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Monday, October 13, 2014

squeezing the toothpaste tube


SQUEEZING THE TOOTHPASTE TUBE

I was trying to remember the commonly used phrase for an action which cannot be undone and my brain has frozen up on that one, kind of like a movie you are trying to remember the title to or in which actor played in.  Right on the tip of your brain.  Light the fuse?  Presumably you could spit on your finger and snuff out the combusting part.  Release the balloon ( referring to the launch of a balloon to signal an attack, most often associated with nuclear conflict although some claim the phraseology goes back to the Yankee Aggression Of 1861 when observation balloons being launched was a precursor to attack )?  I believe those are on tethers.  So you could just reel in in.  Pull the plug?  You just reinsert.  So, finally, I’m just going with squeezing the toothpaste out of the tube.  You can’t get that crap back in, at least not with the common tools available to the standard homeowner.  And since Ebola is on all our minds, ask yourself, “when do I squeeze the tube?”  It is all well and good to talk endlessly about why we should prep and how we should prep and for most of us, what cool toys must we have to prep.  But when something like a disease comes along that could kill you in a puddle of your own rendered fatty organs, you start to get down to the gritty details.  It isn’t an abstract puzzle anymore but your financial ruin upon any misstep.  Yet hesitation also kills you.  Literally.

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Back in the day of Leave It To Beaver fathers serenely puffing a pipe in his easy chair reading a newspaper which was situated atop a fallout basement bunker, things were relatively easy.  For one, you usually could trust what you were reading, by and large.  Sure, reporters could easily be lied to and misled, but Hell hath little fury like a reporter scorned and they had enough integrity to bulldog their way to the truth and usually consequences be damned.  Today, a young flaming idiot goes to college for four years at $40k, all to learn how to copy and paste Associated Press releases on a computer and that doesn’t require either “investigative” or “reporting” ( and don’t even get me started on the pool of vapid slop “60 Minutes” on TV has degenerated into ).  For another, you just trusted that the radio or TV would give you a Soviet launch warning of incoming ICBM’s and you could scurry down into your hidey hole and then later in a few weeks you could emerge to a bright shiny world of Navy SeeBees bulldozing fallout off the crop fields and a friendly Civil Defense coordinator at the county instructing you further.  Okay, perhaps it wouldn’t really have worked out exactly as planned, but always remember and never forget that in a growing resource base economy, the slow centralization is actually a good thing, increasing productivity exponentially ( we are seeing an exponential decline now, which is SOOOOOOO friggin surprising given the mirage miracle of fracking oil ).

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The point being, as planet busting super deluxe disasters went, you had few worries about that toothpaste tube.  Now, don’t mistake me here.  I’m not saying that Ebola is a civilization ending super unprecedented disaster.  It COULD be, but I’m certainly not convinced at this point.  And even if I was, you wouldn’t care to listen ( but more on that coming up ).  Right now, it is just a potential “we are all going to die” event.  There is NOT going to be any announcement to that effect.  You are all on your own deciding- there will be no radio announcement to retire to your bunker.  If you follow most prepper/survival blogs, a common theme-even here I shall admit- is No Brainer Disasters.  Everything is pretty self-explanatory Get Out This Very Minute disasters.  Wall street crashes ( yes, I know, a contrived notion now that the markets in the western world are all rigged, but a historical worry that still survives ) and the money to fuel the economy freezes up.  No truck deliveries, no power grid workers, etc.  Or, a Jihad Towel Head 99 Virgins Dude detonates the tactical nuke shoved up his ass in Washington DC and anarchy descends upon the land as our benevolent Big Daddy is no longer sending out Ghetto Pay-Off Checks.  Not to mention all the traditional Immediate Collapse worries such as a continental wide EMP, or an asteroid, etc.  Everyone is selling and buying the notion of a billboard advertised collapse- “you are now free to panic”.  The timing is NOT ambivalent.  The signal is clear and loud.

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This sells product.  You can’t sell prepper products if everyone is dropping out of the Rat Race ahead of a disaster in anticipation of a collapse.  You know, getting there five years too early rather than five seconds too late.  Homesteaders are allowed, because to pay off the mortgage they still commute to a job.  But true Malthusian Survivalists ( side note:  I was thinking on changing my blog sub-header from “all things survival from the movements gadfly” to something with Malthusian in it.  Say, “the Malthusian Survivalist movements gadfly”.  What do you all think?  Suggestions? ) who drop out are not wage slaves and if you aren’t earning a wage above bare minimum to barely survive, you can’t buy consumer items, now can you?  But a GREAT way to sell oodles and gobs of product is to have people frozen in fear at their jobs and using those jobs to purchase talismans to ward off evil.  And what could possibly be more evil than to be frozen out of the consumer market, the dating pool and the lifetime achievement award race?  I’m not pointing fingers accusingly.  We are ALL guilty of this not because we are weak and worthless and attempt to buy happiness, but because this is how humans are hard wired.  We are puppets to our DNA and we respond accordingly.  Yet, to survive, you must go against your programming.  Now, you might respond, evolution has equipped us to survive near extinction level events with population bottlenecks and so how is going against our very nature going to assure our survival?  Man has duality. 

