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Asking the Most Powerful Question to Protect Your Family

Thursday, February 19th, 2015 - by Roy M. Griffis

You’re reading a post for Preparedness Week, a weeklong series of blogs about disaster and emergency preparation inspired by the launch of Freedom Academy’s newest e-book, Surviving the End: A Practical Guide for Everyday Americans in the Age of Terror by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. You can download the e-book exclusively at the PJ Store here.

The question “What if…?” is arguably one of the most important questions humans have ever asked, right up there with “How come..?”  By posing the problem “What if…” man allows himself to discover answers.  Even a failed “What if…” provides the attentive viewer with information. Early Man may have asked “What if we poke that Saber Tooth Tiger in the testicles with a stick? Go ahead, you do it.” So he asked and so he learned. But “What if…” can also provide you with unexpected solutions, such as “What if a bunch of us Australopithecines  teamed up against that mastodon,” which lead to the invention of the first all-you-can eat buffet, the benefits of which we enjoy even down to modern times.

Buffets aside, one of the problems of our modern times is the complexity and technological entanglement of the civilization we’ve built. The need to ask “What if…” is more important than ever, if for no other reason than the desire to protect family and clan. Because of the enormity of the factors to consider, the layman questioner could be overwhelmed with scenarios and data. That is where both Dr. James Jay Carafano and I (Roy M. Griffis) come riding to your rescue, albeit from opposite directions. The good Doctor hales from the direction of facts and experience, and myself from the land of fiction.

Carafano, a career Army officer who has gone onto a distinguished career writing thinking about disasters that threaten our nation, took the time to not only ask “What if…,” but he spent a lot of time answering that question. His book, Surviving the End, is exactly what its subtitle proclaims, a practical guide for everyday Americans in the age of terror. Given the various Ends he contemplates (plagues, nuclear attack, the many flavors of terrorism, the under-feared EMP attack, and even a Cyber Pearl Harbor), Carafano is remarkably even-handed, presenting facts and outcomes calmly with just an occasional bit of wry humor to let you know he knows how seriously grim most of this stuff is. He studiously provides data and incredibly useful links to education and free training, along with preparatory lists you can use immediately, all the while avoiding sensationalism (leaving that for folks like me, where I describe survivors of a coordinated series of Al Qaeda attacks that stagger and ultimately shatter the nation as “running like their ass was on fire.”)

It’s weirdly ironic I’m writing this piece, given that I’ve just returned from a book-launch party in New York City with good memories, great photos, and the flu. As such, I’m almost a lab subject for the plagues portion of his book. On a plane for six hours, where roughly 300 passengers exchanged seats, breathing the air I was likely infecting, then in two different international airports, where I was able to infect more people, and on one more plane and yet another airport. I didn’t begin to feel ill until two days later, but per his startling research, I was likely sharing the virus everywhere I went. And I was just one asymptomatic, but flu-incubating individual, unknowingly helping create additional virus factories everywhere I went. Had the virulence of this illness been bumped up to the levels of something like the Spanish Flu, we could have a real problem on our hands.

But according to Carafano’s thoughtful explication, a lot of the solution lies in our hands, as well. Again and again, he returns to the theme of taking personal responsibility (and lists a hell of lot of resources to help you do so): for our health, for having a disaster plan (and a bugout bag), for having established and practiced communication trees well before the Big One strikes.

Grim? Perhaps. Far-fetched? Not so much.

But useful, informative, and empowering? Hell, yes.

Learn more about the inspiration for Disaster Week by downloading Surviving the End on the PJ Store today, and make sure your family is prepared.

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Should We Be More Worried About Natural Disasters or Islamic Terror Attacks?

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015 - by David Solway

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You’re reading a post for Preparedness Week, a weeklong series of blogs about disaster and emergency preparation inspired by the launch of Freedom Academy’s newest e-book, Surviving the End: A Practical Guide for Everyday Americans in the Age of Terror by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. You can download the e-book exclusively at the PJ Store here.

One of the major issues of our time has to do with the status of Islamic terror. Is it something that should fill us with fear and panic, distract us from the ordinary affairs of life and prompt us to cede extraordinary powers of preventative surveillance to government? Or, indeed, to take the concrete measures outlined in terrorism expert James Jay Carafano’s new book Surviving the End: A Practical Guide for Everyday Americans in the Age of Terror (of which, more later). Or is it merely another of those unpredictable disruptions and upheavals that happen along life’s road, deplorable, certainly, but inevitable, that we should come to terms with and go on conducting business as usual? In light of the recent murderous assault at a free speech symposium organized by Swedish artist Lars Vilks in Copenhagen, followed by an attack on a Copenhagen synagogue, we will no doubt once again hear cautions that we must not over-react to Islamic terror.

Many observers have contended that terror is insignificant compared to natural disasters. Ronald Bailey, writing in Reason.com, argues from statistics that people are “four times more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist.” In fact, your chances of being killed by a terrorist are about one in 20 million. Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic develops the same notion, as have innumerable others, namely, that we should refrain from exaggerating the threat of terrorism, given the much larger and vastly more lethal number of accidents and natural calamities. Here ensues the nub of his thesis. Since, as statistics show, Acts of God and quotidian mishaps far outnumber acts of terror, and since even these general misfortunes remain statistically insignificant, Friedersdorf contends we should not trade civil liberties for (excessive) security. From this point of view, the national security state presents a greater threat to our way of life than does the spectre of jihad, creating “a permanent database that practically guarantees eventual abuse.”

Admittedly, there is considerable sense to the apprehension that the surveillance state may prove invasive, as it surely has under the reign of Barack Obama and his decadent administration. Clearly, a degree of balance between liberty and security is necessary, though especially tricky to work out in practice. That the surveillance apparatus can be abused goes without question. That it is necessary, given the number of terrorist attacks that have been thwarted in embryo, is undoubted. It’s a good bet that the matter will never be resolved to everybody’s satisfaction.

