I’m cursed

Looked out at my front yard this morning and what to my wondering eyes should appear. The duck now has a friend visiting.

Here’s another photo:

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Duck Update


The duck is still living in my flower bed, but he’s moving about more now and enjoys exploring the front yard too. He gets excited when I feed him duck pellets & dried mealworms. Guess there’s little incentive for him to leave now that I’m feeding him and giving him fresh water every day.

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Proper Respect

Here’s a tweet by Vice President Harris that ignited another crazy partisan tweet firestorm on Saturday, two days before Memorial Day. These partisan outrage tweet firestorms have become just part of the social media ecosystem that flare up quickly and then leap to ignite “national conversations” on news media, (especially cable news networks). Most of these partisan Twitter battles are ridiculous, totally disingenuous and just shallow political theater.

I am not a fan of Harris, find most of her comments vapid and her giggling at odd moments when speaking annoys the heck out of me, but I did not take this tweet to be some sign of disrespect for our fallen war heroes. It was the most innocuous platitude imaginable and something just about everyone has said at the beginning of a long holiday weekend, but many from right-wing blue-checkmark Twitter (especially Trump-supporters) went berserk tweeting angry diatribes about her tweet, accusing her of disrespecting fallen soldiers, dishonoring our country and even asserting this tweet made her unfit to serve. And somehow over four years of Trump’s disrespectful, petty, spiteful and plain wacky tweeting was forgotten and this Kamala tweet became the worst public display of disrespect imaginable.

The whole predictable Twitter firestorm left me feeling, not only weary of the endless, petty spin war, but also deeply saddened that blue-checkmark, politically-connected partisans have so much influence over American news and American politics. On both sides of the political divide in America, this small Twitter crowd wields enormous influence over our political landscape and within minutes can ignite national outrage, spread malicious lies, and even pressure elected officials into making rash decisions.

Yesterday morning, the Kamala Twitter kerfuffle was still permeating before I headed to the veterans cemetery, where my husband is buried. I’ve been visiting this cemetery almost every weekend since March and usually there are one or two other visitors there. I expected more this weekend and there were a few more visitors, like three men on motorcycles who came to pay a visit to a military buddy. There were a few family groups. There was a man with his son, who looked to be around 7 or 8 years old, walking through the row next to where my husband is buried. His son was straightening flags that were leaning sideways from the wind and I heard him ask his dad what “Purple Heart” means and small moments like that give me hope for America.

On a couple other visits I’ve seen a younger lady sitting on a grave and it hurts my heart to see her grieving. Grief’s a very personal thing and as with just about every part of life, assuredly there’s a slew of self-help books to “teach you” how to cope with grief, there are grief support groups, and I’ve even come across some YouTube channels for grieving widows, but I’m very slowly feeling my way through this.

What makes my heart catch on trips to this veterans cemetery are two words on markers: Iraq and Afghanistan, because then I look at the birth date. There have been so many brave men and women who sacrificed so much to keep America free and here we are, a country where the political and media elites spend hours upon hours trying to drive and control public opinion via a corrupt, cynical spin information war that’s designed to fuel partisan divides every minute of every day, all while lecturing and preening about “proper respect” and “honor.”

Words come cheap, especially in a spin war, but how we choose to live our lives and treat others is what really matters. It’s way past time for Americans, especially those with the power “to influence” public opinion and our politics, to extend just a fraction of goodwill and exert a few moments of restraint, before leaping into these phony self-righteous patriotic outrage media sideshows.

The best way to honor the sacrifices of those who died defending our freedom isn’t about saying the “right words” on Memorial Day; it’s about working every day to be a good citizen.

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Is AEMO another Army boondoggle?

