Patriot(s, s’,’s) Day.. or is it?

There’s only a handful of holidays I get worked up over…Independence Day, my birthday, Valentine’s Day, Paratus, and one or two others. And then there’s Patriot’s Day…the moveable feast of the political right.


Maybe someone really said this. Maybe not. But the sentiment certainly seems apropos.

First, there’s a bit of ambiguity about the it Patriot’s Day, Patriots Day, or Patriots’ Day? I go with Patriot’s Day. You can figure out which punctuation rings your (liberty) bell. It most certainly is notPatriot Day‘ which is, I think, a holiday in poor taste since  we already have a holiday with that name and ‘re-using’ it is patently disrespectful to the original holiday.

Then there’s the date. To me, Patriot’s Day is April 19. Why? Because that’s when the shooting started. The notion of making it the third Monday of April, regardless of date, for the purpose of creating a three day weekend is abhorrent to me. You make a holiday to remember and act upon a historical event. You don’t make it for the sake of getting a three-day weekend. *

Folks are calling today Patriot’s Day but I’m going to be a stickler….orthodox, if you will…and say that Patriot’s Day is April 19. Period.

* = Having said that, yes, Paratus is a moveable holiday. BUT..Paratus was designed from the get-go to be held on a Friday so you could have a weekend to play with your Paratus gifts. I do not find this inconsistent with my attitude about re-arranging historical holidays to fit modern demands for three-day weekends.


Canned water

It’s kind of interesting to look back on the history prepping back to the golden-age of the Red Scare and Cuban Missile Crisis and seeing the gear that was marketed towards those wanting to survive the inevitable nukefest.

cw-1One of the things that I often see pictures of in old bomb shelters is canned water. More specifically, drinking water that was packaged in cans like beer or other canned food would be. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. Notice that this was in the days of dinosaurs before the pull-top can was invented. So, if you wanted to slake your thirst in the post-nuke world, you needed the old-fashioned church key to open it. Although there are plenty of these relics floating around, and people come across them from time to time and post pictures of them on the internet, very infrequently do you find those same people saying if the cans were still full or not. Assuming the cans were not lined with any particular barrier coating (which seems pretty likely considering the era), and their steel construction,  the cans probably succumbed to rusting pretty quickly. (This, by the way, is why those old Civil Defense water barrels were not stored full of water,  but rather stored in such a condition as to allow them to be rapidly filled when the warnings were given.)

Water_sideFrom a manufacturing standpoint, the market for this sort of thing would have been a no-brainer for a company that was already involved in the bottling/canning process. For example, here’s some canned water that was canned by the folks at Royal Crown, or as we know it today – RC Cola. If you’ve already got the canning operation set up to make pop, why not just turn the taps on and can some water at the same time? No additional capital investment and a whole new market to sell to….seems like a win to me. But, realistically, that market for canned water, even at the peak of the crisis, probably couldn’t even begin to compare to the market for the regular product.

Anheuser-Busch-Water-Cans-in-Packaging-1 Interestingly, canned water actually does turn up these days in disasters. The folks at Anheuser-Busch, most famous for Budweiser beer, periodically use their resources to run off batches of canned water to be distributed in disaster areas. Compared to the old cans, these things are rocketships…pull-top cans so no opener is required, lined interiors to preserve taste, and aluminum construction to reduce weight and increase durability. And, considering the manufacturing technology and resources of a company like A-B, they probably produce more of these things in an 8-hour shift than most companies could have produced in a week back in the days of Sputnik.

51BhAMJrHnL._SX425_Interestingly, if a person was interested in getting some of this sort of thing for their own bunker you can find it online without having to hang around a disaster relief tent. There’s at least one vendor on Amazon selling the stuff. (Blue Can) And although I rather like the idea of the convenience and durability of an aluminum can, I think that, when you really think about it, any advantages offered by an aluminum can are pretty much available in other forms…most specifically the ubiquitous plastic water bottle that we get at WalMart for around $5 a case. (Versus what amounts to about a buck a can for the aluminum cased stuff.)

