Article – School serves 6-year-old meat to TN students

ROGERSVILLE, Tenn. – Meat dating to the year of President Obama’s first inauguration was served to students in some Hawkins County, Tennessee schools last week.

Hawkins County Commissioner Michael Herrell was alerted after a cafeteria worker sent him a photo of the pork roast they used for school meals was from 2009.

The 6-year-old meat had been frozen and then was thawed for meal preparation, according to WCYB.

Herrell said the photo was taken at Joseph Rogers Primary School where the staff decided not to serve the meat. However, it was served at other schools.

Eating 6-year-old meat is not a big deal if it was stored properly. We routinely eat meat thats been sitting in the deep freeze for a year or two, and the oldest I’ve pulled out and consumed has been around five years old. As long as you packaged it well and kept it frozen, it’s usually just fine. There may be some spots of freezer burn if you didn’t get all the air out of the package, but those don’t affect the nutritional value or the safety of the food.

As an aside, if you’re really upset about the quality of the slop slapped onto your kids lunch tray, either pack ’em a lunch or give ’em five bucks to go get a slice of pizza and a Coke. It’s not .gov’s responsibility to feed your kid. Public government schools already do a crappy job of educating your kid, why would you think they’d do any better job of feeding them?

Range day

Took someone from CrossFit to the range the other day. Took abut a dozen different guns. Everything from .22 to .45. And, as always seems to be the case, what was the most flat-out enjoyment achieved with? The lowly, inexpensive, .22 LR.

We had been shooting the Remington Subsonic at 50 yards and it was okay, but I switched over to standard velocity CCI, which still managed to be subsonic, and groups tightened considerably. Me and my guest both managed to shoot five-shot groups you could cover with a dime.


The gun in question was the Savage FS-VR, a rifle I am developing a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for. However, while the AccuTrigger was awesome, the factory stock wasn’t even worthy of putting on an airgun. I swapped it out for the Boyds Tacticool (now called Pro Varmint) and slapped a Nikon P-22 w/ BDC reticle on top of the rail. So, yeah, I sank north of $400 onto a $200 rifle. (Almost a grand if you include the suppressor and paperwork). But, for five shots, we get this…

20150426_144705I need to back it out to 100-yd and see how it shoots. Problem with the subsonic stuff is you get these rainbow trajectories that can make things….tricky. Also, those suppressors really dirty up a barrel….seemed like there was more unburnt powder or debris in the barrel after shooting with the suppressor than without. Still, awesome fun.

Craigslist wishful thinking

Someday Im gonna have one of these.

1972 Toyota FJ 40 Landcruiser , orig. 6 cyl. , 3 speed manual trans. , new leaf springs and shocks with grease-able shackles front and rear , power steering , Warn hubs , new water pump , new thermostat , new master cyl. , rebuilt radiator , newer soft top in excellent condition ! Original toolkit and jack , new wheels with BFG All Terrain tires and spare , custom heavy duty front and rear bumpers , this is a very clean FJ 40 ! Also comes with a 4 speed manual trans. , orig. steering wheel , Summer top and a few other parts . Come and take a look , you wont be disappointed ! $ 13,500 obo – call

Article – Missing sisters survive 2 weeks in woods on Girl Scout Cookies, cheese puffs

LUCE COUNTY, MI — Two sisters who were missing for nearly two weeks in a remote area of the Upper Peninsula survived on Girl Scout Cookies and cheese puffs.

Lee Wright, 56, and Leslie Roy, 52, were weak but otherwise seemed to be in good condition when a state police helicopter rescued them Friday from a two-track road in northern Luce County where their Ford Explorer became stuck in deep snow on April 11. The women stayed with the vehicle, which had died earlier this week.

Stayed with the vehicle and survived. This is almost, but not always, the case.  However, it is the outcome often enough that staying with the vehicle should be the preferred choice.

Simple lighting project

This post on arfcom caught my eye. Rather than buy a 12v lamp for use with a battery, this fella converted a regular household AC lamp to run an LED ‘bulb’ off his 12v battery.

This sort of thing intrigued me and I decided to try it. While we have several options for lighting around here, I’d like to have something that doesn’t look like the kind emergency lighting youd find in a stairwell. Something very subtle and ‘normal looking’.

