Coffee heat rising

Preppin’ Time!

So yesterday I batted from pillar to post, partly to get a couple of routine errands done but also to…ohhh yes! Stock up for the next chapter of the Armageddon Chronicles.

{sigh} I’m afraid I’m becoming a prepper of the first water.

Water, in fact, was one of the issues.

Here’s the thing: Starting along about on the 17th and going at the least through January 20, I expect we’re going to see rioting and vandalism in the streets of every major city in the land. This civil unrest, inspired by our fine outgoing wannabe emperor, will disrupt commerce. And it may disrupt one helluva lot more than that.

Here in lovely uptown Phoenix, for example:

Water. I live around the corner from the water processing plant that serves the better part of the central city. The place is essentially unprotected, except for an ineffectual wall around it. To cut off the flow of water to thousands of city residents, all a person would have to do is fly a small plane up here and drive it into the ground at that plant.

If suicide were not your thing, you wouldn’t even have to do that: a well-guided drone with a bomb attached to it would do the job.

Electric. The power (as well as Internet service) goes out here every time you bat your eye. All it takes is one good monsoon storm with winds that don’t anywhere near approach hurricane velocity to knock out power to large tracts of the city. Sabotaging the power grid, then, could not be very difficult.

Transit. That one’s vulnerable in two ways. First, of course, is “Electric,” above. Shut off the power and you shut off the traffic signals. Shut off the traffic signals, and you have chaos on every city street. But more to the point: the freeway system here carries the bulk of local and intercity traffic. When one stretch of freeway closes down, the surface streets on both sides are jammed to a standstill for a mile or more on both sides. And how hard would it be to disable those freeways? Lemme tellya how easy it would be:

All you’d need are a half-dozen home-made bombs with enough power to bring down a freeway overpass or blow a hole in the pavement. Set them on timers so they all go off at the same time. Put one on State Route 51 about at Northern Avenue. Put one on the Interstate 17 at about Camelback Road. Put one on the Loop 101 along about Indian School Road, and another on the same freeway at about Tatum. Another would go on the Interstate 10 somewhere along the Broadway Curve into Tempe.  For good measure you could set one just about anywhere on the 17 northbound toward Anthem. Time them all to go off at once and you will bring the ninth-largest city in the land to a dead stop.

Shutting down transit and jamming every road in the city, then, would mean interruptions in access to…

  • Food
  • Emergency services
  • Medical care (including prescription drugs)
  • Schools

And just about everything else you can think of.

Sooo… I figured I’d better get enough stuff in to last me and the dog for at least a week, maybe more. Because of my ongoing prepper projects, the fact is we have enough in the house to survive on, in a pinch…but probably not in the glorious style to which we have become accustomed. Plus in some prior decluttering frenzy, I threw out my big water carboys. Nothing remained in the house to store water but a few old booze bottles I stashed to use as flower vases. Soo…after a trudge to the credit union, it was off to Lowe’s and waypoints in search of a few plastic carboys in which to pour water.

No.

Lowe’s has no such thing.

No.

The neighborhood Walmart market has no such thing. It does have those cinder-block size containers, but stored on a shelf over my head so that I couldn’t get even one of them down and into a market basket. Gave up in disgust and stalked out, figuring to head down to the water store way to hell and gone at 16th Street and Glendale.

Out the door, cruise through the parking lot toward an exit to a south-bound main drag, and on the way find…say what?! A cute little storefront ice cream AND WATER store. Dart into the reserved parking, shoot in, and…yeah! Get two nice big plastic jugs, and the proprietor filled them for me for free!!!

Zowie! Is God on my side or not?

🙂

While indulging in the whirlwind trip to Walmart, I saw I was not the only prepper grabbing every survival item in sight. People were pushing around carts already half filled with bottled water, and a whole bunch of the other stuff we couldn’t get during the last panic.

At the Lowe’s I grabbed a package of D batteries, but didn’t realize I’m out of C batteries — so today will have to schlep out again to get some of those. My camp lantern runs on D’s, but ordinary flashlights, of course, take C’s. {sigh}

There’s no ammunition in common calibers to be had for love nor money, and hasn’t been for several months. I have enough to fool any wannabe vandals who get close enough to the house for me to take accurate aim. But unless I hit one of the bastards dead (heh!) on and it scares off his pals  (they are pretty cowardly after all, so there’s sorta some hope of that), I won’t be able to hold off a targeted assault for any length of time. That, though, I believe to be extremely unlikely.

But then…who would ever have imagined a phenomenon like Donald Trump was likely?