Here in Canada, prime minister Stephen Harper has come under fire for criminalizing the promotion of terrorism under Bill C-51, which enhances the powers of Canada’s national spy agency CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service). As the country’s politically correct paper of record The Globe and Mail puts it, “Under the cloud of fear produced by his repeated hyperbole about the scope and nature of the threat, he now wants to turn our domestic spy agency into something that looks disturbingly like a secret police force.” The Globe, of course, like the rest of Canada’s major media outlets, relentlessly lauds the virtues of multiculturalism, which asserts the moral equivalence of all religions and cultures. This means, in practice, affirming the innocence and splendor of Islam to the detriment of Christianity and Judaism. Terror is not Islamic, but a mere excrescence of disordered minds or, alternatively, one of those incidents that may sometimes trouble the daily commute. Nothing to concern yourself about, certainly nothing to be unduly wary of or to keep under stringent observation. The attitudes of the gated community still prevail as the cultural orthodoxy of the day.

The underlying issue, however, is that those who oppose preventative measures, whether from ideological reasons or because they live sheltered and privileged lives, are reluctant to acknowledge terror—that is, Islamic terror—for the particular menace that it poses to our settled way of life or to recognize that we are in the midst of a millennial war that shows no sign of relenting. They are eager to adopt a tactic that we might, on the model of moral equivalence, call category equivalence, the attempt to neuter the unique fact of terrorism by equating it with natural contingencies and “normal” hazards of everyday existence. Once this false equivalence has been accepted as persuasive, the statistical machinery is duly wheeled in, like the eccyclemata of the Attic theatre, to confirm the hypothesis as given. But “[w]hat do we do,” asks Carafano, sensibly enough, “if the enemy isn’t Mother Nature?” Rather than conflate terrorism with nature or accident and urge us to carry on with defiant insouciance, Carafano devotes a considerable portion of the book instructing us to be—and how to be—prepared for acts of terrorist violence.

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What Will You Do When the Worst Happens?

Monday, February 16th, 2015 - by James Jay Carafano

You’re reading a post for Preparedness Week, a weeklong series of blogs about disaster and emergency preparation inspired by the launch of Freedom Academy’s newest e-book, Surviving the End: A Practical Guide for Everyday Americans in the Age of Terror by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. You can download the e-book exclusively at the PJ Store here.

I think about the worst things that could happen to average Americans, every day. It’s my job. My number one concern is trying to promote the sorts of policies and decisions that will prevent the worst from happening. But barring that, I want you to be prepared. That’s why I wrote Surviving the End: A Practical Guide for Everyday Americans in the Age of Terror. My new e-book is available today in the PJ Store. Every chapter is full of information on how to deal with a different disaster: EMP attacks, terrorism, biological warfare, and more. Preparedness is for everyone. You don’t have to have a bunker full of canned goods to survive – you just need the basic skills and info I outline in Surviving the End. Here’s a preview:

“Glenn Beck wants you.”

Not necessarily words everyone wants to hear.

For Washington “talking heads,” calls to jump in front of a TV camera with no advance notice is part of the job. Talking about the issues of the day—whatever those happen to be—is a daily occurrence.  Having little or no time to think about the answer? That’s the norm. When it comes to live cable-news interviews, experts are supposed to show up shovel-ready.

But being with Beck took being put on the spot to a whole new level. Expect the unexpected.

In 2006, the popular radio talk-show host joined CNN Headline News. Anchoring a program that delivered breaking stories and commentary, Beck’s ratings shot up faster than a sprinter on a StairMaster. Everybody loved Beck (or loved to hate him). He delivered animated, irreverent, surprise twists on the news that other cable news programs couldn’t keep up with.

There was no telling where Glenn would take a story. That’s always been a puzzler for pundits. For the person on the other end of the interview, dialogue with Beck could be like mowing grass in a minefield.

Be prepared for anything.

This wasn’t my first time live with Beck. I figured I was ready for the roller-coaster.

I was wrong.

The producer titled the segment “Signs Pointing to Armageddon? Author Claims to Be Descendent of Christ.”

Beck kicked off the hour declaring, “Well, everybody is talking about politics today, and we will, too, later on in the program. But first I want to talk about something much more important. August 22 is the day that Israel might be wiped off the map, leading to all out Armageddon.”

Say what?

“August 22 could be the day that makes people who are the most skeptical about my World War III theory say ‘Holy Mother of God, what’s happening?’” Beck warned. “August 22 could be the day that agnostics get down on one knee and start to pray, ‘Sweet Jesus, are you coming today?’”

Princeton University scholar Bernard Lewis, the anchor reported, “is suggesting that Iran’s Islamic end of times prophecies could be fulfilled on August 22 …13 days from now.”  That day marks the occasion of the great night journey in 671, al-Isra wal-Miraj, when the Archangel transported the Prophet Muhammad to the Aqsa mosque and then to heaven and back again. It is also the date celebrated for Saladin recapturing Jerusalem in 1187. “So to Muslims, I guess,” Beck surmised, “August 22 is like Christmas and Thanksgiving and New Year’s all rolled up into one.”

“Here’s what is truly frightening. My theory,” Beck declared straight to the camera. “President Ahmadinejad [of Iran] has repeatedly stated that he wants to personally bring back the 12th imam by destroying Israel. That’s Armageddon. He says that he would respond to the West’s question about his country’s nuclear program at the end of August.” Perhaps, Beck fretted, that announcement would unveil Iran’s nuclear breakout, in turn leading to inevitable war and the beginning of the end of it all.

“Now here’s what I don’t know,” Beck concluded. “I don’t know if anything’s going to happen on August 22, and honestly I really hope and I believe that nothing will happen. But we no longer live in a world that makes sense. I mean, anything can happen.”

So, was something going to occur or not?

“Jim?”

Then the camera swung to the security expert—me.

What to say to an audience of millions when the anchor wants to know if the clock is ticking toward the end of times?

There is no place for dead air in cable news. Even before Beck asked the question, everyone expected an immediate answer.

“Well, I’ve got to tell you one thing,” I blurted. “For 2,000 years people have been predicting the end of the world, and some day somebody’s going to be right.”

It was kind of an answer.

It might not have been the answer Beck was looking for.

It also might not have been the last time I was on the show. (Time will tell.)

