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Sunday, December 31, 2017

GunBlog VarietyCast Radio #176 - So Long and Thanks for all the Downloads

It's a wrap! Episode 176, our finale, is the end of more than three years of weekly podcasting. We have farewell segments from Beth, Barron, former contributor Nicki, Miguel, Tiffany (and her Mom!), Co-host Emeritus Adam, Weer'd, and of course Erin and Sean.

Our sincerest thanks to our sponsors, both current (LuckyGunner and Remington, as well as Carolina Ceramic Coating) and former (The Law of Self Defense). We especially thank our longtime supporters at Firearms Policy Coalition for their generous support over the years.

Our biggest thanks are however reserved for you, our listeners. Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. It was an honor to be invited into your lives each week.

Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here.

Blue Collar Prepping Transcript: 
Erin's Secret Prep
Back in April, I alluded to a secret prep involving the uses of a strategically-folded sheet of toilet paper. I didn’t talk about it then because I couldn’t find a way to be classy about it, but this is our last podcast (what’s Sean going to do, fire me?) and so I’m going to share it with you.

This may not be your most important prep, and it definitely isn’t the sexiest, but I guarantee that you’re going to get more use out of it than any other prep I’ve taught you.

Do you suffer from what is colloquially known as “Monkey Butt”? Do you live or work in a hot environment, where sweat trickles down your back and into your crack? Do you frequently suffer from, shall we say, gastrointestinal distress?

If so, the next time you’re sitting on the toilet and you’ve finished your cleanup, take a few sheets of fresh toilet paper (how many is an individual matter, you’re going to need to experiment), fold them into a rectangle, and place it as snugly against your rectum as possible. When you stand up, your buttocks will hold the paper in place. If you feel like you’ve given yourself a wedgie, you’ve used too much!

Now some of you are probably wondering “Erin, what in the wide world of Equestria will having a wad of TP up against my anus accomplish?” And I’m so glad you asked that question, because I’m going to tell you.

  • If it’s hot and sweaty, that paper is going to absorb the sweat and moisture that will accumulate in your butt cleavage. If you’ve ever had an itch so severe that you’ve needed to use the bathroom and then wash your hands afterwards, you know why this is important. 
  • If you pass a lot of gas, the paper acts as a muffler which suppresses the noise of your flatulence and helps diffuse the smell of it as well. If you’re nervous about making a good impression, such at on a date or at a job interview, the peace of mind that this will give you is priceless. 
  • Finally, if you have a testy bowel that doesn’t quite behave, or if you can’t quite make it to the bathroom in time, this barrier serves as an Emergency Backup that protects your clothing and prevents a larger mess. 

I promise you that all of these examples are true. This technique has saved my butt (heh) more times than any other prep.

Thank you for listening to my advice for the past three years. Remember, It Doesn’t Cost a Fortune to Be Prepared!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

All of us at Blue Collar Prepping wish you and your loved ones a merry, safe, and prepared Christmas.

The staff has the rest of the year off. Happy holidays and see you in 2018!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

GunBlog VarietyCast Radio #175 - 'Twas the 'Cast Before Christmas

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good podcast!
  • It will be Christmas Eve when this podcast drops, so in order to get everyone into the proper spirit, Beth performs a reading of 'Twas The Night Before Christmas... but with a twist!
  • A minister foils an Orange County church break-in by shooting out the tire on the fleeing suspect's car. Sean takes a look.
  • You thought they just wanted to steal your data, but  now there's malware that turns your computer into a Bitcoin miner for someone else. Barron tells you how to avoid having someone steal your computer's processing power.
  • When you find yourself in a hole, you should stop digging. Miguel is here to talk about how to get your mind off your problems and find inner peace.
  • Those who want tighter controls on firearms ownership are always telling us that gun owners agree with them, so when Dave Workman and Alan Gottlieb wrote a widely-published article seeking that common ground, you’d expect that it would start an instant dialog with “Gun Safety Advocates.” Our special guest today is Dave Workman, here to tell us about the whole lot of nothing they heard from the the other side.
  • In Episode 171, Tiffany chatted with firearms trainer Aqil Qadir about using affinity groups to help connect separate firearms cultures. This week, she talks to Aqil about his law enforcement background and how we might begin to mend the frayed relationship between many black communities and police.
  • Not to be outdone by 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, Erin tells us the story of the Nativity from a prepper point of view.
  • This week Weer’d takes on part two of the Jordan Klepper interview on Kickass Politics where he plugs his Comedy Central special “Jordan Klepper Solves Guns”.
  • And our Plug of the Week is the Survival Blanket 2.0.
Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play Music!
Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here.
Thanks to LuckyGunner and Remington for their sponsorship, and a special thanks to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support.

Blue Collar Prepping Transcript: 
The Prepper Nativity

Since Beth has entertained us with a Gunnie version of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, I thought I would tell the story of the Nativity from a prepper perspective.

"In those days, Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world, and everyone went to their place of birth to register."

So Joseph, who was not yet a prepper, packed up his belongings and placed his pregnant wife Mary upon their donkey, and traveled from his home in Nazareth in the province of Galilee to the town of Bethlehem in Judea. It is unclear whether Mary was a native of Nazareth and registered there before traveling to Bethlehem with her husband, or if wives had to register with their husbands, but the fact remains that The Government required Joseph to register in person rather than by mail, because bureaucracy. And this was the first example of “Registration Leads to Confiscation”, as we shall later see.

We don’t know much about Joseph, but we know that he wasn’t very good at planning and was probably on estranged from his family, because in the time it took him to reach Bethlehem -- some sources say it would take 4 days, some 8, some 10, so let’s just assume the average and say it took them a week to get there -- not only were there no places for a man and his heavily pregnant wife to stay, but he also didn’t have any family whom he could ask for hospitality. Instead, he had to beg for shelter and was allowed to sleep in the stable of an inn only because the innkeeper took pity on his pregnant wife. From this we learn the dual values of “Bug out as soon as possible to avoid the rush” and “Cultivate a prepper tribe so that you will have a place to stay after you bug out.”

And lo, Joseph didst register, a process so boring that it’s not even mentioned in the scripture. I expect it was like the DMV, only without electricity.

And Mary did give birth to her son Jesus, the Immanuel, and God did blow their OPSEC by making a big presentation with choirs of angels singing to shepherds who then went into the town to look for a baby. And believe you me, a bunch of shepherds and their flocks milling about a stable in a crowded city is going to attract attention, and that’s even before the little drummer boy started making noise, pa-rum pa-pum-pum. Fortunately, nothing bad came of this, probably because, well, GOD, but it just goes to show that even a well-meaning relative can let slip the details of your bug-out location to strangers… but more on that, later.

