Happened to American Appliances.....Specifically Refrigerators ?

My parents refrigerator lasted seventeen years that I know of, possibly more. It needed occasional defrosting, and never once saw a repair man, or had maintenance done, other than my mother's vacuuming behind it and dusting it's rear grill when she did Spring cleaning.

    When I was a child , I remember that my parents bought a Frigidaire refrigerator at the Sears Scratch and Dent, which often sold completely new merchandise, when there was simply one left of something. This was the case with our large Frigidaire.  My parents bought it when I must have been about eight, and the classic solid refrigerator was still there functioning perfectly, when they sold the house, and I was by that time, grown, married and in my own house, at twenty five, with two tiny children.  I think it sold with the house and I am not sure how long the new owners kept it.
               It's funny how subtle things that happened in your childhood impact your attitudes, even when you don't realize that they do.  I held the foolish notion that I would buy a refrigerator, and that I too might enjoy a refrigerator until my own kids were grown.  Well that was disordered thinking indeed !
My first house came with a frij, and it was still there functioning when we moved, and sold it with the house. My second house came with one, which lasted about five years. Our third house had one that lasted five years.  We built our fourth home, a farm, and when I selected a new refrigerator, I thought, "Now we are starting new. This will be that longstanding frij for us".  It was pretty expensive, and it should have been.  But just like the Circuit City store it came from, its compressor was gone in five years.  For goodness sake, microwaves were holding up better than refrigerators !   About six years ago, we built this final house, the final farm.  We were obligated to spend everything we had received from the sale of the last farm or we would have to pay capital gains tax on the remainder.  For this reason, we arranged with the builder to buy upscale appliances.  Since our kids have some special food needs, and we don't eat out, it made sense to have really good appliances.  My husband selected a gorgeous professional chef's Thermador stove, complete with a griddle, and an exhaust vent system which could suck a cat through to the roof.   It was my turn to select a matching refrigerator which would be in keeping with the kitchen, and since I always decorate with an idea to being able to sell quickly and easily in the future, I wanted a solid looking stainless one.   I went to several upscale kitchen companies.  They had refrigerators for ten thousand dollars !  I finally found one that had originally been about $8,100 which not only matched the Thermador, but was extremely roomy, reliable, and had all the features I wanted. It was a top of the line Electrolux.  It was discounted by half as it had been lent for two weeks to one of their clients when their original one had not worked properly and required work within warranty.  Finally I thought, I have the refrigerator that will last as long as I will need one.
                  This was not to be.  This week, it was my husband who first noticed that the temperature read out for the refrigerator was right at forty degrees, but the one for the freezer was drifting up. At first we thought we needed to make an adjustment to the dials for the hot weather, and so we did. It made no difference. Then we moved all of the items in the freezer to our large deep freezer in another room and resolved to find a repair company that would come all the way out here (where they don't actually deliver mail.)
                  I finally found a brave and reputable soul who made the long trip. At one point he called me asking if he had missed the exit, and I told him he had another twenty minutes on the interstate to go, before finding ours.
                  He hooked a machine up to the refrigerator to do a diagnostic, and then fed the data to Electrolux who told us both that the compressor, the evaporator, and a third system I had never heard of, would require replacement.  This will be pricey.    The repair man discussed my simply buying a new frij.
I got on the internet to check prices and I found that the new Electrolux no longer has a five year warranty, only a one year variety.  I could buy another brand for several thousand dollars and then need one in five years again.   I am seriously considering simply having the work done.
                   What ever happened to a refrigerator which lasts your entire marriage, or at least as long as you have your children in your home ?   Why are the new appliances thinly made, cheap looking, and with logic boards that blow with the first outage.   It may not be the brightest thing to do, but intuitively, I think I will pay what I need to, to place a new compressor in a sealed system for a solid looking Electrolux.  Wish me luck, perhaps I should be asking for prayers.
                  There is one more consideration here. Here I am with back up systems for power outages, yet only a large working freezer for long term food.  My primary refrigerator is failing.  This is a big preparedness concern.  (Fortunately, animal vaccines and medications are stored in a small devoted frij elsewhere.)