In retrospect, perhaps a flippant comment wasn’t the best way to kick off the discussion. But that’s not why this particular media moment proved hard to forget.

Having done thousands of interviews for television, radio, film documentaries, and the Web, everywhere from ESPN to Al Jazeera, it is pretty impossible to remember the particulars of what was said in each of them. But that night with Beck was different.

It stuck.

It revealed an important truth to all of us who really care about protecting our families from harm by doing what we can, when we can, to keep them safe.

It is also the reason for this book.

Beck was right. “Anything can happen.” We should never, ever forget that.

Not only can the most improbable events materialize, they often do. And we are usually ill-prepared from them.

The unthinkable occurs all the time.

***

I spend my days thinking about the unthinkable. Now it’s time for you to, too. Download my new e-book, Surviving the End: A Practical Guide for Everyday Americans in the Age of Terror here.

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Wouldn’t You Like To Be a Prepper Too?

Monday, February 16th, 2015 - by Chris Queen

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You’re reading a post for Preparedness Week, a weeklong series of blogs about disaster and emergency preparation inspired by the launch of Freedom Academy’s newest e-book, Surviving the End: A Practical Guide for Everyday Americans in the Age of Terror by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. You can download the e-book exclusively at the PJ Store here.

People who go overboard to prepare for disaster scenarios are easy targets. I think back to 1999 during the whole Y2K scare, when the pastor of our church at the time held a seminar about what to stock up on when all the computers failed on New Year’s Eve at the stroke of midnight. I’ll never forget grown men arguing over who had the bigger food stash. My own personal stash consisted of two cans of green beans, and those cans helped me survive the crisis of what to serve with pork chops one day in January 2000.

National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers series brought the eccentricities of modern disaster preppers to light in an entertaining way, showing us what some otherwise normal Americans do to prepare for “when the s*** hits the fan,” as so many of them were apt to say. These folks could have been your neighbors, except unlike you they were also worried about implausible scenarios like the super-volcano underneath Yellowstone Park erupting and throwing New York City into chaos. We’re talking about people who make plans to live off bathtub water or stockpile liquor to use as barter — people whose endearing wackiness packs a perverse fascination.

But the reality is that we do have genuine threats to worry about and ways to prepare for the worst without going off the deep end. That’s the point national that security expert and my PJ Lifestyle colleague James Jay Carafano, PhD makes in his brand new book Surviving the End: A Practical Guide for Everyday Americans in the Age Of Terror. Nowhere in this book will you find advice on how to create the ideal liquor stockpile or how to “bug out” to the wilderness, and you won’t read about an eruption at Yellowstone Park. What you will find is sober-minded advice on how to prepare for real, plausible scenarios that threaten the American way of life.

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Carafano writes not with a Chicken Little doomsday mentality but with an eye toward clear thinking and calm judgment in a crisis (and with just the right amount of humor). His solutions are not over the top or prohibitively expensive — rather, his ideas only require reasonable amounts of time and money. Most simply put, Carafano drills down his philosophy of preparedness to health, faith, family, and education.

In Surving the End, Carafano looks at five distinct threats: epidemic disease, nuclear explosions, terrorism in its may forms, EMPs (electromagnetic pulses), and cyber attacks. While each of these scenarios carry their own scariness, they’re all quite real and carry their own far-reaching consequences. With each threat, Carafano examines the potential danger and fallout (no pun intended) and looks at practical and reasonable ways to ensure safety and long-term survival in each situation.

One theme that emerges throughout the book is that we should be proactive as families and communities to prepare for the worst, rather than relying on the federal government to help us out in a crisis. While he admits that Uncle Sam does provide some good resources and gets responses right once in a while, Carafano goes to great lengths to point out the failure of federal authorities when both sides are in charge. Glaring recent examples like Hurricane Katrina and the Fukushima nuclear disaster stand alongside historical records like the 1918 Swine Flu epidemic to warn all of us that governments rarely have the answers in a crisis.

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Carafano’s recommendations in the book are always practical and doable. Some of them require investments of time and money, of course, but so do most worthwhile pursuits. Nothing the author suggests requires the odd leaps of faith that eccentric preppers promote. The fact that Carafano recommends so many well-researched and sensible responses to worst-case scenarios lends a genuine credibility to his writing. Surviving the End is no doomsday manual — it’s a guidebook for practical preparedness.

When all is said and done, Carafano has brought a new attitude to the arena of disaster prep — neither the quasi-Biblical urgency of a Glenn Beck nor the smug fatalism of reality show preppers, but a common-sense, can-do approach to readiness. And in the end, Carafano encourages us to realize that being sensibly prepared is the American way.

This guide has given you the best there is to offer of simple, practical, useful measures you can take to keep your loved ones safe. But there is another important message in the guide as well. We all will survive better if we pull together – not as mindless lemmings following Washington, but as free Americans who fight together for the future of freedom.

As terrible as the terrors we have talked about here are, they are no worse than the suffering at Valley Forge, the slaughter of Gettysburg, the crushing Great Depression, the tragedy of Pearl Harbor, or the terror of the Cuban Missile Crisis. This generation of Americans is every bit as capable of besting the worst life has to offer. If we do that together, our odds are more than even.

You know, he’s right. I really only had to read this book for the sake of this review, but I’ve already begun making a list of things I want to do to become more prepared (including getting in shape — as if I needed another reason to remind me), and I’ll recommend that my loved ones do the same. For this kind of sober-minded preparation boils down to common sense, plain and simple.

Carafano suggests that we all become preppers, and if we take the advice we read in Surviving the End, we can do so. We won’t turn into the kind of weirdos who are ready to off the pets and high tail it out to the wilderness or move to a bunker with more canned food than a Super Walmart “when the s*** hits the fan,” but we’ll be the kind of people who embody the robust, enterprising American spirit that has made our nation so great. And we’ll do our part to help ensure that America survives just as much as our families survive.

Learn more about the inspiration for Disaster Week by downloading Surviving the End on the PJ Store today, and make sure your family is prepared.

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Would You Survive a Horror Movie?

