Memorial Day Prayer

Memorial Day

You know it’s a shame we need an earmarked day to remind us to celebrate a special event or person, but I’m as guilty as the next for not thinking beyond my own selfish needs.

I was talking to a dear old Army buddy yesterday and after the proverbial telling lies to each other and exaggerating embarrassing situations we had shared in Vietnam, he asked me a question that confused me.

Jim, would you do it all again?” he asked.

Do what again?” I replied.

Go to Vietnam.”

Are back on LSD again?” I laughed “It’s a little too late to change your mind now about something that happened over 45 years ago.”

There was a long silence and I thought maybe we’d lost our connection, but then I heard him take a deep breath.

22 and 1.” he said.

What are you talking about?” I asked with a little irritation starting to melt into my tone. “22 and 1 what.”

22 former soldiers and 1 active soldier commits suicide every day,” he paused “did you know that?”

Are you sure?” I asked quite seriously.

Check it out Bud,” he said. “Think about it and ask yourself if you’d do it all again.”

I did check it out and was startled and alarmed that he was correct. Based on VA records 22 and 1 commit suicide everyday. Now obviously there will probably be 23 different stories and circumstances which drive these soldiers to take their own life and most likely some or most are not military related at all.

But what if the horrendous experiences of war drove 10 of these poor souls to end it, what about 5? What about 1? Writers much more eloquent and with better command of the English language than me can describe war and offer the noncombatant a glimpse or feeling of the chaos and fear. I can only say “You just have to be in it to understand.” How do you explain the terror that makes you piss your pants and not realize it until the battle is over?

I hate it when I become melancholy and begin searching for the inner truth and the broader vision of life like a Hindu monk or something. But I had suddenly realized what my friend’s question meant … and it was as perplexing for me as trying to understand infinity … there’s always 1 more number.

What he was asking was if I had known in 1970 the state of America on May 23, 2018, would be in, would I have fought? A totally hypothetical question, but the root of the question … would you have risked your life to fight for a future dictator to conquer America is quite thought provoking.

Democracy is not a material thing, like a granite monument or statue. It’s an idea that is fragile and as fleeting as a whist of smoke if not carefully guarded. Today our Democracy is under attack by a Nazi, lying, stealing real estate con who was placed into the President’s position by our arch enemy, Russia.

Russia’s actions and collusion by the Trump team resulted in a bloodless coupe, so far, but a coup none the less. They have taken American democracy and are destroying it piece by piece. Tearing down institutions that have held the country together for two hundred years, eliminating the founding fathers’ separation of powers that was written in order to prevent a dictator taking over. Placing himself above the law. I could go on indefinitely as there is a new attack, a new scandal, a new lie every day.

Make no mistakes about it people. Our Democracy is on very shaky ground right now, on the verge of collapsing.

You say that’s my opinion. Well, yes and no. Yes that’s my opinion, but it’s backed up by every former president, intelligence agencies, former great American leaders, etc. etc.

What about your opinion and the 35% of Americans that would walk off a cliff if their orange haired messiah told them to. Ever hear the adage “There’s a Sucker born every minute.” Well, I rest my case.

Let’s try this another way so you may not get as pissed as you are right now. Let’s say you need a critical surgery and are interviewing 5 surgeons for the procedure. One surgeon declares he’s the smartest, best surgeon alive and could perform the surgery blindfolded if need be. The other four discuss technical medical procedures and the steps involved in this intricate surgery and warn there could be complications.

So what do you do? Pick one of the four surgeons who have the knowledge and the experience to perform the surgery, although they warn of possible complications.

OR

The surgeon who has never really proven he’s a doctor much alone a surgeon and claims the operation is a piece of cake he could do blindfolded. Don’t worry.

I’ll not pick which one a smart person would choose. I’ll leave that up to you.

The original question … “Would I fight for America if I knew America would fall prey to a dictatorship while our supposed leaders coward-ed before him?”

I am prepared to fight for America today to stop the tyranny that is running rampant. I have a feeling those 22 and 1 soldiers would somehow shirk off their heart breaking troubles and join the fight as well.

Open your eyes people. You don’t have to see the whole picture, just one little piece.

22 former soldiers and 1 active duty soldier commits suicide every day and at least part of their mental anguish was from military duty, horrors of war or other military related events.

Our current pretend president dodged military service due to bone spurs. Of all damn things … bone spurs. It ain’t important, What is important this coward is now destroying the very America these 22 and 1 and their former buddies, alive and dead, fought to preserve.