They no longer have a picture of the one I have. Mine has an ice machine for several different types of ice and cold water on the door. Nice features, but I just need it to keep food cold.

UPDATE:   Two weeks later, we still have no refrigerator.  The man who originally came out from Richmond who said it needed a new compressor and would call to confirm installing it all day last Wednesday never called again, and didn't return our calls.  This morning a new appliance company certified in Electrolux, is scheduled to come out between noon and three, but only to do diagnostics. They will have to order whatever it needs.   Meanwhile, we limp by with a freezer in another part of the house and lettuce, ham, yogurt and everything else have to be consumed within a day. This is an expensive proposition with all the stores being so far away.

UPDATE:   June,  2014

I am happy to say that the replacement of multiple key systems of the Electrolux refrigerator occurred in late May of 2013.    The unit has behaved perfectly ever since.  The inside door readout indicates that the refrigerator is 40 degrees F and that the freezer is holding at 0.      Lets hope it will be long lived !

Monday, May 20, 2013

Massive Tornado in Oklahoma City Area

A woman finds a kitten among the devastation.

     I do a lot of talking about the importance of planning for man-made and natural disasters. Heck, I even wrote a book about it, and I direct people to that book, as often as I can, and when there is unexpected loss, to my other book as well.   I talk a lot about the importance of being able to evacuate and the importance of being organized to shelter in place, and most of the time, these strategies save lives and often our pets and our property as well.
             Today after a day of scattered tornadoes yesterday the Oklahoma City region was hammered by a very rapidly occurring mile wide tornado which has been determined to have brought winds over 200 mph.   Entire subdivisions are reduced to matchsticks. Cars from a mile away sit where a living room once was.  The Orr Farm lost 75-100 horses in the tornado.   An elementary school took a direct hit, as did a high school, and a hospital.   The National Guard is on their way to the area.  As of this moment we have no idea how many people have been injured, or how many people have been killed.
              As human beings there are many things we can do to help us prepare for, and endure storms.  However, nature is a powerful force.  A storm as large as this, and one which formed so quickly depriving families and schools even from entering the safest areas or structures in preparation, is something that any amount of preparation cannot make tolerable.    In this life we must do all we can to protect our families.  We need shelters and supplies whenever we reside in a place which has tornadoes. We need a good plan for such occurrences.  However, when we are hit with something so devastating, all we can do is help others when we are able and pray to God for strength, support, and His grace.
             Please join me as I send a prayer to the good people of Oklahoma City and anyone adversely impacted by these tornadoes.

               Heavenly Father,

               Please be with and help those who have experienced the Oklahoma City tornadoes.

               Please help the first responders to find those who are trapped in rubble.

               Help the parents comfort their children.

               Guide the surviving pets to find their owners and their families.

               Please Lord, have the right doctors and nurses with the right words waiting for these  frightened people.  Help them to feel your grace and your love in the face of this tragedy and it's challenges. Help our leaders to make the best decisions.  May this tragedy bring out the best in all these people.  


 In Jesus name we pray.



We are especially concerned about our friend Sandy and her family, and our friend John and his family, as well, who live in tornado ravaged areas.
(Sandy and her family are outside the 30 square miles of devastation, and they are alright, despite the fact that this happened very near where her son works.)

     Thank you all.

Update:  As of May 21st, Oklahoma City officials noted that they had found a number of people in shelters and they revised their figures of the dead to be 24, 7 of those children.    Of course to the families who have lost members this remains devastating.  However, it is joyous to think that fewer people perished in this F4/F5 tornado than was originally believed.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

What is a Chicken Swap ?

This is a lemon cuckoo buff orpington cross.  This hen's chicks are for sale.