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 - by Robert Wargas

Those with long memories will recall that Wes Craven’s Scream, which came out way back in 1996, was praised for its hip “self-awareness,” coming as it did in a particularly “meta” era of ’90s postmodernism, full of overrated cult fare like Pulp Fiction and Clerks. The film’s edginess consisted in banging on the fourth wall without quite breaking it. In one scene, for instance, a horror-movie fanatic and video-store clerk (remember: 1996) played by Jamie Kennedy tells his fellow teenagers about the “rules” of surviving a slasher film.

One of these “rules,” which is now common knowledge, is that in order to survive one mustn’t practice the carnal arts. Those who do it always get it. What the less eloquent might call “c*ckblocking” is an established horror-movie tradition. In the first Halloween film, Michael Myers ruins one couple’s tryst by stabbing the guy and then assaulting his teenage girlfriend—which might sound like a standard Friday evening at Roman Polanski’s house, but for an audience of 1970s suburban teens it was genuinely frightening. Come to think of it, every horror movie has a boyfriend character, football letter jacket and all, who gets his head caved in while fetching a few beers from the fridge. Each series has its own tropes. The Friday the 13th movies rely on the obligatory sex-in-the-woods scene: two camp counselors set up a tent, and before long Jason shows up with his machete for an especially kinky threesome.

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5 Things to Grab When You Hear the Tornado Sirens

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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‘Tis the season when those of us in the Midwest are serenaded by the tornado sirens on a weekly (if not daily) basis. Whether you head for shelter the minute the sirens go off or wait until you see the funnel cloud heading up your street, it’s important to think about what items you should grab on the way to safety. While you hopefully have emergency supplies like water, non-perishable food, self-powered flashlights and radio and a first aid kit in your basement or storm shelter, what other items will you need in the minutes and days immediately after your home is destroyed? What should you grab as you are heading for shelter?

Here are five things you can grab quickly and drop into a small bag as you’re running to safety — things you’ll be very glad to have in the event your home sustains significant damage:

1. Cell phone and charger

While most people will instinctively grab their cell phones on their way to the basement or shelter, it’s also important to grab your electric phone charger or, even better, a battery (or solar) operated charger. At the first sign of an impending storm, charge all of the family’s cell phones (and extra batteries if you have them) so you’ll be able to connect with first responders, other family members, and insurance companies in the event of a true emergency. If your home is damaged and you’re forced to relocate to a shelter or a hotel, you’ll likely have access to electricity, but chargers specific to your phone may not be available.

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Survivors of the Blizzard of ’78 Mock the ‘Arctic Vortex’

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard

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Apparently we are experiencing a weather event of epic proportions. The headlines on Drudge tonight screamed:

CHICAGO SMASHES RECORDS…
COLDEST AIR IN 20 YEARS…
‘LIFE-THREATENING’…
‘Exposed skin may freeze in less than five minutes’…
Power Demand Soars…
Texas grid pushed to edge…
Indianapolis Mayor Bans Driving…
JETBLUE To Halt All Flights To, From Boston, NY, NJ…
AMERICAN AIRLINES Cancels Flights Over Frozen Fuel Supply, Cold Employees…

Here in Ohio, as early as Wednesday afternoon schools began closing in anticipation of the frigid temperatures and wind chills. Even the Cleveland Horseshoe Casino and local ski resorts closed due to the “dangerous wind chill temperatures.”

Immediate mockery by nearly every Ohioan over the age of forty began on Facebook:

  • Well I see all the public schools in my area have already WIMPED OUT and cancelled school for the next two days because of . . . snow and ice and cold temperatures. Heavens. I guess the poor little dumplings can’t take it. Is everyone going to cancel work too because it’s so cold?
  • I can’t believe they cancelled already when the temps are still ok and not one flake has fallen. Hello Wussy USA!!!
  • My wife rode the bus from the time she and her sisters were in elementary school. If there were one or two foot snow drifts. . .if they could get the buses out of the barns. . .they went to school. Parents can walk or drive their kids. We are turning our kids into wimps nowadays.
  • I delivered newspapers when in snowstorms many times. I think the real problem is that parents want their kids to be protected every minute from the time they leave home. They probably have a greater chance of getting shot in school than getting frostbite but that is another issue.
  • I’m only 20. But even I know things have happened a lot worse than what we have now. It’s sad to see that we’ve come so far just to be so annoyingly weak.

My personal reaction to the wall-to-wall news coverage of this “dangerous weather event” has been something along the lines of “seriously?”

Why all this derision — even hostility — simply because the schools and some businesses wanted the public to stay home for a couple of days until this cold weather blew over?

Quite simply, Ohioans of a certain age remember January 26, 1978, the day the Great Blizzard of ’78, also known as the White Hurricane, also known as the Cleveland Superbomb, descended upon Ohio.

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Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse in a Hardware Store

Thursday, October 31st, 2013 - by Builder Bob

*Disclaimer: This article is intended for entertainment and exercising-your-inner-MacGyver purposes only.  The weapons in this article are potentially dangerous and should only be used on the living dead or surplus pumpkins.*

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I have an obsession with everything Zombie-related. I love The Walking Dead, 28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead – hell, I think I’m the only one who liked World War Z (I’ve always wanted a Macro zombie movie that focuses on the global ramifications of a worldwide outbreak instead of focusing on a small group of survivors). Now I know that there is no likelihood of the dead reanimating, but I think it’s a great mental exercise to prepare yourself for a disaster situation. On slow days at work I often wonder what I would do if a zombie outbreak occurred at work and I was stuck with only my bug-out bag and pistol that I leave secured in my car, while the heavy artillery is locked in a safe at home 35 miles away.

So you’ve survived the initial outbreak and are looking for a secure location to hole up for awhile and ride out the worst of it.  You find a hardware store that is defensible, probably close to a grocery and drug store, and chock-full of goodies to aid in your survival. The only problem is that uncreative looters have taken the most apparent weapons: machetes, hatchets, crowbars, and hammers. But you haven’t survived this long without some ingenuity. It’s time to build up an arsenal for you and your small band of post-apocalyptic warriors.

