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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Surviving tough times, emergencies AND wearing hand-me-downs!

Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…


ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources

Wealthy is the man who can live on what he has.
- Nathan L Tanner


Hand Me Downs-What are Those?


   When I was a young lad few of us knew what designer labels were…other than owning a pair of Levis, we never heard of so-called designer labels, Nike’s or other nonsensical $100 and up articles of clothing, toys or much of anything else in our neighborhood.


I’m not sure when society became so affluent that kids were spoiled with designer duds and over priced toys which frequently substituted as babysitters.


Some kids became so obsessed certain name brands that they killed each other over shoes named after some athlete…talk about a shallow life!


All the kids in my area wore hand-me-downs which were often mended by mothers who knew who how to sew and/or even make clothing from scratch from patterns.


As our Middle Class continues to decline and folks look for ways to stretch a buck in light of rising prices and shrinking product sizes here’s a peek at the ancient art of hand-me-downs.


How to make hand-me-downs new to kid #2…More at:

Essential Outdoor Survival Skills

Learn outdoor survival skills and you won’t be caught unprepared.


Regardless of your physical state, knowing a few basic outdoor survival skills gives you an edge if a survival situation were to ever arise. It is far better to know such skills and not need them, rather than the other way around.

Our greatest tool

More than anything else, survival in the outdoors is directly linked to common sense and awareness of self, others, and the surrounding environment — train your brain to help you out. Add to that the following seven skills, and the chances of a positive outcome increase.

Key outdoor survival skills include: (1) building a fire; (2) sheltering yourself in extreme heat and cold; (3) staying hydrated; (4) signaling and increasing your visibility; (5) taking care of injuries and wounds well enough to help yourself return to safety; (6) knowing where you are and knowing how to get where you’re going; and (7) knowing your skill level and when to back off, retreat, etc.


Find more from the editors of GRIT here:

Surviving in Tough Times

“Long-Term Survival in the Coming Dark Age” by James Ballou is more than a blueprint for bad times — this informative guide may inspire you to a new level of self-sufficiency.


Help! A Survival Guide to Life's Emergencies

Emergencies happen to all of us, in all areas of life. But you can and will make it through, especially if you follow this one simple rule: Don’t panic.




9 Ways to Get Cheap or Free Vet Care for Your Pet

Office visits for your four-legged friends can be expensive. But you don't have to roll over. Here are some tips to take a bite out of vet bills.


  • 50 Things You Really Don’t Need to Buy (Cheapism): "Useless purchases come in many forms. There's stuff that's used only a few times before being consigned to the basement or attic; stuff that's pricey to buy but could be rented instead; stuff that's outdated or soon-to-be obsolete; and stuff that you just don't need to begin with. Here's a list of 50 things to avoid buying now or ever again."


·         Escaping Duct Tape

·         The original clip from Dateline was taken off YouTube. It showed how to escape duct tape in a hostage situation. To escape, the journalist simply raised her hands, tied together with duct tape, over her head and brought them down quickly in front of her and used the extra force to break free. I’ve also include another video below that shows an alternative method. I hope you never need to use these tips but you can definitely break free from duct tape if the need arises.




Spirits and Beer: The Secret of Happiness?

When Agnes F. was a young woman, a doctor recommended she drink three cans of Miller High Life a day for her health. She followed this advice for 70 years - often adding a shot of whiskey for good measure. Last month Agnes celebrated her 110th birthday. Is an ingredient in these drinks truly the secret to longevity? The answer may surprise you...



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




A Smoking Frog Feature from…

A Shallow Planet Production

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Working Class Lament: "I Never Have Enough Time"

Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…


ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources


"An economy cannot long remain prosperous by government's taxing and spending more, now absorbing national output at a rate equal to the entire income of every American living west of the Mississippi. If this trend continues, America will gradually sink into the status of a Third World nation -- more unemployment, more shackles on production, more poverty."
-- John Hospers
(1918-2011) Professor Emeritus




Brett and Kate McKay

Everyone’s Lament:  I Don’t Have Enough Time


   Never before in the history of the world has there been so many labor saving devices, yet everyone whines they don’t have enough time in the day.

Since the 1960s, work hours have actually decreased by almost eight hours a week, while leisure time has gone up by almost seven hours. Many will likely find this hard to believe, and that’s partly due to the fact that people routinely overestimate how much they really work by 5-10%. We also greatly underestimate our available leisure time; Americans think they have, at the most, about 16.5 hours of it a week. In actuality, nearly all of us have anywhere from 30-40 hours of leisure time at our disposal. And this includes both men and women, singles and marrieds, those with children and those without, and the rich and poor alike; in fact, lower income Americans have more leisure time than higher earners.

So what exactly is going on? What accounts for the gap between how our lives feel and how they’re actually structured?

How is it possible that we ostensibly have 40 hours of leisure time each week, and yet most of us feel we can’t even spare 20 minutes a day to read a book?