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Just as a warrior can remain peaceful, as needed, a social animal can revert to anti-social behavior for a time as a coping mechanism.  An individual single purposefully pursuing mating material can become celibate for a time.  We can deprogram for a short period.  So your task becomes identifying when this is necessary.  You certainly cannot fight your programming long term, but for a short enough time span it is not only possible but essential.  The timing is what gets you killed.  For almost all of us, we pretend to diligently study a potential problem in depth so as to know when the timing to act is right but in reality all we are doing is using more information as an excuse to never act.  We are forever gathering intelligence to make better decisions, until gathering is all we ever do.  Let me ask you a simple question.  How many Dallas-Fort Worth area based survivalists have acted with finality?  How many have bunkered down?  We’d have heard, surely, from online forums that someone, anyone, is concerned now enough at Patient Zero City with all the official incompetence to take the drastic step of squeezing the tube.  Have you heard anything?  Not me.  We all know most survivalists are not in Idaho but in larger metro areas where the jobs are ( bloggers can bloviate endlessly all they want on how super deluxe wonderful Idaho is but until real estate prices come down and a few jobs open up outside those urban areas, I’m not sold that one can be a survivalist there without getting into debt, working in the city and planning on bugging out ).  Surely a city that large has its share of survivalists.  My guess is that most are bunker in one month food supply, a generator and an AR type of prepper with a mortgage.  And as Ebola has shown, that is a very crappy type of prepper to be.  Because you can’t escape early enough.  You must support a wife and kids, in the lifestyle of their choice.  So you live in the middle of a bullseye.  Hell, the only consequence I face squeezing the tube is not having a job reference when I come back to civilization after a false alarm, if I do.  The wife will bitch about no more beer, and not enough cigarettes or coffee, but the worst thing she can do is leave me and I’m used to that.  And just worrying about quitting before two weeks notice is up is enough to cause me grief about this decision, should it arrive.  I can’t imagine how anyone with rent or a mortgage or the prospects of an expensive divorce can do anything but analyze away the problem as a defense mechanism.  You have doomed yourself to die and it isn’t even Civilization Down yet.  Even if you act smartly and promptly, in this particular scenario you have the very real possibility of having almost the entire population able to bug out of the cities toward you.  You might be more screwed if you leave.  Of course, staying, how do you bug-in?  If you don’t work, money doesn’t flow in.  No money, no marriage.  Expensive divorce, utilities shut off, tax arrears proceedings.  How do you dispose of garbage?  Keep the freezer running?  I could go on and on.  Civilization Up survival is not really possible.  So you tough it out, take precautions like masks and gloves and avoiding crowds, but no urban environment allows enough isolation.  If you appear fed enough, your home gets invaded.  You can’t keep people far enough away. 

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You want answers.  You want disease details, tripping points.  Isn’t is obvious enough you won’t get those from me or anyone else?  Too much disinformation is out there.  Too many people have a vested interest that enriches them and kills you.  You are all alone, brothers and sisters.  The only group answer is to hope like heck the pandemic never gets a foothold, going about our business.  People safely in the boonies making money selling you fear can stay in isolation.  You can’t.  You can bug out now, using a variety of low cost strategies, but you are condemning yourself to economic suicide.  Well, middle class suicide, anyway.  It isn’t so drastic you will starve.  Not yet.  Not until a car of disease ridden crack heads moves up to your small town in an isolated area because one has a relative that cooks meth near your compound.  Then, if you haven’t prepped enough food because you insisted on the expensive protein rich variety diet, and spent most of your money moving there and surviving three months without a job, then you starve or die of Ebola.  No guarantees,  obviously, just varying degrees of probability.

