Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cash in USA

One of the things that surprised me the most about my trip to USA was how people view cash.
Its almost an inconvenience for store employees and clerks when you bring out the wallet and pull paper money out of it instead of plastic.
Even if paying in cash, many stores, specially hotels and car rental companies will ask for a credit card (just to verify). Yeas, right.
Most places have signs saying that they don’t have change for 50 or 100 USD bills. Even the ATM give money in 20s. The limit seems to be around 300 or 500 tops. Ridiculous given than in Argentina I can easily get 800 USD out of an ATM if I want.

Now, you could say there’s an easy explanation for this. Credit cards are more practical, employees don’t have to do all that hard math of figuring out how much change they have to give you back if you spend 4.99 and pay with 10 dollars, or you know, the hard manual labor of punching in the numbers and reading the right change to give.

But then again you could play the devil advocate’s game and find a couple other, less innocent reasons:

1)Using credit cards, at least when it comes to mass behavior, means people are much more likely to spend more than what they should or even actually have, sinking them even more into debt.

2)Its much easier to lie and control the economy if people use
virtual money instead of cash. A fiat currency is already bad enough when compared to gold standard times, but virtual money is so much better for both government and big companies that run them. You dont have to print your own money! Just click "edit" in the computer to create it.

3)For companies, they easily create a user’s database that goes into the most intimate detail. I mean, even the most simple program can tell how much money you spend on clothing, if they are low medium or high end, how much money you spend on luxury items, how much times you have sex based on how many Trojans you buy and what beer you prefer. All that provides a very detailed profile of you as a marketing victim … sorry I mean valued customer.
Companies can also charge you extra very much as they please, they have your information after all. If the car you rented smells like smoke you’ll get charged. You can explain that you didn’t smoke in it, that it’s a mistake, but you’ve already paid.

4) Its easy to see how a similar result to what we had after the crisis was achieved through much more subtle methods in USA:
After the economy collapsed in 2001, cash was in high demand and the government went out of its way to promote the use of credit and debit cards (which many stores weren’t even accepting by then). At the same time that accounts had been frozen and there was a weekly limit of 300 pesos to get out of AMTs, the government announced a 5% discount from the normal 21% tax on every item bought with creidt cards. 5% was pretty good, specially for people with an extremely tight budget, so it did help to promote the use of credit cards.
What has been done in USA seems to be much more effective though, it’s a pain in the butt to use cash so they win by getting you tired of all the inconveniences, nuisances and waste of time.

Don’t be fooled though, there’s a reason why they do this.

And also worth mentioning again, specially after seeing how people just aren’t used to having cash around, is the importance of having an emergency cash stash. If the economy ever goes to hell, or there’s long periods of time with no power, business will still try to stay opened and make money. That’s when they’ll look at cash with particular interest, all of them. The minimum would be having enough cash for a month worth of expenses. Even better would be that plus 1000 dollars per family member or enough to buy plane tickets for everyone in a hurry.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Reply: Knives and leather

"...leather used to be treated with boiling oil to make it harder..."

Actually that is something of a myth. Boiling in oil ruins the leather.
While the oil wouldn't hurt the leather, the heat destroys it.
Me and a friend of mine made leather armor as kids to sell at Ren Faires.
The correct method is to heat a pan of wax on a double boiler until it is
just molten and dip the leather in the wax. While the leather is still warm
it can be bent into shape (won't be able to after it cools). Excess wax is
polished off after the leather cools.


Didn't know that, thanks Jared for the explanation!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

social security in USA‏

I recently discovered your blog & got your book & am greatful for both. I am retired on an acre in the mountains in USA, trying to be as self sufficient as possible with rabbits & chickens, etc. My only income is social security but a lot of people are claiming that could well end so i am concerned about paying my property tax, etc. Any thoughts? Thank you for all your help so far & best wishes, Chris
That is indeed a concern.
The crisis has no mercy with people and those that are retired usually suffer it the most.
What my grandparents did was ensure that they had a couple small condos to rent so as to make a profit after retireing. I manage it for her and take her the money every month but my grandmother could still take care of it if needed.
In our case I'd try to exploit thosr rabbits and chickens you have. Make a brand name for yourself, market it as "green" or "farm" meat produce or try finding restaurants or butchers that are interested.
Sometimes fancy restaurants what animals fed and raised a certain way. If you do that for them you might get a few higher end clients that will pay well.


Knives and leather

love your blog.