The reality is most people waste a lot of time on non-productive activity such as taking selfies, surfing the web, shopping, etc.

Working women have long complained of having to hold down “the second shift” — i.e., having to do the bulk of childcare and housework after putting in time at a paid job. While it’s true and often reported that women continue to do more of these second shift chores than men, total working time for men and women these days is actually close to equal. That is, while working women do more housework, working men put in more hours at the office, so that the total working hours for each is close to the same.

Amidst the debate over which sex does more, few have noticed the fact that all of us — men and women alike — are working not only unpaid second shifts, but third, fourth, and fifth ones as well.

As author and professor Dr. Craig Lambert explains, we all increasingly “find ourselves doing a stack of jobs we never volunteered for, chores that showed up in our lives below the scan of awareness.” Lambert calls these tasks “shadow work” and in his book of the same name, he describes this labor as “all the unpaid tasks we do on behalf of businesses and organizations.”

You perform shadow work whenever you do jobs that used to be done by a paid employee, but have now been outsourced to the consumer: pumping gas, booking a travel itinerary, bussing a table, and so on. We likewise do shadow work whenever we bank online or use an ATM instead of a teller, check-in to flights or a hotel using a kiosk rather than a human, and wait on hold for an hour to talk to a scarce customer service representative. When we can’t find a knowledgeable salesman to talk to and get a recommendation from at a big box store, and instead must take over his job and shop online, spending hours comparing model features and reading reviews, we’re doing shadow work then too. When we follow through on these online transactions, entering in our credit card number and address for the umpteenth thousandth time, we do yet more shadow work — this time as DIY cashiers.

We’ve all taken over a wide variety of jobs that used to be done by others, not only in the wider marketplace, but even just a few desks over; many paid positions have been subject to “job creep” in which a worker must perform the tasks that used to be done by three other people, and are not included in his official job description. Support staff — secretaries, assistants, and the like who used to make your coffee and copies, answer your mail, and keep track of your schedule, have largely been resigned to the dust bin of a bygone era. And yet the requirement of becoming a jack-of-all-trades has not been accompanied by an increase in wages.

Shadow work also includes tasks that have resulted from new practices and expectations, and which you must perform if you wish to use a particular service or simply keep your job. Think of kowtowing to the shoe-removing rituals required by airport security, filling out endless paperwork when you visit a new doctor, and of course doing your taxes, a chore which takes the average 1040-filer 23 hours of shadow work a year. Suppressing any normal, negative feelings, and putting on a consistently upbeat, friendly face — which more and more employers require of workers who interact with the public — constitutes tiresome shadow work too.

ut perhaps the most taxing shadow work of all is managing our information intake. In times past, magazine, book, and television editors controlled the flow of information to the public. This restricted the media being put out, but also filtered it for quality and importance. The web has radically democratized this process, so that anyone with a computer can create their own videos, books, articles, films, and so on. This has left the consumer with the enormous and never-ending job of wading into the torrent of media online and sifting the wheat from the chaff.

This ever-increasing mountain of shadow work tasks has placed a unique burden on the modern citizen. Lambert argues that while shadow work has hardly put us in the position of medieval peasants, it has in fact created a new kind of middle-class serfdom. We are all Bill, logging hours for corporations we don’t realize we’re employed by, and working around the clock without pay.

Life as a Middle-Class Serf

Lambert calls shadow work such, because it takes “place in the wings of the theater while we are absorbed in the onstage drama of our lives.” Had it dropped into our routines all at once, we would have noticed, and may have howled in protest, but instead it has arrived slowly in dribs and drabs. It’s become our new normal and we’ve gotten so used to it that the phenomenon has largely gone unnoticed and unrecognized.

Taken alone, the tasks of shadow work seem laughably trivial. But it’s serfdom by a thousand cuts; together, our shadow work chores have shredded our days into what the author of Overwhelmed calls, “confetti time.” Rather than experiencing long, unbroken stretches of time in which we concentrate on completing tasks for a single role in our lives, we are constantly changing the hats we wear — toggling from husband to cashier, office worker to news editor, father to travel agent.

And while we were formerly forced to largely work during regular work hours and shop during regular business hours, technology allows us to produce and consume 24/7. We never fully clock out from our “real” jobs, nor do we ever fully take a break from the marketplace. Even when we’re not actively engaging in shadow work, in the back of our mind there’s that ever present niggling: Is there something I need to buy? Is there something going on I should know about? Should I check my phone? We’re always “on” and constantly mentally switching between roles.

The Hidden Thieves Stealing Your Willpower

It isn’t the time that shadow work tasks require that ends up being so draining (they may even save you time over the traditional route), but their effect on the psyche. Willpower is a finite resource. You only get so much of the fuel that allows you to focus and gives you the mental energy to tackle the world each day. And what saps this fuel is making decisions, weighing options, and exercising self-control.

Shadow work requires all three behaviors, and is thus a huge willpower drainer.