Dear God, Please rescue America from the evil internal forces that are attacking her. I fear even You will be hard pressed to accomplish this, but please give Republicans a spine in which to stand up to this tyrant. And if they continue to choose individual wealth and power instead of honoring their oath of office … then to hell with them too.

Amen

Desert Survival Techniques

 

Desert. What images does the word conjure up in your mind? A desolate dry, rocky terrain dotted with cactus … A sandy windswept dry plain that’s forever changing. The worlds’ desert environments are varied, you realize an ice packed environment could be a desert, but all have one thing in common.,, they are arid. Any environment lacking water creates challenges to survival. But because deserts are not all alike they pose an unique survival challenge that follow a different set of survival rules, some contrary to normal survival techniques.

As we zip along the sparsely traveled side road in our air conditioned motor home, listening to the stereo and sipping on a cold drink, we never give it a thought that we are traversing the same desert landscape that claimed the lives of hundreds of early settlers who became stranded exactly where we now are. No concern on our part. This is modern times. Nothing to worry about.

Really? What has changed that makes dying in the desert impossible today? The landscape hasn’t changed in a 1000 years, boulders lie where they settled a million years ago when the ocean disappeared, and creatures who have inhabited this harsh environment still exist, although unseen. The only thing that has changed is You. Civilized Mankind.

You have become weaker … try cultivating 10 acres with a mule and plow. We are dumber … can you read the stars and know your exact location? We are lazy … do you walk 2 blocks to the video store or drive?

But we have technology! Yep. Cell phones that may or may not have a signal and definitely have batteries that go dead rendering it useless. We have cars that can do everything, even talk to you. But are useless when it runs out of fuel, or suffers an electrical malfunction. Do they still have vehicle repair shops?

You get the point. Don’t fool yourself, one silly or unavoidable mishap could land you squarely in a dire survival situation in a hostile environment inhabited by unfriendly dangerous animals. Ready to learn how to survive if the unthinkable happens? … Let’s do it.


Introduction to Desert Survival Techniques 101

Some survival techniques are so basic there shouldn’t be a need to even mention them. But since people continue to ignore the rule I’ll repeat it.

Tell someone where you are going!

Can’t get much simpler, but …. Let someone who cares about you, not the female bartender you’ve been hitting on, where you’re going. A back country hiking trip should be a no-brain-er, but a trip to Vegas through the desert can turn just as deadly. When you are missed the loved one can contact the proper authorities and they know where to begin their search. If you drastically change your plans, going to Phoenix instead, let the person know. Beginning a search in the wrong direction is worse than not knowing where to begin, as it reduces the area of search. You’ve just completed the first step to desert survival.

Water is the most critical thing to desert survival. Maybe not.

Conventional survival techniques teach finding potable water as the most important thing to do, but the desert alters that rule. Obviously water must be located, but at what cost? Water retention now enters the equation and stumbling about in the blistering sun searching for water is self defeating as you are losing water, through sweating, at a rapid pace and are not replacing it.

Here’s a simple way to look at it mathematically. Water in must equal water out. Simple equation for dehydration, but if the equation gets out of kilter, water in is less than water out for an extended time, death occurs.

Two ways to keep the equation in balance, or at least minimize the rate of speed dehydration is reached.

A. Locate and consume more water…

B. Mitigate or reduce water loss … sweating

If you don’t see water from where you are standing, what makes you think you’ll find it over the next hill? You may, but chances are remote and you’ll lose precious water by walking around in the scorching sun.

Instead find shade. (the altered part of survival 101) The desert is a nocturnal world which comes alive after the searing sun goes down and the temperatures drop. You’ll rest during the day, conserving energy and water, while traveling at night to search for water, food and the construction of a shelter and water producing projects. Avoid sitting directly on the hot ground which has baked for hours, instead try finding a shaded spot.

Back to finding water. If you live near or plan to travel through the desert always stash a piece of thin plastic in your vehicle, backpack, or fanny pack, as it can prove to be a life saver. If you can build a solar still, which we will, the urgency to journey out into the unknown searching for water is greatly reduced.

Simply explained a solar still is a miniature greenhouse which traps humidity under the vapor barrier, which then condenses into water as the temperatures drop at night. Here are the basic steps for constructing a simple solar still.

solarstill

One: Dig a round hole a few feet by a few feet deep. There’s no need to get carried away and dig a basement or a grave.

Two: Dig the pit in a funnel form, sides angling downward

Three: Stretch your piece of plastic across the hole, it is important to have extra plastic in order to secure the perimeter. That’s why I said don’t go crazy with the size and depth of the hole. **** If you can find some green vegetation place it into the hole under the plastic, as it will contain moisture that can be extracted.