For several days I’ve been thinking about the US Army’s latest ad campaign, “The Calling,” which rolled out featuring an animated video about a real life soldier, Cpl. Emma Malonelord, who is a Air Defense Enhanced Early Warning System Operator (14H). As an aside there’s an $18K signing bonus for eligible recruits. This ad campaign will feature the stories of five soldiers, selected because of their diverse backgrounds, so naturally white males from traditional two-parent families aren’t represented. The five soldiers selected for this ad campaign should not be the targets of any backlash, because they responded to an Army-wide search for soldiers with personal stories to fit this ad campaign.

“”Research tells us that young people today see the Army as a ‘distant star’ – a place requiring a nearly superhuman level of discipline with little relevance to their daily lives,” said Maj. Gen. Alex Fink, Chief of Army Enterprise Marketing. “Similarly, youth don’t necessarily connect with those who serve or see common ground in terms of interests, abilities, and goals. ‘The Calling’ shatters these misperceptions by showing that Soldiers are all of us: real people with hopes, dreams, fears, aspirations, families, friends, and obstacles to overcome.”

The Army conducted a worldwide search across the forces for Soldier stories to support the campaign, receiving nearly one hundred inspiring entries. After settling on a shortlist of potential candidates, stories were tested to assess their resonance with today’s youth. The final “cast” provides a rich tapestry of stories that represent the diverse upbringings and life experiences that make up today’s Army. Featured Soldiers include”

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-army-reveals-the-people-behind-the-uniform-in-new-animated-film-series-301282737.html

So, there’s the answer to how this new Army ad campaign began. Here’s the first video:

Watching this video, the focus was heavily on this soldier’s lesbian mothers and participating in left-wing activism. The ad pushed left-wing, feminist political messaging, along with too much “I” messaging for my taste and no team messaging, although to be fair this ad is not even close to as awful as the “Army of One” ad campaign disaster. The interesting thing was in the article explaining how this new ad campaign was developed, there’s a quote about what message they intended to promote, which left me wondering how on earth they completely missed the mark with the narrative in this animated ad:

“‘The Calling’ showcases how five Soldiers answered their call to selfless service,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Charles K. Masters II, sergeant major of Army Enterprise Marketing. “Soldiers across the Army stepped up to share their personal stories with America to breakdown the stereotypes associated with those who serve. Their inspiring stories highlight the diversity in the Army as we continue to be a Team made up of great people. One common thread you will see throughout this campaign is our Soldiers all believe in something bigger than themselves and strive to make a difference in the world.””

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-army-reveals-the-people-behind-the-uniform-in-new-animated-film-series-301282737.html

There is absolutely no messaging in that animated ad that speaks to selfless service or being part of a great team. The Army jumped into the fray about this ad, which followed the CIA rolling out woke recruitment ads too, and defended Cpl. Malonelord. Again, the important thing is this soldier responded to an Army request for submissions for an ad campaign and she was selected. She does not deserve any criticism or attacks. She didn’t script the messaging for this animated ad. In fact, she’s photogenic, bright, bubbly and presents a very positive image when she speaks. So, here’s a video US Army Fort Benning put out after the animated ad backlash:

The Army could have saved millions of dollars and just had this soldier speak for herself, because she’s got a winning personality. The messaging in this video effort was much better, as Malonelord spoke about the Army as a melting pot, with people from all over the world and all types of backgrounds and that’s one of the things I love most about the Army community.

Of course, the Twitter political class got invested in fighting over this Army ad and it’s now a partisan spin battle with feminist, Army vet, Senator Tammy Duckworth attacking conservative Senator Ted Cruz for his criticizing that animated Army ad and retweeting a tweet, that compares a Russian army ad compared to this US Army cartoon ad:

And in usual Twitter spin battle fashion, Senator Duckworth accused Cruz of spreading Russian propaganda, but by today her spin attack was asserting the tweet isn’t Russian propaganda, but white nationalist propaganda. I have no idea who tweeted this comparison initially, nor do I even care. The point is this US Army animated ad rollout disaster should have been anticipated, just by paying attention to the negative reactions to the recent CIA woke recruitment ads.