   A Chicken Swap isn't where I bring slow roasted chicken and trade it for fried chicken. It isn't where we trade recipes, or recipes for buffalo wing sauces, although sometimes I wish it were. They don't even sell chicken barbecue sandwiches there. That would be disrespectful !  This whole post is making me hungry.   A Chicken Swap is probably more correctly called a Poultry Swap, although the name Chicken Swap has stuck.  This is primarily something many rural people do, however with so many suburban and a few urban areas having approved the ownership of a limited number of chickens, we might see this type of event spreading to more locations.
       A Chicken Swap exists so that the people who started with a particular type of chicken which increased in numbers, can trade or sell some.  This is an excellent idea because it not only gives your family a chance to get a different variety of chicken and eggs, but it also allows you to trade for individuals of the same breed in order to get more varied breeding stock in order to keep your own flock healthy.  Many people who breed and sell chickens also have ducks and geese, and so it's a good chance to see or consider these different types of poultry as well.  Sometimes just going or simply taking children is a great opportunity just to see the range of animals there. But beware, sometimes, they have peacocks and you might want to bring something else home !
        Most people who bring poultry to trade bring lovely looking healthy animals.  Most people don't want to look as if they don't properly care for their animals, and so usually this is an opportunity to buy healthy, nice looking stock. You can expect chicks and ducklings and you can expect to see mature animals for sale or sometimes trade as well.  These events are often held outdoors outside an animal feed or agricultural store, and often they occur in the Spring. Right now is prime Chicken Swap time, and my only real difficulty is figuring out whether to attend a local one, or driving farther to see what could be a larger and more exotic selection.

This is a variety of types of clean and healthy ducklings.

           The prices can range from fairly inexpensive, to $150.00 for a breeding pair of a rare type of bird.  Some of the farms I know paid one or two dollars per duckling or chick.  It is also a great place to sell or acquire a lovely looking "watch rooster" to protect your hens.  Unfortunately, too many roosters at your farm can become dangerous.....for them. They do challenge one another rather readily, and of course cock fighting is not only illegal, but inhumane as well.

These are Silkie chicks and their mother.

These are Sebastopol geese.

            Some of these swaps have everything from tiny Japanese Quail to Heritage Turkeys.   Sometimes the farm selling guineas who will help keep your yard tick free, also are selling swans.   Prepare yourself because there is almost always someone who has kittens or puppies, and once I saw small piglets.
             Most people like to get the chance to talk to you and make sure that you understand enough about how to properly care for the animals they may trade to you.  Some actually provide pre-printed sheets on animal care.
           Some of the sellers may be NPIP certified.    This can also help in terms of limiting disease in your own flock.  You can also expect to see a variety of eggs for sale ranging from small quail eggs to larger duck eggs, brown, white and green eggs too, so bring a cooler.    Some of the people bring pictures of their animals and you must contact them later to obtain their best stock.  Some of them won't expose their animals to other poultry.

You will see plenty of different varieties of roosters.

       This is not only an excellent outing for a family who might wish to trade or buy some poultry, but it is an excellent outing for a child who may remember such an experience forever.  You can take him for ice cream later and get some yourself !

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Refreshing and Entertaining New Book

            Peter Grant is an exceptionally bright person with a broad skill set and many interests.

  He writes a wonderful blog Bayou Renaisssance Man which is advertised at the end of this blog page.

  You may purchase this book on Amazon and read all about it at:

        Take the Star Road    by Peter Grant

The book was only released on May 13th, and already has nine great reviews.

Please take a look at both Peter's blog and his new book.

