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Sunday, April 26, 2015

DIY Masonry Fire Pit, Pot Smoker, Emergency Fund Builder

Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…


ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resource

What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson



DIY Flower Pot Smoker

Find grill grate size of choice

Find pot for that size grate and a second pot to use as the lid.

Find smaller pot to hold charcoal and ceramic plate for indirect cooking.

I found all pots at my local Home Depot for around $30.




DIY Masonry Fire Pit

Now this is something I plan to build at our mini-farm this summer…mighty nice!


This fire Pit has become the main attraction at our house. We have since made a habit of sitting out here with or without an actual fire. The stone was a potpourri of closeouts. The bricks were picked up cheap from a job that never used some over orders. The block, sand, and mortar are just everyday Lowes stuff. All said and done I probably had $200 in it. If I had to buy the other stuff at regular price it would probably be around $500. Plus sweat.




Study: One-Third of Americans Have Less Than $1000 Toward Retirement

We have previously discussed the income disparity in the country and the alarming lack of savings for a great percentage of our fellow citizens. Now a study shows that roughly one third of the population have saved less than $1,000 for retirement. Equally surprising is the estimate of what will be needed to live comfortably in the future.   Read more of this post


How to build an emergency fund when you're living paycheck to paycheck
read more here


Video: Ways Thieves Steal Credit Card Data
The three most common places thieves steal data are ones many people visit on a regular basis.


One of the best gardening decisions I ever made: landscaping my backyard with edibles. It took some time to get everything established, but now my yard is as pretty as it is tasty. Here are some edibles to consider adding to your yard.




Watch the video and visit to learn more about our new Garden-in-a-Can.


No Ice Needed Picnic Cooler

Here's a simple way to keep food cooler outdoors. You'll need two unglazed clay pots. One should be larger than the other. Put the smaller one inside the larger one and fill the space outside the smaller one with sand. Pour water on the sand until it's saturated. Then put your food in the smaller pot and cover with a damp cloth and a heavy lid. The inner temperature will be about 20 degrees cooler than the outside air until the water evaporates. I've never used it on things that spoil quickly like potato salad, but it's great for veggies and fruits.


A beginner's guide to co-op buying
read more here


No Need to Panic…or is there?

McDonald’s has announced that it will be closing 700 “poor performing” restaurants in 2015.  Why would McDonald’s be doing this if the economy was actually getting better?

>The number of publicly traded companies in the United States that filed for bankruptcy during the first quarter of 2015 was more than double the number that filed for bankruptcy during the first quarter of 2014.

 >New home sales in the United States just declined at their fastest pace in almost two years.

> US Manufacturing PMI plunged to 54.2 in April (from 55.7). Against expectations of a rise to 55.6, this is the biggest miss on record.


> When priced according to “the average blue-collar hourly wage“, U.S. stocks are the most expensive that they have ever been in history right now.  To say that this financial bubble is overdue to burst is a massive understatement.


Needful Things   Needful Things   Needful Things

Hard Core Chicks: Eight Self Defense Tactics Every Women Should Know



Books, Art, Video – the saucy, the odd, the retro, even the practical…



A Shallow Planet Production

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Copenhagen Window or Thinking in Terms of Probabilities about Your Future

Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…


ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resource

Glance into the world just as though time were gone: and everything crooked will become straight to you!   >Nietzsche





Think in terms of probabilities -- and not in terms of hard truths. Expect the unexpected.

Think about the concept of the Copenhagen Window

The interpretation is the notion that the future is nothing more than an expanding set of probabilities, time lines of possibility that continuously collapse into one reality as observances of measurements mad; kind of the standard interpretation of quantum mechanics.

This is also expressed in detail as Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.         

There is no crystal ball for predicting one outcome then proceeding on a single path.”

Rather, it’s best to adapt to new information as it comes. Stay nimble.

You have to think in terms of probabilities -- and not in terms of hard truths. Expect the unexpected…and with our political leaders, we can always anticipate the unexpected with one exception:  Always follow the money!  In Washington, nearly everything happens because of money, who gets it and who has it removed from their pocket.

For instance, when I review my various resources on the economy I look at what our Fed is doing, what China is doing, the price of precious metals and so on.  If gold suddenly falls or triples in price, I get concerned…does this indicate a crash, government crisis, international crisis or???

