Diamond Hands

One of the giggle-inducing effects of 2021 — like 2020 but this time we laugh, because it hurts too much too cry — is the whole “holding with diamond hands” of the wallstreetbets people.

For all I now, it’s actually a stock trading term. Maybe? I mean, stock traders have all sorts of strange terms.

But the way the stonk-buying kiddies use it makes me giggle all the same, “Diamond hands, bois.”

And this morning I woke up thinking “Diamond hands, it’s not just for stocks anymore.”

Look, 2020 and January 2021 signaled one thing: that America’s awkward phase has come to an end. But the liberty bell hasn’t rung yet. And if y’all are ringing your hands instead stop it. These things take time. It will take someone with a better socio-mathematical mind than mine — and, oh, it would take much more accurate records, which we don’t have. And if we don’t have it, the rest of the world is a total loss — to calculate the equation of revolt. But one thing I can tell you: it’s not instantaneous.

Particularly in a country like the US it’s not instantaneous. I was reading an article about how the Ficus (And the ho, and whoever is manipulating them) ruined America in the first two weeks of executive orders, and it was persuasive. But I haven’t really felt the effects yet. Things are more expensive, but not beyond fluctuation. And some things, like gas, are more expensive, but we haven’t felt it yet, because I’ll be honest, we almost don’t drive. In fact, if absolutely needed most of what we do by car, we could do on foot. I just don’t care to shop five times a week, so I can drag it bag in wheeled bags. Our drives were mostly church, entertainment and (husband) work. And you know, none of those are operative right now.

Sure the increase in energy prices is going to skyrocket the energy to heat (and cool. We have a piano that doesn’t take temperature changes well) the house and next winter is going to punch us in or about the fracas. Sure, this means that everything from beef to well…. everything because transport, is going to cost more. But that will take a while to percolate through the behemoth that’s our economy. And that will probably ALSO not sock us fully before next winter.

So, no, people aren’t rushing to the fourth box. Hell, some number of them are still thinking they can fix it all in the ballot box, in two years. (Which is why my timeline is 6 months — if they go completely and absolutely stupid and try to arrest people, starting with Trump — to two years.) But again, there isn’t an exact formula for this.

What I do know is that it’s at the intersection of rulers who are oppressive and crazy — yet inefficient (most totalitarians are — and incredibly annoying WHILE at the same time not having ruined things so much that EVERYONE is grubbing in the garbage for their food.

But you know, here’s the thing, chilluns, America is different. One of the ways in which we’re different, is that there is no one to save us. I don’t think we have realized that. When it sinks in the bell might very well ring.

The other way we’re different is that we’re the economic turbine of the world. No? Well, if you don’t think so, you have never lived abroad. Or you’re as economically ignorant as Xi.

But but but China makes all the things! And they have such a huge market. Why, the NFL and movies and all that are basically saying they no longer need America, because they have the huge Chinese market, and they’re going to be rich, rich, rich, mwhahahah.

Ah. Yeah. I’ve seen trad and used-to-be trad get ALLLL excited about China. And I giggled.


No, they’re not. But Xi, who is besides being an utter asshole, an economically illiterate one, might try to pretend it is, to get you to play on his team.

China is a paper tiger. And the paper is mostly IOUs.

Sure, they have a massive population: a massive (and uncounted, because if you think those counts are accurate I have some swamp land in FL I’d love to sell you. For one the Chinese idea of NUMBERS is different. For another, no totalitarian society has accurate counts of anything, even those things they want to count. They are by definition corrupted markets), illiterate, dirt poor population, living at a level that makes your ancestors in the 11th century in Europe seem to have lived like kings. (And that’s not counting the outright slaves of the state.)

China has a good thing going economically: They produce cheap crap, with a lot of error and sometimes outright poisoning of the customer (that too is cultural) but so cheap that they undercut every producer in the west. And the west, particularly as it plunged into socialism, needed cheap rap, because the actual spending money in people’s pockets kept decreasing.

Then Trump tried to balance the scales and stop us buying outright slave-made products. Not to mention stop China from buying our institutions with its ill-gotten gains.

Which is how we found out that Xi is as stupid as our idiot liberals, and as fracking ignorant of where money comes from.

Yo, Winnie the Pooh’s dumb twin, listen up: value is not raw materials plus labor. You genius always forget ultimately things are worth what someone is willing to pay for them. I guess Winnie the Pooh’s head is full of fluff and Xi’s is full of shit. Marxist shit, to be exact. We can’t blame him too much, so are the heads of most of our college graduates. It takes a lot of education to believe such dumb crap.

If you take America into your carnival ride of ruin — and you are — Americans won’t be able to afford even cheap crap.

The economic engine of the WORLD stops. Because America are the world’s consumers. As tight as things got in the endless Obamanian Summer Of Recovery, we were still the wealthiest country, where the common people have the most spending cash. We drive the demand for manufacture, for innovation, for improvement.

So, what these bright boys and girls in China and the US have done, by so cleverly fortifying us out of country is killed the goose that laid the golden eggs. But they won’t know till the golden eggs are gone, and they realize dead geese don’t lay.

So, while in this awkward phase, and waiting for the ringing of the bell, what do we do?

Sure, laugh at them. Gosh, that really upsets the humorless bastards and bitches. And rebel in minor and safe ways.

But I propose, bois and gels, that we perform a public service as well: I propose we show them what they’re doing in the only way they’ll understand.

Boys, Gels, Unicorns, Dragons, Minotaurs, and one obstreperous Wallaby: It’s time for our version of diamond hands. This time with our own money.

Or if we prefer, the Ramkin motto: What is ours, we keep.

I know I’d said that February I’d try to spend as little as possible. This is true. We are. Though something occurred to me: if you HAVE to spend (as in replace something major that died) do it now, this quarter, as fast as you can. Both because that establishes the proper curve to the economy (they’ll lie about it, but stink on ice is hard to hide) and because we can’t trust the quality of anything in a corrupt society and market.

And after that …. hold as tight as you can. Make that money squeal. And if you can buy in the down market (garage sales, craigslist, free swap, etc) DO SO.

So, some rules for diamond hands:

1- If you have to buy big (or have big medical, or anything on which the quality is essential) fast track that biatch. Have it done as soon as humanly possible. The quality is going to go down from here, and besides, you want the money curve to bend towards obvious ruin.

2- Those things you would buy that are mostly made in China: fabric, clothes, etc (even if you can’t do anything about medicine and such, but do try. You can often get it for less and more reliable without prescription on line. Not actually joking) buy used. If you can’t find it used…. Well. I’m going to look for fabric for t-shirts in thrift stores and failing that for too-large but newish t-shirts I can cut down.

3- food. Buy bulk and reapportion. Buy down the tree. We’ve been buying an awful lot of bulk, discount chicken. I actually seriously HATE chicken. But you know, a lot of ethnic dishes hide the taste of chicken (and any meat.) For instance, tonight I’m re-appropriating Vindaloo. (Revenge of cultural appropriation, this time it’s tasty!)
Anyway, you know your area better than I do, but let your watch word for groceries be “diamond hands.” Buy as cheap as you can that still fills your purpose. And if you can, buy local. (Wow, we’re gonna be like all those left wieners, locavores, upcycling clothes 😉 )

4- If you have to buy and have a choice, and know a producer is conservative or at least to the right of Lenin, buy from them.
If you to sell… well, it doesn’t matter, but if you know someone is supporting the destruction, charge them double, stupidity should hurt.

5- Swap. If you can swap goods and services. We have a community here, right? Well, for instance (though for G-d’s sake not this month) I’m open to making covers in return for typo hunting. Or critiques in return for secretarial services (I desperately need someone to a) keep me on track b) do minor stuff like make sure blurbs are updated, books are redesigned and updated, etc. Son is doing some of it, but we have other projects we need to do.) If anyone wants to start a secret/membership only swap site or list, I’d appreciate it. (We’re doing the promo/list site for indie writers and it’s taking a while, as we’re cramming it around everything else.)

6- To the extent of the possible — and I know it’s not absolute — show the assholes what a world without its engine is. Diamond hands, bois and gels. Diamond hands. Hold on to as much of your own as you can. Diversify your income and hold on to your voluta (which contrary to rumor is not a sauce that goes well with liver.)

Yes, this will eat some of your time and nervous energy, but if you’re like me not being able to do anything and utter depression is eating more. And there is such a thing as “resting by doing something else.” For me, for instance, sewing is a rest.

Do what you can to avoid buying new. And EVERYTHING to avoid buying made-in-China. You’ll need that voluta. Though I wouldn’t advise you keeping it in cash. The totalitarians get funky with cash really fast. How you keep it is your choice. Real estate might or might not do well. Depends on its use. Metal is always useful, though the most valuable one is now in short supply. There’s other things.

Diamond hands. Keep, hold. Take it out of their craps table. Hold.

What is ours we keep. And what you stole we’ll take back: including our liberty, our voice and our vote.

The mills of American anger grind very slowly. But when they achieve full speed, they level everything. And that is still better than the world without America that they think they want.

Let’s give them a warning shot. Let’s show them the power of the goose they’re killing.

Diamond hands. SQUEEZE.

342 thoughts on “Diamond Hands

    1. While new lead is now all smelted outside the US we have a whole bunch of scrap and reclaimed stuff.
      Quite a bit of brass as well.
      And putting those bits and the sparky thing and the booming stuff together to make nice little pew pews is still mostly inside the US not to mention a suddenly very lucrative hobby for some folks.

        1. This seems an appropriate place to drop this item, courtesy William Katz at UrgentAgenda:

          END OF A TRADITION – FROM THE HARTFORD COURANT: Colt Holding Co. has been purchased by a Czech firearms company, ending a 175-year run as an American company and helping to establish a “small arms powerhouse,” the two companies announced Friday. It also marks a new chapter for Colt, a one-time financially troubled company that, with its new Czech owner, is now expected to generate $500 million in revenue. Z?eská zbrojovka Group, or CZG, said it signed a definitive agreement to acquire 100% of the shares of Colt Holding Co. LLC, the parent company of Colt’s Manufacturing Co. and its Canadian subsidiary, Colt Canada Corp., for $220 million in cash and more than 1 million shares of the Czech company. The agreement also calls for potentially issuing up to 1.1 million shares of newly issued CZG stock if defined profit thresholds are achieved between 2021 and 2023. Lubomír Kova?ík, president and chairman of CZG, said the deal is a “strategic step for both companies.” “The acquisition of Colt, an iconic brand and a benchmark for the military, law enforcement and commercial markets globally, fits perfectly in our strategy to become the leader in the firearms manufacturing industry and a key partner for the armed forces,” he said. “We are proud to include Colt, which has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the U.S. Army for over 175 years,” It’s sad to see an iconic American name pass to foreign ownership. But it won’t bother anyone in the Washington establishment.