Question about the recent post which mentioned knives easily cutting
through and leather:

I've not tested what sort of difference that it would make yet, but I
know that back in the day, the leather went through a hardening
process when it was turned into armor. As a follow up, I was
wonderning if anyone you knew ever tried using some sort of armor
specifically with knife attacks in mind (like someone wearing leather
or mail on their forearms underneath their clothes). Properly made
mail, would provide an excellent defense against slashes and some
thrusts. (Perhaps could be woven into jackets or something... would
there be a market for that kind of thing?)

hope you have a good trip.


Hi, leather used to be treated with boiling oil to make it harder, but even without that treatment ordinary leather is still pretty resistant and I like the idea of a leather jacket more and more again slashes.As a matter of fact, I brought my leather jacket to Texas during this trip.
Sure isn't perfect, and a razor sharp blade will still slash through it, but its still much better than no leather protection at all.
I really dont think mail would have much practical use.
A good leather jacket, made of quality leather, gives you some protection and still follows the gray man line of thinking.


Driving after SHTF

Post removed per emailer's request-

Guys, as it says on the right, next to my email, I'll post the email reply if I consider it relevant and if the emailer didn't request not to be posted. Imagine the time it would take to double check every single email with everyone that sends one.
Please if you don't want your email and my reply published, say so in your email.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Situation in USA

Anonymous said...Ferfal,

Are you back in Argentina? Will you be posting your thoughts on your visit to USA?


Being an exporting country does not mean you are wealthy. The key is whether you are exporting high quality 'value added' goods or raw materials. Most countries that export raw materials (even oil, except for a few like Saudi Arabia) are poor. It's an export trap and has to do with things like currency valuations, foreign owneership of goods, foreign debt, etc.
May 26, 2010 6:33 AM

Yes, still in Texas. The situation here is pretty good in spite of the crisis but I've been told that most other States arent doing as well so its not a reflection of all US.
I was expecting a more degraded economy but Texas surprised me in that regard. It's good that at least some States are doing better than others because that helps when you look at the complete picture. The country would be a wreck if every State had the unemployment California has, for example.
There's still some changes of course, and as I said several times I think that the raise in crime will catch people by surprise th emost, they just wont see it coming.

I think its no coincidence that both myself and a friend witnesses crimes  (car robbed, bank robbery) at the same time while on the phone. The hotel clerk said that trucks were being carjacked when trucks stopped to have lunch too, apparently that didn't happen as much before.

You are right about Argentine exportations, I was about to clarify that. Its not the same thing to export raw good like soy and other grains than actually producing goods of added value like technology or machinery. Even the gold exported by Argentina leaves a ridiculously amount of profit thanks to corruption, the profit going entirely to the foreign company that bought the rights under shady conditions. (Barrick Gold)


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

hi ferfal,
My name is fufutos and i come from Greece. You put together an interesting blogspot which I look forward to watch in detail. But right now I have some burning questions and I would really apeciate if you could provide me with some answers.
Did Argentina restructure its debt? If so, on what terms and what are the consequenses of that action?
How did the crisis and the IMF affected the lower, middle and upper class? Or, how did the income and its distribution changed in the course of the crisis? Was the crisis a catalyst for real social change?
How do Argentinians now look at their future? Do they have better reasons to feel optimistic?
I would love to start a communication. I have recently started my own blog (http://criticalglobe.blogspot.com/) but is unfortunately written only in Greek for the moment. I am another Greek-byproduct of the crisis that has in fact started on December 2008 with the riots in Greece. There is an active dialogue and social mobilization here after the IMF involvement and the giving up of our national sovereignity.
Thats all for now. I would be happy to hear back from you.


Hi Fututos,
Argentina is now paying its debts ( largest defaulted debt ever, I think 93.000 million) and its doing so even if we are clearly not capable of. The purpose is of course asking for more money again and doing the same old thing: Stealing it before they are voted or kicked out of office.

How did the crisis and the IMF affected the lower, middle and upper class?

More parts of the middle class became poor (with everything that involves) and some of those that already were poor fell below poverty lines. Some upper class became middle class and the small elite got even stronger in many ways, with more power.

Or, how did the income and its distribution changed in the course of the crisis?

"Redistribution" will be a key word for politicians after the crisis, some poor ( and sometimes I must say) stupid  like hinking "Oh, they'll take away from the fat fish and distribute that to the poor" BS. They just take a lot from the middle class, a lot from the already poor, and the small powerful elite flies calmly over the mess, untouched. Redistribution means the hard working middle class is going to get screwed in one way or another.

Was the crisis a catalyst for real social change?

Yes, but unfortunately it was for the worse. We are  now a more "3rd worldly country"  with strong leftist politician speech and people , at least teh average mass, cant see the truth behind it.
How do Argentinians now look at their future?

Not good, I think we'll stay in our third world status for a considerable amount of time.
Do they have better reasons to feel optimistic?

