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Saturday, December 7, 2013

What to Play When Lights Go Out, Thomas Edison's Currency Plan

Bruce’s Poor Man Survival Bulletin

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources

For Independent Minded People!

ISSN 2161-5543


"Freedom is not a gift received from the State or leader,
but a possession to be won every day
by the effort of each and the union of all."

-- Albert Camus


From The Smiling Dog Saloon Files


A recent Sunday New York Times, which often mocks so-called preppers, had quite a revealing article. They finally noticed how diverse the greater self-reliance movement has become – acknowledging that it now crosses all cultural and financial segments of our society.


In This Issue:

1.       Thomas Edison’s Currency plan

2.       What to play when the lights go out

3.       Catching and butchering turtles for food, Pemmican recipe

4.       The Hudson Bay Survival Kit from 1956, The Machete-a very useful tool


What to Play When the lights go Out

Your pantry is stocked with food and water, as well as seeds for a garden. You’ve got your bug-out bags packed and ready.  You have your protection taken care of.  You’ve got a way to keep warm or cool.  You have ample first aid supplies and personal care products. What more could you need if a situation arose that forced you to use all of your preps?

Think about it. Whatever the situation, whether you are in your home with no power, on the road with streamlined preps, or out in nature braving the elements, you will want something to entertain yourself other than eating all of your food, shooting up all your ammo, and working in your garden. While all of these things are enjoyable, you will also want some entertainment.

Entertainment does not have to be something that is pointless and a waste of time. It can still be educational (although it doesn’t have to be).  What it does need to do is to help alleviate stress and boredom, both of which can and will be high in situations leading to use of your preps.  While not mandatory for your survival, adding a few things to your preps beyond those things necessary can make the situation become a bit more bearable, and you might even enjoy life a bit more.  Besides, if you don’t actually find a use for your additional preps, you can always barter them to someone else and perhaps gain something else you hadn’t thought of that you can use—you never know.

What sorts of things would fall into the category of prepping beyond the basics?  Consider the ages of the people you will likely be around and prep for them, then add more options for other ages if you have the room and the opportunity.


A book is a very basic thing that you can toss into a bug-out bag or think about as you build your home library.  It can contain knowledge to help you in your situation, or it can contain a story to help you get your mind off of your situation.  It can even be blank and give you a place to record your thoughts or things you need to remember or just a place for you to sketch ideas.

A child might like a coloring book and some crayons or colored pencils. (So might an adult.)  Children’s books may come in handy for long hours without a magic screen to entertain them.  These can be traded with other people so the stories don’t get too old and others can benefit from them.

Don’t pass up the various types of puzzle books available for all ages. Word finds, crosswords, Sudoku, and the like can engage your brain and get your mind off of a stressful situation and give you a sense of accomplishment once you have finished a puzzle.  It can also help keep your thinking skills fine-tuned.

Table Games

Table games are a fun way to help bide the time in a situation where there is not a lot to do other than wait.  Card games will easily fit into a bug-out bag.  Board games are also a good option, especially if space is not a problem. They are usually fairly lightweight, though somewhat bulky.  Consider travel versions of board games if bulk is a concern.

Some examples of games for children are Candy Land, Connect 4, dominos, jacks, Chinese checkers, regular checkers, Clue Jr., Monopoly Jr., Battleship, and many more. Peruse your local store to find some games that you think your kids or grandkids would like.

For adults, the children’s games will likely take some of your time as you play the games with the kids.  If you would like to get some games just for adults, consider a mind-challenging game such as Mind Trap, Boggle, Pictionary, Scrabble, or any of a whole host of other games that are out on the market. 

 Depending on the personality of your group of people and your situation, RISK may or may not be a good fit.  The same goes for Settlers of Catan.  For a good laugh, check out Pass the Pigs, a game that will easily fit in a bug-out bag and will undoubtedly be entertaining for all ages.

And don’t forget puzzles! These can give hours of enjoyment.