END ARTICLE, MORE BELOW
 
BOOK REVIEW
The Beginning Of The End by Michael T Snyder is NOT a great book.  Here is the author of the blog The Economic Collapse Blog, with a book NOT about an economic collapse.  Okay, my bad, pardon me for assuming I was going to get details about the economy collapsing.  I should have naturally known it was going to be about the Illuminati, one world government and how the Devil himself was running the whole planned collapse.  This story has every contrived device hundreds of other authors use in the standard genre of One Man Saves The World novels.  I don’t blame this author for being another voice.  He probably read the same story I did long ago reporting Robin Cook studied story details of many New York Times Bestseller List books to plot his manuscripts.  The problem being, back then the big publishers were just starting to lower the bar on readers to increase book sales ( direct writing towards lowest common denominator sixth grade reading levels to turn more consumers into readers to increase purchases to pay for increased publisher mergers ) and you still had a modicum of talent churning out bestsellers.  Today, the crap that is vomited out is so embarrassing I wouldn’t strive to emulate it.  But, being a poor to mediocre fiction writer myself, I can’t throw stones in glass houses.  If Mikes only sin was contrived plot devices I wouldn’t bitch.  If the ideas being presented were worthy.  Yet, they are most decidedly NOT.
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I could put up with cliff wall secret car door openings and glowing red eye seven foot giant assassins if I was reading about economic collapse and prepping for same.  But beyond “make a million at Silicon Valley and retire to Montana backwoods with a rich mans retreat” there is no prepping advice.  And beyond “Dow lost 500 a day for a week and banks lost hundreds of billions in derivatives and Saudi Arabia is now taking Euro’s for oil”, the only thing this story touched economic wise was how many poor people the characters saw outside the car window as they sped away from Lucifer’s Soldiers.  Technique was adequate.  The story moved along fast enough, and character development wasn’t even as badly ignored as a lot of bestselling authors do.  For a first novel, this certainly was far better crafted than 99% of the post-apocalypse Kindle stories out there.  But I wanted survivalism for my body, not just my soul.  I’m happy Mike was born again and saved from himself.  I’m not so bitter that I want to share my pain with the world.  I just hate him trying to save me using trickery.  He didn’t exactly lie to get me to buy this book, but he WAS a former attorney and it shows in this attempt at “I didn’t lie, I omitted”.  I could even attribute that to salesmanship, trying to create excitement by suspense.  By not revealing too much.  Yes, in truth I told myself how this book was going to be before I bought it.  I certainly share some of the blame.  But if his misdirection, or misinformation, or simply misunderstanding costs you money as it makes him a profit, wouldn’t you be a bit bitter?  Also, as a personal quirk, nice job killing extra trees using such large print.  Al Gore certainly can’t be faulted for carbon emissions to spread his word, and obviously Mike doesn’t attribute resource depletion to an underlying cause of economic collapse.
END
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28 comments:

  1. Good article LB. I can see your batteries are recharging. This Ebola has huge potential to screw up the works. If it gets a foot hold the panic could be the event. Of course we can hope that most of the sheep believe the CDC that "we can handle this" and they all sit at home for a couple days while those that have a clue do what needs to be done. I feel sorry for those of us in the large metro areas. I wish I was farther out sometimes but alas I too must work.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. This was the same word count as an entire week, old posting style, but since I didn't have to come up with multiple subjects it was easier and more relaxing.

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    2. Dumbass here, forgot to include the following super blog relating to Ebola:
      http://raconteurreport.blogspot.com/

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    3. I liked it. You hit the nail on the head, and then pounded it home.
      I too am thinking long and hard about how I could know in time to batten down the hatches. Ebola, Nuke war, etc, etc, there is no clear signal until it is (almost?) too late. I am living and working out in the boonies. But that is no real defense - I have to go into a cubicle every work day, surrounded by other office workers, many of whom come in daily contact with the transients and poor people trying to make a living in the Bakken oil boom. I have some minor contacts with medical people in the area that I might get word of some suspicious illnesses early on- but maybe not.
      I do get paid sick leave- but 3-4 weeks on a CHANCE of an major disaster of any sort, would leave me without it should the disaster arrive later.
      For Ebola disaster, I do have family who will not be physically contacting me should I, as the bread winner, show symptoms. I will be self guarantied in the un attached garage with enough supplies to suffer through the disease, And the rest of the family will be self quarantined in the house with, again, sufficient supplies for (more than) the duration of the illness. But that is a fall back plan at best and unlikely to work well.

      Getting setup for isolation is hard for a social animal, even harder is figuring out when to socially isolate.

      Good luck to all.

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    4. I can't get myself to commit to this like I did Y2K or Peak Oil, but still I have a very bad feeling about this. Mainly because, this was at the bottom of my prep list so most likely to bite me in the ass. One example, the wife has meds for breathing issues, but sometimes still has to go to the ER. I'm constructing a separate Sun Room, digging already done, waiting for lumber run, but most likely we both catch it the same time unaware and no quarantine or plans to drop out will work.