Steel Bar Stock Machete

A machete is a great tool for dismembering the undead hordes. While this homemade version may not be as graceful as Michonne’s katana, it will definitely get the job done

Supplies: 24″ x 2″ x 1/8″ piece of steel bar stock, Angle grinder or metal file,  Dremel with metal grinding cone, jigsaw or hacksaw with a metal cutting blade, honing stone,  5gal paint stir stick, duct tape, black spray paint

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How to Build the World’s Manliest Paper Towel Holder…

Thursday, October 24th, 2013 - by Builder Bob

When I start a new project I often dive in head first and make a big mess in the process. Paint splatters, sawdust, motor oil, spilled glue, calf’s blood, dismembered limbs–you know the usual workshop messes. So after I’m done digging wells and building hospitals for the underprivileged in Africa, I need a bunch of paper towels to clean up the aftermath of my construction destruction.

Sure I could just buy a cheap plastic paper towel holder for my workshop and  be done with it, or I could build an everlasting testament of testosterone for my man cave. Using 3/4″ iron pipe and some rust preventative you can build a beefy bar for your towels that will one day be discovered by future archeologist, inspire them to power down their construction bots, rediscover their masculinity, build something awesome, and stop making babies in the lab and start making them the old fashion way, thus reintroducing genetic diversity to the world and saving the future of mankind.

So for the sake of humanity I need everyone to to build their own beacon of badassery, to ensure they are found for future generations.  Here’s how you do it.

Supplies Needed:

Supplies

Supplies

Instructions:

1. The first step is to secure the fender washers to the end cap and base so the paper towels don’t move around or slide off the bar.  I used a combination of E6000 automotive glue–which works great on metal–on the contact surface of the washer and cap. Then I wrapped a bead of JB weld epoxy putty around the outside. The last step is overkill for the amount of stress put on this project, but hey, if you’re building something to survive the apocalypse why not?  Make sure you clean any glue over run out of the pipe threads before it has a chance to set, otherwise you will have a hard time fitting the pieces together later. Clamp the parts overnight to let the glue and epoxy cure fully.

2. I advise coating the iron pipe with a protective finish to prevent rust. Either a clear acrylic finish or rust-inhibiting spray paint (black is the only acceptable manly color). Tape off the thread areas of the pipe before you spray or it could interfere with joining the pieces.

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Shelter-in-Place: This Generation’s Duck-and-Cover

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013 - by Paula Bolyard

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ABC News reported,

On the third floor, employees gathering for a staff meeting chose to barricade themselves rather than flee into the hallway where they heard gunshots.

Capt. Mark Vandroff and his colleagues stacked chairs and desks in front of a door and got down on the floor. Two bullets care [sic] through the wall off the conference room, but high above their heads. The [sic] stayed in place for 30 minutes before police evacuated them.

“We were hunkered down, we were on the floor because we had heard the previous gunshot. We heard gunfire and we looked up and there were two bullet holes in the top of the wall of the conference room,” Vandroff said.

Rather than make noise by talking, his team texted each other from their smart phones.

By the time it was over, former Navy reservist Aaron Alexis had shot and killed twelve individuals at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.

Commander Tim Jirus told Fox News: “For those of us who knew there was an active shooter because they were much closer to where that was happening at, there is shelter-in-place. You lock your door inside your building until someone tells you it’s clear.”

According to the Washington City Paper, “[Metropolitan Police Department] Chief Cathy Lanier said after the first shots were reported this morning, MPD officers were on the scene within two to three minutes, at which point security within Navy Yard had already engaged the shooter. Within seven minutes, Lanier says, an ‘active shooter team’ was in the building and had ‘multiple engagements’ with the shooter, the last of which resulted in his death.”

Bryan Preston noted that the Navy Yard, like all military bases, is a “gun free zone” thanks to a Clinton-era policy. Preston wrote, “In 1993, President Bill Clinton decreed that US military personnel were to surrender the Second Amendment rights that they swear an oath to support and defend.” So the employees at the 3000-person building were sitting ducks, unable to defend themselves against an active shooter.

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Shop Where the Amish Shop From the Comfort of Your Couch

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013 - by Paula Bolyard

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Are you a prepper? An environmentalist interested in sustainable living? A homesteader? A missionary living on a remote island without electricity? A cave dweller? Chronically nostalgic? Amish? (Get off the internet this instant, Caleb Yoder!) Then Lehman’s Hardware is the place for you! The store, tucked into the tiny community of Kidron in Holmes County, Ohio, serves the area’s Amish community, helping them preserve their way of life by carrying a wide range of non-electric and other low-tech products. Jay Lehman, who founded the store in 1955 said, ”I was concerned that some day the Amish would not be able to maintain their simple ways of life because these products would no longer be available.”

It began as a small family hardware store and has grown into the largest store of its kind. Non-Amish customers now outnumber the Amish who shop at their 45,000-square-foot retail store. The 1973 oil crisis significantly boosted the number of visitors to Lehman’s. As domestic supplies of oil dwindled, people wanted low-tech products to help them cope with the shortages. According to Jay Lehman, “The oil embargo put us on the map.” Events like Y2K, the 9/11 attacks, and the blackout of 2003 all increased sales at Lehman’s.

No visit to Ohio’s Amish country is complete without a trip to Lehman’s. On your drive through Holmes County, home to the largest Amish community in the world, you’ll pass Amish buggies on the road (along with the ubiquitous horse droppings) and you may see barefooted Amish boys and girls in their straw hats and bonnets walking or biking alongside the road on their way home from school. Crisp black, white, and blue laundry flapping in the breeze on a clothes line is a telltale sign of an Amish farm.

Once at Lehman’s, you’ll see horses with buggies tied to hitching posts, juxtaposed with the cars of tourists and local “English” (the Amish name for non-Amish).  Inside the store you’ll encounter a maze of four buildings that have been attached over the years to make one store that seems to go on forever. Lehman’s received a major makeover in 2011 after a flood dumped 30 tons of mud into the store, which is decorated from floor to ceiling with museum-quality antiques and vintage memorabilia. Right inside the main entrance there is a Soda Pop Shop with 300 varieties of vintage and handcrafted soda. Across from the soda is a section of throwback candy that will bring back memories of childhood trips to the penny candy store. From there, you can wander the aisles, checking out non-electric appliances and composting toilets, wood stoves, kitchen gadgets, locally-made pottery, and vintage toys. You could easily spend a half day inside and still not see all the store has to offer.