And because Mary and Joseph were devout Jews, they took Jesus to Jerusalem to present him at the temple to be circumcised. As a point of interest, Bethlehem is only six miles from Jerusalem, so they probably used their Get Home Bags rather than their Bug Out Bags to make the trip. And then they returned to Bethlehem for reasons which are unclear, but probably involved more paperwork for registration because Joseph needed to add a dependent to his W-4.

And then the Magi, three wise men from the east, showed up at their home bearing gifts of money, aromatic resin used in incense and perfumes, and a bitter medicinal resin used as an antiseptic and analgesic, which Joseph added to their Bug Out Bags. These funds and medicine were good to have, because when God blew Mary & Joseph’s OPSEC, the magi saw the star and followed it, passing through Jerusalem and telling everyone in King Herod’s court that they were going to see a newborn king who was going to overthrow Herod.

Like all governments, King Herod didn’t want to give up any power, so he declared that all boys under the age of two were to be killed. And lo, registration led to confiscation and destruction.

Fortunately for the holy family, God realized that He had blown their OPSEC and gave them a warning that their current Bug-Out Location wasn’t secure. By this point, Joseph has become a good prepper, because at the first sign of danger he assembled their Bug Out Bags, put Mary and Jesus on the donkey, and got the heck out of dodge.The gold and the incense (a luxury item) were likely used to buy supplies and facilitate passage to Egypt, and the myrrh was used in their medical kits when the became sick or sore.

And thus, the holy family didst bug out to Egypt, outside of Herod’s jurisdiction, a distance of at least 40 miles to the border. And they stayed there until Herod died and it was safe to return. From this we learn the value of outliving our enemies and keeping track of foreign affairs.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Merry Christmas (and stuff)

Tips for getting good instruction from a good instructor:

1) Does the instructor have real world experience? If not, is he teaching a paradigm that is based in reality (and not theory) from someone who does have real world experience? Is their training applicable to you and your situation? Does the course description seem like it's magic? If it claims to transform you into Arnold Schwarzenegger after a couple of long days?

2) Does the intructor have a good reputation? Do they have references?

3) When interviewing your instructor, do they answer questions completely and in a way you comprehend? Or do they just blurt out a bunch of B.S. and say things like"When I was in the teams" or "Because I said so" or "That's just the way the world works"?

4) How much does it cost? Good classes are generally priced in the middle of the road. While it is true you get what you pay for, sometimes you end up paying for what you don't need, and a good instructor with a good program recognizes this and charges accordingly. However, a lot of classes are taught by experienced folks with massive egos that charge massive prices.

The opposite is true as well. If the course is significantly cheaper than others and isn't terrible, that means it's bare bones. You will pay again for what you don't get later, sometimes in blood or freedom.

Editor's Note:  It's a foraging knife!  

This full tang, wooden handled knife is designed specifically for foraging applications that include but are not limited to digging, prying, chopping, and cutting vines or rope.  It’s made from stainless steel and, unlike your survival knife, is designed to dig up roots and tubers in the muck and grime.  It has countless uses at camp as a trowel for digging fire pits, latrines, hot coal beds, earthen ovens, etc.  7″ blade, 12″ overall.

I think of it as a "survival trowel". If you do any kind of camping or gardening, I'm certain you'll find a use for it. 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

'Tis the Season for Giving ...Blood

As I write this, Christmas is just around the corner and everyone is buying gifts to give to family and friends. Despite the stress, we generally feel better after giving a gift, and the more appreciated the gift is the better we feel.

How about giving a gift to a stranger, someone you'll likely never see or meet? Giving of yourself when there is little to no chance of the favor being reciprocated is true charity, and charity is one of the virtues honored by most religious beliefs.

There is even a way to be charitable while increasing your odds of surviving a major disaster: donating blood. Think of the medical blood donor system as a form of insurance, where people put a little into the system to make sure they can be taken care of if the need ever arises. The more people who donate, the more likely it is that the system will be there if you need it.

Blood donors provide the resource needed by accident victims, cancer patients, and those going through major surgery. I think those all fall somewhere between “crisis” and “disaster” depending on the severity, so anything you can do to better your chances of survival counts as prepping in my book.

Transfusing blood, which means taking blood from one person and injecting it into another, has been around for a few centuries but it wasn't until 1901 that a doctor worked out the first three blood types (A, B, and O) based on experiments on blood from his staff and patients. This made transfusions safer, since not all types are compatible and the results were sometimes fatal. World War 1 brought the increased use of refrigeration and anti-coagulating chemicals to extend the shelf-life of donated blood. Organized blood drives started in the 1920's and 1930's, and WW2 saw the use of blood and blood products as life-saving tools in military hospitals. Today we're shipping freeze-dried plasma (FDP) to our troops to give them a shelf-stable emergency supply that will store for “a long time” and
can be reconstituted in the field with bundled sterile water. Our military is currently getting their stocks from a company in France while waiting for the FDA to approve a supplier in the USA.

Blood Components
Normal blood is about 50% plasma, 45% red blood cells (RBC), and 5% platelets and white blood cells (WBC). Donated blood may be kept “whole” or it may be separated into the different parts for different uses.
  • Blood Plasma contains coagulation agents and is useful in restoring lost blood volume while helping stop bleeding. Plasma is normally frozen and stored for up to a year; a small portion of the plasma known as “cryo” will separate out during freezing, and since this portion contains potent coagulation agents it is often split off and stored by itself.
  • Red Blood Cells contain the hemoglobin that transports oxygen from our lungs to individual cells. RBCs are where you may find a specific protein that further classifies the blood into RH positive or negative. Most people have this protein and their blood type will have a “+” after the letter; if it is missing, their blood type will have a “-” after the letter. RBCs are stored in a refrigerator for up to 42 days.
  • Platelets are clotting agents that seal wounds in blood vessels. Platelets are not type-specific and can come from several different donors if need be. Platelets are stored at room temperature in a machine that keeps them mixed, but not clotting together, for up to 5 days.
  • White Blood Cells are infection fighters, but can also cause inflammation or allergic reactions after a transfusion if they attack the new host's blood, so they are often removed from donated blood.

The main way to donate blood in the USA is through the RedCross. I've heard stories about how crappy they are in their disaster response, but they lead the field in keeping our hospitals supplied with blood; like any other group, they do some things well and other things not so well. The link above will take you to the site that deals with blood donations, not their general begging site.