The Global financial system is unfathomably complex and most folks know nothing of how it works.  If they did, they would tremble in fear.

Earlier in the year a prestigious gathering of the International Monetary Fund held at the annual Davos Economic Forum issued a dire warning about America’s financial system, specifically in regard to the shadow banking system [I wrote about this extensively two years ago but few paid attention]. 

The Telegraph summarized it:  “Shadow banking now poses top risk to US stability…non-financial lending has reached $15 trillion since the collapse of a few years ago and is outside the control of authorities”

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Yellen has said this about shadow banking, “We simply have to expect that when we draw regulatory boundaries and supervise intensely within them, that there is the prospect that activities will move outside those boundaries and we can do nothing.”

I suspect she was referring primarily to the derivative market, which are essentially unregulated, high-risk credit bets…the same crap which nearly collapsed the monetary system in 2008 after Clinton eliminated the Banking Act of 1933, which is also called the Glass-Steagall Act.

Currently, central bankers around the world are all fighting currency wars. In all major financial centers at once -- from Washington, D.C., to Moscow to Beijing.

I look at factors like inflation [not the BS stats provided by government agencies], social disorder [which are increasing in a nation of have-nots], the movement of government agencies in terms of how they create and enforce laws which bash the Bill of Rights, how law enforcement engages its citizens while arming themselves for civil war.

Are we ready for another major worldwide credit crunch?  Today, the entire global financial system resembles a colossal spiral of debt.  Just about all economic activity involves the flow of credit in some way, and so the only way to have “economic growth” is to introduce even more debt into the system.  When the system started to fail back in 2008, global authorities responded by pumping this debt spiral back up and getting it to spin even faster than ever.  If you can believe it, the total amount of global debt has risen by $35 trillion since the last crisis.  Unfortunately, any system based on debt is going to break down…simply a matter of when.

Consider that China has seen more debt growth than any other major industrialized nation since the last recession.  This debt growth has been so dramatic that it has gotten the attention of authorities all over the planet

Wolfgang Schaeuble, Germany’s finance minister says that “debt levels in the global economy continue to give cause for concern.”

Singling out China in particular, Schaeuble noted that “debt has nearly quadrupled since 2007″, adding that it’s “growth appears to be built on debt, driven by a real estate boom and shadow banks.”  Sound familiar?

Poor earnings reports in the U.S. are starting to rattle investors…we just learned that GE lost 13.6 billion dollars in the first quarter…

One week following the announcement that it would dismantle most of its GE Capital financing operations to instead focus on its industrial roots, General Electric reported a first quarter loss of $13.6 billion.

The results were impacted by charges relating to the conglomerate’s strategic shift. A year ago GE reported a first quarter profit of $3 billion.

That is a lot of money.

How in the world does a company lose 13.6 billion dollars in a single quarter during an “economic recovery”?

Other big firms are reporting disappointing earnings numbers too

In earnings news, American Express Co. late Thursday said its results were hurt by the strong U.S. dollar, which reduced revenue booked in other countries. Chief Executive Kenneth Chenault reiterated the company’s forecast that 2015 earnings will be flat to modestly down year over year. Shares fell 4.6%.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. said its first-quarter loss widened as revenue slumped. The company said it was exiting its dense server systems business, effective immediately. Revenue and the loss excluding items missed expectations, pushing shares down 13%.

And just like we saw just before the financial crisis of 2008, Americans are increasingly having difficulty meeting their financial obligations.

For instance, the delinquency rate on student loans has reached a very frightening level

At this point, the American consumer is pretty well tapped out.  If you can believe it, 56 percent of all Americans have subprime credit today, and domestically we’ve seen the biggest spike in credit application rejections ever recorded.

From what I see, we are entering a place that offers no solutions and plenty of bad decisions from the political elite and the bankers which control them…

Interview with Canadian Billionaire Rick Rule - The Global Financial System Is Now A Confidence Game


Something the Poor Man has discussed often: A new country which is FREE - A drum roll please…

A Czech man has created a new country. He's calling it Liberland to celebrate the sort of liberty-based ideals championed by libertarians. But, his project is much more than just a libertarian enclave. Rather, it's a big step forward for freedom on Planet Earth.