I was more curious about who put this ad campaign together and how much it cost. At the end of the article describing The Calling ad campaign article was this bit of information:

About the Army Enterprise Marketing Office (AEMO): AEMO is the U.S. Army’s national marketing, marketing research and analysis and accessions analysis organization. AEMO develops innovative and effective ways to: connect with the American public to make the Army more accessible and understood; increase awareness of both the benefits and value of Army service; and motivate the most qualified candidates to choose the Army as their service of first choice.”

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-army-reveals-the-people-behind-the-uniform-in-new-animated-film-series-301282737.html

Here’s a 2019 article:

“When it comes to marketing itself to the American public, the Army believes it’s in the midst of something of an identity crisis. Its research on the subject says nearly half of the young adults that make up its recruiting base have little or no knowledge of what military service is.

So for the first time in two decades, the Army is overhauling its more than $300 million advertising and marketing program. Effective Aug. 1, officials abolished the Army Marketing and Research Group (AMRG) and replaced it with a new organization called Army Enterprise Marketing. Instead of a Pentagon headquarters, the new group will be based in the same city as DDB Chicago — the firm that won a $4 billion, ten-year contract last November to handle the Army’s advertising.

“Chicago was at the top of the list because it’s a center of learning for marketing and it’s a center of industry for marketing,” Dr. Casey Wardynski, the assistant secretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs told reporters Thursday.  “The [private sector] talent is already there. We don’t have to bring talent in.””

Army stands up Chicago-based marketing operation to help bolster recruitment

Seems like a lot of wasted money if this cartoon, which came about after an Army-wide search for compelling soldier stories and all sorts of market and data research, is supposed to energize Gen Z young people to… be all they can be… in the Army…

Update 5/24/2021: I linked the wrong video as the first story in The Calling ad campaign. Here’s Emma story:

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A duck moved into my yard

A Muscovy duck showed up in my flower bed.

This large duck has been sitting in my flower bed since Friday and naturally, I am a total failure at getting him to leave. He gets up and walks around, but doesn’t go very far and then he goes back in my flower bed and lays down. And me, being me, by Saturday I put a large bowl of water near him and was googling what to feed him. I talked to him and told him that he’s a pretty bird, but he needs to go somewhere else. He turned his head and looked at me when I talked to him and when I told him he’s a pretty bird, he stood up and shook his tail feathers … then he plopped back down. One of my sons asked me on Saturday, what I’ve named my duck. He’s not “my” duck. I’m assuming he is injured or sick, judging by how little he’s moving.

On Saturday I called an animal rehabilitator for avians, but she had a recorded message stating she isn’t taking any birds and a phone number for some emergency animal hospital an hour away.

This morning I called my local animal control and was informed they don’t handle wildlife and she referred me to my local police department. I called my local police and the lady transferred me to the state police, who transferred me to someone else. That place referred me to some state agency with an 800 number, that has a message – all of their lines are busy, call back later – every time I’ve called it.

So, my current “plan” is to find some food for this duck, that he will eat, keep giving him fresh water and hope he gets well enough to leave under his own steam. Let’s see, he didn’t eat grapes or carrots cut in small pieces. He has been eating wild bird seed and he’s eating spring mix lettuce. Oh, and he’s very adept at catching flies. There are woods right behind my back yard, so it’s not like he has to travel far to find some natural woodland habitat. There’s a small stream in those woods too.

I guess I’m going to have to break down and buy duck food.

And yes, I know I should have just ignored him and not given him food and water, but I did. He seems stronger today and has been standing up a lot more.

At least I haven’t named him yet.

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Dem COVID-19 Spin Games Hitting More Bumps

I don’t know anything about the person who tweeted the above tweet and I have no idea where or when this video was taken, but this little girl’s actions sum up my feelings on all of the COVID-19 rules, hype, politicization, and endless hysteria.

The little girl’s actions especially sum up my feelings about anything both the mainstream media and Dr. Fauci say about COVID-19, at this point. In the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, I trusted they were providing science-based information, yet the more Dr. Fauci has spoken and the more hysteria the media ramped up in the past year, the more it sounds like they’re pushing the Democrat political agenda rather than unbiased medical information.

