“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

― Frank Herbert

Friday, June 27, 2014

Kissing the Toads.


 Somewhere or other, I remember reading a book where the princess explained that in order to find a prince, one had to kiss a lot of toads.

I spent a good bit of today kissing toads, with no commensurate reward .  I wasn't looking for a prince, but I was looking for some useful connections and they did not materialize.

I'm not a joiner, and I work alone.  That doesn't mean I'm opposed to cooperating with people who have common interests when it's to my advantage to do so.  Particularly now that my kids are gone, it won't hurt me to be on speaking terms with other individuals in
my part of the mountains who are also practitioners of self sufficiency.

So, today I went in to town for a get together being touted by a person I know in an off hand manner.  He was having coffee with some of his buddies and invited me to go along and meet them.

Right off the bat, I didn't get a good feeling with these people.  I've met all kinds of self sufficiency oriented people in Georgia and the surrounding states over the last 30 years. They come in every persuasion, from disparate backgrounds in plenty.  I'm not particularly concerned with their origins so much as their philosophy and planning.  These guys were clearly from the mountains, which on the face of it is fine.

However....  Though they doubtless had skills that were of value, I didn't like them.  I'm sure they can hunt, and farm, and do carpentry.  I'm certain they would be unpleasant people to tangle with and they probably keep their word.  They were extremely coarse people. I don't expect everybody to be a Pi Beta Kapa, but  frankly these individuals would have fit right in with the cast of Deliverance.

One fellow regaled us with his story of how he smokes woodchucks out of their burrows, so his dogs can tear them apart alive.  His descriptions were graphic and met with gales of appreciative laughter.  Another bragged about shooting foxes from his front porch, when they came to play in a grassy spot on his land. I asked him if they were getting his chickens, and he said, oh, no , it was just fun to shoot them.

I am not naive about life up here.  Still, it occurred to me that these bold souls had no idea what real, serious violence is about or what it looks like. They thought they were hard cases but they don't know a thing about the real deal.  I was not impressed.  I made my excuses and left.   Allies like that I don't need.  A wasted trip.

Stopped at the Farmers Depot on the way back, so as to try to salvage something out of the day.  I ran into a fellow I know who is a janitor at a hospital two counties over.  Yesterday, all the "workers", the house keepers, janitors, etc. were called in to a staff meeting. They were told that effective immediately, they no longer worked for the hospital. Instead, they were now employees of a contract labor company. They took pay cuts, loss of vacation time, loss of insurance. I told him that the hospital couldn't just "sell" them to a blood sucking labor contractor outfit like that, and he said if he quit he wouldn't have a job. There is no work up here to speak of, and he's right.  This is one more example of things just getting worse and worse for working people.  It's exactly what Kunstler said in "The Long Emergency."  The guy wrote the book in 2005 and it's like he could see the future. I took some time tonight to skim through it again. Over and over, exactly what he said would happen, did happen.  He predicted the housing bubble bust, what has happened in Iraq, what has happened to our economy, and on and on.  I wish I could give everybody whose blog I read a copy.

Well, it's been a pretty trying day, but at least it's over.  Tomorrow may be better.


28 comments:

  1. So I guess basically the hospital just let em go and the contractor picked em up and if they don't like it there is the door eh? Sounds like so many companies I worked for over the years. That kind of activity is having an effect and we are seeing it private spending. It won't be long now I imagine.

    As for allies I think you will find them as things continue to decline. My guess is they won't consider themselves prepared though but we be valuable.

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    1. It's obscene that the company that owns the hospital did this like they owned these people. They didn't even tell them until it was done. But apparently not a soul stood up to protest. Lacking any alternatives they just "went quietly."

      I have never really hit it off with any particular group over the years. Some are to fanatical, some are just crazy, some are waiting for God to smite the Amalakites. Some are just assh$&@s like this bunch today.

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  2. To me, "men" like that have to "acquire" their manliness through torturing defenceless animals - but it only serves to highlight their lack of actual manhood.

    Bullies in school are the same...

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    1. There are people here who are brutal by nature. I am sure the vast majority of men in this county would be genuinely perplexed that anyone would object to that kind of " sport.." Although it's illegal cock fighting and dog fighting are still popular activities here. I'm the one who is out of sync. I'm repulsed by casual cruelty.

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  3. We also like World Made by Hand that he wrote. I'm sorry to hear about the woodchucks, nothing deserves to be torn apart for the fun of it. Same with the fox, unless it was damaging property or eating the chickens, they need to be left alone. I know the woodchucks can dig and destroy a house or barn foundation but I'd would make their end fast and as painless as possible.

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    1. World Made by Hand is a good book. The sequel to it was not as good but still worth reading.

      I have no aversion to hunting, though I don't do it myself. I understand that there are times when you have to do something to protect your own property, like when you had to shoot the woodchuck. But "varmint hunting" or just killing for sport and no other reason is not something I have any use for.