          1. Much of the time Colt was “under American ownership” was nothing to be proud about.

            CZ isn’t Chyna, so the special case isn’t in play. Don’t want to be embarrassed by foreigners? Do better.

      1. Still a lot of old mines where they took out galena (lead ore) scattered around the country. Point to remember is that while some mines might not be commercially viable any more, they still might be perfectly acceptable sources of metals and other minerals. Open pit are generally safest, tunneling the most dangerous. Might be safer to break into Bernie’s, Nancy’s, et. al. summer homes and steal the wiring and plumbing than to try reopening a mine.

  1. On the topic of gas prices and cars, a part of me has been regularly contemplating selling my car and taking our household down to a one-car family again. Which, I’m sure, if witless Whitmer manages to push through the plan to tax cars based on miles driven, will be a bonus (small) thumb in the eye to her from us.

    For the rest, the wife handles the groceries, so I’m going to suggest looking at canned goods we can shelve and keep for a while, maybe finally we’ll follow-through on buying a Costco bag of rice and storing it (although from some reading, rice is both easy and difficult to store long-term.) Buying less? Been doing that, we don’t tend to buy a lot of “stuff,” we’ve got MORE than enough clothes to last us for years at our current rate-of-wear (style? What is style, this is a style, jeans and t-shirts are a style!)

    The one thing I’d like to be stocking up on, is about as easy to find (and at prices I CAN afford to stock up at) as hens’ teeth…

    1. Only go to a single car if it is kept in top condition; otherwise, multiple vehicles increase your options, and provide you with at least one fail-safe.

      This goes for most other things. Having more than one, and more than you need, means you can afford to lose one (or more), or better yet, have that to trade for something you may be missing.

      1. While that particular reasoning hasn’t crossed my mind, at least not consciously, I’ve not even begun to start the process of going down to one car for a fairly simple reason.
        At some point, I’m likely to be going back into the office to work, and because my work schedule and the wifes’ don’t quite mesh neatly (I start at 7am and work to 5:30pm, she starts at 9am and works to 6pm,) at that point I’d have to look at getting a second car anyways. (The wife would be, lets say, less than happy if she had to get up early enough to get me to work.)

        And, well, the easiest reason to not sell my car?
        It’s paid off.
        And it’s been maintained religiously (recall for valve springs? Done at a dealer. Oil changes? Every 6K miles (synthetic,) or every 3-4 months, which ever comes first. Fuel pump acted up? Replaced at the dealer.) so it’d be silly to sell it and then in a couple months or so, have to either buy a used car or add a car note to the bills…

        1. I hates being the one breaking this to you, but dealer service is … not always what it is cracked up to be. The best thing, once out of warranty, is to look for a garage independently run, operated by guys who were trained at a dealership. Be sure to find knowledgeable recommendations if possible and if you aren’t confident i your own ability to judge (or eve if you are.)

          Daughtorial Unit takes her Honda to a garage owned by mechanics who despaired of the demands put upon them by dealers for whom they previously worked, went independent and enjoy sleeping well at night.

          Remember: your car dealer is in the business of selling you a new car, not keeping you in your old one. Some are prudent, reliable operators, some are not.

          1. Thus far, we’ve been lucky then, in that the dealership we go to with our cars (Subaru) hasn’t screwed us over or tried to push us into new cars. I’ll cheerfully agree there’s plenty of sleezy, slimey dealerships around, though.

            I’d say the closest our dealer comes to pushing a new car at me, is when I take mine in for its’ oil changes or to get the winter wheels / tires swapped for the summers, is when the sales guy who helped the wife pick out her Forester asks when I’m going to buy the WRX STI they usually have sitting in the showroom. He backs down when I (only semi) jokingly tell him when he can even trade me for my BRZ and just says to look him up when I’m ready to buy.

            They’ve treated me well though, even though I didn’t buy mine from them. Had a weird issue with TPMS when I bought a set of winter wheels and tires from them (with TPMS,) until they figured out the issue, they set me up with a loaner, no charge.

          2. Before he moved to TX, I took my vehicle to a mechanic managed to keep a (very much pre-Ford deal) Jaguar running for a fellow.

            RM: You need to be really sure of the mechanic.
            Orvan: Oh, I am.
            RM: No, you need to be REALLY sure..
            Orvan: Richard, the guy keeps a co-worker’s *old* Jaguar running.
            RM: Damn! Yeah, you’re done.

            1. I recall that Tom and Ray Magliozzi of late, great, “Car Talk” fame said many times that anybody who could keep a Jaguar running was nothing less than a mechanical genius.

      2. unless she also gets other changes, major changes can be made to cars and trucks in MI and not affect ability to register. So, if you or someone you know and is willing and able, a Canbussed-opps-wrong-bulb-kills-drivability new car with a dead engine can have a flathead Ford installed. A plan to go at it backwards and Californicate cars here might well be her plan, though.

      3. One rig good, two rigs better for a number of reasons. Most of my driving time I spend in my Jeep (Great miles per gallon if speed’s under 55 mph, agile, easy to park, goes most anywhere, on or off the road.), but I have to admit my pickup’s far handier if I need to haul a load of lumber or trailer my boat 300+ miles to the ocean edge.

      4. For ANY item that is critical (vehicles, firearms, medical devices, etc.), keep this motto in mind… “Two is one, one is none!”

    2. she does love thumbing the eye of those of us not in her glorious cities.
      I haven’t looked, what about Motorcycles? i.e do I consider making one of the STs into a reverse Trike for winter use? Also I drive a block and cross the border for 99% of my milage. Be damned if I’m gonna pay her and Wisconsin.

      1. When Obamagas was reaching for $5/gal locally, I was seriously considering welding up a sidecar for hauling moderate-sized stuff. The Suzuki’s fuel economy wasn’t particularly great with the cams, big bore kit, flatslides, and 13.5:1 compression, but it was still better than the car.

        1. my bikes with the 7.3 gallons for gas, travel as far as my truck. Though, if I retrain my wrist, and tune the bikes a bit, it can get a touch further on a tank than the truck . . . best mpg the truck has ever gotten is 23, the bike once got 52, though my getting old-hat at riding it I now only get 35 to 40. I was alright in Texas (and for the rare snow, I had the XL250 so normally not riding 700+lbs in the snow (there was this one time . . . oops) but a custom front with a cab, or a reverse trike, would be somewhat easy, and still be a cycle. and someone made/makes a conversion for standard trike, but a sidecar would be cool too. DFW had one on Craigslist when I started looking for an ST to buy, in fact they had both bikes I was considering set up for sidecars. a Black 98 ST1100, and a V65 Sabre.

          1. The best any of my big bikes ever did was my Seca Turbo, at 45mpg if I stayed out of the boost zone. The Seca 900 got about the same. The Suzuki got mid-30s, which was quite reasonable considering how much it had been tweaked. My old Kawasaki 500 got mid-20s, but it had various tweaks and Denco expansion chambers.

            The Turbo got 45 in daily riding, but it wouldn’t drop down below the low 30s even when hooning around. A friend rode a Ninja 1000, and he’d drop into the high teens when we rode together.

            Your ST gets *amazing* mileage, even if the engine looks like someone accidentally mixed up some GL1000 and V65 blueprints…

            1. the ST is a 2 wheel Civic. Even uses the Civic oil cap and filter. It came from Honda Europe and German designers.
              Some of the guys claim 55mpg from their 1100s, and the ST1300 guys only get in the 30’s for the most part, a few get into the 40 mpg range but they are known to putt around from place to place. The highs for me were on trips and in places 55mph was the highest limits, and 40 or so was the usual when riding in east Texas before the limits jumped and I got used to riding it and my wrist twisting got amped up. In Texas, 35 to 39 was the averages but even a two-lane is a 70mph road out there (75 if they can paint a line at the shoulder) and often enough, it might see juust a bit more than 75.
              or 85
              or 95

    3. White rice keeps more or less forever, so long as it’s absolutely dry. Same for macaroni and instant mashed potato *flakes* (useful for stuff besides mashed potatoes). Brown rice goes rancid due to fats in the seed coat. If you want something more nutrient-dense, I’ve had ordinary off-the-shelf oatmeal keep upward of 20 years, left in the original paper-can container, and that’s even tho it had been opened early on. Generally all better left in the original packaging; you don’t want to eat BHT, but its preservative qualities are amazing.

      And, what Mike said about keeping as many vehicle options as you can manage. And older is probably better, given that the old and mechanical can generally be patched from a junkyard by anyone with a good eye for how things fit together, while the new with its computers and electronics… not so much.

      Or, why I’ve decided to keep the surplus but running lawn mowers.

      Side thought: wonder if a 2-stroke mower engine can be convinced to run on waste veggie oil? it seems to think “random and probably excessive amount of 2-stroke oil” is all good. (“How much? Just dump some in.” Actually, it was motor oil. It didn’t care. Yay 1968 Lawn Boy, found in the bushes under 20 years of detritus and started right up.)

      1. veggie oil and gasoline, maybe. depends convertd to diesel? might run but not enough lubricity and foul easily.
        I’ve an old Weed Eater I might experiment with, on this, come warm weather.

        1. When I get the baby goat running again (has TOO much power for a little bitty engine, so I was using it on big weeds, and eventually busted the flywheel key) I might try random fuels with it. It’s apparently not real fussy. Smoked a lot on what was probably 4:1, but ran perfectly smooth, and when I checked the spark plug, it looked clean.