Donating blood is not hard to do. The paperwork and questions will take longer than the actual blood draw, because nobody wants to let infected blood get into the system. Most healthy people can donate blood, as long as they:
  • Are at least 17 years old,
  • Weigh at least 110 pounds,
  • Haven't donated blood in the last 56 days,
  • Are in good health and feeling good,
  • Haven't gotten a tattoo in an unregulated shop the last year.
There are a whole list of things that will disqualify you, which the screener will go over before they take your blood. After they have your blood they will do tests for a few specific things, and if they find anything out of the ordinary they will contact you. It normally takes about 30 minutes for the questions and 10 minutes for the blood draw.

Due to when and where I was stationed while in the Army, the Red Cross will not take my blood. I used to donate as often as I could, especially while I was in the military (we were our own blood supply), but because I lived and ate in a country that had an outbreak of mad cow disease and that particular disease has a habit of staying dormant in a body for decades, they won't let me give blood. It's frustrating, but I understand their reasoning: as much as I would hate to get a disease from a blood transfusion, I would hate it even more to be the one that caused someone else to get one.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Prudent Prepping: Building an EDC First Aid Kit

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping. 

I first carried a pocket first aid kit in my "salesman bag" when I had an actual route, and now it is part of the gear I take with me even though I cover only five stores. Lately I have wanted to upgrade what I carry, and also put together a very small belt bag to take other places besides work.

Some people seem to like the Batman Utility Belt look; I carry too much work-related stuff Monday-to-Friday to load up my belt in my personal hours. There are plenty of places to find pre-loaded first aid pouches, but the ones I have seen are bigger than I want to put on my belt, like the one in my GHB that was reviewed here. I really like that one, but as I said it's too big to fit on my belt.

So, I want to try rolling my own... again, since I never finished doing it with the items I first mentioned last year.

What To Carry
I really, really want this to be as small as possible, so I'm using an iPhone 6 case like BCP member Jonathan Sullivan first tried. I do not have the training* to use all the items carried by Jonathan, so I am only listing what I'm planning to pack around.
*One thing everyone says needs to be in my kit is a tourniquet. I do not want to add one until I know how to use it correctly.
The contents are changing weekly, until I am satisfied with everything. There will need to be a larger pouch when I add more items.

The Contents
  • Generic triple antibiotic cream, for minor cuts.
  • 6 band aids, 1" size, generic.
  • 6 fingertip band aids, generic.
  • 2 non-stick gauze pads, generic
  • Two Quick Clot sponge, 25g size. This is about 50% of the normal Celox Quick Clot size.
  • Small roll of duct tape, to replace any other tape.
  • Primacare CPR face Shield.
  • Two pair blue surgical gloves, from the 100 count box used for car maintenance.
Everything but the Quick Clot is contained in zip lock bags, since the phone case is not waterproof. Gauze is in a separate bag, band aids and antibiotic are together, gloves and duct tape are also separated. The smaller items are in small, 'snack size' zip lock baggies, and the 2"x 3" gauze pads are in regular sandwich bags. 

As a member of REI, a portion of my purchases are returned as a dividend every year and the time to use that money was coming to a close. Since the Celox pads were too big to fit into the phone case, I found these smaller pads at REI and bought them.

From the REI page:
  • QuikClot is a chemically inert material in a mesh bag that speeds coagulation of blood, resulting in a stable clot that stops bleeding
  • Zeolite clotting beads are contained in a sterile, non-adherent mesh bag for easy application and removal
  • QuickClot is safe to use and features a low-heat formula that won't burn skin
  • Package contains a 3.5 x 3.5 in. (25g) bag of QuikClot for coverage of medium wounds 

Duct Tape
Duct tape can ooze some of its adhesive when hot, so that's why it is in a bag. The duct tape is 3M brand that I wound around a pencil and then cut off, leaving about 3/4" on each side. There is about 15' of tape on the pencil, more than enough to do anything I expect to do in an emergency. I've been asked "Why duct tape in a first aid kit?" and my answer is "This is also an emergency kit, and if it can't be repaired with duct tape, it really is broken." 

Besides, if I'm applying bandages, it really is an emergency and Real Medical People (tm) will know how to get the tape off later.

Primacare RS-6845 CPR Mask
  • CPR mask with one-way valve to minimize the possibility of cross-contamination
  • Air-cushioned edge conforms to the contours of the face and the elastic strap provides a secure fit
  • 15mm outside diameter connector for attaching to standard ventilation equipment
  • Includes a red, hard plastic carrying case 
A mask is pretty standard gear to pack now, and a small, hard case is a handy way to have this ready to use.

The Takeaway
  • Everyone needs to take some first aid gear with them.
  • I need to follow the advice of people who have done the hard work.
  • Late is better than never, but sooner would have been best. 
The Recap
The gloves were purchased from O' Reilly's Auto Parts, and all other items from CVS. 

It's not too late to order Christmas gifts and have them before Dec. 25th! Help support the BCP blog site!

Just a reminder: if you plan on buying anything through Amazon, please consider using our referral link. When you do, a portion of the sale comes back here to help keep this site running!

If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Don't Ever Do This

I used to do a bit of blacksmithing when I was younger, and my favorite thing to make was blades. Big and small, all shapes. These all had to be sharpened at the end, so I tried a bunch of different ways to do that.

If you've not seen it, there's a show starring a guy named Bear Grylls in which they drop him somewhere and film while he demonstrates various survival techniques. One of the episodes featured this scene, which caused me to use some monumentally bad language and wonder what the hell was wrong with him.

A nice smooth rock all by itself, preferably with a little water poured on, will do a fine job of touching up your knife's edge. The basic idea behind sharpening a blade is simply "Use something hard enough and coarse enough that it will actually wear some metal off the sides of the blade, thus creating a new, sharp edge." That's it. Whether it's a ceramic stick or stone, a fine Arkansas stone, a diamond sharpener, all of it does that. The smoother the abrasive surface, the finer the grit it has and the slower it will remove metal, and the smoother and finer the edge can be made.

Do you know what happens if you break up another rock and add that grit onto a surface? You get a crapped-up edge from all those nasty, course bits of rock, because they'll stick and catch and roll and prevent the blade from making good contact with the surface. So if you're out somewhere and your blade needs touching up, use a nice, smooth rock often found in or near rivers or creeks (he was right on that part).

And if you put sand or broken rock into the process, the ghost of some ancient blademaker is going to haunt your dumb ass.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Guest Post: Laptops and Cellphone Post-Disaster

by George Groot
George is a member of our Facebook Group and has written for us before.

In the event of a major but temporary disruption to normal life, keeping things as “normal” as possible for my children is something that I try to do. Several years ago during a tornado warning we spent a few hours in the basement and a laptop with some videos was enough to keep the kids happy.