Not my president…

 

Companies NOT to do business with:

Enough, already! If you would like to avoid accidentally giving your money to the forces who brought us the chaos and sedition that is Donald Trump, avoid doing business with these Big-Money donors to the Orange One:

From DoneGood: https://donegood.co/blogs/news/boycott-trump-companies-to-avoid
(Has a browser plugin that alerts you if you’re about to order something online from a Trumpeting company)

Equinox Fitness / Soul Cycle / Blink Fitness
Marvel Entertainment
Bubba Gump Shrimp and Joe’s Crab Shack
Las Vega Sands / Venetian
Shell Oil
Nathan’s Famous
Estee Lauder
UFC  (Ultimate Fighting Championship)
WWE
Muy Cos. (owns hundreds of Wendy’s, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut locations)
Uline
Copart
New Balance
MolsonCoors
Lending Tree
Hobby Lobby
CVS
Planet Fitness
AT&T
Charles Schwab
Bank of America / Merrill Lynch
BP
Goya Foods
My Pillow

From OpenSecrets.org (Center for Responsive Politics): https://www.opensecrets.org/2020-presidential-race/donald-trump/contributors?id=N00023864)

Las Vegas Sands
Adelson Clinic for Drug Abuse Treatment & Research
America First
Walt Disney Co.
Laura & Isaac Perlmutter Foundation
Energy Transfer Equity
Marcus Foundation
Eshelman Ventures LLC
G.H. Palmer Associates
Hendricks Holding Co.
Uline, Inc.
Stephens, Inc.
Blackstone Group
Mountaire Corp.
Irving Moskowitz Foundation
Beal Bank (Employees)
Cerberus Capital Management
RDV Corp
Intercontinental Exchange Inc
Silver Lake Partners

From Chateleine (https://www.chatelaine.com/living/politics/companies-supporting-trump/); donors not already listed above:

WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment)
Snapchat
Revlon
Bluestone Lane Coffee
L.L. Bean
Formula One
Momofuku
Bumble
Oatly

From MarketWatch  (https://www.marketwatch.com/story/biden-has-more-of-americas-top-ceos-as-donors-but-trumps-have-given-more-2020-10-08); donors not listed above)

Intercontinental Exchange
Vornado Realty Trust
Oracle
Emerson Electric
Wells Fargo
Universal Health Services
MGM Resorts International
Waste Management
Cintas
Catalent
Textron
Microchip Technology
Cabot Oil and Gas

No doubt there are many more. This bunch gets mentions and re-mentions. Some of their CEOs and owners are jumping ship, presumably hoping to swim away before their dream vessel of state sinks beneath the waves. Don’t let them paddle off from the consequences of greed and crassness that sink to the level of treason.

Largesse à la Uncle Sam

Lo! Some $1,200 (maybe) arrived in the mail, ostensibly from some outfit called, unconvincingly, “Money Network.” This largesse, the paper inside the envelope assures us, is from Uncle Sam: all ours to spend as we wish, to the tune of a variety of exorbitant service fees.

It looks very fishy.

To start with, whoever heard of “Money Network”? Welp: get online and yea verily! find that it’s legit

Actually, just how much this thing is worth is unclear. Nothing in the enclosed paperwork actually says how much is loaded on this card. But it does contain a series of come-ons apparently inviting you to charge up as much as $9999.99. So…now on Monday, as if I had nothing else to do with my time and gasoline, I’ll have to traipse this thing up to the credit union and deposit it in my checking account.

Since this year is already a little tight, I guess the money can go toward paying some of the staggering plumbers’ bills.

Hmmm… Would $1200 (or whatever it is) buy me into a place in Prescott? Yarnell, maybe?

Cop helicopter just flew over. Figured maybe the “fireworks” we just heard might not have been actual firecrackers but gunshots from up on Gangbanger’s Way, the direction from which this latest little serenade emanated. Distant roaring noise rumbles through the windows and back door.

Dog lobbies to go out, so get up and go open the back door. No, the noise is not the cop copter. It’s just the traffic and the drag racing up on Gangbanger’s. The cops have overshot the ‘Hood and are hovering over the far more active and interesting neighborhood to the northwest. They’re a good distance beyond Conduit of Blight. That’s good. I guess.

 

Speaking of Nightmaring…

So how did you enjoy the latest episode in our national nightmare?

What a mess. At least two people killed, as of this hour, a young woman and a capitol police officer. A farcical clown in the President’s office, rehearsing his next brain-defying act: pardoning himself for whatever crimes he can be accused of committing. Congress and various officials absurdly proposing to impeach said clown (as if they don’t remember they’ve already impeached him: how’d that work for ya, folks?). Others proposing to bat him out of office with the 25th Amendment…when he has thirteen, count’em 13 days left to serve.

Goes from stupid to stupider, doesn’t it?

Friend o’ mine remarked that he’d voted for Trump reluctantly because he found the alternative even more repellent.

{sigh} Afraid I feel about the same when it comes to the choices we’re offered. You hold your nose, think holy sh!t, and cast a ballot…as far away from you as you can throw it. For me, Trump was totally, hilariously not an option. But then we had…gulp! Billary! 

Uh huh… Also not much of an option.

Where, oh WHERE was Dwight when we needed him?

As for Biden? I think he’s probably a decent man…at least, more so than the choices we had four years ago. My problem with him is that he’s too old. IMHO the chances that he will survive four high-pressure years in the White House are slim to none. And as for his vice president? Well…  ??????????????? Heaven help us if Biden does croak over, or has a stroke that incapacitates him.