There are plenty of games that don’t require a purchase or a lot of space in your bug-out bag or prepping space.  Make a list of games, find a book of games, or find a website of games such as and print them out to put in your bug-out bag to give you ideas of games to play that don’t require a special board and playing pieces to play.  Examples of such games include 20 Questions, I’m Going Camping and I’m Bringing, Cat and Mouse, Capture the Flag, etc.

Outdoor Games

This brings me to outdoor games.  Prepping for this can be as easy as keeping backyard games accessible and at the forefront of our minds during tough times.  Don’t let the seriousness of your situation get you down so much that you forget to take a little time out to relax a bit.  Drag out the old croquet set, dust off the horseshoes, or set up the corn hole and get some friendly competition going and work on your aiming and throwing skills at the same time.  Chances are, once you are finished, you will have a little bit different perspective on your situation and can go back into it with a fresh mind.

Outdoor play doesn’t have to only include yard games. It can also include sports such as football, basketball, baseball, etc. and give you more exercise than tossing a beanbag at a hole.  Exercise your muscles, work up a sweat, and get some built-up aggression out in a safe manner.  It will be good for your blood pressure and stress levels and those around you.


Simple, old-fashioned toys can do the trick for entertaining and comforting children.  A doll, a ball and a stick, and some blocks of some kind are some examples.  They don’t have to be fancy, and they can be made from found items if you have the time.


In the past, music was a great way to pass the time and find enjoyment in life.  Why not incorporate it into your prepping?  Do you or anyone you know play an instrument?  Is there one you have always wanted to learn how to play?  See what you can do with your prepping to help this happen.  Who knows, you may have enough time on your hands to finally learn to play that guitar!  Invest in a basic instructional book and get started!

If you or your family can read music, you may want to include a hymnbook or other written music to sing together.  Even having just the words can be helpful so everyone can follow along and sing a capella if no one plays an instrument.

From Contributor Ben Tanner




PM’s Roundup of Useful Resources…

The Machete:  Useful Survival Tool

This centuries old tool is easy to sharpen, can clear a trail, help construct a small cabin or shelter, chop firewood, start a fire (w/ flint), kill and prepare dinner, whittle tools, make traps and weapons, used as a drawknife and plenty of other uses.  With a sheath it can be attached to a backpack or throw it across your back or hang the sheath’s sling from your shoulder as you would a rifle.

Best of all they’re pretty inexpensive.  Mine is a surplus item from the Viet Nam war and cost me $5 at a local flea market (sheath included)

To improve the grip I added electricians tape.  You can also drill a hole in the handle and add a lanyard or a length of rawhide to go around your wrist.

If the machete you buy is shiny avoid sunny reflections by applying several light coats of black outdoor grill paint…multi-coats will stick and wear better than a single heavy coat!  You might also like the Wood Mans Pal – American made. 



Catching Turtles for Food-Video…


A Fast Way of Butchering a Turtle to Eat-Video



The Hudson Bay Company Emergency Kit –Circa 1956

This is from the book 'How to Stay Alive in the Woods' by Brad Angier.

The kit measured
12 x 11 x 3 1/2 inches, weighed 11lbs, and was watertight. It was standard issue to all HBC aircraft at the time.   A food storage container with lid can carry this…find a cheap one at a good dollar store!


28 tea bags
50 Vitamin pills
30 oz. Pilot Bread
16 oz Butter
14 1/2 oz Strawberry Jam
12 oz Klik (canned ham)
14 oz Condensed Milk
10.5 oz Chocolate Bars

100 Matches
1 Knife
1 Spoon
1 Whistle
1 Double
face mirror
1 Fishing line
4 Fishhooks
1oz Snare Wire
2 Candles



*» Topical application of camphor liniment provides relief from congestion.

» Inhaling the vapor of Camphor offers benefits for clearing up the mucous, facilitating normal breathing by eliminating congestion of the lungs, nasal and bronchial tracts. Hence, it is one of the key ingredients in the manufacturing of lozenges, cold rubs and balms.