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  4. Sounds like that group just blows hot air. We try to not harm any animals, but if its for food, sorry mankind comes first. Funny you should talk about outsourcing, airline I worked for had almost everything outsourced, then went in-house for gate agents, cleaners (inside the plane) didn't like the quality of the work or treatment of passengers. Commissary, and Maintenance all stayed in-house since day one.
    If you look at the cost of having contract workers, the cost is higher, but they get no benefits. I was told once by temp. service, not to tell company employees what I was making an hr. That told me I was getting more then them. Say they pay temp service $15 an hr then pay you like $7.50 with no benefits. The quality of the workmanship will go down hill.

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    1. "Sounds like that group just blows hot air."

      +1. Rob nailed it.

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    2. Rob, in general I have little or no use for the average human being. The people I do like, I like very much but people as a group are no great shakes.

      I have no doubt that they did the things they said they did, at our little "coffee clatch." I've seen people swerve their cars here to run over possums, turtles, etc just because they could. These were of that ilk.

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    3. i swerve to avoid them and get out to help turtles across the road at a quicker pace,

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  5. Yep, the people in the ivory tower will make the calls to cull the front line workers. Business as usual.. nothing to see here... move along...

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    1. BTW, I'm gonna spend a few bucks of my allowance and buy the book. Thanks.

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    2. K , the book is worth it. Kunstler is a d**k, and he hates Southern people. I would like to punch him in the nose. But his book is right on.

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  6. Hey Harry,

    (captaincrunch)

    I would like to have some land and watch Foxes run about and do their thing. What Bubba (Squel like a pig Boy) does not figure out is that Foxes, Coyotes or other small predators eat small vermin like rats that can carry flea's and that can also carry "Bubonic Plague" and other nasty stuff.

    I may as well tell what I have been up to. I considered joining a local militia. The Company Commander is an outstanding individual. The goal of his command was self sufficiency, etc. He also wanted to focus on community service including rescue and disaster relief in case of a hurricanes etc.
    His commanders (part of the statewide militia) changed to a more militaristic approach and wanted to focus 'running and gunning' and playing "Gulf War Rambo" I really got a laugh out of the "Camo Fashion Show" when everyone was talked what kind of camo was best etc.
    I really believe most of thease guys would freeze or break formation and run if they were really fired upon.

    The Company Commander broke with the militia and I followed the Company Commander. We were the only two in the local group that had actual military expierence and we were the two oldest members. Most of thease guys were in there 20's.
    Now the local militia and statewide militia are trying to figure out how they can patrol the border. Everyone involved has their own idea's and things have broken down into a "online male soap opera"
    The only militia that has a good program on patrolling the border is the "Texas Border Volunteers" look them up on Youtube. They have a very disciplined structure and are highly trained. They do not engage illegal aliens, they only report their location to the authorities (Border Patrol)
    I know some people who know the Texas Border Volunteers and they have only good things to say about them.

    Myself and the former Company Commander are talking about forming a "Bushcraft Club" of sorts to focus on basic survival and bushcraft skills. I think this is the better way to go because most survival situations call for skills other than using a rifle.
    On a side note' The state and local militia does not train on things like map reading, first aid, and skills on starting a fire when your wet and cold or any other real infantry survival skills that don't involve using a rifle.

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    1. CC, I know some guys who have a group south of me. They are good fellows, but they are so far away that even if I were invited to join, (and I haven't been because most of them don't know me) it wouldn't do me any good. What I really need is some local affiliation. But, I have a reputation as a loose cannon here, and my personal views are so different from the local norm, that's probably not going to happen either.

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  7. Jim Kunstler is a hardcore Liberal; he's admitted to voting for Obama, twice. He don't pick his politicians worth a damn but he does seem to know what's coming for this country. Like you, I read "The Long Emergency" right after he wrote it. He truly has predicated our future. What's really troubling is what he says is coming next!!!

    -Moe

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    1. Moe, he certainly is. That's clear in his book, and I saw him on a History Channel special where it was even more obvious. It's eerie, how paragraphs of The Long Emergency exactly match events five years or more after he wrote the book. And you are correct, his prognosis for the future is grim but I can't find any flaws in it.

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  8. what is wrong with people. they obviously don't have enough to do.

    deflated today as the house we went to look at was very creatively photographed. I wish I had land like you. I am waiting with baited breath to see what you do with the garden.

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    1. It's cultural.

      sorry the house hunting didn't work out, but it will. There's a niche for you out there somewhere, you just have to persevere . Did you ever see "The Outlaw Josey Wales." The old Indian guy said it best. "Endeavor to persevere.

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  9. Those kind of blowhards will stab you in the back the first time it's convenient for them to do so. If I was forced to be around that group, I'd never turn my back on them. They're as bad as a group of wetbacks coming across the border. Never trust them.

    Of course your life experiences are vastly different from mine, but very often you write things and I read them and say, "I could have written that". Very similar mentalities on a lot of things.

    I can't stand this "hillbilly / redneck" mentality most of the time. Some of these folks try as hard as they can to see how uncouth and obnoxious they can be. It's one thing to be tough but gentle country folk who can be fierce when legitimately riled up, but it's another to act like life is nothing but one big rowdy country music video filmed at a bar.