          Oh, there’s another thing to not be throwing out if you’ve got space to stash it. That tag end of veggie oil that’s gone rancid is still perfectly good lamp oil. And shortening will burn like a candle, for a long long time.

          Big weeds… for comparison, that grass at the far left is almost 5 feet tall.

          1. my whacker did a lunch of the pull cord and has some other issues that make replacement needed, Engine runs, but it isn’t suitable for use as a lawn tool any longer. I had just bought an edger tool to use on it too.

        1. I think the last I got was $16 for 25#, and I buy Jasmine Rice (Lucky Super Elephant brand, when I can find it) — about double the cost of plain white rice, but tastes SOOOO much better.

        2. They still are, though not quite so cheap. The last monthly bag cost about $25 for bog-standard long grain white rice. (Last I tried, 25 pound bags were tough, unless you went fancy or parboiled.) And yeah, white rice keeps a long time. The last working stash of rice was finished recently, and it was 5 years old. (No contradiction, not gonna talk about it.) The working stash goes into a more or less airtight container. The last batches from that lot got a bit dry, but we adjusted water and it was good. A rice cooker* isn’t essential, but it’s handy. Our dog eats a good amount of rice, and we’ll cook a cup and a half (starting amount) each week.

          A few years back, we lost a bag of brown rice to weevils. Did some research (yeah, weevil eggs are part of the mix. Extra protein, I suppose), and there are two ways to kill the eggs. One is a heat method, which we discarded, but the other is to stick the bag-o-rice in the deep freeze for 72 hours. We buy 25 pounds of brown rice at a time, and most of it is turned into rice flour. Our Kitchenaid** mixer has a PTO [Power Take Off] for various accessories. The mill is a bit coarse, but not bad.

          * Aroma 4 cup rice cooker. Rated tops a few years ago in the America’s Test Kitchen (sort of, don’t recall the name 100%) on PBS. We need more water than the instructions indicate, but a bit of testing will get it nailed.

          ** The kid brother of the huuuge Hobart mixer at big kitchens. Ours is about 17 years old. I had to replace the gears in the PTO (rice grinding is a big hard, and they might have skimped on the grease) and replaced the switch lever & filed the detent notch a bit. Bottom line, it’s not a throwaway mixer. If you need to do serious amounts of bread, or have oddball baking needs (gluten free is strange…), it’s the way to go.

          1. My state *exports* rice. But almost nobody here eats it. I do, because I know how to cook it properly. The local custom is to boil it until it turns into paste, then complain about it. And it’s thought of as “poor people food.”

            Yeah, that changes over time. Lobster used to be poor people food…

            1. So was barbeque…

              Paste–you’ve described the basics for jook. Never much cared for it, but I had a lot of Asian-ancestry co-workers

              We’re pretty much the same. S. Oregon grows Beef and Potatoes (though the latter sucks). Our vet thought he needed to tell us how to cook rice when one of the dogs ran into GI trouble. We didn’t tell him that rice was a standard part of our diet.

              1. We had a TON of rice before our bodies decided they hated carbs. I think we lived on it for three years after #1 son was born (VERY broke. Paying off baby whose birth cost 28k when we made 32k a year, then paying double mortgage for year, having moved to find a job.)
                We gained a bazillion pounds (totally a measure) though which means we never dealt with carbs WELL.

          2. Here in Florida the weevil eggs show mostly in flour. Standard practice is to chuck the bag in the freezer for 24 hours to kill them, then transfer to airtight container (I’ve got a couple burp seal containers that each hold a 5 lb bag + a little.). I’ve had them occasionally appear in pasta as well so if it’s a brand I don’t usually buy that goes in the freezer first as well.

              1. I can think of far worse things contaminating my food than dead weevil eggs. [no emoji for this one]

                1. So can I, but first on the list at the moment is that I have not been taking adequate precautions against live ones.

                  1. Well, just remember that if you have weevils in the flour, you may just have to pick the lesser of two weevils.

                2. At one point, I was talking with a lovely woman who managed, against long odds, to get through the siege of Sarajevo and get out to the US with her husband and her children all still alive. She mentioned that things got bad enough she would trade anything for food. Anything. Not because she needed to eat, but to keep from starving her children.

                  But the black market – which was the only way to get food – had no care for quality. So you’d get home and find the flour was full of bugs. And worse. She had been a very highly paid professional before the war started, but there was a point when she was on her knees behind the house, in the section least likely for anyone to see she had food and steal it, on her knees and crying with disgust and anger and fear as she carefully sifted the flour where the children couldn’t see it, to remove live baby mice and mouse turds… because there was no other food to be had.

                  That is what war is, when you’re a civilian caught up in it.

            1. Weevils are a pain in the ass. I had to dig everything out of my cupboards, toss half of it and scrub the cupboards out with pine cleaner and bleach. What I wanted to keep I put in the oven for 4 hours at 225°, then let it cool down overnight.

              Keeping a box of mothballs in each cupboard didn’t even slow the little bastards down.

        3. Costco has big bags – in-person they always have 50lb bags (ok, not during the “Great Run on Everything” but in non-hysterical times) and even online as premium rice they have 20 lb bags of Basmati or 25 lb bags of Jasmine for under $25. You can also get rice on Amazon – I see 50 lb bags of Calrose for $64 with free shipping – yes it feeds Bezos, but stocking up means you can skip paying Safeway every couple weeks, and it does end up saving money.

          Get a vacuum sealer and divide and seal up, or you can seal excluding o2 in 5 gal buckets using dry ice, or there are a ton of other methods.

          1. When my father-in-law died my husband took the old, but still working, mower. It was so old that parts were tricky to come by so he would pick up any mower somebody left out with a ‘free’ sign for spare parts. He’d usually have to jerry-rig the stuff to make the mower keep going so eventually the wheels weren’t all precisely the same size so it wobbled, there was an old wrench tied to the pull cord to start it, and on and on for over a decade. At one point our sons dubbed it Frankenmower and they hated, hated, having to mow the lawn with the thing. Once they all got part-time jobs they pooled their money and bought their dad a new mower for Christmas to replace it and Frankenmower was finally retired.

          2. Oops! Sorry about the mis-placed or possibly double-submitted comment. It was meant for the guy with the mower.
            If you’ve got big canning jars and new lids you can pack your rice inside and slip in an oxygen absorber if you don’t have a vacuum sealer.

      2. Dried Beans of all types, Rice, Pasta, Oatmeal, Grits, Potato Flakes, dried corn, 25lb bags of salt, Other bulk spices.
        Can meats, grains (Oats, Wheat, barley, sorghum, any and all).
        Buy plastic totes large as you can carry full with lids.
        HEAVY plastic trash bags. 3 bags (inner, middle, outer) into tote, fill so the lid just closes with dry product (in original container if possible, for bulk cleaned dried 3ltr, or 1 gallon drink bottles work well), get as much air as possible out and seal each bag by twisting it and duct taping so the twist cannot come out, put lid on, write on lid what is in tote, put tote someplace dark and out of the way. Cheap, easy, will last longer than you need it to. Also large bottles (500 count) of vitamins, one a day, C, iron, etc.

        Other things to store – bar soap, tp, coffee (the sealed packets for Mr. Coffee type machines are best), tea (loose or bags store in screw lid plastic or glass), think of other things. These are NOT only for YOUR use they are also TRADE items. All can be cheap in bulk or from the Dollar stores. Off brands, etc.

        SAMs 50 lb bag of rice about $25, 50 lb bag of pinto beans $20 – These are NOT expensive. Add other things ramen, large jars of bullion, large bottles or tins of olive oil or other cooking oils. You decide.

        This will give you a good start and not break the bank. Remember these are rations for the IRON days or years. The freeze dried strawberries WILL disappear! Or anything like them. Anything that tastes GOOD and that people WANT to eat will be GONE faster than you will believe. But those boring bags or Rice, Beans, Pasta, Oatmeal, etc. YOU will NOT want to eat them after awhile. GOOD!!!! That means they will LAST! Boring is GREAT!!! Also boring happens to be CHEAP. Think 100 lb of Rice and 100 lb of pinto beans around $100 dollars. Meat is a problem but if you look at sales and bulk buy canned meat (SPAM, Tuna, etc.) They are reasonable.

        This isn’t expensive, but it is time consuming and you have to watch for sales on things you prep. Some here and some there. IF the SHTF what will be the value of that extra bar of soap, roll of TP, that packet of coffee or tea. You hopefully will NEVER NEED them but IF you DO your prep will be beyond price.

        I am an single old fat type 2 man, I prep for the hell of it. I know my chances of lasting are small, but I will go well fed, clean, having had my coffee or tea and my vitamins. BTW: With a lot of empty brass around me.

        1. Ramen is an oil noodle; it keeps about a year, but does go rancid. So it’s not a good long-term storage item. However the packets keep for years, and are good as seasoned salt AND as electrolyte replacement, better than straight salt. (I always carried some in the desert, because of idiots who’d get not dehydrated but salt-deprived — lost in sweat, unless you lick it back off yourself — and would not recover until well salted.)

          Thoroughly dried meat keeps well, even if not salted. Look into pemmican for keeping meat with the fat (which you need, especially in a survival situation).

          Someone I know does a little guerilla gardening… those growthy veggies go down by the river well out from town, and get planted among the trees.

        2. Having lived off of food storage a couple of times now, (unemployment or other unforeseen circumstance), the value of spices/herbs/sauces are invaluable.
          Yes, rice and beans are plane and can be unappetizing. But, a little bit of Garlic powder, Onion powder and chicken bullion will increase the flavor dramatically.
          And dried spices/herbs are also cheap, (for now). We discovered that, whatever you may budget/plan for, triple it.
          Oatmeal is much better with cinnamon and sugar, (I love cardamom personally, but that’s not as cheap).
          Pasta is better with some oil and salt.
          And hot sauce will make almost everything better. Get one with a high vinegar content, and it will store for a long time.
          Just a few thoughts to toss on the pile.

          1. Yeah, one of the things I’ve stocked up on (sometimes inadvertently) are those bulk spices (much more available now at Sam’s Club than at Costco) … because In The Event, those are likely to become scarce. And I see no reason why my food shouldn’t taste as good as it can. It’ll get boring soon enough.