I can’t speak for everyone, but my own experience has been that the plastic water bottles are exceptionally durable and probably more durable than the aluminum cans. The biggest issue that springs to mind is what happens in cold weather…I’ve had cans of Coke freeze and explode like an M67, but I’ve never had one of the plastic bottles explode. The bottles also have a bit of ‘give’ to them so things that might puncture an aluminum can don’t necessarily have the same effect on the plastic bottle. In fact, pretty much the only advantage I can come up with for the can over the plastic bottle is the opaque nature of the can preventing light transmission and inhibiting any type of growths.

thTwo other packaging options are the ‘juice box’ style of packaging, which is also pretty tough to find, and the foil pouches that we often see marketed specifically towards preparedness. The boxes seem like a clever idea but I think theyre the least durable and therefore the least attractive option. I do very much like the foil pouches. While I don’t think they have the puncture resistance of the plastic bottles, I very much like their small serving size…their small size means that if they freeze (like in your car in the winter) you can thaw them quickly and easily by just tucking them under your arm or sitting on them. Contrast that with trying to quick-thaw a 16 oz. frozen plastic bottle of water.

It’s also worth pointing out that if you’re the DIY type of guy you can actually ‘can’ water same as you’d can fruits or other foods using your pressure cooker. The water is completely sterilized, the containers are sterilized, and pretty much the only weak point is the glass container.

Link – The Little Can That Could

Wonderful post about the history of the jerrycan.

During World War II the United States exported more tons of petroleum products than of all other war matériel combined. The mainstay of the enormous oil-and-gasoline transportation network that fed the war was the oceangoing tanker, supplemented on land by pipelines, railroad tank cars, and trucks. But for combat vehicles on the move, another link was crucial—smaller containers that could be carried and poured by hand and moved around a battle zone by trucks.

I’ve given up on anything other than the ‘NATO/Euro’ style cans for gasoline storage. They are more expensive, and sometimes hard to find, but I believe they are worth it.

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.



Link – Guide to Military Survival Kits

I thought this link was rather interesting. It’s educational to see how the contents of the kits, as well as the materials used, have changed over the years. It’s kind of hard to think that there are places in war zones where you could be stranded long enough that you’d have to worry about things like fishing for food, but then again sometimes you wind up stranded in wartime in some places where no one will ever find you.

Given the technology and materials available nowadays, I would think you could put together some amazingly compact and effective kits. Pencil flares, small radios, water purification…all that stuff has come a long ways.

Pearl Harbor Day

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

It’s Pearl Harbor Day… a good reminder that sometimes things happen that you just were not anticipating at all. (Unless, of course, you’re FDR and need to jumpstart a failed economy.)

There are actually a few Pearl Harbor survivors in this town. I met one at the post office years ago. It was kinda weird meeting someone who was there at such a pivotal moment in US history. OLike an idiot, I asked “What was it like?”..a question I’m sure he’d heard thousands of times. I shouldn’t have been surprised that his answer was “Terrifying.”

Guns – The AAI CAWS project

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

Military auto shotguns have been dabbled with for a while, and one of the more interesting projects was the CAWS project. Special shotgun rounds, special shotgun. It never really got off the ground but you can see some DNA was passed down to the Daewoo, USAS, Atchisson and a few others.

I loves me some auto shotgun action as much as the next guy, but I think the basic pumpgun is probably a better choice. On the other hand, I wouldnt turn down a USAS-12 if one came my way. (And, yeah, the fedgoons messed up my fun by making it a Destructive Device.)

Link – Photo tour of Soviet era shelter

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

Well, here’s something you dont see everyday. An extremely well preserved fallout shelter from the Soviet era. I’m running both links through Google’s translator since, as they said in ‘Transformers’, “[Russian alphabet] looks like every key on a calculator that you dont use!”

Automatic translation isnt an exact science, so let’s keep the snarky commentary about mistranslated words out of comments.




Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

Remember guys…we’re celebrating Independence Day, not the 4th of July.

(Although given recent .gov shenanigans the pendulum seems to be swinging from independence to dependence, but that’s another post.)

Get out there and shoot something today!