The Benefits of Blackberry Bushes


  In my area, many nurseries and even some individuals are selling thornless blackberry bushes.  I think these can be very nice while you're picking, but I would choose the conventional thorned variety and here is why.
I can't take credit for the scores of blackberry bushes which lace the trees and the periphery of the wooded portion of this farm.   About eighty years ago, the aunts and uncles of the gentleman from whom we purchased this land, planted blackberries.   Blackberries are one of the few things that really tend to do well in Virginia clay, which we have in abundance here.  The result is a literal moat of briars around the periphery of fifty acres of the farm, and in Spring, the motherlode of blackberries.   Of course, all of these blackberries atract black bears, who incidentally eat the branches with briars, leaves, berries and all, as if the thorns are nothing !    There are still plenty of blackberries for us, and the periodic natural grooming of the blackberry bushes which grow to be quite large, is something for which to be thankful.  This way, the blackberry bushes stay where they are, and do not invade more places on the property than we want them.
      Both bear and deer seem unimpeded by the blackberry thicket, however that is not true of people.  If we were to traverse a region of the blackberry thicket, and I did once, it requires quite a hit of work using a sharp machete.  Too often while you are cutting, a long arm of the blackberry bush springs back whacking you and leaving quite a sting sometimes with some blood loss.  The blackberry bushes when they are not producing, are a natural fence which will effectively prevent human beings from trespassing into areas we do not normally use. In places it is truly impassable.  The actual entrances are gated, and monitored.
       When the blackberries are producing, you have abundant blackberries for immediate eating.  They can be fantastic in cereal, oatmeal, and in my favorite, a blackberry and apple pie.  The remainder can be washed, and quickly frozen on a cookie tray, and then when each blackberry is frozen, bagged in freezer bags where they last very nicely for two years.  They are also fantastic in a blackberry and apple crumble covered with British Bird's custard.   (You can make your own custard, but I take the short cut and buy the custard mix)
       Blackberries are very healthy and are filled with potent antioxidants.  They are worth planting and well worth the harvest.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Catch My Upcoming Interview on Preparedness


                  I have just finished taping a first interview with John Wesley Smith of Destiny Survival Radio.  It should air in about two weeks, but I will keep you aware here.  We discussed a few of the aspects of my book  Rational Preparedness: A Primer to Preparedness.  He has also asked me to appear again, which I  shall do.   John's blog is Destiny Survival .      His is an excellent blog that is a wealth of information.

Best Wishes Marilyn Tavenner in Running the CMS



    I first met Marilyn B. Tavenner in 1987, when I was interviewing for jobs in the Richmond, Virginia area, and was moving to the area from out of state.  At the time she was a fairly young Director of Nurses to the new incarnation of Johnston-Willis Hospital.   The original hospital within Richmond city had a diploma School of Nursing, and Marilyn has been a graduate. However, she missed no time in getting additional degrees part time, in order to continue up the ladder.   I did not get that job, on our first meeting, primarily because she only had openings in Oncology at the time, and this was not an interest for me.
              I found it easier to get a job once my family and I were in Richmond, and I went to work for another Richmond hospital.  I did encounter Marilyn at hospital related functions, especially since the two hospitals we worked in were siblings of the HCA or Hospital Corporation of America chain.  I also remember visiting Marilyn in the hospital in which I worked,  when one of her children was born.
             Over the years our paths have been very different. She has continued on a hospital administration track, and I worked as a critical care registered nurse, left for a time to homeschool my children and to work in public health, and then I relocated to another area of Virginia where I taught college level health and nursing related courses, before writing books and running our farm.
              I was aware that Marilyn eventually headed twenty hospitals in the HCA regional area in the South, and this is where I lost track.   Another nursing administrator I knew from that time that I saw some time ago told me that Marilyn had been appointed to be the Virginia Secretary on Health and Human Resources.
But today I heard even more interesting news.   Marilyn B. Tavenner has been appointed by President Obama as the permanent director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  Marilyn had been the acting director of that organization for a time until the  US Senate had approved her permanent appointment.  She now runs an organization which employs 4000 people and manages a budget of 820 billion dollars in federal health care spending per annum.
             Our family friend, Congressman Eric Cantor was a large proponent of Marilyn in this role.   I do remember that Marilyn is a competent administrator, and that she strongly believes in the value of choices and the role of private health care options for our citizens.  I wish her good luck in this role, and feel a sense of relief that at least this one organization will be run properly, even though the rest of Obamacare looks bleak.
            Good luck, Marilyn.  With your clinical and administrative experience and expertise, if anyone can do justice to us, and do this job well, it will be you.