            Oh, and if I don’t have five pounds of lemon pepper on hand, I think I’m out.

          2. Our restaurant supply place is changing hands, so we don’t know what changes will come out, but they have a variety of sauces. Sriracha is pretty cheap still, though it’s packed in plastic bottles. Tapatio hot sauce is also cheap, and IMHO better tasting than Tobasco. I love Chalula, but it’s too expensive to buy.

            Oh yeah, I got bulk spices at the supply place. Cumin, Paprika and Chili powder were cheap. If you hit a grocery store with a large Hispanic food section, you are likely to find the bags.

            1. Sriracha will probably stay cheap for the time being. IIRC, a single company makes it. And the owner is very particular about how he markets and sells it.

              1. Same company also does other sauces in restaurant sized containers. (The kitchen side, not on the tables.)

              2. First time I tried Sriracha, I postulated that it may have been a Malay word roughly translated as ‘OMG that’s *HOT*’. Not for me, thanks. Maybe for barter down the road . . .

                1. I used to go to a Mexican Pizzeria that would add anchovies and/or jalapenos on request. My first green pizza was interesting. OTOH, I was eating Kung Pao Chicken at Szechwan Restaurant in Sunnyvale, CA at the time, so my taste buds were already warped. (There was a place in Campbell that was considerably hotter than Szechwan. Ate there. Once.)

        3. Dried beans were damn near nonexistant the beginning of 2020. It was a combination of terrible weather in several places that grew beans, so pintos were scarce. They’re now on the market, but generally about $32 for a 50 pound bag.

          Lentils are a hair cheaper, and they will cook up fast if you need something right away.

        4. Large amounts of meat may be a problem. However, small rodents, such as squirrels, chipmunks (that’s as small as I’d go), woodchucks, marmots, prairie dogs, porcupines, muskrats, nutria, or beaver can make a decent protein source. You do have to watch out for plague though, especially out west. Point is, squirrels are easy kills with a air pellet gun. And they are very quiet. More, you can bring full grown wild turkey’s down with one with a head or neck shot.

        5. Also. Spike your dry foods with diatomaceous earth (food grade). One tablespoon per 2 cups (approximate) and shake it around in the bag. Kills bugs in the food, kills their eggs once they hatch, is not only edible but moderately healthy for us people-types.

        6. All great thoughts and totally behind the plan. We set up what i call monthly boxes. Each tote contained some basics. Tp, paper plates, spices, toothepast, brushes, cleaning supplies,
          razors, some basic food. Point was to have each box meet a family of fours needs for misc stuff. The bulk food stored in six food grade drums. Each with a smattering of things for variety. All would fit in a medium pickup or van for bug out with a couple extra totes filled with camping gear. I update regularly.

      3. When my father-in-law died my husband took the old, but still working, mower. It was so old that parts were tricky to come by so he would pick up any mower somebody left out with a ‘free’ sign for spare parts. He’d usually have to jerry-rig the stuff to make the mower keep going so eventually the wheels weren’t all precisely the same size so it wobbled, there was an old wrench tied to the pull cord to start it, and on and on for over a decade. At one point our sons dubbed it Frankenmower and they hated, hated, having to mow the lawn with the thing. Once they all got part-time jobs they pooled their money and bought their dad a new mower for Christmas to replace it and Frankenmower was finally retired.

        1. We inherited FIL old 48″ bar power saw. Hubby kept taking it to get repaired. Only because the repair shop had parts … kind of. They were well into 30 years of scavenging used parts. Finally had to give up on it about 5 years ago now. The one part that gave out could be had for any amount of money.

  2. Great minds, and all that…here’s what I sent this morning to a fairly leftist but not (yet) violent about it friend from high school (SO many decades ago) who runs a podcast about gardening:

    “I’ve been thinking about the current state of seemingly permanent social unrest and mutual antipathy between major social and philosophical groups in this country, and it seems to me that the provision of many of the goods and services that we take for granted in modern life are going to be at risk in the future. I think this should be an impetus for people to start or to expand their growing of their own food greatly, not just gardening, but if possible the keeping of chickens, rabbits, etc. And not just for hoarding for themselves, but for the maintenance of both themselves and their neighbors. Encouraging a sort of neighborhood vegetable co-op, and perhaps even regular block parties (intended primarily for the distribution and healthy consumption of backyard produce), would be a good way to mitigate the potential problem while fostering friendship with those we share our towns with and allowing those with specific skills and knowledge (canning, food drying, etc.) to teach those skills to others. Wins all around!”

    Besides doing these things ourselves, encouraging TWANLOC to do the same by using their descriptive phrases to persuade them of the essential goodness of doing so will act as a force multiplier, by reducing economic consumption even more than we can do just by ourselves. And the fun part is that they won’t even realize that what they are doing is destroying their world-ending economic mismanagement even faster!

  3. Lots of good advice here! Would you say that being “Made In America” is a selling point for the public at large by now, or will advertising that fact get you shunned or deplatformed? My artwork is of course made here in Oregon, and books also (one of the things I love about being an indie), but I wonder if I should bring that fact to customers’ attention…?

    1. My state has an official “Made in Montana” program, tho my cynical little voice opines that the intent is equally to ferret out one-man-bands that were ducking the state income tax. OTOH, the list is public, handy for deciding who to patronize.

      However… I do preferentially buy Made In USA, for many years because of quality issues, but now as much to stick a finger in China’s eye.

      1. The State Department’s definition of “made in USA” varies by commodity, but they often consider Canada and Mexico to be “USA.”

          1. I would like to point out to everyone that IMI sells a lot of good quality weapons and ammunition in the US.

            And they load their ammo hot. None of this downloading lest someone be offended by a little recoil.

            1. IMI used to make the Desert Eagle autoloaders, but they’re made in the USA now. And Magnum Research, which is the company that makes the guns, is owned by an American/Korean company headed by Sun Myung Moon’s son Justin, which is in turn partially owned by the Unification Church. [or completely owned; the story changes over time, with accusations and denials, according to the shifting of the political winds, and the last link in ownership is in Korea anyway]

              Needless to say, the Moonies are 100% in support of your Second Amendment rights.

              Kahr Arms, Magnum Research, Thompson, and Auto-Ordnance are part of Kahr Firearms Group, which sells Trump swag on of its web site.

              Roof Koreans, church Koreans, deplorableness must be a cultural thing.

          2. Going on 30 years ago now, I bought a set of old-stock Vandervell main bearings. British-branded bearings, for a German car, made in… Israel, as stamped on every bearing shell.

            Nobody else seemed to think it was interesting or amusing, though.

          3. The last time I bought tea light candles, my possible countries of origin were Malaysia, China, and… Poland.

            Yes, of course I bought Polish tea candles. The left isn’t quite as ticked at them as… they are with the left!

    2. That does depend on audience/market. Myself, I’ve been trying to go ‘Made in USA’ or failing that, at least NOT ‘Made in China’. There are things where it looks I might have to get the Chinese setup, but assuming it’s not junk (and reviews seem to be positive) better to grab soon and have “forever.” The alternative would be a rather crude homebrew – which I am not above, but would prefer to have more as backup/spare.

      I recall, obviously some time ago, $SISTAUR had the notion to take up the violin and Grandma brought out hers (I hadn’t known she even had such). We looked through the case and supplies and marveled at the rosin container. Nothing special, save for the marking “MADE IN GERMANY.” No ‘WEST’. A few years later, things changed again…

      1. I was in the regional home center (3 stores, if memory serves) getting some hippy grade potting soil (actual brand is “Happy Frog”, from Humboldt County, CA) and detoured to the tool section.

        One can never have enough woodworking clamps, but the brand (Pony) quietly admitted that their clamps were made in China. I passed.

        Oh, here’s a useful link for items.: https://chinanever.com/

        I’ve spent a fair amount on ham radio gear. Icom says that their ham equipment (not sure about the rest) is made in Japan. My Dad’s ghost might not be happy, but he’d understand. (8th Air Force on Okinawa, helping to prepare for the invasion that didn’t happen.)

        1. Okinawans don’t count themselves as either Chinese or Japanese. They’re good folks though; and they got reamed big time by the Japanese in WWII.

          1. ?
            My experience differed. While the Okinawans had their own distinctive culture, they were also emotionally invested in being more Japanese than the Japanese themselves.
            (Although the Japanese would certainly argue that point. Likely with disparaging remarks about “the monkey people”.)

            I’d also note that a basic qualification for my considering someone a good person, involves them not spitting at me.

            Okinawa itself is beautiful.
            I did not like the people.

        2. The 97 (soon to be 98) yro WWII vet who was in the Pacific had no issue with my Toyota… though it was assembled allegedly in the USA (California, so…). I once asked when he heard about The Bomb. “On the ship home.”

          1. Dad got there shortly before the bombing runs. (I think the 8th AF was transferred from Europe in June or so.) He had a hideously gloriously mangled story* of the landing of Bock’s Car after the Nagasaki run.

            He was in the headquarters company, so not at the pointy end, but was absolutely thrilled that he wasn’t going to have to go to Japan. He died in 1970, pretty much just as Japan was becoming an economic powerhouse.

            (*) BC couldn’t switch to get their remaining fuel, so they diverted to Okinawa. If my memory of the books serves, their radio was wonky, so they set off flares indicating all manner of trouble** as they made for the runway. As I recall, they had a few gallons left as they landed. Dad’s story had something about them flying through the mushroom cloud, so the plane had to be ditched at sea. That was very loosely related to an incident where a Japanese pilot (and observer, I think) flew through the fallout cloud after one of the attacks. They didn’t last long. The rumor mill was fast, but pretty garbled.

            (**) Engine out, casualties aboard, crew member in labor 🙂 , and such.

            1. Depends on what they saw. I met an Army vet who fought on Saipan at my Mom’s senior living place a few years back, and he still choked up when talking about the civilian ladies calmly flinging all their children off the cliffs and jumping themselves, while Japanese Army troops hid and sniped at the US troops who were across the cliffs shouting at the ladies to not do it.

              He was not a fan of Japan, Inc.

  4. It’s funny and kind of sad to see all the IP execs running around with dollar signs in their eyes, thinking they can sell big in China.