But what do you do when a few hours turns into a few days to a few weeks? Assuming that you have some form of alternative energy such as a generator or solar panels, and a battery bank to store electricity, you might be just fine recharging laptops, tablets, or cell phones from that alternative power source. However, if you don’t have a general purpose alternative electricity source, there are a number of portable solar charging options just for portable devices.

Solar Recharging

As a rule of thumb, more surface area for solar panels is better. Anything that is a battery bank with just a single solar panel will be pretty useless as an energy source; battery banks need at least three or four fold-out solar panels in order to get into the “worthwhile” category. For example, this solar battery bank advertises 10,000 milliamps of energy after 20 hours of charging, which is actually useful for a smartphone that uses about 1,800 milliamps of power for a full charge. With 10 hours of daylight, at 100% efficiency and working as advertised, that’s 5,000 milliamps. Even if you drop the efficiency to 50%, that’s still 2,500 milliamps, which is enough to charge up that smartphone or most tablets. 

An even larger option is made by the popular Anker brand, and it comes with an 18 volt outlet, which is enough to charge most laptops (although many are set to receive an input of 19 to 19.5 volts). Not all laptops are great options for solar charging, though; a very high efficiency “ultrabook” style laptop will be a very good option, while a “desktop replacement workstation” will be much harder to keep charged. For example, the 4th generation Core i7 processor has a 47 watt power draw at full power, where a 4th Generation Core i5 is only 15 watts. The Core i5 has half the processing cores as the i7 of the same generation, but less than a third of the power consumption at max load (although the i7 can handle a much larger max load, we are talking playing kids games or movies to keep them out from underfoot). 

This shouldn’t discourage you from getting an i7 based system, though, as many ultrabooks use the i7 processor knowing that it has a variable power requirement based on load, so in practice they can often work on battery power for much longer than “business class” laptops using the same generation i5 processors because the entire package is meant to be more efficient. What you should look for is total battery capacity and advertised usable time under battery power; an ultrabook should be good for over 10 hours on battery power with a new battery. As batteries age, that number will go down.

From Recreation to Communication 

I believe that smart phones are one of the handiest pieces of communications gear that a prepper can have after a natural disaster. While voice telephone calls eat up a lot of bandwidth, SMS messages are tiny and can allow people to communicate in and out of the affected area with reasonable latency. Also, communications apps such as Zello have been used to coordinate local groups of disparate people, such as South American opposition political parties or volunteer search and rescue groups helping in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Mesh Networks
Even if there is a complete failure of the cellular network, smartphones can be used for local communications via “mesh network” solutions like Serval, and Sonnet is an interesting project that I hope becomes a reality.

If you can find good versions of the Linksys WRT-54G router at thrift stores for a few bucks, you can build mesh net infrastructure. It won’t be as sexy a solution as Sonnet looks like, but as long as you can keep them powered they will keep people connected. Every time I see a version 2 WRT-54G at a Goodwill, I pick it up. They are generally priced in the 5 to 10 dollar range, and even the later version 5 and up models can be useful when loaded with DD-WRT or Open WRT firmware.

Be aware that using WiFi as a primary communications channel will often suck a smartphone battery dry much quicker than the cellular radio connection. This is because the power management for a cell radio is much more “passive” than the WiFi radio, which was designed for computer networking and which keeps the device registered with the Wireless Access Point (WAP) constantly rather than on an “as needed” basis.

I hope this has been an interesting and informative look into how to plan for a power budget in the event of a disaster, although you don't need to wait for an emergency to put them into practice; the concepts are exactly the same as if you were going to do some remote camping and wanted to bring your power source with you.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

GunBlog VarietyCast Radio #174 - What Caliber for Taylor Swift's Husband?

'Cause baby, now we've got bad blood
You know it used to be mad love
So take a look what you've done
’Cause baby, now we've got bad blood, hey!
 -- Taylor Swift, "Bad Blood"
  • Beth and her husband are getting ready to shoot a 3-gun "buddy match". What is it? What kind of gear do you need? How do you practice for it? Listen and find out!
  • Where do they find each other? It sounds like a random shooting, but the records make it sound like more is going on. Sean takes a look.
  • Barron runs the websites for several pro-gun blogs, including the website for this podcast. He recently dealt with a bizarre issue where the websites were basically spamming people. He walks us through the thought processes necessary to effectively troubleshoot what turned out to be a rather complex problem.
  • Miguel is on assignment.
  • In this week's Main Topic, Sean and Erin analyze the CNN article "How an 'ugly,' unwanted weapon became the most popular rifle in America".
  • Tiffany is on assignment.
  • Holidays are naturally the most wonderful time of the year... except when they aren't. Erin has some practical tips on how to manage holiday stress and depression.
  • Jordan Klepper, former Daily Show member and current host of “The Resistance” on Comedy Central made a special titled “Jordan Klepper Solves Guns” and it’s filled with anti-gun nuttery. Weer’d is here to set him straight.
  • And our Plug of the Week is the NeuYear Monday First Large Wall Calendar.
Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play Music!
Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here.
Thanks to LuckyGunner and Remington for their sponsorship, and a special thanks to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support.

Blue Collar Prepping Transcript: 
Dealing with Holiday Stress and Depression

Hey there, preppers. It’s widely believed that suicide is more common around the holidays, but that’s a myth; the peak is actually during  late spring and early summer. However, regardless of the myth I’ve been having a rough time lately, and so probably some of you have as well. This week I’m going to give you some tips for avoiding or dealing with holiday stress and depression. 

1. Keep your expectations balanced. Or, as I like to put it when I’m feeling cynical, “Embrace the suck.”  Acknowledge that you won't get everything that you want, that things will go wrong, and that sometimes you won't feel like singing Christmas carols. Try to internalize the belief that  everything doesn't need to be perfect, so don't worry about things that are out of your control.

2. Don't try to do too much. Fatigue, over scheduling, and taking on too many tasks can make you miserable. Women especially think they have to do everything this time of year. Instead, ask for help from your family delegate as much as possible; it can be fun making Christmas preparations a family event. Learn to say “no” if you need to; by choosing to do less,  you will have more energy to enjoy the most important part of the season - friends and family.

3. Stay warm. Research has shown that warmth improves mood. If you’re sad or lonely, treat yourself to a warm bath or cup of hot cocoa, or snuggle up under a cozy blanket with a pet or loved one. 

4. Be aware of Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder. Many people suffer depression due to a lack of sunlight because of shorter days and bad weather. Using a full spectrum lamp for twenty minutes a day can lessen this type of depression. There’s a link to one that I recommend in the show notes. 