This doesn’t mean I refuse to believe in science or that I am a COVID denier or against COVID vaccines or that I refuse to wear a mask.

I strongly suspect my husband had COVID in January 2020, an idea which was considered a heresy by the experts for a long time, because the earliest verified cases of COVID in the U.S. did not go as far back as mid- January 2020 and it was not politically tenable to suggest China lied about when their COVID-19 outbreak started. The CDC collected archived blood serum samples from the American Red Cross and studied them for COVID-antibodies and found COVID-19 antibodies in some of those 2019 samples, yet the Fauci/Dem/liberal media spin narrative quickly moved past that information. They still repeat the Chinese government and WHO COVID-19 timeline (propaganda).

The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was January 15, 2020, with a man in Washington state, who had just returned from Wuhan, China. My husband got very sick around that same time, in GA and my husband hadn’t traveled anywhere, but our son had been sick about week before with the same symptoms. Although my personal situation has no science to back it, it’s not much less suspect than many of the public health pronouncements on COVID-19, which have been tainted with both domestic and foreign political considerations and US public health officials in Washington, who seem too willing to trust Chinese government and WHO information, even as the Chinese government’s lies about the virus have been exposed.

I followed all of the COVID-19 rules and I spent 2020 at home taking care of my husband. I didn’t take any vacations or attend any social gatherings (large or small), I wore a mask in public, I followed the social distancing rules and at first, I trusted Dr. Fauci and the DC public health officials made science-based recommendations. I don’t have any trust in Dr. Fauci or the CDC at this point, but I went ahead and got my first COVID vaccine last month and will get my second shot soon. I still wear a mask in public places and I still follow social distancing rules in those places, even though I strongly suspect that when exploiting COVID-19 fear and inciting hysteria for political advantage reaches the point of diminishing returns for Democrat politicians, we’ll likely learn from the “experts” that there’s no evidence to support that any of these “mitigation” efforts were effective at slowing the spread of COVID-19 and that most of these efforts came with huge health and societal costs.

Whenever COVID-19 numbers in red states don’t conform to bolster the Dem’s COVID spin narrative, that Dem governors’ COVID mitigation restrictions are working magnificently and red state governors, who ended lockdown and mask mandates, are creating a serious public health threat, Dr. Fauci doesn’t ever have any explanation for information and data that runs counter to his belief in imposing more restrictions on people’s lives. He just pivots back to hyping more restrictions, from double-masking to insisting that even fully vaccinated people must still live a very restricted life, controlled by media-induced fear and government-imposed COVID-19 rules.

When this Democrat COVID-19 con game reaches critical mass, sadly our political class, both Dems and their media cohorts, who often seem more like comrades, will still be on Twitter generating the spin attacks that evil red state governors jeopardized public health by lifting COVID-19 restrictions too soon and they’ll still be doubling down, defending their corrupt and destructive COVID-19 “Trust the Science” spin crap show.

Another gloomy forecast is Republicans and Trump-friendly media will still likely be countering the Dem spin crap show with their adopted Trumpian counter-spin crap show, because they’ve bought into that “at least Trump fights the left spin,” as being a viable strategy to defeat the massive Dem/media spin control of mass media in America.

Control of the mass media spin messaging propels the left’s culture war, which relies on mass media spin information war to mold and control public opinion in America

The Trump spin approach remains doomed to fail and will never actually defeat the Dems’ massive spin apparatus, that includes, not only most of the media in America, but also the big tech social media giants, who jumped onboard with becoming the online censors of Republicans and conservatives speech, working to silence Trump-friendly conservative and Republican voices, who gain too much traction or pose any threat to the preferred liberal spin narratives. And now corporate CEOs have jumped into the Dem spin war too.