    China is the piracy capitol of the world, and has a very long history of simply stealing the ideas and driving the originator out of business.

    Yet, entrepreneurs keep feeding themselves to the beast and wondering why they got eaten…

    1. They got Honda, and for all I know the former owner of my employer is the only one who pulled a China on China. Didn’t steal from them, but forced them to sign off a contract at the bait level of their bait-and-switch and then left them to work it out.

    2. A great topic. With our election votes fraudulently suppressed, our economic votes need to be focused.
      Products from Chi…….na deserve boycott. Trickier is avoiding U.S. or foreign companies that are owned or controlled by the Chicoms. A list of the least obvious X*i controlled companies would help.
      Damage to American farmers and small businesses should be minimized. For example, the Dairy State produces over $6 billion/year of products. Covidiacy has resulted in record numbers of family dairy farms going bankrupt. Awareness of which sellers are local and need support is important.
      Eventually money talks and bullsh*t walks. Everyday choices will eventually send a message, despite the continuous Gaslighting we face.

    3. For the corporate idiots having their products made in China: “When you’ve given the Chinese everything they need to make your products, what do they need you for?”
      Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!!

    4. Funny. They were going to grab the Japanese markets and production with the Perry expedition, and then they were going to ride the coattails of the British after the Second Opium War in China…

      “But this time it will be different!”

    5. But if just 1% of them but a jet plane…
      (Yes, I’ve actually heard that “argument”, although it was phrased as a 777. The specificity did not make the statement less laughable )

  5. In other words, live like I habitually do anyway… “I am thrifty, you are cheap, he’s a skinflint.”

    It has occurred to me that if things fall completely apart, any sort of metal is at a premium. Even old tin cans that can be melted down. Reforging is a lot easier than resmelting.

    And I’m reminded that out back is 50 pounds or so of metal that looks like melted battery innards, that I never got around to hauling to the recycler. Well, I guess now I’ll just keep it; it doesn’t eat much.

  6. I have started the “don’t buy from China”, began quite a while ago. Etsy needs a country of origin choice, “anything BUT China”.
    It’s hard not to buy things I want when I see small businesses I’ve loved for years, taking such a hit. It seems like I need to do all I can to keep them alive. Restaurants especially, but also gyms and small boutiques. I’ve stopped shopping at all in Walmart, and Target and much less from Amazon (except books, which I’ve increased buying! Better more books than reading the news). Groceries coming from Amish country.

    1. I’ve been avoiding China goods for some time now. I also try very hard not to buy from the large companies. I avoid slave labor too, so no NIKE. I will not even enter Walmart since they now have only self checkout. I’m not being paid to check my own stuff and they’re not giving me a discount. I don’t use Google and never used the social media things.

      FWIW, the optimal strategy in a time of inflation, hyper or otherwise, is to borrow as much as possible. That’s not what I’m doing, but it is optimal. Money in the bank becomes worthless quickly. The Argentines have this figured out, they put their cash into land and gold. Diamonds are nice since they’re easy to carry and conceal.

  7. I may not have mentioned this before, but YOUR books I’d typo hunt for free. And I’m pretty good at it.

      1. I’m a great proofreader also, won’t ever charge except maybe a big cappuccino. I just love to read, and I can’t help finding typos.

        1. That’s good to hear; charging proofreaders can be vicious and deadly. I know of one guy who got in the path of a proofreader stampede and was caught on the horns of a dilemma.

  8. A thought.

    So you are leaving crazy SJW town for Deep America.

    Instead of heading into the hinterlands of the MAGAville part of the state consider moving into the purple-y shaded regions near the local Uni or whatever.

    Hook up with your USAian majority in the outskirts and your fellow refugees in the city. Lobby. Agitate. Join the chamber of commerce. Challenge DIE and mail in ballots. Complain about marginalisation while preferentially doing business and dating with USAians and Men of the West. Volunteer hard at a local church and help set up Narrative free zones therein, excluding the long-time squishy socialists. Organise a shooting club. Obliterate their culture. Go full obnoxious immigrant on their butts

    Gander sauce.

  9. “valor is not raw materials plus labor” is kind of interesting as a concept, but I suspect you meant “value”. I also volunteer to do typos. I did for a while professionally. I find it kind of soothing.

    I need to start planning what to plant this year. I’m going to try not to do those ridiculously expensive Bonnie plant things at the big box stores. They don’t even have six packs in most things anymore. My guess is that they took too much watering and the stores had to throw away too many of them. There are some seeds which need to be started around now…

    Need more sun though. I wonder if this is a good time to call the tree guys…

      1. Awww. Now you burst my bubble. I actually thought “valor is not raw materials plus labor” was a GREAT saying.

      2. “Blog posts are natural products; minor variations in quality may occur. Some words may settle during shipment. No warranty or assurance of fitness apply. For further information, visit our web site…”

        1. “Only Our Lord is capable of perfection, therefore a certain number if irregularities are included in every blog post, that we not forget our debt to Our Creator.”

          Alternatively, I gather that paying attention to correctness is a component of White Supremacist Thinking, thus pointing out typos, grammatical misfires and minor errors is cultural imperialism, of which we will have none!

  10. I weary of chicken in a hurry myself. And after excluding bony waste, pork is cheaper anyway, and has a better amino acid profile. (Remember the fat is not waste, and is in fact both good for you and delicious.)

    Boneless waste-free pork starts at $1.98/pound at Sam’s Club, best pork you can get, and the darker/cheaper cuts are more tender and flavorful. I like to toss half a package of frozen spare ribs in the roaster along with whatever else is handy and a cup or so of water, set it at 300F, go away for a couple hours, and it’s food.

    Tho if I don’t get beef pretty regularly, I start chewing on leg of passerby.

        1. I was gonna ox you about that but I figured it out for myself so I won’t be a boar, & no carp please, remember I says things like this for the halibut.

          1. Firing Carp-a-pult!
            2 yards to the left.
            Nudge it one degree right and reload!

            1. “Shot, over!”
              “Shot, out!”
              . . .
              “Splash, over!”
              “Splash, out!”
              “Drop five-zero, battery fire for effect!”

              “BOOM. BOOM. BOOM. KA-BOOM! BOOM. BOOM.” 4th one had an extra shot bag didn’t get caught.

              Army version. Fort Sill, Oklahoma, 1979 – 1982

              1. Some of the best fun I’ve had as a kid was going to the Fort Ticonderoga black powder shoots in upstate New York. Place was actually about halfway down Lake George if I remember correctly, on a farm that backed up against a long mountain ridge. In addition to flintlock, cap and ball rifle and pistol shooting; they also had cannon and mortar precision teams. Some of those guys and gals could consistently hit a plate-sized target a half mile down range. And the mortar teams with their primitive “cans” would give any modern mortar team a run for their money when it came to accuracy. (Yeah, I know, modern rate of fire and high explosives easily beat accuracy, unless the accurate one shoot’s first!)

                1. What fun! And amazing accuracy.

                  First time I watched someone blow a black powder musket, I watched the arm flip down, light the powder…. and counted to about 10 before it went “KA-BOOOOM!” I remember thinking at the time “Nope.”

                  1. Well, to be honest, the Litchfeild Ct. team was shooting a 150 pound brass cannon with a rifled steel sleeve using Contadina tomato paste cans poured full of cement and capped with lead. They spin balanced tested each round before they came to the competition, and every round was within a milligram of the same weight. And they were equally picky about their powder measures, and swabbing out the barrel between shots. I forget what they used as a carriage, but it was super stable, and they had marking pins driven into the turf so they could precisely put it in the same place after each shot. They also had scope that snapped into a mount on the barrel for sighting each shot. Of course the scope had to come off each time or the concussion would have shattered it. (Yeah, and they were consistent winners each year.)

                    I know what you mean about the firing delay. I hunt black powder, flintlock for a week each deer season. You want fine dry powder, good flints and a good frizzen that produces a hell of a lot of good sparks so the delay is the smallest fraction of a second as possible. No appreciable delay from the sound of the flint strike to the rifle firing produces the best chance of an accurate shot. And a hang fire is the most dangerous thing you can deal with.

                    1. If I had a hang fire on a black powder rifle, I’d lean it against a tree in a safe spot and get another rifle to use. It could be what, a day before that thing blows? How long do you wait?

                      For zen hunting I plan to use a bow. I enjoy archery and its silent death aspect appeals to me.

        1. Yeah, kuru, but also just on general principles. 😛

          Jubal said we’re not civilized enough to practice responsible cannibalism.

      1. That is durn hard to beat. And yeah, for that price, I’d hold my nose and eat more chicken.

        Tho since I rapidly get tired of it as “chicken” (unless crispy-fried, ie. too much work and mess, and not enough patience) it tends to finish up as Cream of Mushroom Glop (I use Minute Rice as the filler, but anything will do) and the bones as Every Damn Thing In The House Soup.

        “Eat More Lamb. Ten million coyotes can’t be wrong!”
        — billboard formerly near Townsend, Montana

          1. …I don’t love six bucks a pound!! When I get that pasture fence fixed, might have to find a few bum lambs to raise up for winter freezin’….

            Peculiar things I have discovered: cooking lamb and potatoes in the microwave smells suspiciously like a gas leak.

              1. I used to know people north of Denver who had goats. And it’s pretty good sheep country, but not for small producers — you need too much acreage. Last I checked lamb was about $3/pound on the hoof (that was in Boise), which unless you can butcher it yourself, doesn’t save you anything (cut and wrap is not real cheap). Usually you can find butcher lambs on Craigslist, if there are any. Might have to look outside of the metro area listings, tho.

                Here’s a local listing that’s pretty informative… but note the price! $5/lb hanging weight, plus cut and wrap.

                Not sure you gain anything raising bum lambs either. They’re only about 25 bucks apiece but you gotta bottle-feed ’em for a while, then need either hay or pasture, tho even half an acre of good grass would raise a lamb. If I can get my irrigation to where I can water the hill, I could probably feed 4 or 5.

                But there’s the basic problem with being a small livestock producer: by the time you get enough for your crop that you make two cents profit, you’re not really competitive with the store.