5. Understand that it's appropriate to mourn if you're separated from or have lost loved ones. If you can't be with those you love, make plans to celebrate again when you can all be together. Spend time alone to reflect and grieve, if necessary, because keeping feelings inside can lead to depression, stress, or poor health. So allow yourself to feel, but don’t isolate yourself; get out of the house and find some way to join in the festivities or otherwise do something nice for yourself, like having a quiet dinner at a favorite restaurant. 

6. Watch your diet and remember to exercise. It's normal to eat more during the holidays, but be aware of how certain foods affect your mood. Refined carobohydrates like sugar, or refined starches like white bread and crackers, can cause your energy levels, and therefore your mood, to rollercoaster up and down. Instead, eat more protein which slows the absorption of carbohydrates in your blood and increase the release of dopamine, and take a walk before or after -- or both! -- a big holiday meal.

7. Don’t play the shame game. Embarrassment about finances can lead to taking on more debt than you can afford. Instead of struggling to buy a gift, let your loved ones know how much you care and would like to, but can’t afford it. One thing I have done is told them that since I can’t get them anything, they aren’t obligated to get me anything either. It works about as well as you’d expect, but it makes me feel better because I know they chose to get me a gift anyway. 

8. Practice forgiveness, understanding, and avoidance. If some of your relatives always upset you, they are unlikely to change, so don’t set yourself up for frustration by trying and failing. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don't live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. Be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they're feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.

And if you can’t accept them for who they are, don’t let them push your buttons. You can accomplish that by not giving them the chance; get out of the house to get away and adjust your attitude. Go for a walk or drive and admire the decorations, or go see a movie. I know for a fact most movie theaters are open on Christmas Day. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Bugging In and Baking Bread

You've bugged in... but what skills do you have to make your home feel like home? I have some suggestions but would be interested in what you have to say.

Here's that recipe I was talking about.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Prepping Uses for Trash & Plastic Shopping Bags

I've found so many uses for plastic bags over the years that they have become one of the things that I try to stockpile. I've seen the machinery required to make plastic bags, and that is a technology that takes a lot of infrastructure to sustain. Luckily, most plastic bags are still made from petroleum and they won't degrade or break down for decades, so supplies will last through short-term disasters.

Be sure to avoid the brands with insecticides and fragrances if you're going to use them for food, water, or close to your body, some of the chemicals they use are strong enough to make a person ill.

Here are a few of the uses I've found:

Trash Bags

Emergency Rain Gear
  • Cut or tear a hole in the bottom of a trash bag and pull the bag over your head to make a quick rain poncho. I've outfitted a whole pack of Scouts this way for less than $5.
  • Slogging through mud or rain? Put your feet inside a couple of bags and then put on your shoes/boots. Tie or tape the bags around your ankles and a few places up your leg and your feet will stay drier. Be aware, though, that since the bags are waterproof, they will also hold in the sweat from your feet, so you will eventually develop wet socks and possibly even a rash. Dry your feet and change your socks regularly!
  • Draping a trash bag over your pack will keep the contents dry. Lining the pack with a trash bag before you load it works better, but you have to watch for sharp edges as you pack it.

Vapor Barrier
  • If you are dealing with snow or heavy fog, putting a plastic bag between layers of clothes will keep the moisture from seeping through to your skin.
  • It was common to use plastic bread bags as a liner inside winter boots when I was a kid (a long time ago), and trash bags will work just as well or better.

Solar Still
  • Lokidude covered solar stills here. Having a plastic bag makes it easier to build one.
  • You can also wrap plastic around plants or tree branches and gather the water that evaporates off them during the day. 

Covering Holes
  • If you need to seal up a room to keep out dust, fallout, smoke, or fumes, a supply of trash bags and duct tape will make the job easier. I use industrial trash bags to seal up grain bins before fumigating them and they work great.
  • Broken windows are a common occurrence after strong winds (tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.) and tape and trash bags will cover any size of window.
  • If you use a window air conditioner, wrapping the outside of the unit in a plastic bag during the cold season is a good way to prevent drafts and conserve heat.

  • Slicing open a large trash bag will give you a sheet of plastic large enough to be used as a ground cloth under a sleeping bag. It won't last very long unless you use the heaviest bags available, but it will keep the dew from soaking your bag.
  • Placing a bag or two over the top of your sleeping bag will trap heat, but also moisture, so be sure to air out your bag every day. A quick way to stay warmer is to place the foot of your sleeping bag inside a large trash bag before you crawl in. It'll keep your feet warmer while having the top half of the bag exposed will let some of the humidity out.
  • If you're putting together a lean-to or debris hut, placing plastic bags on the roof will make it shed rain better. Bags added to the walls will cut the amount of wind that gets through.
  • Wrapping a plastic bag around you will trap some of your body heat and will keep the wind from carrying it away. It's not quite as good as a Space Blanket, but it'll do in a pinch.
  • Stuffing a couple of large bags full of leaves will make an insulating bed to keep you off of the ground and make sleep more comfortable. A bag stuffed full of clothes or leaves will also make a passable pillow, although you will probably want to cover it with a shirt as a pillowcase.
First Aid
  • Large plastic bags are handy for holding contaminated items, whether they be blood, body fluids, chemical contamination, or fallout.
  • Tie two opposing corners together and you have a make-shift sling for a broken arm.
  • Sucking chest wounds are one of the things covered in more advanced first-aid classes, and you need an air-tight material to seal them.

Plastic Shopping Bags
If you don't have trash bags handy, the ubiquitous grocery store bags are free and often pile up in kitchens. They are known as “T-shirt bags” because they resemble a sleeveless T-shirt (AKA wife beater) when they are flat. While not as large, they do have several uses for preppers.

  • Cutting a plastic bag into strips and twisting or weaving them together into twine is simple and makes a surprisingly strong cord. You can never have enough cordage.

First Aid
  • Like trash bags, grocery bags can be used to seal chest wounds and are also small enough to be twisted into something like rope that can be used as an emergency tourniquet.
  • Being smaller than trash bags, grocery bags are just right to use as air-sickness bags.
  • Filled with ice and tied shut, I've used plastic bags to take down the swelling from minor strains and sprains.

  • Using a plastic bag as a bucket liner is a simple way to create a portable toilet.
  • If you don't have gloves handy, putting a plastic bag over your hands will let you handle nasty things and keep your hands clean. Everybody that has had to pick up behind their dog knows this trick, but you can also use it for isolating yourself from blood-borne pathogens while rendering aid.

  • Keep wet clothes separate from dry ones in your pack by putting them in a plastic bag before stowing them. This is also a good idea for dirty or wet footwear inside a pack, although I prefer to use my boot laces to tie the spares to the outside of my pack so they can dry.
  • I've often put a bar of soap inside a plastic bag before sticking it back in my pack, just to keep it from getting into my food and all over my clothes.
  • Cutting strips of plastic off of a bag makes cheap, easily visible trail markers that can be tied to trees or fences. These strips are also handy for making quick field-expedient repairs (see cordage above).