A quick trip to Amazon for the necessary parts:

The next step was to pick up a lamp to experiment on. As it turns out, I found a lamp that already ran on DC (it used a transformer to run off AC house current) and was LED. Since that was 2/3 of the battle right there, I figured I’d start with that.

20150419_164135Reading the details on the made-in-China transformer said, if they can be believed, that power draw was something like .33 amps. 20150419_164052Conveniently, they labeled the wires as to +/-. Simple matter to cut the transformer off and connect the wires for the cigarette plug to the lamp wires…keeping the polarity the same.



Once the transformer had been removed and replaced with the 12v plug, I plugged it into my old ConSci battery pack to test.



20150420_224627Unsurprisingly, it works. I’ll tuck it away with the battery box and leave it for the next time I need lighting when there’s no available electricity.

Of course, the bigger plan is to use it in conjunction with the larger battery backup system I’m planning. Nothing fancy..a couple big deep cycle batteries, a smart charger, and a bunch of outlets and wiring to allow me to run emergency lighting and communications for a week or so on battery power. Thats the bigger post Im working on. Gonna be a little while on it, though, since it’s going to take a while to scratch up the cash for the batteries. But…when it’s moved from ‘theory’ to ‘in progress’ there’ll be plenty of posting on it.




Generator run day

Nice day outside. Time to set out the generator and run it for a while to make sure everything is working for when we need it.

20150419_145545I keep a copy of the startup/shutdown instructions attached to the generator so there’s no doubt about doing things the right way. Sure, I commit as much of it to memory as I can but you never know when someone else may be needed to start/stop it and this way they can have all the proper info right there.

In a crisis the only thing I really need the generator for is to keep the freezer/fridge cool and maybe run the furnace blower. In the winter any food can simply go outside and the generator will be mostly for just running the blower and charging batteries.

Household emergency lighting will be mostly LED lights run off a couple deep-cycle batteries. Thats a project I’m kinda working on at the moment.


Canned meats

Canned meats are something that, no matter how objective I try to be, always elicit a shudder and a mental “Ewwww”. I mean, just about every form of canned meat, when opened, whether it is Spam, chicken, beef, hash, whatever, smells and looks like cat food.

It was only with great trepidation and great surprise that I was willing to try the CostCo canned roast beef and discover that, once you fry it up, it’s really quite good. In fact, it was so good we have added it as a regular inventory item to our spreadsheet of stored food.

Up until now, most canned meats are pretty basic: canned chicken, canned pork, canned salmon, etc. But things are starting to get a little more ‘niche’. An example was this that I found in WalMart:

Canned beef fajita strips and canned meatballs. Part of me was quite curious about this stuff and another part of me was slightly nauseous contemplating how badly these things could turn out. Yes, I was a coward and took a pass on these…mostly on the strength of WalMart being known for ‘low prices’ and me not wanting to know where the corners were cut on these cuts of meat. BUT…it is interesting to to think that with some stored pasta, a jar of spaghetti sauce, and a couple cans of meatballs, you could have a hearty comfort-food meal with a shelf life measured by election cycles.

Interesting the things you see when you start mindlessly examining everything on the ‘canned meats’ shelf at WallyWorld.

Re-watching Jericho

The wife wound up signing back up for Netflix after a long hiatus. (We find Amazon pretty much had everything we wanted so we wound up with them for most of our video entertainment needs.) One thing Netflix had that ‘Zon didnt was ‘Jericho’ available for free.

It’s been almost ten years since the program came out. I rewatched the first few episodes last night and it holds up really quite well. Lennie James, most recently of “The Walking Dead” fame plays, wait for it, a post-apocalyptic hardcore survivor-type. Poor guy..he just can’t catch a break.

A lot of people took issue with the character driven nature of the show. Too much relationship stuff and not enough gun battles with looters. That’s unfirtunate because the real end-of-the-world is going to be all about relationships…people you trust, people you distrust, people you care or, people you fear, etc, etc. Next time you’re in line at the grocery store, imagine having to make it through the zombie apocalypse with the three people in line in front of you….suddenly relationships will  be pretty important.

Anyway, the show holds up quite well although there are a few anachronistic touches. (When was the last time you saw an answering machine that used tape cassettes?) As we all know, the second season was abbreviated and very different than the first…not necessarily better or worse, just different.

Watching it still makes you wargame events in your head, play “what if…”, and still makes me wanna head to the basement and admire all my stuff. In that regard, it’s still a timely show.