                1. On the other hand, if the store has none, and you have those five out in your pasture….

                2. We gotten pork the last 3 years from someone who takes orders. We’ve gotten half. Don’t know if any have gotten a 1/4 or not. Person then buys as many piglets needed to raise to full fill his “orders”. This year we paid hanging weight, $2.25/# to him and $1.00/# for cut/wrap, disposal fees. This year was 110#s. Last year was only 85#. Year before was 125#. Not sure why this year was lighter than two years ago. Last years was lighter because his usual source didn’t have enough piglets and it took him time to find another source. Even with butchering delayed the results were fewer pounds. First time we got meat just after Thanksgiving. Last time was late February. This year was just after first of they year. Don’t know what our net weight was for any one year.

                  1. “Delusions are often functional. A mother’s opinions about her children’s beauty, intelligence, goodness, et cetera ad nauseam, keep her from drowning them at birth.” — Lazarus Long

              1. So do I. But see “can’t kill what I raised.
                IF we end up with a little land, I might get a female goat and in the fullness of time take her to meet a nice ram. So we can have MILK.

                1. Sheep are vastly easier to contain, and there’s more meat on the carcass. Goats need far more serious fence and even then will get out (and destroy everything they can reach or climb into, and boy can they climb). You can milk sheep, in fact there are lines of sheep selected for milking qualities, and an association dedicated thereto. Not to mention the useful/nuisance wool aspect (tho avoidable with hair sheep).

                  Easiest way to keep a goat, frankly, is to tie it up.

                  1. Been a while since I splurged on goat milk, but I could digest it long after I needed chemical help to deal with cow milk. The upside, and the downside to any milk animal… when it’s available, you will get milk every day. Whether you want to or not.

                    Which is why I don’t want to own a milk goat; I want to know someone who owns a milk goat, and I can get a pint now and then.

      2. Good night. I can remember seeing leg quarters at 19 cents a pound, but I can’t say so without feeling like everybody who saw the previous generation of grocery prices should be laughing at me.

        1. And a dozen eggs for 25 cents, a pound of ground chuck for 19 cents, and gasoline 18 cents a gallon.


          We’re getting positively VINTAGE.

          1. Who debones it? Just throw it into the stock pot, cook it to mush, and strain out the bones all at once. (Okay, still a pain, but easier.)

            As you can tell, I hate cooking chicken.

            To be fair, I hate cooking.

            1. Cook chicken until the meat starts falling off the bone. Then it only takes 5 to 10 minutes to strip it down. I usually compost the bones; although occasionally I’ll burn them in the fireplace and use the ash on the garden that way.

            2. I debone it for things like vindaloo. I actually like fried chicken legs. Particularly marinaded overnight in wine and garlic. Unfortunately I’m the only person living in this house who does. So it mostly gets cooked for stew, chicken lettuce wraps and various Indian dishes.

                  1. It’s a Gascon dish. Take your chicken legs, no need to bone them, salt and season them overnight then cook submerged in fat, use chicken or duck fat if you’ve got it but vegetable oil will do in a pinch. Low and slow is the rule under 185F if you can manage it. You don’t want to see any bubbles since the oil is supposed to seal in the moisture. I’ve never used a slow cooker but that might work too. Cook for 4+ hours, longer the better. Cool, pull out the bones, and store them in small crocks sealed with the fat, they keep,well. You can then fry them, make rillettes, or use it in Cassoulet. It’s usually made with duck or goose but chicken legs will do as well. It’s sublime.

      3. I can’t help but remember the thieves who stole a ton of frozen cow anuses. Always know what you are getting!

        1. I guess they found the answer to “Where’s the beef?” 😛

          But, who HAS a ton of frozen cow anuses to get stolen in the first place?

          I do remember the Dirty Jobs episode about painting cow bladders for Mardi Gras…

          1. McDonalds?

            At least, that used to be one of the cow parts some people suspected made up the “100% beef!” in their ad campaign years ago.

          1. Packet and tripe, which is boiled blood sausage and tripe is the basic regional dish in my mother’s home town. I haven’t had it since she died since my wife won’t let it in the house. Skirts and Kidneys is another. They didn’t throw anything out.

            I have a cousin who went to cooking school where they tried to intimidate her with offal, she laughed at them since they had no idea what we all ate growing up. The family money, such as it is, comes from butchering pigs.

              1. In Cork they call it Drisheen, in Limerick Packet. it’s flavored with tansy. Most irish Blood Pudding is firm and eaten fried for breakfast but packet is sort of gelatinous and usually boiled with milk then served with lots of butter for dinner. You can not acquire a teste for it, either you start when you’re very young or you never eat it. I don’t mind the tripe but I could do without the packet.

  11. Diamond hands, indeed! For the nonce, I’d be only too happy to help with anything secretarial and/or editorial. It has long been my dream to write, but I seriously lack imagination and content myself with editing the work of others (mostly in the form of collegiate projects). I appreciate your thought process and thoroughly enjoy your blog! Keep fighting the good fight!

  12. “What is ours we keep. And what you stole we’ll take back: including our liberty, our voice and our vote.”

    My courage starts with my heart. Those sentences fire up my heart like a house a’fire.

  13. Starting to do the no “made in PRC” if I can at all avoid it. We only own one car, it’s paid off, and now only gets driven once a week for groceries. When we move, we’ll likely have to purchase a second car because we will be living outside of any city. My new glasses are ready, so I’ll wander down and pick those up tomorrow. Aside from a couple more pairs of jeans, I’m good on clothes for a good long while (jeans and t-shirts being my preferred wardrobe). I’m thinking about skills I need to pick up. Woke up feeling hopeful and happy this morning, so I’m trying to keep that going.

  14. *grumble*

    I grew up at a time when everyone was constantly calling boycotts for every imaginable stupid reason, and thus developed an abiding hatred of them.

    This is going to suck.

    1. I’ve never been a fan of boycotts either, but the left has turned things like boycotts and other pressure techniques into such weapons that it feels like we’ve been forced to adopt their tactics. It sucks, but just ceding ground to them in these areas sucks too.

          1. Call it right buying, sort of like right sizing. Sustainable purchasing pushes the right button, maybe Factory to home rather like farm to table or slow buying. I was anti the borg before it was cool.

    2. So did I. Part of that was that at the time, boycotts were a matter of noise and publicity. Even markets that wanted accurate numbers could not tell whether their numbers were really affected.

      Nowadays, they get to see what the effect is.

  15. I think the two greatest single issue topics near and dear to conservative Americans would be abortion and gun control, both in the form of Oh Hell No!
    Not gonna dwell on that first one, valid medical procedure that IMHO is routinely abused by sloppy careless people.
    Elements of the left, including Joe and the Ho themselves, have been clear on their feelings about firearms in the hands of common citizens, though our media very carefully kept most of those opinions on the down low leading up to the election.
    Some of the bills actually being drafted for submission would outlaw millions of commonly owned guns and large capacity magazines. And for anyone thinking that cannot happen here, I refer you to both the 1994-2004 gun control act and the massive firearm confiscations performed by police with National Guard backup in NOLA post Katrina.
    If the progressive left ram confiscatory gun control through they will first target the radical right wing fringe, but as always with any perceived success they double down and drastically over reach themselves. Won’t be all that many midnight no knock raids on peaceful gun owners before quite a few decide if they’re coming after me anyway best I can do is either get them first or at least take an honor guard with me.
    Somebody remind me, wasn’t there some ruling entity tried to confiscate citizens firearms and wound up losing a revolution?

    1. though our media very carefully kept most of those opinions on the down low leading up to the election.

      I continue to see these assertions, and yet a few times a week every week on every forum for the last year the information was posted. This is the worst hiding job since the first trans First Lady.

      1. Tis true that it’s damnably hard to totally suppress the facts in question, and there are enough channels of communication that for those of us interested some truths were fairly obvious.
        But network news actively suppressed knowledge that almost certainly would have had an effect on many of our low information citizens who’s news diet is limited to the traditional three networks. And need I point out that the social media giants admitted to tailoring what was allowed with flagrant bias?
        We need only look to the lack of coverage of the whole Hunter Biden corruption business, or that somehow thousands of union workers had no idea that the last week of January would be their final day at work.

    2. Being a bit picky here, but try to avoid using the term “large capacity magazines.” After all, if the firearm came from the factory with a 20/30/50/100rd magazine, it’s a standard capacity. Don’t cede the language to them.

      Of course, I think they’d prefer to refer to any magazine that holds more than 1rd a “high capacity” magazine…

      1. According to California, my little .22 lever-action varmint rifle has a “high capacity magazine”… cuz it holds 13 rounds. It is therefore officially an Assault Rifle. I was thrilled; free upgrade!!

        So, if I use it to beat someone over the head (probably more effective than shooting ’em), does that make it a battery position??

        1. I’ve been thinking about getting a Keltec PMR30, a pistol in 22 WMR (22 Mag) that has a 30-round magazine. Not just standard capacity, the only capacity. I suppose that makes it a short-barreled assault rifle. And assault carbine?

          1. Have you seen the bat-sh*t crazy Keltec P50? 5.7mm, 50rd magazine (only size,) PISTOL!
            /insert Emil from Robocop here
            I LIKE IT!

            As I told the wife, it’s silly, it’s kind of stupid, but dang I want one!

              1. Um, you just described most calibers except for, I think, 50BMG…

                And I don’t have a Barrett or an M2, so I don’t have a lot of use for $3/rd ammo…

                1. Yes. But 5.7 already had production issues. 9mm and 5.56 on the other hand have companies running flat out to fill demand.

                  I have a Five-seveN. And one box of the new speer ammo. 😦

        2. It’s not an assault rifle. That’s an actual technical term, and it means something. Instead, your .22 is an assault *weapon*, which can mean anything the speaker wants it to mean.

      2. That’s a really good point. Just say “Yeah, it has a standard capacity magazine” and leave it at that. There is no need to tell anybody how many rounds is defined as “standard”. Keeps the nosy ones from being able to rat you out.

      3. I feel like you’re just helping us reclaim our own language. There is no such thing as a high capacity magazine, just as there is no such thing as an assault weapon.
        And I refuse to use or acknowledge either term.