Carrying Things
  • They are designed to carry stuff, so why not use them that way? If you're out foraging for food, a dozen plastic bags will fit in a pocket until needed.
  • If you're trading or bartering, having bags on hand makes carrying stuff home a lot easier.
  • If you are handing out supplies to people after a disaster, having the supplies prepackaged in plastic bags makes the process a lot smoother.
  • As long as there are no holes, you can carry a couple of quarts of water in a common bag. Double it up if you're worried about the weight tearing the seams.

Plastic bags are easy to find outside of California and have a long shelf-life and many uses, so why wouldn't you have a supply on hand? For those of you who live in areas that have banned the use of plastic bags, they are availableon Amazon if you want to thumb your nose at the busy-bodies who think they're in charge. $30 for a thousand is pretty cheap and should last a long time.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Prudent Prepping: Sanitizing and Moisturizing

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping. 

I work around the public, deal with the public, and touch things in the course of my day that potentially hundreds of people have touched. I also handle boxed goods that may have been stored on a shelf for months and could be covered in dust, dirt or worse, depending on the location of the store. I wear gloves for most of the day and when I'm not, my hands get dirty quickly. Even when wearing my cut-resistant work gloves (reviewed here), my hands are sweaty, which attracts dust through the weave.

What this means is that I wash my hands four or five times a day, and when I can't wash, I use hand sanitizer (also four or five times a day). Unfortunately, my favorite supplier of sanitizer discontinued the unscented product that I liked.

What to do?

I have started to make my own blend with commercially available sanitizer and the Jojoba oil I have in my bag that I mentioned in this post. It took a bit of fiddling to get the ratio correct, but it now works as well as the store brand in my opinion.

Lately I've been putting more oil into the little travel bottle to keep my hands from cracking and splitting this winter. I haven't tried it out, but my local Gear Nut seems to think the added oil will make this into an even better fire starter than sanitizer by itself, because it will not evaporate as quickly.
The cold weather also drys my face out, especially my lips. My all time favorite Lip Balm is Carmex, in the little jar, sized just like the founder of the company used in the 1930's.

The company is still under the control of the founders family, making products to the original formula! I first bought some on a business trip to Nashville many years ago when I started to get a cold sore. The local drug store recommended this and I've had a jar in my personal gear ever since.

From the Carmex website:
Five Tips for Healthy Lips
  • Water, water, water. Almost every aspect of health can be improved through proper hydration, and your lips are no different. So make sure to drink up, all day long. 
  • Licking your lips draws out moisture and only makes the problem worse. Rely on Carmex® Classic lip balm to get the job done instead! 
  • Especially during winter and windy days, don’t leave the house without a scarf to give your lips an extra layer of protection. Not that you needed another reason to show off your new wrap. 
  • Lipsticks that are shiny or contain high gloss with little-to-no color can be potentially harmful to lips because they can attract UV rays. Try a triple-layer approach for added protection: apply a lip balm with SPF — such as Carmex Daily Care® — followed by a colored lipstick, then finish it off with some shine. Look lovely AND healthy. 
  • Dryness is the enemy. Use a humidifier. Keep your skin and lips fresh no matter the season with this simple solution.
I like the original jar because it is much more difficult to smash or crush than the squeeze tubes or lipstick type tubes, but they can be hard to find. Last week I lost the jar kept in my jacket pocket, so I needed to buy more. It took 3 stops to find the jar in stock! Everyone had plenty of the tubes, but the jars were sold out. To fix this problem, my next Amazon visit will have a three pack of Carmex added to the order.

The Takeaway
  • Working doesn't need to wear out or damage your skin.
  • Damaged lips mean uncomfortable eating and can give the wrong impression in a business setting.

The Recap
  • Hand sanitizer can be made for pennies per bottle. See this link for more information.
  • three pack of Carmex Lip Balm: $5.65 from Amazon with free shipping,  but unfortunately no Prime 2-day shipping. 

Just a reminder: if you plan on buying anything through Amazon, please consider using our referral link. When you do, a portion of the sale comes back here to help keep this site running!

If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Guest Post: Getting Unstuck

by Xander Opal

It's a situation that will eventually happen if you drive on snowy roads or go cross-country: your vehicle will get stuck. Or perhaps you'll get a call from a friend or family member who is stuck, or encounter someone whose vehicle is stuck.

I have had quite a bit of experience getting stuck, from tractors in a field to a car on a snowdrift. Hopefully, you can learn a bit from me about what to do, and what not to do. This article is about getting unstuck, rather than recognizing Where Not To Go.

Know when to stop trying to get out by yourself.
Sometimes you can get out by rocking back and forth, shifting from drive to reverse to back in quick order, but that can just dig your vehicle in deeper, especially in mud. It's a lot easier to pop a vehicle's wheels out of relatively shallow divots than it is to drag a vehicle that's axle- or frame-deep in muck. It gets even more complicated and difficult if you have a trailer or piece of equipment in tow.

Generally, if you feel the vehicle settling deeper when attempting to change directions, or there is no progress more than a few inches in either direction, stop.

In all cases, it is very important to know where it is safe to hook a chain or strap onto your vehicle, as well as the towing vehicle, to prevent damage or injury. (For example, there's the time I discovered it was a bad idea to wrap a chain around the radiator mount on a truck.)

Additionally, when a stuck vehicle is being pulled out, ensure that onlookers are standing back more than the length of the strap or chain used. That strap or chain is being loaded with the energy it takes to move several tons of metal; if it breaks under load, you do not want that energy being applied to the human body.

Stuck in Snow
Useful gear:
  • A shovel (one that can be disassembled for easy storage is good)
  • Some kind of grit (sandbag, oil-absorbing material, kitty litter)
  • Carpet scrap/tarp/welcome-mat sized 'rug'
  • Safety orange reflective vest

When hung up on a snowbank in the middle of the road:
  1. First make sure there is no other traffic; you do not want to be outside of your vehicle in a freeway pile-up. You also want to be visible to any other drivers, which is where the safety orange reflective vest comes in useful.
  2. Determine which is the clearest method of travel. If the road ahead is as bad as the spot you're hung up on, it is best to turn around and find another route or a safe place to wait for the road to be cleared. 
  3. Use your shovel to clear out the snow from the direction you want to go, and also pull the snow out from under your vehicle if you cannot see clearly to the other side. Take special care to ensure that the wheels are not stuck in a packed snow/ice 'dish' under each.
  4. Pour a bit of the grit material before and behind the wheels, both under the vehicle and a car length in the way you're going to go (pickup truck drivers often put bags of sand in back to put more weight over the drive wheels). This will give the tires something to grip and move you with better than the icy snow-pack it had just created. You can also put the carpet/rug pieces right against the powered wheels of your vehicles in the direction of travel (front wheels of most cars, rear wheels of two-wheel-drive trucks).
  5. If you are not stuck too badly, putting the vehicle in low gear and gently putting your foot on the gas should get it moving back to a safe spot, at which point you can pick up any carpets used and proceed on.