    I don't know what to say about the hospital. The one thought that comes to mind is that these sort of events are only going to get worse as things decline even more.

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    1. The uncouth and obnoxious are showing off for each other or some girl. They want to be the baddest hillbilly every. I don't mind country folk one bit. Thirty years ago, a three young hooligans tried to steal money from a 90-yr-old woman who had just cashed her ss check. She took her shotgun and got two of them. Everyone was surprised because she was a sweetie who went to church and was gentle. She was country and tough as nails but was never just plain mean. I live amongst the uncouth and cannot stand them.

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    2. Matt, they just are what they are. Appalachian culture has a large tolerance for what most people would consider aberrant behavior. These mountains were still largely cut off from the rest of the world when I came here in 1986, and that's one reason I came here. There were only two roads in and out of the county, both little two lane country roads and one went over the mountains. There were no theaters, fast food places, walmarts, nothing. One grocery store, a couple of restaurants, a tire store, that kind of thing . People did what they had been doing since the 1840's in terms of diversions. Some of those diversions were and are violent. I didn't like these guys, but I don't want to appear that I'm setting myself up as the great white father amongst the natives. I just don't feel comfortable around that particular mind set.

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    3. Practical,
      I don't think they were showing off for anyone, because there weren't any women in there. It was all men. They were being what they are. If I went to Atlanta and went into an inner city black neighborhood, I might not like what I saw but it would be genuine behavior. People on the gritty end of the stick tend to be unpretentious because they don't care what anybody thinks.

      Like the lady you mentioned, these people have a of positive attributes. Their company was not something I enjoyed, doubtless they felt the same way about me.

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  10. My experience has been that finding like-minded individuals (and esp. ones you can get along with and trust) is a purely organic process. By 'organic' I mean that you can't make it happen, it happens on its own. The example I give is that when you start *looking* folks, start attending meetings, answering personals, etc, you usually dont find what youre looking for. But one day youre standing in Krogers talking to Steve The Shelf Stocker, who youve known for a few years because you chit-chat about guns, and in conversation you discover that his political beliefs line up pretty close to yours, and you start noticing that his truck in the parking lot has a few features that strike you as rather handy for the end of the world. And one day, as you're there making small talk while looking for the microwave burritos, one of you casually mentions some food article being on sale and he says "Yeah, I bought four cases of it. Never know when you're not going to be able to get more the way things are going these days.." And just like that you've discovered that you actually knew a like-minded individual for the last few years and just didnt know it.

    Thats pretty much how I met my close, trusted friends. We were shooting buddies and over time we realized we were on the same wavelength about these sorts of things. I told someone once that being into preparedness was kind of like being gay - you didn't start every converssation with someone about it, but eventually you feel out the other person on the subject and sometimes they respond the same way and you find out they're in the same cautious, 'dont tip your hand first' boat that youre in.

    I'd bet you money that some of the folks you see on a regular casual basis (like the guys at those open air markets you go to) are probably in the same camp as you. As for the Deliverence factor...well, not to swell your head or anything, but you're a *very* well read guy with a careful way of thinking. The corny phrase 'warrior-philosopher' comes to mind. I suspect theres a few erudite like-minded folks in or close to your social circle and you just haven't noticed it.

    I like to think that if you lived in this neck of the woods we'd get along pretty fair. Meet in town once a week to exchange books over a diner lunch, and maybe walk a gun show together. Ryan too, I suspect.

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    1. The issue for me is that I don't interact with people unless I intentionally set out to do so. It's harder to talk about the kind of things you mentioned up here, because everybody remembers when the Feds were here looking for Eric Rudolph, and now they see an informant under every cabbage leaf. It doesn't help that the FBI has arrested people on trumped up nonsense in towns just west of here, to the SW, and to the South. The Eric Rudolph scenario played out to the north. So, unless you went to kindergarten with the locals, they aren't going to take an outsider into their confidence. I have lived here since 1986, longer than most of the people I deal with have been alive. But they were born here, I wasn't, and so I am not "from here."

      I'm sure if we were in driving distance we'd take advantage of opportunities to share common interests. Most of the people I talk to on the blog regularly have enough in common with me that we'd get along. I'm too much of an "exotic" here.

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  11. I judge people by how they treat animals. Period. Anyone that happily inflicts pain and suffering on any animal is the lowest form of human.

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    1. From what I have seen across the planet, unthinking cruelty to animals is the norm. Especially in the third world, but also in places you wouldn't expect it, like Italy. The old joke that says "the more I learn about people, the better I like my dog" is the honest truth. In my case, I just reached a saturation point some 30 years ago where my view of humanity in general was so appalling I just resigned from the club. I'm not quite that way now, but my tolerance for human foibles is not of any great depth.

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  12. i figure the hospital employees are well on their way to slavery. along with the rest of us.
    those who can get by with whatever they are able to, including slavery.
    i worry that the warrior-philosopher-scholars will not be the new leaders but that we'll be dominated by the ruffians.
    remember in sterling north's book 'rascal' how he describes his uncle and cousins murdering and maiming carrier pigeons for the fun of it?
    deb h.

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