        1. Oh no, piss them off even more…
          Use the dictionary against them!
          Assault: a violent physical or verbal attack
          Weapon: something (such as a club, knife, or gun) used to injure, defeat, or destroy

          Baseball bat used to beat someone? Assault weapon
          Knife used to stab someone? Assault weapon
          Car used to kill someone? Assault weapon
          Fists used to beat someone? Assault weapon

          When they try to contest your definition, point them at the dictionary.

            1. But, if you used a salt block with which to assault someone, a salt assault would be HORRENDOUS!!!111!!! (I couldna resist.) Now, if it were salt block and a battery…it would be assault and battery. STAND BACK!@! You don’t know what I’m gonna say next! Cover your ears!!

            2. It has been scientifically shown that (heterosexual, one presumes) men’s intelligence experiences significant impairment when confronted by a strikingly attractive female. Thus it follows that, for example, Victoria’s Secret push-up bras are assault lingerie.

              I suppose the government can legislate limits on high-capacity cups. After all, nobody needs more than a mouthful.

    3. H.R. 127 is the gun bill put out by Sheila Jackson. It’s a monstrosity. It basically makes it impossible for ordinary Americans to own a gun. Massive licensing and registration requirements, fees and taxes out the ying yang. My response to it, and the Biden-Harris stand on gun control is that these are blatant violations of the U.S. Constitution not requiring the Supreme Court to rule on it as honest Americans can see it for themselves. Further, anyone voting for this bill is directly aiding and abetting the commission of violent crimes, in fact, they are conspiring to do so, making them guilty of those crimes.

      1. From what I’ve read, she puts that same bill forward every year, and I guess it never gets out of committee…
        But yeah, it’s very much a “f* you for wanting to protect yourselves or be able to threaten ME, an IMPORTANT person, if you’re so worried either hire your own security people or call the police (if we haven’t defunded them out of existence, and oh yeah, it’ll probably take them 20-30 minutes to get to you, unless you’re one of those out in the boonies hicks in which case it might be some time tomorrow)” bill…

  16. Sarah, sorta-pro de-lurking here to put my name on the growing list of people willing to proofread on your behalf. Fiddly pedantic nit-picking really is my bag, baby.

    What you can give me in trade, we can figure out later.

      1. Meh. Count yerself lucky. I was going to make a Bridge joke but a) too obscure for the room? and, more importantly, b asserting a preference to play the hand in No Trump is just w.r.o.n.g. at this time.

        1. Bridge joke

          I would have gotten a Bridge Joke (I think). Don’t play often. Occasionally was filling in with mom with a couple of groups she plays in, but Commie Flu. Hubby and I need to find partners that also can’t play together. Hubby is too intense. Might be better now. The “smoking” allowed rounds got to me, for the rest of the night (not like smoke or the stench goes away). Which shows how long it has been since hubby and I tried to play as partners.

          asserting a preference to play the hand in No Trump is just w.r.o.n.g. at this time.

          Got it. Yes. Definitely w.r.o.n.g. at this time.

          1. As second descendent I was often a fourth for family games, played in dorm commons but never more than casually. First-born brother was intense competitor who even took it up (briefly, so far as I know) as a competitive sport. Oddly, he was a much easier partner with Beloved Spouse (at occasional family weekends when he’d come visit our parents) than with his wife or Beloved Spouse was with me. Beloved Spouse’s theory was that having married me indicated sufficient poor judgement on Spouse’s part that his expectations were lowered and he was happy hands didn’t get completely butchered.

            1. In my defense. I had just learned to play bridge (book and everything). For all that my folks, maternal grandparents, and both sets of maternal aunts and uncles, played Bridge together at any social gathering when just that part of the family was together. They just never taught us kids. Hubby had been playing at least 10 years by then. Competitive more often than socially. AND he used to be a math major and I swear counts cards. When the bidding is done he knows what everyone has to have, probably 90% of the time. I’ll drop that lower, when I miss bid a hand. Then there are the conventions. I can keep one or two straight, maybe.

              He wasn’t too upset our at one of our first set of “competition” hands. I totally miss bid it. Though if I’d properly bid it, I’d have miss played it. As it is we set the other party bad, doubled, when we should have had the bid. I was 6, 6, 1, in major/minor suit, with < 6 card points (didn't count shorts or length properly and passed hubby's opening bid). Bid suit was the major suit for game. He was upset because I bid it wrong against his Stamen open (my void), with no bid between (should have bid major and shut up). OTOH upset offset because we were high for that hand.

              For as little as I play. I'm not bad. In fact with mom's groups, I've been told I play pretty good. It's just I've been given a higher standard. I'd be better but we just don't know anyone who plays amongst our peers. My cousin and her husband, but they were in TN and now (closer) are in Baker …

      1. Today being a Thursday, I identify as a male identifying as female identifying as male identifying as lesbian identifying as hetero. Friday I shall identify as a female identifying as male identifying as female identifying as gay identifying as asexual.

        I will always be wallaby, of course.


    China has achieved what Marx predicted, as did the USSR: an industrialized economy where the workers are too poor to purchase what they produce.

    China cannot sell what it produces internally. How the hell is the rest of the world supposed to sell anything there?

    Plus, China is at the far end of long, and vulnerable, supply lines. The PLAN isn’t ready to insure their flow of oil, much less anything else and won’t be in my lifetime if ever. Helpful hint, when your navy is called The People’s Liberation Army’s Navy, you are never going to be a naval power, which is what their colonialism in Africa fro resources and the Gulf for oil requires.

    Without the US, China reverts to bullying Central Asians and the First Island Chain; maybe Southeast Asia and India if they can maintain the supply lines.

    1. The “Silk Road” is hooking up Middle-East, with plans for Africa. Europe seems hopelessly hooked on Chinese products. But U.S. breeds to wean off Chicom products.

        1. From what I heard, local warlords in Africa are outsmarting the CCP by taking the money and running. Next time the CCP comes around, there’s a new warlord to deal with.

          1. In other words, precisely the same sort of tribal culture that gave our ancestors fits, trying to make and enforce their treaties.

            1. The Chinese will deal with it the same way the Founders did our indigenous tribes.
            2. The SJWs won’t say a damn thing.

              1. They’ve dealt with tribal cultures before. But it’s been quite a while. And it might be that the tribal cultures that used to surround the old Chinese dynasties didn’t have leadership as volatile as the ones currently in Africa.

                That, and I doubt that “we’ll give you a Chinese Imperial Princess in marriage” has the same draw in Africa, as it used to have in East Asia. Assuming that there were even Chinese Imperial Princesses to marry off these days.

          2. Africa is Africa. If you expect to be able to sucker, cheat, and swindle the locals with bad contracts and “low-cost loans”, well, they won’t stick to the bad agreement the way the west will. They’re just as bad about “this doesn’t favour my tribe, so I don’t find it valid anymore” as…. well, as the Chinese.

      1. It’s price. Europe is poorer and more heavily taxed than we are. They might not LIKE cheap sh*t, but that’s all they can afford.
        They’re also older, so barring stubborn like mom — and even then — won’t learn to make or do.

      2. The problem with the One Road, One Belt is while it connects China with its inputs supplying countries, those inputs suppliers are not a market.

        Also, China is trying to develop countries that nations with better shots at developing failed to develop. Many of the Belt and Road projects are projects the US evaluated during the Cold War and rejected as not viable. While the passage of time may have increased the viability of some projects, China suffers many of the same issues the USSR did, probably for similar philosophical reasons, in that they don’t build things that match. One of the great ironies of command versus market economies is the later, despite lacking central coordination, often have better matched components.

        Finally, Belt and Road still relies on Chinese power projection to protect the underlying roots in the absence of the American led global order. China cannot project power to protect the sea side. The land side might be better protected as long as oil isn’t disrupted giving it a chicken and egg nature that commits China to regular preemptive action. It also exposes them to plays by regional powers such as Turkey.

        In the end, Belt and Road is a good idea, but the American led order will probably collapse before the pieces China needs for it to work are even close to in place.

    2. So much of what China produces is just crap, and often dangerous crap. We got some of it — never, ever buy Chinese building supplies — but for them it’s all of it.

      1. A couple of years ago I was buying some concrete at a local big-box store. The bags were marked “made in China.”

        An 80-pound bag of concrete sold for $3-ish. In what universe can you ship 80 pounds of concrete from somewhere in China, float it halfway around the world, and then 2/3 of the way across the United States, for $3?! And what’s in the bag has to cost something, and gets marked up at every step of the journey.

        I actually looked to see if it was just the bag that was made in China, or the whole product. It didn’t say, so I’m assuming the concrete came from there too.

          1. When LaFamilia controlled the building trade, cheap concrete would never be used; it makes it much more likely the bodies will be found 🙂

    3. Which is why you see thoughtful columns in places like the Wall Street Journal about how China needs to “rebalance,” their economy to serve internal consumers and grow a middle class. The authors just assume the Party would WANT a middle class that might get uppity.

        1. The Wall Street Journal apparently doesn’t realize that the CCP intends to build its economy the old-fashioned way; Conquest and pillaging.

          1. The Journal imagines that the CCP wants a sustainable and stable economy more than it wants power. The CCP would rather reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.

      1. They might not want one, but it is their only chance at survival. As is they probably waited too long to even entertain the idea.

        As for the middle class getting uppity, who knows. China has very different cultural norms and a middle class that honors the Mandate of Heaven should be possible in theory.

        The real issue, for everyone, is the current world economic order requires the safety and security American built to gain allies in the Cold War or a hegemon that can do the same.

        The reality is the US can barely do it now for a variety of reasons. No one, not even the US, could introduce such an order wholesale like we did in the late 40s because that was about how badly the world was devastated by WWII as about how powerful America was.

        Although the Biden administration is going to try to disrupt the frakking revolution it cannot long term without committing suicide. Either it finds a way to accommodate American energy production or it is replaced by an administration that does. Need to import oil is the last tie America has to the world. It is big reason the establishment is determined to cripple it as they’ll lose their last excuse for their wars.

        By 2040 the world’s economic connections will return to economically self-contained spheres of influence with minimal and controlled trade between them. China is not ready and will probably be in Japan’s Sphere of Influence (with all the historical baggage that is going to entail).