Here’s a recipe for Pemmican, something I first tried in the Boy Scouts and when I was in the military…tastes like crap but the Native Americans who created it swore by it during emergencies…

To make pemmican you only need three basic ingredients:

  1. lean meat,
  2. animal fat, and
  3. fruit or berries.

Find the recipe and plenty of other useful resources at ‘Grandpappy’s’ site…



The Rule of Threes states that a person can live for:
three-minutes without air,
three-days without water, and
three-weeks without food.




The Nanny State- Your Freedom at Risk!


A new algorithm designed at the University of Toronto has the power profoundly to change the way we find photos among the billions on social media sites such as Facebook and Flickr. The search tool uses tag locations to quantify relationships between individuals, even those not tagged in any given photo.


Warrantless searches by government expands…



The Parting ThoughtNothing to worry in the land of the free!

 BitCoins, which I've reported on several times during the past two years, is the current rage, but this blast from the past is interesting...

Thomas Edison on Government Created Debt-Free Money

This article appeared in Prosperity, September 2000

In December 1921, the American industrialist Henry Ford and the inventor Thomas Edison visited the Muscle Shoals nitrate and water power projects near Florence, Alabama. They used the opportunity to articulate at length upon their alternative money theories, which were published in 2 reports which appeared in The New York Times on December 4, 1921 and December 6, 1921.

Objecting to the fact that the Government planned, as usual, to raise the money by issuing bonds which would be bought by the banking and non-banking sector — which would then have to be paid back with money raised from taxes, and with interest added — they proposed instead that the Government simply create the currency it required and spend it into society through this public project.

This is also the Prosperity proposal which can be read here.

Thomas Edison made it plain in the following excerpt from The New York Times, December 6, 1921 issue (“Ford Sees Wealth In Muscle Shoals”).

You can download the archived article at this link which opens as a pdf

Here, the reporter is quoting Edison:

“That is to say, under the old way any time we wish to add to the national wealth we are compelled to add to the national debt.

“Now, that is what Henry Ford wants to prevent. He thinks it is stupid, and so do I, that for the loan of $30,000,000 of their own money the people of the United States should be compelled to pay $66,000,000 — that is what it amounts to, with interest. People who will not turn a shovelful of dirt nor contribute a pound of material will collect more money from the United States than will the people who supply the material and do the work. That is the terrible thing about interest. In all our great bond issues the interest is always greater than the principal. All of the great public works cost more than twice the actual cost, on that account. Under the present system of doing business we simply add 120 to 150 per cent, to the stated cost.

“But here is the point: If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill. The element that makes the bond good makes the bill good. The difference between the bond and the bill is that the bond lets the money brokers collect twice the amount of the bond and an additional 20 per cent, whereas the currency pays nobody but those who directly contribute to Muscle Shoals in some useful way.

” … if the Government issues currency, it provides itself with enough money to increase the national wealth at Muscles Shoals without disturbing the business of the rest of the country. And in doing this it increases its income without adding a penny to its debt.

“It is absurd to say that our country can issue $30,000,000 in bonds and not $30,000,000 in currency. Both are promises to pay; but one promise fattens the usurer, and the other helps the people. If the currency issued by the Government were no good, then the bonds issued would be no good either. It is a terrible situation when the Government, to increase the national wealth, must go into debt and submit to ruinous interest charges at the hands of men who control the fictitious values of gold.

“Look at it another way. If the Government issues bonds, the brokers will sell them. The bonds will be negotiable; they will be considered as gilt edged paper. Why? Because the government is behind them, but who is behind the Government? The people. Therefore it is the people who constitute the basis of Government credit. Why then cannot the people have the benefit of their own gilt-edged credit by receiving non-interest bearing currency on Muscle Shoals, instead of the bankers receiving the benefit of the people’s credit in interest-bearing bonds?”


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escapeartist said...

Don't know how you do it but your stuff gets better and better!

MIN said...

Lots of great information...we do well with our machete for many uses.