The Survival Podcast

A friend of mine recently suggested I check out Jack Spirko and The Survival Podcast (www.thesurvivalpodcast.com). I listened to a few of his podcasts and then took the additional steps of subscribing via iTunes and registering on his forums.

I have been learning a ton from Jack – re-learning, actually – on a number of topics:

Living a sustainable lifestyle. This means learning how to create an environment within and around our home that can sustain us during a crisis of some sort. For example, we had a tornado come through here a couple of years ago that missed us by less than a mile. Had that tornado some close to us, we would likely have been physically OK, because we were in the basement. However, I had no plan for what to do afterward. Where would we have gone? Where was the phone number for my insurance agent? Who would I have called to help clear the debris? What would I need to purchase so that I could get to work? The preparation questions become endless.

Learn skills useful to the life I want to lead. My wife and I want to live “off the grid” somewhere. I’m a pretty good project manager and I know my way around technology pretty well. I used to be adept at what I used to call my Boy Scout skills, but those are pretty rusty. I need to learn more about the nuts and bolts of taking care of a home – I can change out an outlet or a faucet, and I can paint pretty slowly and terribly, but my basic carpentry skills are limited to writing a check. I want to learn how to garden and plant a few berry bushes at the back of our property.

Get out of debt. Yeah, I know – the easiest way to make this happen is to not get there in the first place. Since I have already blown past that exit on the highway of life, the digging in begins now.

Jack’s topics and approach aren’t for everyone. He has a tendency to get riled up when he thinks people in various places in government do stupid things (yeah, that’s pretty often). He is decidedly a Libertarian, so he has very few leftist sympathies. He is also pro-gun. I am OK with all of those, though he hammers away at some topics a bit too often for me. The good thing about collecting the information via podcast in iTunes is that I can see the topics and listen only to those I want to listen to.
The forums are very valuable for garnering information on any topic related to, as Jack’s tagline states, “Helping you live the life you want, if times get tough, or even if they don’t.”

If you hit the right podcast, you may think Jack is a “survivalist” in the worst definition of the term – hiding out in the woods, shooting at anyone who reeks of authority, having a lot in common with white supremacists. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Please give him a listen over the course of a couple weeks’ worth of podcasts so you can develop a sense of where he is coming from before jumping to conclusions.

The key topic Jack discusses is planning for the worst. I have done quite a bit of consulting over the years with companies on Business Continuity Planning – Jack takes that idea and applies it to individuals and families. The things that can happen to individuals and families are both similar to (weather, civil unrest, economic collapse, etc.) and quite different (job loss, death of a family member, etc.) from those that a corporation will encounter. However, the approach to remediating the problem is exactly the same – what do I need to do to prepare for something happening? What plans do I need to make now so that I can survive that “something?”

I’ll be moving forward in these areas more as the year progresses


J. D. Pendry, Retired Sergeant Major, USMC: "On Your Hands"

Please read this on the original site (http://web.archive.org/web/20080529143907/jdpendry.com/2006/09/04/on-your-hands/) and with comments by Pendry (http://www.blogcatalog.com/search.frame.php?term=j.+d.+pendry&id=dd91ef39250dabc2a9e2a06c8a301c37).

I am reprinting it here because I feel it deserves to not get lost.


What follows is a reposting of a mailing I sent to my private email list on June 24, 2006. I don’t feel a need to explain myself, but I wrote this right after someone sent me pictures of the mutilated bodies of two young American Soldiers. Since the original posting, this letter has made a few laps around the net and been posted in many different places. Other than to my private email list, I originally posted it at Free Republic and it’s been posted there several more times and to a Geocities Website that I once maintained. I can’t even tell you where else because, except for a few Freepers, no one ever asked me if they could repost it. Copyright notices have little impact these days. I’ve even received inquiries from people that heard it read on radio programs. There’s been some minor editing of my original post as it’s traveled around and I’ve seen it renamed several times, “No Punches Pulled Here”,“Axis of Idiots”, “Insight of a Sergeant Major”, etc., etc. frankly I prefer my title because my title is my point.

It’s been pointed out to me in some “fan” mail that I didn’t mention President Regan’s lack of response following the bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut, 1983. If Ronald Regan spent his life before, during and after that bombing blaming the United States, belittling American Soldiers and the Administrations that followed his, I would most certainly have had some unkind words to say about him. You see, I’m sort of one dimensional when it comes to the treatment of my country and most particularly when politicians and others disparage the men and women with which I spent half my existence on this planet. I can’t do much in my old, decrepit state to help them with their current mission, but you can bet your butt that I’ll take every opportunity to speak out for them back here where – because of them - we sit safe, fat and happy. They need us to protect their six and confront enemies here at home while they confront our enemies around the world.

It was also pointed out to me that it was the first President Bush that got us into Somalia. That statement is true for as far as it goes. President Bush sent U.S. Forces to Somalia on a humanitarian aid mission. Their purpose was to ensure food and other supplies sent there to aid starving Somalis got to them and not the warlords. It was a President Clinton mission for Army Rangers and Special Operations Soldiers to capture Adid. President Clinton’s Secretary of Defense, Les Aspen, refused these units the Armor support they requested. Support that would have easily broken and extricated them from the ambush where 18 of them died.