        1. By 2040… what percentage of China’s population will be working age? Demographics are not destiny, but they certainly can be a slow-motion avalanche.

          1. That is another big part of China’s issues, especially around power projection. They can build a blue water navy, but by the time they have the depth of experience to use it they won’t have any sailors to man it.

            The same for a consumer market; their population won’t be in the spending phase soon.

            One child policy with pressure to delay first child (as in, more likely to get permission for two if you wait so long you’re lucky to have one) is turning out to be suicide. It is also what is being sold here.

            1. If they get in a land war with India… I know they may be thinking of using up the surplus males, but these things tend to spill over past what was ideal. Especially if India cracks a can of sunshine…

              There may not be enough Chinese left to occupy China in 50 years.

            2. The worst part is that it is SLOW MOTION suicide — the people who did it are not having to live with the consequences, and the people now in charge are pushing more babies. And failing.

              1. Making babies is a cultural habit. Hard to break and, having broken it, hard to get back.

                The Russians won’t before they disappear. Neither will the Germans. I think the Italians have crossed that line.

                China might have, but has enough of a base they have several generations to turn around before disappearing, but not enough to keep them a great power past mid-century.

                It seems socialism is slow suicide of one kind or another.

              2. It might be an interesting experiment to monitor birth rate in Hong Kong prior to the recent “absorption” and over the next few years.

                I know which direction I’d bet on the rate curving.

                From: https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/HKG/hong-kong/birth-rate
                Chart and table of the Hong Kong birth rate from 1950 to 2021. United Nations projections are also included through the year 2100.

                The current birth rate for Hong Kong in 2021 is 10.912 births per 1000 people, a 0.52% decline from 2020.

                The birth rate for Hong Kong in 2020 was 10.969 births per 1000 people, a 0.53% decline from 2019.

                The birth rate for Hong Kong in 2019 was 11.027 births per 1000 people, a 0.52% decline from 2018.

                The birth rate for Hong Kong in 2018 was 11.085 births per 1000 people, a 1.09% increase from 2017.

                Those stats fail to give the births per “women aged 15–44” — Wiki says

                Hong Kong has one of the world’s lowest birth rates—1.11 per woman of child-bearing age as of 2012, far below the replacement rate of 2.1. It is estimated that 26.8% of the population will be aged 65 or more in 2033, up from 12.1% in 2005. Hong Kong recorded 8.2 births per 1,000 people in 2005–2010.

                Emphasis added

                For purpose of reference, US Birth Rate in 2018 (all races/ethnicities) was 59.1 per 1,000 women aged 15–44.

  18. It’s probably not a typical skill set to be sharing online; but I do voice acting, and have my own recording equipment, (decent Mic and sound mixer plugged into my computer).
    If anybody needs an audiobook recorded, let me know. I do my own editing.

    1. Er. I don’t know if you’re male or female. I assume female, but I’ve been wrong before.
      Ping me at first two initials last name for er “something of interest”

      1. I’m not sure I understood the whole address?
        (And I am male, though I am told I write with a very feminine voice.)

        1. sa hoyt hotmail. Um…. so, I have about half male-voice books. We need to discuss prices and/or royalty share.
          Not that I have an issue with a male reading a female first-person book, but people MIGHT care?

    2. I would also like a ping, and more particularly a price check. Can you yell at me at trufox at protonmail? No rush.

  19. And now for some Good News (I’m fairly sure that is illegal in 2021, but whatever):

    CZ has purchased Colt. For the first time in decades Colt will be owned by firearms people.

    Now they just need to burn General Whatshisface’s legacy to the ground.

    1. I wonder what “Colt” they bought. Hognose kept track of how the vultures were picking the company apart and posted about it regularly on his blog. The vultures had sold off the factory, the intellectual property, and even the Colt name, and Colt was “leasing” them back to continue operations while they found more bits of value to strip.

      Hognose passed away a few years ago, but that’s no reason to neglect his blog updates…

    1. I doubt they’re about to uncancel the firing. In addition to the huge loss of face to Disney, that would give her a lot of leverage over the company.

      And on that note, I just cancelled my Disney+ subscription on what was apparently the very last day of my current subscription period. I enjoyed watching her on-screen. Yeah, she wasn’t going to win any awards for her acting. But for once, a “tough woman” actually looked like someone who you would be very worried about getting slugged by. And she looked like she was having fun on-screen.

      1. Disney got crushed financially in the last year because of the lost theme park revenue, among other things. It is clear that the problems with the Star Wars franchise is not just Kathleen Kennedy but goes all the way to the very top of Disney/ABC. Recall that the ABC News political director is one of the loudest cheerleaders for “re-educating” all 74 million+ Trump voters.

        The way to punish Disney is to boycott their parks and merchandise to the point of bankruptcy.

  20. I’m open to making covers in return for typo hunting.

    That’s something I seem to do spontaneously, whether I’m even trying or not, which is how I got the first of two such gigs for campus rags way back when (“How would you like to be copy editor?”, said the editor and co-founder as he created the position).

    Of course the covers-in-return thing will be useful only when/if I actually have enough, e.g., “Brief Dispatches From the Madhouse War and Other Stories” to fill a book… but I am working on that.

    (And, there’d have to be enough work to saturate all the ‘will proofread for free look at the book’ volunteers above.)

  21. … valor [sic] is not raw materials plus labor.

    That raises the question, “What is the value of a college education?”

    Also, “Why is the value of a Harvard education considered greater a Purdue (to pick a mid-level school) education?”

    What are the raw materials, what are the labor inputs, that make Harvard degrees so valuable?

    For that matter, why should anybody pay more for a painting by Picasso than one by Bob Ross? If they each spend a day on the painting and use comparable materials, shouldn’t their paintings command the same prices?

    Marxist minds want to know.

    1. Given the school’s policies over the last couple of decades, and the sheer number of dirtbags they’ve graduated, a Harvard degree would be an instant roundfile if I’m ever on the hiring side of the table again. Though I might call them in and tell them face-to-face that they were contaminated by association with a Woke school, and maybe they should consider filing a lawsuit since their expensive degree is now worth less then used toilet paper.

  22. I’m open to making covers in return for typo hunting.

    Is that a blanket offer?

    Be vewy vewy quiet. I’m hunting typos.

      1. Even with the family discount I believe you owe me a breakfast or two.
        Which I shall collect the next time I’m in the Denver area, or given our changing world wherever you, Dan, and the fellows relocate to.

    1. Yes, it is once again OK to say good things about Hydrochloroquine now that Uncle Joe is back in charge and no one might accidentally think positive thoughts about the previous President. And never mind how many people might have died in the interim because governors were banning HCG and doctors were mocked for suggesting it. Quote from coworker “have you seen the pictures of that doctor in NY who claims to use HCQ to save people? He looks like he’s from Duck Dynasty.” This from a guy who would be horrified if you suggested that someone’s looks had anything to do with their competence under normal circumstances.

  23. Another great essay and great comments. It’s an education, if you’re at all worried about making it through the Scouring of the Shire.I’m still reading, but must sleep. So here is my 2 cents. Totalitarians aren’t too adept at keeping the power running. Brownouts, rolling blackouts, total blackouts. Be sure you have a non-electric way to boil water and cook. Wood and charcoal will become expensive, scarce, and of poor quality. It’s a tough problem, but something to bear in mind.

    1. Multiple means are good. Nothing wrong with electric, when it’s an option. Nothing wrong with wood or charcoal when such are options (not indoors! So not so good in cold weather – and water {atmospheric} can be an issue for charcoal.). Gas (“natural”, butane, propane) are great when available. Might be worth considering adding an alcohol stove – it’s not much beyond a slow water boiler, but boiled water is useful. Heck, a solar-cooker if such can be used at least has no fuel (storage/access) issue though it does require a fairly clear daylight sky. Some of the “hippie” ideas aren’t bad – just more work than most are used to in a reliable (and inexpensive) ‘grid’ (gas, electricity, transport,) world.

        1. Enter Robert W. Service’s The Cremation of Sam McGee, one of the best-known early examples of Red-Shirting not generally known to be such (there really was a Sam McGee, and he gave Mr. Service permission to use his name in the poem).

          Fortunately, Orvan, your famous kins-ox is rumoured to have been adept at turning cultists et al into that classic third-world kindling they themselves spout so much of in their efforts to reduce us to third-world living.

  24. As an experiment, last year I grew a successful crop of pinto beans from a bag of pinto beans I bought from Walmart. If you have the land, grow your own. You can sell/trade/barter the excess.

    1. Where I am NOTHING grows. Altitude/dryness and truly sucky ground. if we were going to stay here some more years, we were going to try hay bale gardening. But consider cosmos won’t grow here, and they’re practically weeds.

  25. Hey wait, did you know that there’s a whole series of books (three) set in Arcane America, not just the one by our beloved hostess? I’ve been wondering when there’d be more. Also, if you search and end up at the Simon & Schuster website they only show #2 and #3. Do they hate you that much? And can anyone tell me if the other two are worth reading?

    1. Yeah, I do.
      I had nothing to do with the others. Not even the planning.
      AND yeah. And it wasn’t JUST Simon and Schuster. They were willing to let a mega bestseller walk away, just so they didn’t buy from me again.
      Think about it.

      1. Simon and Schuster … were willing to let a mega bestseller walk away, just so they didn’t buy from me again.

        Be that as it may, I do not get the impression that mega bestsellers are the corporate status symbol they once were. If anything it seems a trifle embarrassing to them.

        Of course, in their conception of the Cosmic All a mega bestseller is just the correct application of marketing push and pandering to the masses. Prestige books, like White Fragility or something from Ta-Nehisi Coates — that’s what wins you the envy of your peers, that is what gets you prime seats at the industry conventions. Selling only a few hundred copies while being proclaimed as influential, that’s the ticket.

  26. Also if my small experiment with chives works out, I’ll start a small sprout garden. Maybe trade with people here. We just don’t have much available cash … ever. Seniors.

  27. Re: your #4
    Here in Vermont the default assumption is that local producers are probably lefties, but we make a special effort to avoid any business that supports VPR, our NPR affiliate. The station announces these businesses on air and they’re pretty easy to track down on the website too.

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