More information:

Marilyn Tavenner appointed to lead CMS

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Basic and Interactive Review of the Brain

Just recently, a group who creates online college courses asked me to review the interactive brain information below. This would not be adequate for a nursing or medicine major, but could be a basic review for non-medical majors. It does not discuss the outline of the ventricles and the circulatory system of cerebrospinal fluid, and it does not discuss the neuro-endocrine system, or the coverings of the brain..  It does provide a basic survey of basic brain functions in a very simple way.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Some Effects of a Culture of Immediacy


    There is no doubt that in the United States, and probably to some degree in Europe, we have adopted a Culture of Immediacy. Yes, and I know you're going to say sometimes a Culture of Idiocy as well.  If we need to message someone we send a text message.  We don't busy ourselves at home waiting for a call, we take our cell phone. If we need to send something to our accountant, the mail is not good enough, as we fax it. Very few people enter banks now.  They can check balances, move money, apply for loans all in the comfort of their home, or anywhere else.  Should we really be that comfortable when borrowing money ?  When I order medications for farm animals, I am fine with a delivery time of 3-5 days, but a lot of people have it sent overnight.  I don't need my face cream sent overnight. I am not aging quite that fast.
I can't really think of anything I do that is so urgent that I need an immediate response.  Our primary doctor is fond of e-mail, and we e-mail him and he responds fairly quickly. Although this is a convenience, we are not that sick that we need an MD on the computer calling a prescription to the pharmacy immediately, although I am grateful when he does.  Even the equine vet returns queries by e-mail in a flash.

                    There are some benefits to some of these things.  My daughter replaced her insulin pump overnight once when it was recalled.   I completed thirty hours of mandatory continuing education over the internet which saved me a huge commute to an urban center and days of boredom otherwise, as I read faster than the lecturer can talk.  However, I can pick and choose which one of these speedy tools I wish to embrace.  I carry a cellphone so that if my car leaves me at the side of the road, I can call for help. I use it to call 911 to report weaving highway drivers doing 120 mph.  I like that my kids or husband can call me if they have a bad day, or need to remember the number of the dentist. However, many people, especially young people, can't set limits to their own electronic use. They can't stop texting, even for as long as it takes to drive to get a Slurpee.  They feel uneasy if they can't see their Twitter feed.   They become depressed when someone drops them as a Facebook friend.  I will admit that I do feel better about myself when I read my own Ebay feedback, as if it's really a personal assessment. I must be a great shopper !  I actually have affection for Paypal and I felt happy to see that Home Depot was taking it as payment now.


                    There is also another effect to the Culture of Immediacy.  Financial planners tell me that they are not seeing young clients in the numbers they used to. They attribute this to the consumption of our culture by cell phones, computers, smart phones, and everything else which keeps us very busy in the now.  It seems that those who are consumed in the now, are not setting aside the time to plan for the future.  Setting aside a very small amount of savings for a retirement account at 27 can grow to a substantial sum by 65.  However, if you start saving for retirement at 50, you have to sock away one heck of a lot of money to retire at any time. I don't know that I will ever retire, but wouldn't it be nice to have that option ?
                    Give some thought to which electronic timesavers you use. Do they really help you ?  Pick and choose the ones that really benefit you, and leave the others behind.  Do you know how many people can't call their mothers if they lose their cellphones ?  They simply don't know her number.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

How Realistic is Relocation from the United States ?