I cannot help but think how different it would have been had it been done on cable, like The Walking Dead, rather than network television. Certainly more profanity, graphic violence, and those such would be present and probably add a greater dimension of realism.

As of late, the post-apocalyptic genre has drifted solidly into the zombie themes and I can sort of see why. With post 9/11 ‘sensitivities’, a zombie apocalypse lets you explore the post-apoc world but in a manner that clearly keeps it in the realm of ‘it cant happen here’. The majority of the violence is directed against fantasy creatures that don’t exist, in a world that can’t exist, suffering through a crisis that cant exist. By keeping it obviously a ‘fantasy/fictional’ scenario, no one gets their psyche bent out of shape.

Personally, I’d rather see a few more ‘realistic’ apocalyptic movies or shows. Supposedly the EMP-fest “One Second After” is being made into a movie. While the book borrowed heavily from “Lucifers Hammer”, I’d still go see it. Also, before I forget, “Lights Out” is apparently getting the same treatment. Here’s a ‘concept’ trailer featuring some of the folks who played extras in The Walking Dead. In the meantime, it’s fun to sit back and re-watch ‘Jericho’ and try to imagine that Lennie James’ character is basically the same unfortunate guy who  later shows up in The Walking Dead.


Article – Almost Everything in “Dr. Strangelove” Was True

Half a century after Kubrick’s mad general, Jack D. Ripper, launched a nuclear strike on the Soviets to defend the purity of “our precious bodily fluids” from Communist subversion, we now know that American officers did indeed have the ability to start a Third World War on their own. And despite the introduction of rigorous safeguards in the years since then, the risk of an accidental or unauthorized nuclear detonation hasn’t been completely eliminated.

If you havent read it, Stephen Hunter (of “Point Of Impact” fame) wrote a terrific book, The Day Before Midnight, about some guys busting into a launch facility to do a little DIY WW3. It was a really great book and would make an awesome movie. It’s my favorite book of his, narrowly edging out POI. And, yeah, it’s a little derivative of “Twilight’s Last Gleaming.

Anyway, the gist of the article is that despite the protestations of the military and the government, there have been times when the ability to launch nukes on one’s own has been possible. I suppose in Cold War planning that made sense – if command-n-control is knocked out there has to be a way for weapons to be used without authorization from the smoldering radioactive ruins of DC.

I mention this because it’s a fascinating little bit of history that sort of segues into preparedness. For those of us who grew up in the world of first strike, second strike, MADD, and Minuteman missiles its rather interesting.

The article is also  interesting because it details how the .gov tried to balance a very complicated equation – nukes had to be tightly controlled so no one could go off-kilter and start WW3 on their own, BUT there had to be mechanisms in place to allow an individual command to launch independently if higher authorities were disabled/destroyed. The solution (if you want to call it that) was two-man rules, no-lone-zones, layers of verification, split codes, and a few other ‘team’ requirements. Basically, it was a lot like having two names on a checking account…without both people signing off, nothing happens. (At least, thats the plan anyway.)

And, to segue to a slightly less on-topic matter, it’s interesting to note that while it supposedly takes more than one person to launch a nuclear attack, it has historically taken only one to prevent it.

Although there is the premise of the rogue individual starting WW3,  most folks are unaware of the rogue individual who prevented WW3. There are at least two Soviet officers (here and here) who, when given the opportunity to allow a some fissionable matter to do its thing, said nyet and prevented what might have been the start of WW3.

Interestingly, once you start looking into these sorts of matters you discover there have been quite a few times that we’ve been just a phone call and a button press away from having a nuclear exchange. Nowdays I suspect the incidence of nuclear war is fairly low but the risk of nuclear attack is unchanged or perhaps a bit higher. Somewhere there is a cargo container with a couple nuclear artillery shells in it just waiting to go through the Port of Seattle or somewhere similar. I mean, you look at the numbers and you realize there is a huge amount of smaller, less dramatic nuclear devices out there…man-portable stuff that some zealot can stuff in the back of a Cessna 182 and detonate over pretty much anywhere. There’s a lot of those little nukes out there..artillery shells, torpedoes, ‘special weapons’, demolition packages, etc, etc….stuff that fits into a 55-gallon drum or smaller.

Anyway, an interesting article for those of us who have an interest in control (or lack thereof) of these sorts of things.