My problem with the present incarnation of the Democratic Party is that any critter that’s white and not female (or gay) is brushed off as somehow not fully what we want — no matter what their qualifications. I find that sterling stupid, just about as sterling stupid as Mr. Trump and his worshipers are.

I do. not. CARE. what gender or color a candidate or office-holder is. All I want of a candidate or office-holder is to be honest and, above all, COMPETENT. How hard is this? What about this is somehow morally sub-par?

That would be why Pete Buttegieg was my boy. Queer as a coot: that’s good…appeals to the PC set. White like me…that’s ducky, I guess. Has a measurable IQ. Bingo! Three qualities are a charm! Probably about as good as a person could hope for, in a candidate for public office.

Now we have the screaming, chanting, and dancing around the campfire about the freaking 25th Amendment. 

How can I count the facets of Stupid in this? Other than pushing a button to blow up Moscow (how hard would it be to have the janitor climb under the desk and disconnect the damn thing?), there’s not a helluva lot more that Trump can do, beyond emitting a continuing stream of ridiculous tweets. He has utterly lost all credibility. He has all of thirteen days left to call himself President. DROP IT, FOLKS! The big bad wolf has lost all his teeth!

Gaaaaahhhhh!  We’re STILL not back in Kansas, are we?

 

 

 

Tiny House Dreamin’…or Nightmaring?

So here we are killing time by cruising the Internet till it gets warm enough to walk the convalescent dog, and what do we come across but this intriguing article reflecting on the joys and drawbacks of life in the faddishly current “tiny house.”

Tiny houses, as you’ve no doubt noticed, are (heh) Big these days: touted as small of footprint, gentle on the environment, and mighty cheap. And for sure: if you enjoy RVing or camping for lengthy periods in a tent, you could find one of these minuscule dwellings to be just the ticket. I can imagine that if you were single, or a young couple still madly in love and very close, a tiny house could be a solution to the housing problem.

As a vacation home? Reminds me a lot of a hunting cabin. Not something I can contemplate living in for any length of time, but maybe it would do for a weekend; at most for a month, assuming you were close enough to a town with a grocery store so you could reprovision occasionally. But I think you’d have to be pretty desperate to choose one of these things as a place to live long-term.

It might work if you lived in or close enough to a town were you could rent space to hang off-season clothing and store goods that are needed only occasionally. And if you ate out a lot. But if you were given to cooking every day, it’s hard to see how you could store even a week’s worth of food and cooking supplies in such a place.

To my mind, even a single-wide mobile home — what we old bats call, politically incorrectly, a “trailer” — would work better. And a double-wide? Far superior.  Although to my mind the costs, elbow-to-elbow closeness, and restrictions of a mobile-home park are prohibitive, there’s not a thing to stop you from parking your trailer in the middle of a piece of property where zoning permits. And that would include any number of idyllic rustic locales like the one pictured for the article in question. You really don’t have to keep it in a trailer park. Buy a piece of rural property, install a septic tank, and run lines from the local utilities, and you’ve got your own very fine trailer park. For one.

For that matter, there are trailer parks and there are trailer parks. Some are highly desirable: close to scenic venues, quiet towns, outdoor activities. La Maya and Bethulia bought a nice mobile home, spectacularly renovated, in a beautiful trailer park near the ocean in the Bay Area, for example. It’s not only in a very pretty spot, it’s close to a college town with every amenity you could possibly crave and then some, and it’s not so far from San Francisco.

When we were looking for a place to move SDXB’s mom — this was at the time the Bush Recession trashed the sweet WW II-vintage garden apartment complex where she’d been living — we realized that for what she could collect from the depreciated value of her garden apartment, about the best she could afford would be a mobile home. Some of the places we saw during this search were amazing. Not all that cheap, it must be said — but certainly not the cost of a stick-built house.

At one point, we found a mobile home that was nicer than my house — and my house was on the high side of middle-class. It was larger than my house. It was newer than my house. It had a better kitchen. And, perched on a hillside north of town, it had a view to die for. Plenty of room between the neighbors — the lots were at least a third of an acre apiece, some significantly larger. It was close to where SDXB and I were living, not far from a first-rate hospital, and within reasonable driving or taxi distance of grocery shopping.

Really: if that place had been in Yarnell, I’d have bought it for myself! 😀

Alas, though, the “had been in” part was the kicker.

We saw it on a weekend. I went back out there along about the middle of the following week, to explore the tract and to take another look, by way of confirming that what we thought we were admiring wasn’t just wishful thinking.

Yea verily, the handsome little hillside home was still there, still beckoning.

But that’s not all that was there. Just to the west of the subdivided residential land was…ohhh wait for it… A huge sand and gravel operation! Vast monsters of equipment were fully engaged in tearing down the side of a hill that, when things were quiet, appeared to be part of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. But which clearly was not. The air was thick with dust and the noise was crazy-making.

That was too bad. Because without that little…uhm…drawback, it would have been a lovely place to live.

Nevertheless, it did demonstrate that by including mobile homes in your search, you could find a double-wide that is larger than my four-bedroom house (square footage-wise), just as pleasantly appointed. and a whole lot cheaper than the $430,000 my house is supposedly worth now.