This is part of Belize, the former British Honduras

  Somehow, probably as a result of writing my blogs, I have wound up on the mailing lists to a variety of  "Escape from the United States" type information services.   The information is interesting, especially to those who like to travel.  They contain everything from visa and legal entry information to certain places,  how to set up an internet business there, to how to protect one's assets.   Apparently, Americans who can are leaving our nation in droves, for one place or another.
                 Having a part-time place in Canada you might think that I am open to the idea of fleeing the US, but in actual practice, for many, this is unwise.  My place in Canada was an investment during a bad economic time in the US and in Canada, and it allowed us to keep some assets safe from a flattening real estate market and out of the stock market of which I have a very limited understanding.  Getting some vacations there to help do some maintenance, was gravy.
                 Several companies now send me information on becoming an expatriate in Spain, France, Cambodia, Germany, Belize, the Cook Islands, Bermuda, New Zealand, Iceland , Argentina, Costa Rica, Belize, the Phillipines, Bulgaria, Mexico, Ireland, and many others. The companies who do so make their money when you are impressed by the information, and then buy their guide to relocating to a particular country, at a cost of about $100. US
                Some people wish to exit the US and live elsewhere because they see our freedoms being diluted by this particular administration, and because they fear civil unrest, economic collapse, and intrusive laws which will not only seize your assets as the country descends into poverty, but will require you to buy health insurance to a substandard program, and seize your guns, if you have them.  Relocating to another nation, however, comes with some very tough nuts to crack.    You and your family have adapted to life within the country and the state in which you have lived and in which you have raised your children.  A thousand different issues will emerge that are done differently than in your region, and they will not all be improvements upon the way things were done in your state now.   Sadly, we can't really compare the joy of a vacation somewhere to what it is like to actually live somewhere, and perhaps try to earn a living or hold on to your investments.


                 The first one is language.  Going from a nation where you understand not only the language and the nuances of language sufficiently to enter into contracts to buy things, and going to a place where the language is not fluent for you, is frustrating in both the short and long term.  You don't understand the contracts to anything, and therefore you are a sitting duck when purchasing anything from a car to a washing machine.  It is frustrating to, in essence,  be a child in terms of your understanding of a language, and you may miss important cues by not understanding the language.  Yes, your language ability in your new adopted language will improve, but likely after you have misunderstood some purchases, and made some costly errors.  Yes, there will likely be a small to moderate sized expatriate group of Americans.  What if you don't like them ? What if they don't represent the best of America's ingenuity, but the most negative aspects of America ?  I don't like all Americans right here in the US, and chances are, you don't either. A lot of expatriate support services focus on "the good life" and on relaxing in the sun. A lot of Americans might see such people as slackers, as many Americans, including myself are very hardworking.  Would you be happy in a place so laid back that appointments are a casual thing ?
               Secondly, unlike the US where there seem to be all sorts of freebies for illegal aliens, the rest of the world is not that way.  Although some countries will allow you to move there, some of them, Belize comes to mind, charge $50. a month at some juncture, to extend your visa.  How would you like to be ninety years old someday in the future, and by then, paying $100. a month or more to stay in Belize, for example, when you are too frail to fly out of there ?  There will be immigration issues in a new land.  Citizenship is almost always hard to come by.
               Thirdly, many places outside the US are said to have excellent medical care.   Canada won't let people move there easily and they certainly don't want Americans using their already clogged national health service, or taking even a part time one of their very limited number of jobs. How would you like to do a very sought after job of separating your towns different types of recycling from trash ?  In Canada, that is a good job.      Belize has good medical care for the issues which normally surface in their population, but they are unable to offer heart catheterizations, cardiac ablations, and open heart surgery. These are the very procedures that many if not most Americans will eventually need, even after relocating, and eating nothing but fish, melons, mangos, and lobster..  People who need these procedures in Belize, are shipped out to Mexico, if they can afford it.    The clot busters which can limit a stroke if administered within the first hour, are not available in most of the province where my house in Canada is located. Since specially certified units, nurses and physicians are necessary to administer and monitor those who receive this treatment, it is unlikely that it is available in Belize, Bulgaria or  Cambodia.   The stroke you have there, you will likely keep. Even if you buy excellent health insurance, you are taking a risk by going to many of these countries to live.  A cancer which is curable by a major US university's standard in the US, may not be controllable in Ireland, Bulgaria, or the Phillipines, for example.