Four: Secure the perimeter of the plastic with rocks or cover with sand/dirt.

Five: You’ll want the plastic taunt, however you’ll want to funnel the water downward to the center in order to collect. Do this by placing a rock in the middle which will draw the plastic down creating a pooling area.

There are several methods of collecting the water depending on what’s available. If you have an empty bottle, set it under the collection point and punch a small hole in the plastic for the water to drip into the bottle. If you have a straw or a reed which can be used as a straw, you can suck the water off the plastic. If nothing else you may have to lap the water like a dog. Whatever it takes to survive.

Want to go on a diet?

As I said the desert has a way of changing things. Statistically and probabilities dictate if lost in the desert you will most likely die from dehydration, injury or be rescued before you will from starvation. That might sound a little harsh, but it is the truth. Therefore, don’t waste energy or water searching for food. However, if an easy meal presents itself in the form of an egg, rodent or snake … by all means take it. But don’t lose sleep over being hungry. Be glad you are alive to feel the pangs.

Fire … when men became men except during the day

You should never build a fire during the day. Why? Number one it’s hot and you are already in a miserably hot environment, plus it takes energy to build a fire. Just walking around collecting firewood burns energy and worse yet … expels water through sweating. There’s a time for a fire, but not daytime.

You may ask about a fire for signaling purposes. Rescue crews, on the ground and in the air, are taught to look for something out of the norm when scanning huge areas. A shiny object like a mirror or knife blade, reflecting sunlight, work much better for attracting attention.

There is one exception for a special circumstance. If you need a black bellowing smoke, and you are at your stranded vehicle, which you better be, then drain the oil and burn it. This will create a black plume you can see for miles.

fire1

As night begins to approach it’s time to start the fire. Don’t wait until dark to gather firewood and try lighting a fire. You may need light to see why you are having trouble getting a fire started, and critters begin coming out at night so it’s better to not be out blindly lifting sticks and what ever, not knowing what’s under them.

Fire is extremely important for numerous reasons. A fire can be seen for a long distance in the desert at night even on a starry night. It doesn’t have to be a blazing inferno, but glowing embers don’t help a lot. Never underestimate how quickly dried wood burns. When you think you’ve gathered enough for the entire night, triple that.

The desert gets bitterly cold at night, ironic isn’t it, and a warm fire will go a long ways in insuring your survival and peace of mind. Especially if your in your normal summer suit of shorts and a tank top.

A lastly, all those critters you didn’t see during the day are now out and moving about, hunting for food. Man is normally not on the menu, but you could get caught in a crossfire between a snake and a rat. The fire will help persuade them to give you a wide path.

Keep an eye out for rattlesnakes
snake

Of all desert creatures the rattle snake poses the greatest danger to you. In America poisonous snakes cause very few fatalities, but that’s because emergency medical treatment is usually reasonably close. Even with the administering of life saving anti-venom, you will still incur incredible pain. You don’t want to try and endure this in the wilderness and hope your body can ward off the effects of the bite.

A scorpion rarely stings unless it is hunting or feels threatened, but that doesn’t mean to ignore them as a danger. You know you mean no harm to the scorpion you just put your hand down on, but it doesn’t … and even it did it’d probably still sting you for invading its space.

Bottom line is … always be aware of your surroundings and watch for any sign of danger.

Flash Floods can be deadly.

flashflood

You are quite aware of the dangers posed by a flash flood, but in the desert where you’ve been searching fruitlessly for a bit of moisture, that much water sounds impossible. Unlikely … perhaps. Impossible … con tare … very possible. In fact people die every year in the American Southwest due to flash flood drownings. The problem is the atmosphere over a desert can change drastically in a very short time. The starry night you fell asleep by may erupt into a torrential storm out of nowhere.

Again, the extreme challenges to the rule created by deserts. Because there is very little moisture the ground bakes in the scorching sun becoming concrete like. When suddenly engulfed in a flood of rain the ground can not absorb enough of it quickly enough to prevent a massive runoff. Every gully and rut will experience the same runoff, joining together to create a tsunami which will destroy anything in its path.

So when deciding on a place to rest or camp, always survey the area. Staying in the bottom of a dry channel, ditch or dry lake bed is dangerous, not saying you absolutely should not rest there, but be aware of the possible danger and the weather conditions.

duststorm

Hell, here comes a dust storm

Dust storms are another of those freaks of nature’s desert that can really be troubling. If you are at your vehicle stay inside it. Roll the windows up as tight as possible to keep the elements out, but you may have to roll one down slightly if the heat becomes too much. You don’t want to bake yourself into oblivion.