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  2. Read nurse odum's blog too, "a prosperous way down," peak oil + ebola= megadoom.

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    1. Thanks. Checked it out. OK, but still prefer Racoteur's.

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  3. You can't put the Genie back in the bottle.

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    1. That is a good one, but I don't think its the one I was trying to remember. Damn old burned out brain.

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  4. "For almost all of us,we pretend to diligently study a potential problem in depth so as to know when the timing is right but in reality all we are doing is using more information as an excuse to never act."

    Such sentences are worth waiting a week for.

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  5. On the Arch Druids blog, he did some 'doubling' math to show that, should ebola continue to spread at the rate it has by the end of @ September 2015 everyone in the world would have contracted it.
    Now this is mostly due to the exponential nature ( the 'hockey stick' curve) of exponential functions, and obviously would not be the actual reality of the situation, BUT it does indicate how soon we could start seeing serious effects from the natural spread of the disease, and, if it is deliberately spread by terrorists or other conspiracies it could arrive sooner.

    SO - once everyone has had it at least once, with a 30-70% mortality rate, we will probably see the resource demand (and production) drop by about 20-70%, giving those who survive a little longer until the resource collapse.

    Or, more likely, we will use up MORE resources fighting it to a standstill, until some key resource(s) get too rare, THEN it will hit with a vengeance....
    (first financial collapse - that we are currently in - then resource collapse - clearly visible on the near horizon time wise - then famine and plague and first wave of widespread mass violence - followed by new temporary normal, until a new financial collapse, rinse and repeat)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. If this is manmade, and I'm not saying either way, the PTB have grossly miscalculated. Once you have X amount of power workers absent, grid down nuke power meltdown. Truckers, food riots. Let loose amongst military, no guards at the gate. Too complex, too many tangled webs. One small critical failure and our reducing redundancy to save money implodes the system.

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    2. I was referring to the resource and financial problems being deliberately induced. I think Ebola is a (most likely) a natural disease, the failure to deal with it correctly is either total ignorance or a deliberate act on TPTB part.

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    3. Perhaps a combination of stupidity, not wishing to panic, no money to respond properly and wishful thinking?

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  6. Great article Jim! I believe that this is one of the most well-written works that I've had the joy of reading on your blog (and I've been reading for 7+ years). Really well put-together, interesting, and (of course) entertaining. Bravo! And, I got to learn something new by finding out what "Malthusian" means. Speaking of which, "the Malthusian Survivalist Movements Gadfly" might be a pretty good fit (and maybe even "sound" kinda' cool too). Thanks for all you do!

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    1. Why thank you! See, Minions, was that so hard?

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  7. I think the phrase you are looking for is 'Crossing the Rubicon' . It comes from the days of Julius Caesar. Interesting story, you should look it up.

    By the way, this Idaho Backwoods Homesteader is debt free. Not because I have ever made a lot of money . But we bought junk land cheap and have worked like dogs for over twenty years building our place.

    There is a great saying out there: You can have two out of three -- you can have it done quick, done right or done cheap.

    Idaho Homesteader

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    1. It did pop into my head this morning- "pull the trigger". I'm sure that was the one I was looking for. I do have the book "Crossing The Rubicon" by Michael Rupport. Read it twice and was thinking about a third time soon. Don't agree with all of it, but what a great book!

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  8. The bankers are coming after some of those poor folks that lost their homes following the last financial upset. Another great reason to heed Jim's advice, and get that junk land now!

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/news/americans-face-post-foreclosure-hell-as-wages-garnished-assets-seized/ar-BB9dmPO

    Wayne

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    1. I think I read the same article this morning. It is alarmist, but if you can embrace a bad credit rating as a means to reign in your credit addiction, simply declare bankruptcy to avoid the worst of it. Don't get fleeced as their ship is sinking.

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    2. I was forced into bankruptcy by evil woman #2 and lost the house in the process. 2 years later the bank holding the mortgage mails me a 1099 for the deficiency amount any way. Cost me $400 for a cpa to get it fixed with uncle sugar's irs.

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  9. Say, “the Malthusian Survivalist movements gadfly”. What do you all think? Suggestions?

    "Facing the end with Malthusiasm"?

    Name anonymous due to embarrasment

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  10. "Priceless advice for the malthusiastic prepper."?
    still embarrased

    ReplyDelete
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    1. not sure 'malthusiastic' is a word

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    2. The English language is FLEXIBLE. Say it is a word, have a commonly understood meaning and suddenly everyone is tweeting it.
      (see what I did there?)

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    3. It does sound kind of cool, like merging Malthus and Enthusiastic. A Happy Malthusian.

      Delete

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