I have long felt that this is one of the single most overlooked facts in modern life; even Lambert largely misses it. I think it gets to the heart of why people feel overworked, worn out, and harried — why they just can’t be bothered to be civil or to socialize or to have hobbies, even though on paper they don’t seem to have that much going on. The stuff that’s eating away at their willpower aren’t the things you’d put in a planner, but the overlooked shadow work in the wings.

Shadow work does frequently give the average consumer more autonomy; you can do things when and how you’d like. But 100% autonomy is actually not a desirable state. “Submission” is a word with negative connotations, but times of psychic submission are in fact a mental necessity. Our minds need periods of rest where we can say to someone else, “You take care of all the details on this. I just want to enjoy the result!” It’s true that the rich have always enjoyed this kind of delegated caretaking the most, with their coterie of maids and servants standing by to fulfill their every need. But as recently as 50 years ago, everybody, from the overwhelmed housewife to the working class bloke, got to regularly enjoy at least a few brief moments of respite at stores, gas stations, and the like; nearly everyone had times both of serving and being served. Now we’re always waiting, and never being waited upon.

Most wearying of all, is that one of the things which is supposed to act as our servant — the web — often becomes our master instead.

Condensed from:


A Few More Goodies You Should Share


How to stop abusive debt collection practices

Abusive Debt Collectors


·  9 economy cars that are cheap to own
You can't beat economy cars on price, but they also may be a bargain over the long haul


·  Shipping Large Items
How to send Granny's chest cross country



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A Smoking Frog Feature from…

A Shallow Planet Production

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

20 Handy Uses for WD-40, Airlines to Weigh You as Well as Baggage

Poor Man Survival

Self Reliance tools for independent minded people…


ISSN 2161-5543

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources


If you'd know the power of money, go and borrow some.
- Ben Franklin


20 Unusual but Handy Uses for WD-40, Indoors and Out

I use a case a month of this wonderful product on various business projects and thought these additional uses worth sharing...

WD-40 is perhaps best known for its ability to lubricate, loosen and drive water out of various parts and tools. But these lesser-known uses can prove just as helpful in your daily life.

WD-40 is marketed as a “multi-use product.”

It’s known for the capabilities for which it’s usually enlisted — such as lubricating squeaky hinges, loosening rusted parts and driving out moisture. (In fact, “WD” stands for “water displacement.”)

But WD-40’s uses extend well beyond those roles.

WD-40 Co. offers thousands of uses for its namesake product on its website, including 2,000-plus uses contributed by the product’s devotees. Pros and amateurs alike have been discovering more uses since the original WD-40 product was developed in 1953 after 39 failed attempts. (Thus, the “40” in its name.)

We’ve rounded up some of the least known but most helpful uses below.

If your instinct is to save a buck by buying a generic equivalent, we applaud you. But following through on that instinct might be more challenging than usual in WD-40’s case.

The product has few competitors, equity research analyst Joseph Altobello, currently of Raymond James Financial, told the San Diego Union-Tribune in 2013. Liquid Wrench, a brand-name product, and a few store brands could be the closest things to knock-offs.

The newspaper noted the following about the San Diego headquarters of WD-40:

The company keeps a room filled with knock-off brands that have tried and failed to mimic the product. Some of the cans look uncannily like regular WD-40. [Chief Executive Garry] Ridge calls that room the mortuary.

If you try a new use for WD-40 or a knock-off, test it in a small inconspicuous area first. WD-40’s list of fan-submitted uses notes that the company has not tested those suggestions, and that “customers should exercise common sense whenever using WD-40” and read the label.



More Cool Stuff You Need to Know

Airline to Weigh YOU As Well as Baggage

 If you are planning to fly on this foreign airline, you better shape up lest you be embarrassed when they not only weigh your baggage, but they put you on the scale too. Here’s the story from CNN (video plays automatically).


·  How to Buy Used Canning Equipment
Know what to look for or you'll be wasting your time and money


·  Retirement Hobbies That Make Money From Home
When you're looking for a little extra income


13 Ways to Cut Food Waste and Save Money

 25 percent of the water in the United States is used to grow food that’s thrown away. It’s time to stop. Here’s the story. 



Insurers Win Big Health-Rate Increases…Consumers come out on the short end of the Obama stick – Again!

Some state regulators say new costs justify hefty increases under the Affordable Care Act

I warned of this in several previous can't trust government or Wall Street...

Note: For blocked WSJ and NYT stories, Google Their Headline Verbatim


Tax Software Makers Lobby Congress to Keep Tax Forms Confusing


H&R Block and Intuit (maker of TurboTax) have been busy lobbying congress not to simplify taxes, but to keep them confusing. In particular, lobbyists have proposed to increase to five pages, a one-page form that poor people have to fill out for the earned income tax credit. Here’s the story.


3 Steps to Repairing Your Own Credit


With a little patience and effort, you can repair your credit without paying for the assistance of a credit repair company. Here’s the story



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



A Smoking Frog Feature from…

A Shallow Planet Production