If you are caught out in the open look for large boulders, low lying rock outcrops or any other natural shelter to hide behind or under. If you are lucky enough to encounter a straight wind dust storm, some swirl, the rock shelter will help block the worse of the storm. Always place something, a rag or handkerchief over your mouth and nose to keep from inhaling dust particles. A bunch of sand and dust lining your mouth and lungs won’t do any good for your already raging thirst.

Unfortunately there is nothing you can do but hunker down and wait for the storm to end. One last personal note. If you have no extra clothing to cover your mouth and nose I would recommend taking your shirt off and covering your entire head. The sand may sting, but you have protected your eyes, mouth and lungs.

Think Twice Before Drinking Cactus Water

cactus

I know you see cowboys cut off a chunk of cactus and drink to their hearts desire, but this ain’t Hollywood and you ain’t John Wayne. The chances of cactus water making you ill, very diarrhea type ill, is quite high. Come down with a case of the runs and dehydration goes into warp drive. But … as a last resort … you are dying of thirst … go far it. What do you have to lose?

These desert survival techniques are not all inclusive, no manual contains everything. Special forces are continually coming up with new ways to survive in hostile environments, but learn and adhere to these basics and your odds of surviving have skyrocketed.

 

 

 

 

 

The War of the Ostrich and the Owl

 

There was once a fable of the tale of a dispute between an Ostrich and an Owl that goes something like this:

One day an ostrich and an owl were discussing the day’s events when they spotted a snake slithering stealthily towards an unsuspecting mouse. Mr. Owl became very anxious as he analyzed the possible future results of what he was witnessing. In his expert opinion he knew the snake was poisonous and mice were its favorite menu item. Therefore, he declared the mouse would be killed and eaten by the snake. He thought hooting to warn the mouse of impending danger was the correct thing to do.

However, Mr. Ostrich begged to differ with the owl’s hypothesis, declaring he knew this snake personally and killing wasn’t in his genes. It just could not happen the way owl predicted. Just didn’t make sense. He adamantly disagreed with issuing a warning as it would only disturb the tranquility of the woods.

Well, the snake did not kill the mouse, for it was a black snake and preferred to dine on other snakes, such as the green snake hidden in a clump of grass nearby the mouse.

Moral of the story: Mr. Owl over analyzed and assumed more than he knew were actual facts. The snake was not poisonous, but it was a killer, and although the snake did not kill the mouse … it killed another snake.

Mr. Ostrich ignored all the facts that were quite obvious, it was a snake, it was hunting and it appeared the mouse was the target. Now neither were 100% correct in their assumptions, however, Mr. Ostrich’s failure to admit the snake was a predator and would kill resulted in the death of the green snake.

To be honest with you, this is not an ancient tale, I just made it up. But I wanted to demonstrate, what I think, the current difference between the Democratic and Republican parties. The Democrats hoot a warning at everything, thinking they know all the facts. While the Republicans hide their heads in the sand ignoring what facts are known to be true.


This stupid illogical debate between, it’s hard to say, our leaders, I fear are leading us down the road of destruction. Let’s exam just a few small possibilities, that increase daily, which could spell the end of mankind as we know it.

As you read I hope you’ll come to appreciate fully the need to learn the survival tips and energy creating methods available … they may help you save your family.

nuclearexplosion

 The threat of nuclear war has suddenly increased exponentially.

There have only been two nuclear bombs detonated in war, those used to end WWII with Japan. The Cuban missile crisis brought the world to the brink of a nuclear war, but the horrors of WWII were still fresh in minds of the two world powers, America and Russia, and cooler heads prevailed averting a possible catastrophe.

Although more countries acquired the nuclear capability in the past 50 years, they were normal stationary societies, India for example, that were never considered callous in their intent of using nuclear power for destruction.

Recently, terrorists have embarked on a never ending quest to acquire and use nuclear devises to destroy, the Infidel. These threats are not localized but extend to every country on earth. The rogue nation of North Korea now threatens the world with their insinuations of setting America and its allies ablaze.

The North Korean dictator is an unstable and cruel person, killing without thought or concern, in order to maintain power. Would he start a nuclear war rather than lose his hold on the country. In my opinion, yes.

The world has UN-explicitly changed and now the world’s greatest power and holder of nuclear weapons is ruled by a man-child quite capable of unleashing a nuclear holocaust onto the world. Any world leader simple minded enough to insult everyone, no one is off limits including the Pope, and thin skinned enough to launch nuclear weapons because of a school playground round on name calling, is equally as dangerous.