An estimated half million tourists visit the store every year. But if you’re not able to travel to Holmes County in person, you can still enjoy Lehman’s through their print catalog or website. It’s surprising, really, that a store catering to the Amish and their simple way of life would even have a website, let alone a social media presence, but approximately 50% of Lehman’s revenues come from online sales. Their Facebook page has nearly 30,000 “likes.”

The store’s website boasts, “If you think it isn’t made anymore, check with Lehman’s before you give up.” Check out the site and see what they mean.

Click through to the next pages to see some of the more unusual items Lehman’s sells.

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13 Weeks: What Do We Make of Times of Little Change?

Saturday, August 17th, 2013 - by Charlie Martin

I been contemplatin’.

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That’s a fiction character talking — I don’t know much about him, frankly he just popped into my head right now, but he’s an older man, unschooled but wise, from the South, wearing faded denim overalls that weren’t faded when he bought them. I can’t really see his face yet.

He popped up when I thought of what to write today on my continuing efforts with diet and exercise. Which turned out to be as much about my mind as my middle. Like him, I been contemplatin’ — where I am and what I’m doing and in particular what to say today about diets and such.

After a couple of promising weeks, it’s clear that either I’m still on my plateau or, if you like, that my plateau broke and I immediately hit another one, about 3-5 pounds down. This is frustrating. I haven’t done the hard-core slow-carb diet, and the wimpy version I’ve been doing hasn’t led to a lot of weight loss. Nor has doing the tabata etc.

Still, my blood sugar is stable, if a touch too high, but I’m not having the hypoglycemic episodes, and that’s good. Some combination of things — Pomodoro Technique, a new boss at the day job who actually listens to me instead of telling me to sit down and shut up, the new columns — has got me writing more than I really ever had, and every day of that I learn more about how to write through little blocks and struggles. And I have lost a good solid 30 pounds and I’m clearly keeping it off.

And you know, a year ago I was contemplatin’ too. My mother had died the previous January, just a couple days before her 77th birthday, and she was 20 when I was born. I was looking at my 57th birthday and realizing she’d died at 77 and my father had died not long after his 69th birthday and I didn’t like the way that subtraction worked out. And I’d lost a lot of time to my long struggle with depression, that kept taking me out of the fight to do what I really wanted, and had reduced me to doing what I needed to do to get by, to survive.

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Come Hell or High Water: Calgary Stampede Goes On Despite Disaster

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013 - by Kathy Shaidle
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Flood relief fundraising t-shirt lauds Calgary’s mayor Naheed Nenshi as a hero. (Courtesy: CowboysCalgary on Instagram)


“It’s way worse than we thought it would be,” says my mom.

When my parents, my sister and her fiancé enter the house, they find the basement ceiling on the floor. The deep freezer is tipped over and there is rotting meat everywhere. Mud and sewage coats everything. On the veranda—the same one where I took some wedding pictures two years ago—the mud is so thick that there are green things growing out of it. (…)

The upstairs, the only place that looks like the home I remember, is caked with muddy footprints from the emergency responders who searched for anyone in distress a week ago. “I don’t even know where to begin,” my mom says.

Those same comments will echo through the town in the days to come, as thousands more open their front doors and step into their own disaster zone.

So far, only one death has been directly attributed to the state-of-emergency floods that swept the Calgary, Alberta area in late June.

However, the material losses are devastating.

And the timing of the flood couldn’t have been worse.

As pretty much all Canadians immediately wondered when reports first came in (of the Saddledome stadium supposedly flooded up to its roof, for one thing):

“What will happen to the Calgary Stampede?”

Now in its 101st year, the Stampede calls itself “the greatest outdoor show on earth” and is the province’s most important event in terms of economics, tourism, community pride — and politics.

An Israeli friend asked me about a tweet he’d spotted, sent by former singing (and not-really-tweeting — he used government ghostwriters) Canadian astronaut (and this year’s Grand Marshal) Commander Chris Hadfield, inviting folks to join him at the 17th annual Ismaili Muslim Community Stampede Breakfast.

I explained that, despite its reputation as Canada’s redneck central, Calgary’s mayor is actually Ismaili Muslim Naheed Nenshi, currently being hailed far and wide as the Giuliani of the flood; if Hadfield wants his possible career in politics to go better than that of the last former Canadian astronaut, I added, he’d best attend such an event.

(And as those minority immigrant Ismaili Muslims wisely noted seventeen years ago, they’d better darn well sponsor one…)

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What Inspired You To Buy Your First Gun?

Thursday, June 6th, 2013 - by PJ Lifestyle Daily Question

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image courtesy shutterstock / Nikola Spasenoski

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Arming Teachers in Schools

Monday, June 3rd, 2013 - by Paula Bolyard

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“Arming teachers” with guns is a subject often fraught with emotion and one that can divide communities into different “camps” — usually into the stereotypical left vs. right, NRA vs. gun-control arguments. But the issue is much more complex and nuanced, and even those usually on the same side of the gun-control debate disagree about whether teachers should carry guns in classrooms.

Ohio is no exception as the state grapples with school safety a year after T.J. Lane killed three classmates and paralyzed another in a shooting at Chardon High School.

Twenty-two seconds from the time he shot the first shot until he left the school building. Twenty-two seconds.

That’s how Superintendent Joseph Bergant described the shooting at Chardon High School. He spoke at an Ohio State Board of Education (SBE) meeting recently and said that Lane fired the first shot through his backpack and killed the student next to him.

“How do you guarantee the safety of 3000 students in a school building?,” Bergant asked. “You can’t.”

The Chardon district had a comprehensive plan for what to do in the event of an active shooter. They practiced so that students, parents, and teachers knew exactly how to respond. That training included role playing — even discharging a firearm in the building — practice reunification with parents, and parents receiving text messages to make sure the notification system was operational.

Bergant said, “Teachers had more anxiety when we did the crisis drill than on the day of the shooting.”