Liberland is a new European country founded upon the principles of freedom, and that’s why I’ve applied for citizenship just three days after its founding.

Vit Jedlička is a member of the conservative Party of Free Citizens in the Czech Republic and is the self-appointed President of Liberland, which sits on unclaimed terra nullius territory between Serbia and Croatia. The 3 square miles is a place where taxes are optional and military does not exist.

Finally, a few other tools you might find of use…

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan: This book resonates with me as I attempt to simplify every aspect of my life

The Penny Hoarder: I met the founder of this site, Kyle Taylor, at a conference in Las Vegas. Kyle and his team produce some great content on saving money.

How to Declutter Your Mind and Unleash Your Willpower by Using “Bright-Line” Rules (James Clear): "A bright-line rule refers to a clearly defined rule or standard. It is a rule with clear interpretation and very little wiggle room. It establishes a bright line for what the rule is saying and what it is not saying."

I hope you found this issue thought provoking – Feel free to share your thoughts using the feedback box below.

Books, Art, Video – the saucy, the odd, the retro, even the practical…


A Shallow Planet Production


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Never Turn Down Free Money, Plug-in Planters, Home Farming Boxes

Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…


ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resource

"Democracy leads to anarchy, which is mob rule."
-- Plato

CHOOSE ONE: Further work on the mini-farm or vacation in AZ. For now, we're using the few good months of weather in MI to work at the goal of creating a100% self-sufficient, off-grid homestead.
Deer, weather along with my up and down health took their usual toll. We'll need to replace all the fruit trees we had planted two years ago in addition to the other projects. And the price of everything continues to escalate...while at the same time online sales [for everyone we know] continued to decline...some days I feel like chucking it all, buy a houseboat and do a lot of fishing.

From Home Farming Boxes to Plug-In Planters


In commercial and home applications, hydroponic gardening has proven itself a valuable way to conserve space and water when growing plants. This ultra efficient system is ideal for gardeners of all levels, especially since it can be so low maintenance. Appealing to beginner green thumbs, products like Eliooo teach you how to assemble a hydroponic system from IKEA boxes, while NIWA comes as a pre-assembled system that connects to a smartphone for monitoring. For personal use, the best part is that you can actually grow plants like lettuce and tomatoes to eat at home.

Since hydroponics can be vertically arranged, this could mean that there will be a huge shift in the way traditional agriculture is approached in both small and large scale applications.


The Hyundai Kitchen Nano Lets Users Grow Their Own Organic Veggies



For those green freaks out there, the Hyundai Kitchen Nano seems like a pretty good option to start eating local -- really local. The kitchen garden is a device that lets users grow all their own organic vegetables, all with the appropriate amount of light and nutrition.

The Hyundai Nano Garden uses hydroponics instead of any pesticides and fertilizers to give you the most organic, fresh food at hand. The device actually lets users know when to give water or nutrients so you can get the greenest vegetables possible.


Also Noted…


The ‘Click & Grow Smartpots’ are optimal gifts for environmental tech enthusiasts who lack green thumbs. Owners of the planters merely have to fill the device with water, the subsequent fertilization, airing and watering is then done automatically.

This electronic approach to gardening is battery-operated. The company prides itself on Click & Grow Smartpots easy-to-use functions, requiring minimal attention despite its production of plants and edibles like basil. Users will also be alerted should the batteries die with a small flashing light.

As the element of labor is altogether removed here, busy workers can take on elaborate cultivation projects without having to master the art of horticulture, a feature that will bring foliage displays to the most unlikely spots.



More Gems You can Ponder, Read, Share



Care Connect USA. Everything from utilities assistance to tax debt relief. It's been so popular that thousands of company HR departments use it with their employees, as do many governmental social service agencies. In short, it's been a great resource. Calls are free and the advice is free.

Here’s a post on who's all checking your credit score. It includes a link where you can get a free credit score and learn about your credit monitoring and protection too. I know that a lot of people put it off. I just went through the process. It took about four minutes. They did need a little personal information, but did NOT require a credit card.

An Extra Income Source
Lucky you, you've got a good-paying, full-time job in what you believe is a recession-proof business, the Federated Flyswatter Company. But, bad news might be lurking just below the horizon. The China-based Wang Dang Flyswatter Works is thinking about buying your company outright, and if it does, you might be laid off. During any period of economic uncertainty, it's definitely not the time to hunker down and hope for the best. It's time to find or build a second source of income before you need it. Read more.