Should these two, I dare say, madmen, unleash nuclear weapons the millions caught in the immediate blast zones would quite likely be the lucky ones. Their life is over, but the survivors will have to deal with the terrifying results while trying to maintain a slippery grasp on life.

The most terrifying, yet misunderstood threat of a nuclear war is the nuclear winter that will follow. The soot that would be lifted into the stratosphere would encircle the entire world blocking the sun’s power, resulting in multiple years of cooling and drying of the earth’s environment. (Estimates differ as the length of the winter, but who cares if it’s 5 or 50 years, the result will be the same)

Agriculture would wither and die, the oceans would become a dead zone and mankind will slowly die away and possibly become extinct.

bioattack

A Bio-engineered Pandemic is a current risk.

Natural pandemics, such as the Black Plague,have killed far more people than wars. Chemical warfare was used extensively in WWI and although the world recognizes the danger and signed pledges to never utilize the weapons, its use continues today, such as in Syria.

How ever horrible and deadly natural pandemics are, the threat of them being an existential threat to mankind is highly unlikely. There always seems to be people who are resistant to the pathogen and their off-springs are immune to the effects.

It’s also an unwritten law of nature that parasites do not wipe out their host, thus committing suicide themselves. Syphilis is such an example, once nearly totally fatal, it has evolved to a chronic illness.

The nightmare we now face is man’s ability to take a disease and make it more deadly than its original form. Mouse-pox and bird flu are two examples of how generically altered diseases can become more contagious and deadly.

Biotechnology is dangerous and expensive, thus most research is performed by governments for military use. The key here is wiping out an entire group of humanity is not militarily useful, therefore there will always be an anti-dote developed in order to control the infection.

But … as cost go down and fanatics become more extreme the possibly of nut jobs, such as the Aum Shinrikyo cult, which believed the earth is better off without humans, and released bio-weapons, is an increasing concern.

Super-intelligence could develop into an unstoppable danger.

I’d venture to say most people have seen one or more movies of the Terminator series, which pits machines against man, machines attempting to eradicate mankind. The movies are based on science fiction and just like the Flash Gordon movies of the past, could not possibly happen. But …. wait. Those old science fiction movies delved into man going into space, Dick Tracy had a watch you could view the other person you were talking to, the list of “no way that could happen” goes on and on. But … It has happened.

ai

We have already developed software that automatically, without any human input, improves itself making itself smart and faster. These intelligent entities are designed to overcome all obstacles in order to achieve a goal, whatever that may be. There’s the rub. What says the goal will be good?

Do machines have feelings, emotions, moral codes? Mankind doesn’t adhere to a strict code of conduct, why would machines? Even if we could infuse our morals into artificial intelligence, what do we infuse? Human values are diffuse, was Hitler just like us, and are quite difficult to explain. And if we could … would the machine understand or care?

Perhaps the scariest aspect of the intellectual technology is our complete ignorance of a time-table of evolution. What I mean is … we have a real good idea, damn near down to day, mankind took from discovering fire to putting a man on the moon. We just assume the evolution process of machines to mirror ours. What if a 1000 year era in humankind development was a mere 10 seconds of our super-intelligence software. Mankind could quickly be eclipsed by their own technology.

republicans

Global Warming despite Republicans’ denial, is the one most urgent problems facing mankind as a whole. Wars can effect 99% of the population but weather affects 100% of every living thing, animal and vegetable.

I won’t go into great detail here, as you could write a 100 books on the subject, but to say … look at the weather. The world has just experienced hurricanes with such fury as they have wiped out complete civilizations’ habitats that have withstood hurricanes for 100’s of years. In spite of advanced building methods and increased awareness, entire islands were decimated.

Our own country, Miami, is being pulled into the ocean by rising sea levels. These recent events, although tragic, should be an alarm signaling the need to address the issues involving global warming, but alas, all we hear is there’s not quite enough evidence to say global warming is a fact. Perhaps when politicians in Washington D.C. must travel to and from the capital by boat, they may say there’s enough evidence we have a problem.

What infuriates me the most is we have no control over our lives when discussing the big issues. Oh, we can vote different people into office … bullshit! It makes no difference who goes there. They are immediately swallowed up by greed and power leaving any concern, if there was any to begin with, for the little guy. You & me.

We must take matters into our own hands in order to protect our families. That means learning every survival trick possible. Learning how to produce power from nature, hunting, purifying water, etc. etc. And yes, protecting our families from our fellow mankind. Harsh to say, but I’d rather be an owl and over protect, than an ostrich with my head in the sand and my bare ass exposed.

 republicanostrich

Glad That Ain’t Me – Today’s Politician

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