So here’s the original unedited post. Thanks for supporting our Soldiers.

Our God and soldiers we alike adore,
Ev’n at the brink of danger; not before;
After deliverance, both alike requited,
Our God’s forgotten, and our soldiers slighted. – Frances Quarles, 1632


Jimmy Carter, you’re the father of the Islamic Nazi movement. You threw the Shah under the bus, welcomed the Ayatollah home and then lacked the spine to confront the terrorists when they took our embassy and our people hostage. You’re the runner-in-chief.

Bill Clinton, you played ring around the Lewinsky while the terrorists were at war with us. You got us into a fight with them in Somalia, and then you ran from it. Your weak-willed responses emboldened the killers. Each time you failed to respond adequately they grew bolder, until 9/11.

John Kerry, dishonesty is your most prominent attribute. You lied about American Soldiers in Vietnam. Your military service, like your life, is more fiction than fact. You’ve accused our Soldiers of terrorizing women and children in Iraq. You called Iraq the wrong war, wrong place, wrong time, the same words you used to describe Vietnam. You’re a fake. You want to run from Iraq and abandon the Iraqis to murderers just as you did the Vietnamese. Iraq, like Vietnam is another war that you were for, before you were against it.

John Murtha, you said our military was broken. You said we can’t win militarily in Iraq. You accused United States Marines of cold-blooded murder without proof. And said we should redeploy to Okinawa. Okinawa John? And the Democrats call you their military expert. Are you sure you didn’t suffer a traumatic brain injury while you were off building your war hero resume? You’re a sad, pitiable, corrupt and washed up politician. You’re not a Marine sir. You wouldn’t amount to a pimple on a real Marines butt. You’re a phony and a disgrace. Run away John.

Dick Durbin, you accused our Soldiers at Guantanimo of being Nazis, tenders of Soviet style gulags and as bad as the regime of Pol Pot who murdered two million of his own people after your party abandoned South East Asia to the Communists. Now you want to abandon the Iraqis to the same fate. History was not a good teacher for you, was it? See Dick run.

Ted Kennedy, for days on end you held poster sized pictures from Abu Grhaib in front of any available television camera. Al Jazeera quoted you saying that Iraq’s torture chambers were open under new management. Did you see the news this week Teddy? The Islamic Nazis demonstrated real torture for you again. If you truly supported our troops, you’d show the world poster-sized pictures of that atrocity and demand the annihilation of the perpetrators of it. Your legislation stripping support from the South Vietnamese led to a communist victory there. You’re a bloated fool bent on repeating the same historical blunder that turned freedom-seeking people over to homicidal, genocidal maniacs. To paraphrase John Murtha, all while sitting on your wide, gin-soaked rear-end in Washington.

Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Carl Levine, Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstein, Russ Feingold, Hillary Clinton, Pat Leahy, Chuck Schumer et al ad nauseam. Every time you stand in front of television cameras and broadcast to the Islamic Nazis that we went to war because our President lied. That the war is wrong and our Soldiers are torturers. That we should leave Iraq, you give the Islamic butchers – the same ones that tortured and mutilated American Soldiers - cause to think that we’ll run away again and all they have to do is hang on a little longer.

American news media, the New York Times particularly. Each time you publish stories about national defense secrets and our intelligence gathering methods, you become one with the sub-human pieces of camel dung that torture and mutilate the bodies of American Soldiers. You can’t strike up the courage to publish cartoons, but you can help Al Qaeda destroy my country. Actually, you are more dangerous to us than Al Qaeda is. Think about that each time you face Mecca to admire your Pulitzer.

You are America’s axis of idiots. Your Collective Stupidity will destroy us. Self-serving politics and terrorist abetting news scoops are more important to you than our national security or the lives of innocent civilians and Soldiers. It bothers you that defending ourselves gets in the way of your elitist sport of politics and your ignorant editorializing. There is as much blood on your hands as is on the hands of murdering terrorists. Don’t ever doubt that. Your frolics will only serve to extend this war as they extended Vietnam. If you want our Soldiers home, as you claim, knock off the crap and try supporting your country ahead of supporting your silly political aims and aiding our enemies. Yes, I’m questioning your patriotism. Your loyalty ends with self. I’m also questioning why you’re stealing air that decent Americans could be breathing. You don’t deserve the protection of our men and women in uniform. You need to run away from this war – this country. Leave the war to the people who have the will to see it through and the country to people who are willing to defend it.

No Commander in Chief, you don’t get off the hook either. Our country has two enemies. Those who want to destroy us from the outside and those who attempt it from within. Your Soldiers are dealing with the outside force. It’s your obligation to support them by confronting the axis of idiots. America must hear it from you that these people are harming our country, abetting the enemy and endangering our safety. Well up a little anger please, and channel it toward the appropriate target. You must prosecute those who leak national security secrets to the media. You must prosecute those in the media who knowingly publish those secrets. Our Soldiers need you to confront the enemy that they cannot.