Trump’s dishonest, bombastic, reactionary spin show provides the Dems endless spin ammunition, while at the same time assures that Republicans and conservatives will stay locked down by Trump’s circular firing squad leadership style, wasting more time on in-fighting than uniting for any common purpose to counter the Dem/mainstream media spin war.

The main reason Trump supporters cite for supporting Trump is “he’s a fighter!” Unfortunately, Trump’s undisciplined and short-sighted outbursts aren’t a winning strategy to defeat a massive, sophisticated, well-organized and funded spin information war, that is only part of a multi-faceted leftist culture war. The left’s culture war ideologues are deeply burrowed into the American education system, they control the Democratic Party agenda, they have powerful support among America’s big tech giants and corporate America, and they control most of mass media political messaging in America.

The COVID-19 spin scare is beginning to lose its effectiveness at keeping the American people fearful and thus compliant to Dem COVID spin power grabs, so the leftist spin message operations have already begun priming the media spin battlefield for pivoting to their next spin “CRISIS” messaging, moving away from COVID-19 onto CLIMATE EMERGENCY… Seriously, the Dems and their liberal media friends are already prepping their media spin battlefield for this pivot:

The Biden administration wisely began muzzling President Biden as their COVID preacher, after inauguration, and instead allowed the media gadfly, Dr. Fauci, to assume the role of unofficial COVID czar, so that once he’s no longer useful to their spin messaging, the media will stop their Fauci lovefest coverage and the Democrats can just pivot to ramping up CLIMATE EMERGENCY hysteria.

More bizarre American spin war ahead, for sure.

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Happy Easter!

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Personal Note

My husband died last Saturday. My own blog is the only place I wanted to post a link to his obituary. I’ll return after taking some time off.

https://www.carteroglethorpe.com/obituary/thomas-heward-jr-sgm-us-army-ret

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A hard path to travel

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

Although my blog is mainly my opinions about politics and culture war issues, this post is a personal one. I’ve mentioned in other posts that my husband has been on home hospice care since late January 2020. He couldn’t even sit up in the bed by himself after suffering acute respiratory failure. To me it seems miraculous that he has survived this long. He’s been completely bed bound for over a year.

There was never any hope that he would regain, in any real sense, anything remotely resembling, “quality of life.” He has late stage COPD and he’s had, normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) for well over a decade. It’s been years of declines, then he’d work to regain his strength, but never recover to the point he had been before the latest set-back.

He liked to read novels, work in our yard, do home fix-it and home improvement projects. He used to have a wicked sense of humor and there were still occasional glimmers of that over this past year.

During the past decade he went from a cane, to a walker, to a wheelchair, to being bed-bound. The most devastating part wasn’t losing his mobility, it was the dementia caused by the NPH. that increased along the way.

My husband is a fighter. He believes, “The mind controls the body; the body does not control the mind.” When faced with being bed bound and unable to even sit up on his own, he fought to regain his strength, hour after hour, day after day, week after week, until he managed to pull himself up to a sitting position, holding onto the bedrails.

This past year has been a rollercoaster, where there’d be a few small improvements and then the unrealistic hopes, that maybe he’d get better would start popping into my head, even though I knew that wasn’t going to happen. Those hopes would quickly be followed by another decline. There were declines, with several infections, but he kept fighting back to being able to sit up and he’d try to eat and regain his strength.

Everything sounds so clinical with the terms used to explain what’s happening in the dying process. He’s now in the end stretch, the hospice nurses referred to it as a transition to the final stage of his disease progression with COPD, barely moving any air, stopped eating, barely drinking and I felt like writing this.

With all these ups and downs, it’s often felt like being on a “death watch” each time he declined. He’s sleeping almost constantly now. The hospice nurses are keeping careful watch, guiding me on how to care for him and keep him comfortable. They visit daily now to check on my husband and guide me through this. I could not have made it through the past year, of this level of caregiving, without their support. These hospice nurses are truly angels.