An unusual "painted" home in Cambodia

             Fourth, most of those of us who consider leaving the US own real estate here.  We would like to own real estate in our newly adopted country.  Certainly, the month when we make our initial trips there will be condos, beach houses, cottages, and even coconut farms available for sale at low prices, but buying something before you have lived in a country and know something about the areas involved, and the scams which are possible, is unwise.     Ideally a couple should rent a property without a lease, and then learn about the country while there before sacrificing capital acquiring a home, which could be impossible to sell if you change your mind or find yourself in the direct path of an annual hurricane.  Not all nations allow foreigners to own property.   Those that do, may levy higher inheritance taxes when the original purchaser dies.   There are unexpected and unusual real estate laws in many places.  Here in the US, we tend to buy things freehold. This means that we are buying the item completely and will be able to pass the item on to whomever we deem in our Will. However in England, and in many of the giovernments set up by the British,  properties are leasehold.   This means that you own the property for only the number of years specified in the Contract.   My relatives in England owned their home for 99 years.  This would not have been a problem in their lifetimes, but it could have been in mine, should I have decided to keep their property.   You need to understand any real estate contracts you make, with an attorney or solicitor.   There are many real estate pitfalls in other nations, just as there are a few here.

This is a renovated home in Bulgaria. Many Europeans are moving there.


             Fifth, many of us have adult or teen children.  What will the opportunities be for a teen you take with you to a new nation ?   How many college majors will he be able to consider there ?   Will there be work for him ?  How will he be perceived as an American ?     If your children are grown, will you be able to afford to travel and fly to see them as much as you would like as they remain in the US and have children ?    The flights to Belize for example, are surprisingly expensive from the US.   What you save in taxes you may well be spending on air travel.  It may actually be a damaging proposition for your adult or near adult children.
           Sixth and probably most importantly, you need to realize that if you move, the income you have right now, and the assets you have right now, may well be all you ever earn.  Although it may be cheaper to live in most of these countries, it may be impossible for you to earn money there, either due to laws which protect the jobs of natives, or due to the fact that there are minimal opportunities to earn money there anyway.  There is a reason that American expatriates are penning these guides on their newly adopted country, and then selling them on the internet for $100. US .  Nurse Practitioners, for example, may find that in many of these countries, such a role does not exist, and that physicians are plentiful, and not paid very well.
            Seventh, what if you really don't like the culture in your new home ?  There are problems in the US, but some of these dwarf in comparison to some of the problems which exist in the Third World, that we don't even consider here in the US.  Don't expect  most of these places to permit you to own a handgun. Some of them wouldn't allow possession and use of a rifle, especially if you are not a citizen.
             The only reason it makes sense to ride out the storm in the US by temporarily relocating to another nation, is if it has always been the heart's desire for you and your spouse to live in another nation.  To do so, your finances, your health, and your grown children, if you have any, should be very stable.
              I am afraid that there is nothing practical to do, but stand and fight for our once great nation, and be hopeful for her recovery, even if a financial and social collapse is imminent, as many believe it may be.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Shooting Through Automotive Glass

Automotive glass is actually tougher to shoot through than you might think. Unfortunately, practicing shooting through the glass from the inside out to an attacker, is something most of us never get a chance to practice before we are actually confronted by such a scenario.