Stuck in a Ditch
Useful gear:
  • Tow strap or chain
  • Some kind of grit (sandbag, oil-absorbing material, kitty litter)
  • Distress signals like flares and/or reflectors
  • Safety orange reflective vest

Unless you have a winch and a handy stout tree in a direction nobody's going to hit the cable with their vehicle, you're going to need help if your vehicle can't move itself. This is a bit more complicated, especially as traffic is more of a concern since your rescuer will be in the way of at least one lane. Signs to warn other drivers, such as flares and reflectors and bright visible vests, are a necessity.
  1. Again, make sure the tow strap or chain is attached correctly to the proper locations.
  2. Do not jerk or yank suddenly to try to break the stuck vehicle free. This is a good way to break the strap or chain, and possibly do damage to one or both vehicles. 
  3. Carefully draw the strap or chain tight, then gradually apply more power. If the rescue vehicle is having problems with traction, it is a good idea to sprinkle grit over the working area. 
  4. Slow is best in all things. The rescue vehicle will have to angle down the road; it often helps to pull the stuck vehicle out in the direction the end toward the road is aimed. 
  5. The rescue vehicle needs to be ready to stop when the driver sees the formerly stuck vehicle getting closer, meaning it has traction. The formerly stuck vehicle's driver needs to be ready to stop when they see they're at that point as well.

Stuck in Mud
This is where knowing when to stop is very useful, and if you don't, you've literally dug yourself a hole.

Useful tools:
  • 2-4 boards, 2x4 or 2x6
  • Shovel
  • Carpet scrap/tarp/welcome-mat sized 'rug'
  • Long chain or tow strap
  • Boards
If you aren't stuck too badly and you're by yourself, you can wedge 2x4 or 2x6 boards behind the wheels of your vehicle (tree branches may also work in a pinch) and use them to back out of your situation.
  1. If your vehicle is loaded down with a lot of weight, remove that weight before attempting to get it out. It is a bit of a pain to deal with, but not as much as getting stuck worse from failed attempts. 
  2. Use the shovel to remove high points of dirt/mud from behind the wheels, and from under the vehicle if it is resting that deep. 
  3. Ease the vehicle with slow acceleration to get it onto the planks or branches (tarp or carpet scraps can be handy here for this). If you can get up on there, accelerate quickly and Do. Not. Stop. until you get well onto safe, dry ground. 
  4. As always, make sure any bystanders are a safe distance away.

More often, a rescue vehicle is needed. This is why long chain or tow strap is specified; I've linked a good 40' or more of logging chain together to get a tractor out of a bad spot. At worst, two or even three rescue vehicles (and thus tow straps or chains) might be required if the vehicle is well and truly stuck.
  1. Remove as much weight and stack the material out of the way.
  2. Hook the chain or strap to the correct places on both vehicles; a shovel might be needed to get to the right spot on the stuck vehicle. 
  3. Keep the rescue vehicle on good, safe ground, and bystanders well away. 
  4. Pulling the stuck vehicle at an angle, even a sharp one, can be useful to get it out of the ruts getting stuck makes. 
  5. Very gently take the slack out of the tow chain or tow strap, then gradually apply power to keep traction and not break the chain or strap. 
  6. As noted above, the driver of the rescue vehicle must be ready to stop when the formerly stuck vehicle is onto safe ground. The driver of the formerly stuck vehicle needs to be ready to stop when they see the rescue vehicle has stopped. 

A Few Notes on How to Pull Someone Out
  • Agree on signals for "Ready," "Go," "Faster," "Slower," "STOP!!".
  • The rescue driver watches the stuck vehicle driver, and does not begin until the stuck vehicle driver signals readiness.
  • Both parties watch for the possibility of a bystander in a bad spot, a broken chain/strap, or a chain/strap that comes undone.
  • Try to stay calm and methodical. It is easy to be angry or frustrated, rush through the process, and make the situation worse by getting stuck more deeply, breaking the only means of getting un-stuck, or worst, causing injury.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Product Review: the OKC Marine Combat Knife

I am a big fan of a knife for every day carry and use.  Opening packages, trimming things, even prepping food; all of these things happen on a regular basis, and all of them are easier to perform with a knife.

While I do prefer a pocket folder, there are some tasks that a fixed blade is better for, especially when camping. Sometimes you want a knife large enough to do the job without getting in the way.

To that end, I purchased an Ontario Knife Company Marine Combat Knife.*

Full disclosure: I have never used this knife to stab anyone, open a can of chewing tobacco, or do anything with it that would make a first sergeant turn purple with rage. Because of this, I feel that I have only tested it as a “Combat/Utility knife”, not as a “Marine Combat knife”.

Made by Ontario Knife Company, the Marine Combat knife is patterned after the Ka-Bar. There are a few differences, such as the coloration of the handle, but by and large it is a Ka-Bar clone.

My knife came with a leather sheath that fits quite nicely on my belt. The sheath seems to be well built, and has acquired only minor visual scarring. I use a shoe care oil on mine every six months to a year, and it seems to be holding up well.

The Good
I have opened a lot of cans (Number 10, all the way down to miniature cans of tomato paste) with my knife. I just jam the tip in and move it to cut. It seems to work well and the blade has yet to develop nicks or chunks out of it.

I have used my knife in the kitchen when everything else was packed (or when everything else was in the dishwasher or dirty in the sink and I was too lazy to clean something), and I can attest that it works well as a meat cutting implement.

I have prepared several roasts with it, as well as at least one round of steaks for grilling, and have gotten an even, clean cut out of it each time.

Mine occasionally goes through the dishwasher. It develops very small rust spots, but they come off with a little light rubbing from my thumb.

In use as a general camp knife it holds up well, and only requires sharpening after extended hard use (2-3 days or longer).

I keep enough of an edge on it that I have used it to dig out splinters, cut open letters, and (in one memorable case) to clean up a vinyl stencil when I could not find a razor knife.

On occasion I have used it to cut kindling off of a larger piece of wood. Hammering on the back of the knife, or on the pommel, has yet to produce more than minor visual scarring and has yet to chip or bend the knife in any way.