Despite all the preparations, the shooting only ended as quickly as it did because of the heroic actions of teacher and football coach Frank Hall, who risked his own life by charging Lane — while dodging bullets — and chasing him out of the building.

Metal detectors. Uniformed police officers (euphemistically called “school resource officers”), buzzer systems at the school entry, armed teachers, brave and burly football coaches, duck and cover drills. No single solution or combination of protective measures will guarantee the safety of children when there is an evil murderer bent on snuffing out human lives. Arming teachers is not “the” answer to preventing — or stopping — active shooters.

But are they one solution that could help to make kids safer? Are there legitimate safety concerns about arming teachers? And who should decide if teachers should be armed with guns in schools?

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Self-Driving Cars Would Be A Huge Cyber-Security Risk

Saturday, June 1st, 2013 - by Becky Graebner

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When I read the title of The Wall Street Journal’s newest article on self-driving cars, I said “Oh wow, here we go” out loud. And, yes, here we go. Guidelines on the future of autonomous car operation are largely unwritten; it seems people aren’t even quite sure where to start. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration took its first swing at creating some rules for the self-driving car, while simultaneously raising concerns regarding cyber-security and other untested safety scenarios. The bottom line, these cars open doors that could become security nightmares.

A Preliminary Outline of Rules:

Point number one of NHTSA’s rough sketch urged states not to allow self-driving cars on public roads unless it was for testing — but NHTSA displayed a vote of confidence by  including some rules for if/when states decided to allow the self-driving cars on their roads. Points number two and three focused on future regulations for actual autonomous owners/drivers. They suggested that states should require “drivers” (are they still considered drivers?) to carry special licenses and receive extra training on how to safely operate the vehicle. I think these points are fair and necessary.

Ok, so why so serious, Becky?  It sounds like this was a good start! Well, technology still sucks.

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10 Depressing, Morally Confused Reactions to 4/15/13, the Boston Jihad

Friday, April 19th, 2013 - by Dave Swindle

Reuters reported at 11:54 AM EST on the ideology inspiring the terrorists who murdered and butchered Americans in Boston on Monday:

His “World view” is listed as “Islam” and his “Personal priority” is “career and money”.

He has posted links to videos of fighters in the Syrian civil war and to Islamic web pages with titles like “Salamworld, my religion is Islam” and “There is no God but Allah, let that ring out in our hearts”.

He also has links to pages calling for independence for Chechnya, a region of Russia that lost its bid for secession after two wars in the 1990s.

The page also reveals a sense of humor, around his identity as a member of a minority from southern Russia’s restive Caucasus, which includes Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia and other predominately Muslim regions that have seen two decades of unrest since the fall of the Soviet Union.

“I don’t have a single American friend,” one caption quotes him as saying. “I don’t understand them.” [emphasis added]

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I will state my position about what has happened this way:

Al Qaeda’s Attack on America on September 11, 2001 = the beginning of World War 1

Two NON-ARAB, WHITE, WHOLLY AMERICANIZED Homegrown Millennial Jihadists Take America Hostage And Launch a New Template for How to Wage A DIY, Low Budget-Download-The-Instructions-Off-The-Internet Terror War = the beginning of World War II.

We are now entering a new phase of the Islamic war to replace liberal societies with Sharia law. This is World War IV, a multi-decade conflict that will be for our generation what the war against Nazism and Fascism was for our grandparents. Except it will probably be worse.

As such, I would like to primarily address those who have not yet given up progressivism, moral relativism, and the Democratic party — the three idols I grew up worshiping for the first two decades of my life. (I realize now that the reason I abandoned progressivism is simply that I didn’t go to graduate school whereas most of my friends did. My brainwashing gradually wore off after I got out into the real world and had to try and survive.)

This is not an oppressive, Corporate Imperial war waged against harmless Muslims. It is a war that Islam has declared against Enlightenment-based societies. The problem is not the Koran or Islam. The problem is radical (as in going to the root of the idea) Islam or Islamism, or Orthodox Islam, or the traditional Islam of history that requires the marriage of mosque and state accompanied by full implementation of chop-your-hands-off-style Sharia. Muslims who reject Koranic literalism and affirm Enlightenment philosophy are A-OK. (See Robert Spencer’s article this morning to see the great Jazz music some of them have made. And note Roger L. Simon today — Islam is not a race.) Muslims who embrace America instead of demanding American submission can enjoy the riches of Liberty just as every immigrant who has come to this land throughout the centuries to worship their God and work hard.

We need to stand with genuine Muslim liberals against both the terrorists and stealth (non-violent) jihadists rebelling against the Modern world.

That requires identifying those in the political and media classes who sabotage these efforts. Here are 10 examples of those whose ideas undermine the safety of Americans and the twin projects to nurture political liberalism in the Muslim mind and Enlightenment values in the Islamic soul.

1. Progressive Filmmaker Michael Moore:

“They know nothing.” It’s very important for Moore to try and undermine the credentials of anyone who can affirm that Sharia is a real threat. In Moore’s world Global Warming is more dangerous and cigarettes and car accidents cause more deaths per year than Islamists. Corporations have killed plenty more people than this “one teenager.”

“I guessed correctly. the bombings were not carried out by women.”

There will be more Jihad Janes, Mike…

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VIDEO: ‘I Believe in the Second Amendment’

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 - by Michael Walsh

Yeah, right. Via John Hinderaker of Power Line, and courtesy of the NRA, comes this counter-strike against the Mayors Against Illegal Guns’ transparently phony “gun control” ad. Naturally, this gang of criminals won’t answer the question:

What does this tell us about the dishonest Left? That there is no lie they will not tell, no misrepresentation they will not offer in their single-minded pursuit of power. Their breathtaking mendacity is no accident; it’s not only the means to their ends, it’s who and what they are. Shame on us if we fall for it.

So whenever a fascist Regressive proposes a power grab in the name of “common sense,” “reasonable restrictions ” or  ”the children,” call them on it — what part of “shall not be infringed” don’t they understand?

Good for NRA for exposing these frauds, and would that congressional Republicans could must enough testicular fortitude to do the same. But no, they’re too busy reaching across the aisle.