People keep asking me, “Are you okay?” Yes, I’m “okay,” whatever that means. My husband and I have been married 40 years. He has fought harder to keep going than I ever imagined anyone would fight. There’s a whole lot of pain, but after watching him lose control of his body and the memory loss, where from one minute to the next, he usually can’t remember what he wanted to say, there’s also a feeling of hoping he finds peace when his suffering is done.

Oddly enough my husband never went on any social media and has no idea what a blog even is and he’s never read a single post, even though he’s inspired many of my posts. By the time I started blogging he was already suffering from serious memory problems.

Unlike many people monetizing or taking donations to support their blogs, I pay for my WordPress account. I never want to make a cent off of anything I write on this blog and only hope to continue having this small space online to express my opinions.

I’ll be back to blogging about politics, culture war issues and yes, likely the corrupt spin information war too, after my husband’s final journey is done.

Thanks for taking the time to read this personal blog post.

I will be back.

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A few thoughts about the TX blizzard

When the pandemic mess moved into high gear last spring with the “slow the spread” mitigation efforts, many previously happy-go-lucky Americans became interested in emergency preparedness, especially acquiring a supply of toilet paper and emergency food.

Before talking about this past week’s blizzard that left TX in a huge mess, it’s easy to point the finger and try to attach blame in every crisis, especially in America, where everything now turns into a partisan political controversy.

Politicians and the media seem to delight in hyping hysterical people in emergencies, using these personal tales of woe to frame partisan political spin attacks. So, in this TX crisis, a reporter interviewed a couple who burned pieces of furniture in their fireplace and had a stack of small branches gathered from their yard.

Another media story was about a lady burning some of her art canvases to stay warm. People burning furniture, treated wood and random household objects in their fireplace isn’t a great survival story, it’s dangerous. Treated and finished wood can give off toxic fumes, as can many household items.

While it may sound mean to say anything negative about actions people take in a crisis, it’s irresponsible for media to elevate people, doing unsafe things, as heroes. The lady who got in her car, inside her garage with her child, and ran the car to try to stay warm wasn’t a hero, she was a panicked mother making a tragic decision. She and her child died from the carbon monoxide. There were also reports in TX of people bringing their gas and charcoal grills inside and lighting them to try to stay warm.

Despite media and politicians amplifying stories like this to heighten the drama and hysteria in a crisis atmosphere, the more disturbing thing is portraying these people’s actions as heroic tales of survival, when the sad truth is, they’re more object lessons of people reacting in panic, because they weren’t adequately prepared for a cold weather emergency. Many people make no emergency preparations before bad weather events, even when the coming storms are reported several days in advance. These are the people who will likely fare worst and make panicked decisions, because they never gave any prior thought to: “What would I do if this happened?”

Since the pandemic hit last year, emergency preparedness has become something I’ve tried to learn more about. Those lockdowns and shortages of items in grocery stores served as a wake-up call for me to start assessing my emergency preparedness, because honestly, I considered most of the “prepper movement” as Domesday kooks, anti-government radicals, bunker in the backyard alarmists, and a lots of gung-ho gun & ammo preppers,

It seems a very dramatic change from the emergency preparedness my parents and most people where I grew up practiced when I was a kid (they had stopped the nuclear attack drills in schools by that time, lol). Their preparedness efforts were geared mostly to weather and natural disasters, plus the everyday emergencies, like the car breaks down and emergency first-aid skills. Now “doomsday” preppers and “survivalists” turn into media sensations and there’s a huge prepper industry selling high-priced gadgets, gears and guns, that often come attached with a lot of anti-government and far right-wing political overtones. The same thing goes for this blizzard in TX last week. I didn’t want to hear about political garbage from the green energy left or the fossil fuel right. Political leaders should have been providing useful information and focused completely on assisting efforts to help the people impacted.

In my family, I have always been the first person to get out a flashlight and have it right beside me when I hear a storm starting (or reported heading our way) and I go pull out any supplies I think we might need. Often I preemptively lit a candle or two, just in case, so we weren’t left in the dark feeling around for a flashlight, if the power goes out. LED camping lanterns have now replaced candles in our house (although I still have a lot of candles on hand, just in case).