They need you to do it now.

Copyright © J.D. Pendry 2006 "


On The Platform

I serve on a worship team at Northbrook Church in Richfield, WI (http://www.northbrookchurch.org). It has been the most rewarding ministry experience of my life. I never sang or played in a band when I was a teenager or when I was in college. I did quite a bit of choral singing – high school, Catholic church, college, stage musicals – but I only rarely had even a piece of a song that could be considered a solo.

Choral singing is significantly different than being a member of a worship team. A good friend agrees with my estimation that it is more like being in a rock band than in a choral ensemble. I have had to learn to be led not by sight, but by ear. I have had to learn to count better than I ever have before. I have had to learn my part better than I ever have before. All of those have made me a better singer and a better overall musician over the past 18 months.

At times, I have really struggled – such as last Christmas time, when we began rehearsing “O Holy Night.” The song was playing the moment my dad died in a hospice a year earlier. I was having a very difficult time finding my notes, my entrances, the rhythm... and then I remembered my dad. I had to leave the platform in the middle of rehearsing a song. I was very embarrassed to have disrupted rehearsal, but thanks to very kind and understanding team members, I was able to excuse myself from that song. I was not yet strong enough to sing that song on the platform.

That underscored something my worship mentor had been telling me – it is OK to tell the worship leader that you are not able to do what you have been asked to do. It could be a section or a song that is out of your range, more technically challenging than you can handle or with emotional connotations that can prevent you from serving as God's guide into worship for the congregation.

It is important to know your limitations so that you can both challenge your limitations and know when you cannot. My limitations are different on different songs, different seasons (early in the morning in winter in Wisconsin is a terrible time to sing tenor) or different life situations (some Christmas songs still poke at a pretty tender spot in my heart).

I have learned my limitations over the past 18 months and I know I have been able to push them back in certain areas. I am now much more comfortable taking the tenor harmony on a song or tackling a solo line when I am asked to.

Most of all, I feel grateful that God is using me in this way. I have wanted to “be in a band” since about 1969. I now know the meaning of “better late than never.”

...and it is still more fun than just about anything else I have ever done.


The President Speaks

I am absolutely astonished at the level of vituperation being leveled at schools and school districts regarding decisions having been made regarding the upcoming speech by President Obama. I think many are overreacting to decisions in both directions. Some, angry that their children are not able to view the speech in class, are reminding us that schools in the past allowed their students to hear presidential speeches directed at students. Others, angry that their children are to be “forced” to hear the President speak, are calling for the heads of various personnel in charge of such decisions.

I think we all need to take a deep breath and place the President's speech in some sort of context – and I mean a larger context than “my political leanings are more important than yours.”

First, we should all listen when the President speaks. Our Presidents do not often speak directly to the American public. We need to respect the office of the President enough to listen when the the President speaks – it does not matter whether we voted for him or not.

Second, we need to acknowledge that, as parents, our children are being taught what they are being taught and how they are being taught by our choice. We have chosen to place our children in the schools they attend and have, therefore, agreed to place those teachers, boards, superintendents and administrators in charge of said education. We monitor and suggest to those professionals, but we have agreed to cede the power of control over the curricula by the act of registering our children.

My daughter's high school has taken the stand that, though the speech is important, it is not important enough to disrupt classes. Therefore, they are making the speech available to students in study halls. I think this approach makes a lot of sense for a couple of reasons:

  • The schools have no control over the start time nor end time of the speech. Will it begin and end during or across class times? Further, I know few school systems operate on the same schedule – my daughter's high school is running on its third different schedule in as many years.
  • While there are many opportunities for teachers to align their curricula to allow for a presidential address, I cannot understand how such an address may be appropriate to a Chemistry, Algebra or Auto Shop class.
  • Under this approach, no one's political views are being advanced – not those who wholeheartedly support President Obama, not those who wholeheartedly decry his every move and not even those who sit somewhere in the middle. (Truth be told, we have to admit that is where the largest portion of our society sits.
While I am always glad to see heartfelt debate over the issues of the day, I do believe too many of us are taking these decisions, in either direction, too seriously. There are many opportunities to have your voice heard without the political shouting matches that have become all too common these days.

If your child's school is not making the decision you support, keep your child home from school that day and watch the speech together. For that matter, whether you agree or disagree with your local school's decision and whether your child views the speech in class that day, in study hall that day or not at all, watch it together and discuss the contents.


Windows 7 - III

I just cold-booted Windows 7 and finally remembered to time it. From a dead start, Windows 7 took 35 seconds to prompt me for my password and just another 15 seconds to reach the "usable state." 50 seconds is a pretty fast boot time. Recovering from Hibernate is just 23 seconds.

The "usable state" is reached when the operating system is functioning to the point where there is no longer an hour glass indicator showing the operating system is still loading components.

In contrast, my Windows XP Pro laptop takes 1 minute 47 seconds to reach the usable state from a cold boot. The recovery from Hibernate is 50 seconds.