I have used it to pry apart car suspension parts, and the blade is not bent. I do not recommend this, since I am sure that it is bad for the knife.

A light oiling and storing outside the sheath (to avoid trapping moisture) seems to be all the care it needs most of the time.

The Bad
This is not a piece of modern technology. The Ka-Bar was adopted in the early 1940’s, and even if the technology used to assemble it has improved, the essential design is still limited by the technology of the era when it was developed.

The Ontario knife company has done pretty much nothing to change that. Which, to be fair, may be exactly what some of you will want: a very straightforward and no-frills knife with a blade thicker than that of a modern knife made with modern materials.

The Ugly
I have noticed that the knife was imperfectly sharpened when I first received it. It took me about three hours of hand sharpening with a Lansky sharpening system to get the blade perfect, but that included a bunch of use before I sharpened it, and a lot of finicky work to get it just the way I wanted it. I probably could have done it in a third the time if I was not watching television while I did it.

Other than that, it has had no serious problems.

The Verdict
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

It doesn't have as nice a fit and finish as some other Ka-Bar clones and variants (including the Ka-Bar itself) but it is much cheaper; as little as half the price at the time of this writing.  Ka-Bar brand knives will also often come with decoration, such as embossed sheaths.

If you want the ~80 years of history, it's hard to go wrong with the name brand. If you want bang for your buck, and don’t mind a quality off brand, this is an excellent buy.

*Note: this is not the OKC3S Marine Bayonet, which is currently produced for the USMC under contract by Ontario Knife Company. They bear a strong resemblance, but are not the same knife.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

GunBlog VarietyCast Radio #173 - Too Many Acronyms

GOA and NAGR tried to make HR38 DOA with FUD.
  • Self Defense with Kids and Dogs! No, not using your kids as shields or throwing dogs at intruders. Instead, Beth discusses the self-defense options that are available when you have small children and/or dogs.
  • In a story that hits a little too close to home, Sean knew the victim (but not the son) in "Friends, family grieve after Franklinton man killed, allegedly by his son."
  • Barron is back with us this week to talk about why you should keep your cell phone number secure, safe, and private.
  • Miguel has a temper. The guy in that truck you just accidentally cut off has a temper. You have a temper. In this “Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” Miguel offers some tips for how to avoid having the worst part of you make the worst decisions possible.
  • In this week's Main Topic, Sean and Erin discuss the "Fix NICS" half of HR38, and why you shouldn't let the freakout by GOA and NAGR over NICS frighten you away from supporting this important bill.
  • Tiffany is attending a week-long Deadly Force Instructor course in Live Oak, FL. She has just enough time on a break to record  her thoughts on why you should attend… and stay tuned for a surprise cameo!
  • It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year for you to buy stocking stuffers for the preppers in your life. Erin makes a list, and you should check it twice.
  • There was so much anti-gun nuttery on the “Professor Puppet” video Weer’d did last week, he had to come back for more.
  • And our Plug of the Week is Contact Your Senators and ask them to support HR38 Concealed Carry Reciprocity.
Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play Music!
Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here.
Thanks to LuckyGunner and Remington for their sponsorship, and a special thanks to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support.

Blue Collar Prepping Transcript: 
Stocking Stuffers for Preppers
Hello preppers! If you are listening to this podcast on Sunday night, you have exactly 14 days until Christmas! 

Hopefully you have all prepared for the season by buying your presents early, or at the very least you know what you plan to get and you have the shipping times worked so that all your gifts arrive on schedule. 

As for myself -- well, not to brag, but I completed all of my Christmas shopping before it was even December and now I’m working on my famous (or perhaps infamous) My Little Pony Christmas Cards. 

But for those of you who haven’t finished your shopping (or for those of you who are just now going “Oh crap, I really need to get started”), Santa’s Elf Erin is here to give you some ideas for inexpensive but useful stocking stuffers for friends and family. Give them to people who aren’t yet into prepping as a combination gift and kick in the butt, or get a bunch of things and make a smorgasbord box of handy preps. 

Everyone needs a good flashlight! I recommend the 300 lumen mini Cree LED flashlight by UltraFire. It uses a single AA battery, is super-efficient, has a zoomable focus and at only 4 inches long it fits comfortably in pockets and purses. It’s only $6 and, like most of the items I’m going to recommend, as Amazon’s two-day Prime shipping. 

Everyone also needs a good fixed blade knife. I’ve talked about Mora knives before, and they’re still the best-kept secret in the knife world. They’re amazingly ergonomic, don’t need sharpening out of the box, and come in a variety of colors including military green, tactical black and magenta. They range in price from $10 to $22 depending on which color you get. 

Worried about loved ones getting lost or succumbing to the elements? No worries, fam, I gotcha covered. There’s a company called SOL for “Survive Outdoors Longer” and they make a panoply of  survival tools for use when you’re the other kind of SOL.  A two-person survival blanket costs $6 and will keep them warm and dry, while a $9 signal mirror and a $6 package of rescue whistles will ensure they are seen and heard. 

If you’re looking for something to put you over the limit for free shipping, get an eyeglass repair kit for $4 that comes with a magnifying glass, 12 screws for eyeglass hinges and nosepieces, and a tiny screwdriver for those tiny screws. These kits are essential if, like me, you need glasses to function, but they’re still nice to have if your sunglasses break. 

Other good things to put inside stockings are things which you can pick up at just about any grocery store, like batteries (AA or AAA), disposable lighters and rolls of duct tape. Did you know that duct tape is made of cotton and can be used as a fire starter?

This last item isn’t really a stocking stuffer, and it’s quite odd, but I’m including it here because there’s a humorous Christmas story attached to it. Three years ago, my mother had cataract surgery and that made it harder for her to focus her eyes enough to do the knitting and stitching that she enjoys. In desperation, I ordered her a multi-power head magnifer -- you know, the magnifying lenses on headbands that jewelers and watchmakers use -- because it was only $9 and I could get it to her in two days. I figured that even if she hated it, I could still find a use for it. 

To my extreme amazement and delight, my mother LOVED IT and uses it daily. It’s given her years of faithful use and has brought peace and joy to the house because she is no longer frustrated about being unable to see her hobbies. So if you have a family member who has poor vision and whose hobbies include precision work like making models or painting miniatures or tying fishing lures, get one of these. I guarantee that you won’t regret it!

Friday, December 8, 2017


One chicken is clearly top of the pecking order and bullying another one to the point of not eating or leaving the hen house.

She looked better today. The other hens are also being attacked, but not to the same degree.

If it continues, the bully gets a bullet.

The Fine Print

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License

Erin Palette is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to