Let’s hope they fail.

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Cross-posted From Unexamined Premises

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Doomsday Preppers Weeks 14 & 15: Oops, My Bad

Saturday, March 16th, 2013 - by Bob Owens

It’s nearly impossible to review a show on the fly, so I’ve relied on DVRing each new episode of Doomsday Preppers, and reviewing it the next day. This worked great until last week, when for whatever reason episode 14, “A Fortress at Sea,” didn’t record. I chalked it up to there being a mid-season re-run (they happen), and didn’t know otherwise until a reader asked my why I didn’t review it. Oops.

So, this week we’re going to do the best we can and condense two episodes “A Fortress at Sea” and “Let Her Rip” into one post. Call it “Ripped at Sea,” which is what I’m going to wish I was after doing a twofer.

Ready? Here we go!

Kevin and Annissa Coy live in Washington atate and were impacted by the explosion of Mount St. Helens in 1980. Along with their children and grandchildren, they are preparing against the threat of another eruption from one of five active volcanoes within striking distance of their home, including the country-killer, Yellowstone.

They have multiple vehicles to bug-out in, including a truck towing a 5th-wheel RV, a converted Greyhound bus, a 27-foot sailboat on a trailer, and a rollback wrecker to tote a micro-house in case the worst happens. They’ve got livestock (chickens, pigs, rabbits, etc), a year’s supply of food for the entire family… and problems.

Prior to the show, their efforts, while generally well thought-out, had been hypothetical. When it came time to put the theory into practice, that hit several serious snags. The truck that they had to pull the livestock trailer was jacked up too high to connect to the trailer, so they were forced to leave most large livestock behind to die in the hypothetical ash cloud (sorry, Porky). The chickens and rabbits ended up shoved into the luggage compartments of the bus, and I frankly think they stand a decent chance of dying of carbon monoxide poisoning since those aren’t very well-ventilated.

The micro-house Kevin built for Annissa, sadly, wouldn’t load up on the flatbed. Presumably, they need a better skid system under it.

The show’s experts at Practical Preppers dinged the Coys pretty hard for not having adequate water filtration figured out (if someone knows of a volcanic ash-/sludge-rated water filter, please let me know) and for security preps. I was a little uncertain about that, but since the only firearms showed on their segment were a bolt action .22LR and a scoped-deer rifle, it might mean they didn’t have sufficient firepower and/or numbers, since it is rather difficult to drive and shoot. They give them 11 months of survival time.

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9 Reasons to Dump Your Corporate Gym for a Family Gym

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013 - by Megan Fox

The joy of children also comes with the horrors of what motherhood does to the body. Trying to recapture some semblance of my former self, I joined a few fancy corporate gyms with salons and spas and pretty associates selling banana-choco-gluten-free $12 shakes, but I never achieved the results I wanted. It turns out that quitting was the answer. I finally discovered how to get fit and have a great time doing it. I joined a family-owned, martial arts gym. The following truths will convince you to ditch your corporate gym membership in favor of a much better option that actually produces results while improving every area of your life.

9. “Do you believe in love at first sight or do I have to walk by you again?”

A simple Google search on “picking up girls” will lead to hundreds of smarmy articles advising men on how to hook up at the gym. This particular sentiment — from someone claiming to be a gentleman — sums it up about perfectly:

Utilized properly, the gym is one of the finest hunting grounds for the well prepared cocksman.

Wow. Where to begin? If you’re 20 and this is the kind of thing you’re into, I’d say that guy is right. Big corporate gyms with lots of young, dumb girls would be a good place for a sexual predator to stalk his kill. However, when you’re a married mom or dad, this is not the kind of environment that will encourage your marriage. Further, it’s uncomfortable to feel as if you are being sized up by people who refer to themselves as “cocksmen.” It’s also disconcerting trying to avoid that one guy who stalks you with his eyes when you’re trying to use that embarrassing machine where you pretend to strangle someone with your thighs. Awkward.

A small, family-owned gym that caters to both children and adults has a totally different vibe for more mature members with the goal of family fitness. Many people don’t know that most martial arts programs have cardio classes and training for adults. My family belongs to Randori Jiu-Jitsu, where we can take a variety of classes like jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, boxing, judo, karate, mixed martial arts, and conditioning and strength training all without a nightclub atmosphere or threat of venereal disease.

Is this a workout or a slow dance?

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Which Doomsday Scenario Is Most Likely To Hit First?

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013 - by PJ Lifestyle Bookshelf

Official Description:

If you were worried about America’s future after the 2012 election, brace yourself—it’s going to be a lot worse than you imagined.

In Obama’s Four Horsemen, award-winning libertarian-conservative journalist David Harsanyi lays out the four great catastrophes that threaten to crush the America we know and love.

What are they?

  • Debt. Forget the fiscal cliff. We plunged over it in Obama’s first term—by $16 trillion—and when we hit bottom, that splat you hear will be our obliterated standard of living. It will be much worse, as Harsanyi shows, than anyone in the media is telling you.
  • Dependency. Welcome to Obamaland, where freedom is the problem, government is the cure, and bureaucrats are corrupting the relationship between government and citizen in ways that will lead us to ruin.
  • Surrender. Remember when America thought of itself as a force for good in the world? Remember when we stood by our allies? Today, the Obama administration kowtows to dictators, apologizes to those who hate us, refuses to defend American ideals, and is actively working to undo our superpower status with potentially catastrophic results.
  • Death. The Democratic Party once proclaimed that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. No longer. Now abortion is a positive good, to be subsidized and even exported at taxpayer expense. Obama’s Democratic Party is more than the party of higher taxes, spending, debt, and dependency. America’s majority party is now the party of death, with consequences we will soon regret.

Provocative, prophetic, and powerful, Harsanyi shows just how Obama’s four horsemen could trample America into the ground—and what we need to do if we are to have any hope of rising again.****

Click to submit book suggestions for the new daily feature at PJ Lifestyle.

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Related at PJ Lifestyle:

The 15 Best Books for Understanding Barack Obama’s Mysterious Political Theology

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