My husband and kids used to make fun of my storm rituals, which I calmly went through, no matter what they said. I didn’t care how much that they made fun of me; I did what I thought was sensible to BE PREPARED. My family, by the way, always used the candles and flashlights I got out. However, I never considered myself a “prepper” and have had a rather negative view of the “prepper movement” that has developed in recent decades. Although, I am very conservative, I just don’t want emergency preparedness to be a political issue at all.

Since last year, my attitude about emergency preparedness changed. I don’t care if anyone calls me a kooky prepper, a hoarder, ridiculous, or stupid. I hope people all across America have this change of attitude too and start learning to be more prepared for emergencies. Being unprepared, especially with basic food, water, and supplies leaves you trying to play catch-up in a crisis environment, where people are rushing to stores and panic-buying or stores are closed due to the emergency situation.

Way back in 2012 when I started this blog, a friend, Gladius Maximus, wrote a piece, Gimme A Knife, which I’ve quoted several times since then:

I understand that folks growing up in the cities don’t have some of the outdoor opportunities that some of us have, but I am convinced that there are opportunities to develop individuality, independence, self-confidence and other survival skills without having to spend a year in the Rockies on some kind of sabbatical. Survival is more a mind-set than a setting. Attitude is everything.

Being innovative and imaginative is essential whether you’re in downtown Houston or central Nebraska. Skills of observation and patience are not natural talents, but acquired skills; both are essential and both can be acquired through discipline. The ability to reason and employ a rational, decision making process is needed in order to survive and thrive. Again, that is an acquired skill. Determination, grit if you will, is a trait to be cherished, not erased.

Gladius was right. Survival is more a mind-set, but part of that mind-set has got to be learning to stay calm in emergencies. Being prepared isn’t just about running out and buying food, water and supplies; it’s about building up some emergency preparedness knowledge and acquiring skill sets. People can survive in very formidable cold conditions, even with very few supplies:

As an outside observer to this cold weather emergency last week, sitting cozy warm in GA, I learned a lot of emergency preparedness lessons. My youngest daughter, son-in-law and 4 month old grandson live in TX and their power went out and stayed out shortly after the storm rolled in. They went to a friend, who had gas heat working, Monday afternoon, when the temperature in their house got down in the low 50s. Early Tuesday morning their power came back on, which they knew because the baby monitor over the crib came back online. It was 35 degrees in the nursery. They went back home once their house had warmed up some. My daughter told me that my grandson didn’t like being in a blanket tent in a cold house and he didn’t like sleepovers very much either. My oldest daughter and grandkids live in Indiana and they didn’t experience any problems with this storm.

Sure, it’s easy to think the people who burned furniture or lit their gas and charcoal grills in their homes, to stay warm, were idiots, but that’s not what I took away from these stories. Where I live in southeast GA, we rarely get freezing temperatures. We hardly ever use our fireplace, but we have a couple days worth of fire logs (going to buy more) in the garage. We aren’t well-prepared for a cold weather emergency either. I did a lot of googling cold weather survival information this past week. What’s become a go-to prepper source for me is The Provident Prepper YouTube channel. They have several cold weather and power outage videos. They also have a website and a book with a vast amount of emergency preparedness information :

A closing thought on the TX cold weather emergency is that surely there will be investigations into what all went wrong with their power grid in this crisis and lots to learn there. Knowing what went wrong there is important, so changes can be made to assure it doesn’t happen again. The military does after-action reviews and uses this process where leaders share information and use this information to figure out what went right and what went wrong and use those lessons learned to improve performance. Taking a little bit of time to talk to your family (if they are on board with prepping) or if you are the lone prepper in the family taking a little time to calmly assess things you did that worked, things that didn’t and unforeseen problems will help you learn and be better prepared next time. The worst thing to do is not learn anything from this weather emergency and just brush it out of mind.

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