    Many of us spend a significant amount of time commuting, running kids from one activity to another, or on errands for our business. In some states, commuters spend several hours in their cars each day.  For nurses who travel, salesmen, drug representatives who deliver samples to physicians offices, we sometimes travel into neighborhoods which can be problematic. Road rage incidents can sometimes descend into someone approaching you in your car, with a firearm in their hand. There you are sitting in your car, in traffic, unable to run, and with your most precious cargo, your family and children sitting in the car with you..   All of us should therefore know something about shooting through automotive glass.  I was watching NCIS Los Angeles this week and I was wondering how they always seem to compensate for this, and avoid getting shot to boot.  Suffice it to say, television makes shooting and the consequences of doing so, simpler for storyline's sake.

 1. First of all, I wish to say that this is not information to be used when you have road rage or are angry yourself. Firearms do not belong in the hands of anyone but the stone cold calm, and sober. This information is for use when a.) you have no option of retreat (like me stuck on Interstate 29 South of DC but in Virginia, pinned in the front and in behind, but with an angry man exiting his car and walking over to me, for example, or approaching me with a tire iron while I have kids in the car, for example)

2.  Glass deflects a round somewhat and can alter the bullets course, and so it may be necessary to fire multiple times in order to vanquish your threat.  After two rounds, your own glass will be gone and deflection is no longer a factor.

3. Here in the South most of us drive with sunglasses anyway. When we fire through automotive glass, this may also result in some level of eye protection.  Sunglasses are also a good idea because we are more likely to see a threat approaching.

4. After watching some of the videos, at the link below,which unfortunately will not embed here,  please do the mental preparation for someone approaching your car with lethal force, and think about your alternatives from BOTH your driver's side, and your passenger side of your car.
Several years ago, a homeschooling Mom was accosted while driving her minivan with her young son in a Richmond, Virginia, McDonald's. A man and two women appeared to be trying to abduct her young son. The car was locked but the women continued to try to get in through a minivan side door near the boy, which was not completely closed.  The woman hit the man with her car, and sped away.  These three persons have continued to try to abduct children, and remain at large.   Please mentally prepare as to what you would do, if a similar circumstance befell you, with either a child or a grandchild.

5. In the scenario of being approached by someone planning to use deadly force while in your car is a difficult situation as you are being required to meet deadly force with deadly force more quickly than many of us feel comfortable in terms of retrieving our weapon.  In addition, this is an uncomfortable scenario for many of us because in a vehicle, we are unable to line up a hot quite the way we normally would in practice.  This can also be difficult for those who are left handed (As the approach from your driver's side would cause you to need to fire with a right hand, when your right hand may not be dominant.  This is one reason we all practice with both hands.

6. We need to realize that in this scenario, we will likely need to fire more shots than normal, because the glass itself can not only deflect the round, but may alter its effectiveness otherwise. (It can actually damage the round itself.)

7. There are striking differences in glass deflection potential from side windows as compared to windshields. Please watch the video carefully. There is also variation in terms of the type of car.. Through the windshield, the initial round will tend to arrive at the target much higher.  The second shot, through the ruptured windshield should arrive closer to the target.  Keep in mind that once again, you will likely need to shoot more rounds than you normally would to vanquish the threat.

8. For those who are interested, the caliber round in the video is a 40 smith and wesson.

9. You have multiple challenges in having to fire at someone who approaches your vehicle with potential to use deadly force.  a.) You will need to retrieve your weapon and use it in a position in which you have never used it before, and do so quickly.  b.) the noise of firing your own weapon within the car, so close to yourself and potentially your children may be intimidating, and could cause a hazardous intimidation with hesitation.  c.) shooting through auto glass may also diminish your shooting accuracy, even at close range.

10.) Many states have special laws which add penalties to shooting from a car.  These were designed to make criminals think twice about drive-by shootings.  However, self defense in your car in the face of a mortal threat is legal in the US.  Make sure you check into the laws as they apply to your state with regard to this scenario.  Remember that it is still better to go to a coroner's inquest and be ultimately judged by 12 than be carried by 6.

Personal Defense Network has a number of videos on this and related firearm and other issues.