Never turn down free money!
read more here


Sweeter Trash?
Since we recycle and compost, we don't create a lot of kitchen trash, so we don't have to take out the trash nightly. We were having a problem with some trash odors. I started putting a little baking soda in the trashcan liner. It soaks up odors without adding any unwanted fragrances to my kitchen. Plus, it's all natural!

 A Parting Thought...

We are the American sucker, easily fooled and bamboozled by the political elite.

In 2014, police in the United States killed 1,100 people.  During that same year, police in Canada killed 14 people, police in China killed 12 people and police in Germany didn’t kill anyone at all.

 Yours for the hell of it...
Bruce 'the Poor Man'

Books, Art, Video – the saucy, the odd, the retro, even the practical…



A Shallow Planet Production

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Annual Big Con is Coming, NSA Still Spying, Visions of the US Future

Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…


ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources

In the Year 2024…A vision of what is coming


As I awoke this morning, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2024, from restless

dreams, I found the insect-sized sensor implanted in my

arm was already awake. We call it a “bug.” U.S. citizens have

been required to have them since 2022 to access government

health care.

The bug knew from its biometric monitoring of my brain

wave frequencies and rapid eye movement that I would awake

momentarily. It was already at work launching systems, including

the coffee maker. I could smell the coffee brewing

in the kitchen. The information screens on the inside of my

panopticon goggles were already flashing before my eyes.

Images of world leaders were on the screen. They were issuing

proclamations about the fine health of their economies

and the advent of world peace. Citizens, they explained, needed

to work in accordance with the New World Order Growth Plan

to maximize wealth for all. I knew this was propaganda, but I

couldn’t ignore it. Removing your panopticon goggles is viewed

with suspicion by the neighborhood watch committees. Your

“bug” controls all the channels….


Congress Still Screwing Our Nation

"These things I believe:

That government should butt out.

That freedom is our most precious commodity and
if we are not eternally vigilant, government will take it all away.

That individual freedom demands individual responsibility.

That government is not a necessary good but an unavoidable evil.

That the executive branch has grown too strong, the judicial branch too arrogant
and the legislative branch too stupid.

That political parties have become close to meaningless.

That government should work to insure the rights of the individual,
not plot to take them away.

That government should provide for the national defense
and work to insure domestic tranquility.

That foreign trade should be fair rather than free.

That America should be wary of foreign entanglements.

That the tree of liberty needs to be watered from time to time
with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

That guns do more than protect us from criminals;
more importantly, they protect us from the ongoing threat of government.

That states are the bulwark of our freedom.

That states should have the right to secede from the Union.

That once a year we should hang someone in government
as an example to his fellows.
                 -- Lyn Nofziger





The Big Con is rapidly approaching – the next Presidential election where candidates tell us they have the solution to all our problems…


The middle class is being systematically destroyed.  For much more on this, please see this recent article that was recently published.  And now we are on the verge of another major economic slowdown.  That is not what the middle class needs at all.

We are also getting some very disturbing economic news out of China.

In 2014, economic growth in China was the weakest in more than 20 years, and Chinese export numbers are absolutely collapsing…things are not very rosy.

Despite all the campaign nonsense [especially from grifter Hillary Clinton], many Americans are still suckered into believing their vote matters DESPTE:


·         An eroding lifestyle and lowered purchasing power

·         Anemic, low-paying jobs

·         Restrictions on travel and privacy [actually, our privacy has been virtually eliminated by the government]

·         Stifling over regulation which is killing entrepreneurship and jobs

·         Declining international reputation


It would be easy to continue but you already know this story…yet, many of you will re-elect the same flotsam which have steadily undermined this nation and your freedom.  It doesn’t matter which party you vote for, they are equal opportunity destroyers only interested in their next political fix or reelection so they may continue to feed off the citizen and enjoy the benefits showered on them by the special interests who are really pulling the strings.

We are the American sucker, easily fooled and bamboozled by the political elite.

The federal system of government is broken beyond repair at this point. There is an out and out full on mafia style corruption taking place and yet not one our elected officials from either party is willing to stand up and take it on. Your vote regardless of political affiliation means nothing. The whole thing is rigged to point that it is no more believable than watching the WWE.

Our rights, our privacy, our spending power, our standard of living, our international reputation, our infrastructure, our schools, etc. all continue to sink even while the fortunes of the political elite continue to rise.


Most of us know about the digital surveillance practices of the National Security Agency, revealed by Edward Snowden almost two years ago. There are other authorities under which the government spies on “We the People,” but the most egregious is the hated U.S. Patriot Act. The act has been so abused that even its author, Michigan Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr., thinks it should be repealed.

So far, Congress has missed every opportunity to reform the Patriot Act and other vehicles that allegedly authorize government to spy on us — sometimes by very narrow margins. In August, however, a key provision of the act, Section 215, is scheduled to expire. If it does, the NSA will no longer be able to collect and analyze the bulk internet and telephone data of U.S. residents.

Considering the widespread revulsion at Snowden’s revelations, you’d think that Congress would make that a priority for debate. You’d be wrong. In fact, Congressional leadership and the White House are much more intent on adding yet another layer to their surveillance powers — one that makes the Patriot Act look like small beer.

Big Brothers United

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), now before Congress, is an urgent response to illegal digital spying ... on multinational corporate behemoth Sony, Inc. (The corporation was allegedly hacked by North Korea in response to the trashy comedy “The Interview,” which depicted the assassination of Kim Jong-un.)

CISA would “give companies legal liability protections when sharing cyber threat data with the government.” The rationale is that cyberattacks on American private businesses are acts of digital warfare, so the NSA, CIA, FBI and the rest should know about them as soon as they happen. The problem is that current U.S. law, the Constitution and plain common sense in a democratic republic dictate that the private information we share with businesses is specific to those transactions, and not to be shared with the government except by order of a court.

But in one of those instances of bipartisanship that make a mockery of the “Red versus Blue” horserace approach to U.S. politics, party leaders on both sides of the aisle are determined to meet the threat to our corporate overlords by giving government spies access to everything Big Data has on us. Under CISA, the companies that know everything about you and your online activity will be able to hand it over to government … and you won’t have any legal recourse.

Somebody Pass the Freedom Fries

Well, at least we know how to get Congress to act … just threaten the interests of a deep-pocketed corporation like Sony. When that happens, everything else goes on the back burner and our supposedly “deadlocked” system springs into action to limit our liberties even further.

If I’m right, it’s entirely up to us to defend ourselves against this new threat to our liberty. Stop using Google, Apple, Amazon and other companies that hoard our data. Give your business to encryption-based services like Silent Circle instead.

Congress must end unconstitutional government spying.

Representatives Mark Pocan and Thomas Massie just introduced the Surveillance State Repeal Act, which would to repeal the PATRIOT Act and restore our constitutionally protected civil liberties.  Get off your ass and sign the petition to get rid of this traitorous set of laws.

REMEMBER:  Just because something is law does not make it moral, ethical or right!


More of the vision…

By 2024 wiped-out savers broke out in money riots soon after but

were quickly suppressed by militarized police who used drones,

night vision technology, body armor and electronic surveillance.

Highway tollbooth digital scanners were used to spot and

interdict those who tried to flee by car. By 2017, the U.S. government

required sensors on all cars. It was all too easy for officials

to turn off the engines of those who were government targets,

spot their locations and arrest them on the side of the road.


Parting Shot…Party Like its 1999

Most U.S. households don’t own stocks. They have not participated in the Fed fueled stock bubble, and they are struggling with a high cost of living.   If I invested in the stock market, which I quit doing several years ago, I’d get out of stocks which include restaurant  and  retail….there’s so little discretionary income left for most families, these are the first to go when the consumer is pinched.
I routinely examine various economic indicators and in my opinion, we're ripe for another severed downturn.

Unless we see structural economic reform, the “New Depression”…if I were a presidential candidate, I’d be playing up and offering solutions to the demise of our middle class which is dying thanks to the political elite class.

Historically, our economy does well during a  presidential election cycles and to a degree, especially compared to Europe, we are.  However, I see many of the same signs of a major downturn as I saw in 2008…


Books, Art, Video – the saucy, the odd, the retro, even the practical



A Shallow Planet Production