Not much, but as we say in Argentina, hope is the last thing you lose. (after your house, savings, car, lifestyle)

I would love to start a communication. I have recently started my own blog (http://criticalglobe.blogspot.com/) but is unfortunately written only in Greek for the moment. I am another Greek-byproduct of the crisis that has in fact started on December 2008 with the riots in Greece.

I feel your pain man. Believe me I've been there, and your situation is going to be very much a carbon copy of Argentina's unless some other factors help in some way. You're going to find lots of useful information in my blog ( and book, "The Modern Survival Manual" for that matter) Use the tabs for teh files and search button.

Take care and see you around!


Argentinian Politician's Proposal For New Anti-Plagiarism Law Plagiarizes Wikipedia‏


Argentinian Politician's Proposal For New Anti-Plagiarism Law Plagiarizes Wikipedia

from the where's-the-anti-irony-law dept

Britxardo alerts us to an amazingly ironic story coming out of Argentina. It seems that an elected politician there, Gerónimo Vargas Aignasse, has introduced some new legislation against plagiarism (Google translation of the original). It seems odd enough that he would be outlawing plagiarism (here in the US plagiarism is socially shunned, and could cost you your job, but isn't against the law unless it also reaches the point of copyright infringement, which is different), and it's made even worse by the fact that it looks like he's confusing plagiarism with copyright infringement -- noting in the explanation of the bill that "plagiarism" is harming the recording industry.

But that's not the ironic part.

As unbelievable as it may seem, it appears that the text Vargas Aignasse used to explain the bill was plagiarized straight from Wikipedia (Google translation of the original). Seriously. And not just a little bit. The first three paragraphs of the Spanish Wikipedia page on plagiarism are identical to three paragraphs in the explanation of the bill.

Just to make sure someone didn't do the opposite and take the text of the introduction and make it the Wikipedia page, I looked, and as I'm typing this, the Wikipedia page hasn't been updated since April -- and it looks like the bulk of that page has actually been in place for quite some time. The bill was introduced on May 6th.

It's difficult to think of anything more ironic than introducing a bill that calls for "imprisonment from three to eight years" for plagiarism... that plagiarizes the explanation for that bill. It's out and out plagiarism too. The three paragraphs look to be copied completely, and no effort is made to identify the source. It's also a bit weird that the text from Wikipedia -- which is basically just a definition of plagiarism -- is being used as the explanation of the bill. Nowhere does it describe why it's a problem or why it requires stringent jailtime. But, perhaps that's something Vargas Aignasse can ponder while serving three to eight years in prison for violating the law he just introduced... with the law he just introduced.

Monday, May 24, 2010

FerFAL on Ameros Radio tonight

Hi guys, I'll be on the show at 10 PM Eastern, tonight.

 If anyone wants to call ask questions, I believe theres a number in the link.


Spolied People After the Collapse

Anonymous said...

Hey FerFal, I asked this question before but did not get a response. I'm a lifelong survivalist and I've been warning people about what's happening in the U.S. and what's likely to come, for decades. Almost everyone brushes it off. All different types of people: young, old, different ages, political persuasions, etc. I've always felt that a collapse here is imminent precisely because nobody believes it can happen. The brainwashing by the elitist media is basically complete. I marvel at how people walk around only caring about sports, fashion and their downloaded music. My question is this: What happened to similar sheep in Argentina after the collapse? What happened to all the fashionistas and trendy club hoppers (and most people under 40 in general) who had absolutely no survival sense, survival knowledge or survival resources? Did they basically perish? I'm not trying to by dramatic, but I cannot for the life of me see how people who've spent their entire lives just trying to be hip and trendy could possible survive a collapse, with the mindset that's needed in order to do so.

May 23, 2010 4:28 PM

An Economical collapse means the economy literally crumbles like when they bring down a building with explosives. The economy freezes, everyone rushes to empty the bank accounts, the currency devalues and so on. Its pretty messy and it ruins a country's reputation in the eyes of the rest of the world for years to come.
What has happened in USA so far is an economic degradation due to the crisis. It also deteriorates the lifestyle people have as well, but its not as sudden and as clear as a collapse. Be thankful for that because trust me, you dont want a collapse, and its good that people notice that things aren't well. You talk to average Joe on the streets and they know, you overhear the conversations on bars or diners and people are talking about the economy this and that, and the politicians and so on. That's good, because it means people notice it and arent blind to whats going on.

As for spoiled brats and club hoppers, those that learned how to earn a living in the new environment we had did ok and those that didn't ended up not doing ok, usually living in the streets, poor, most likely addicted to cheap drugs like Paco.
Hip and trendy, doesn't matter much if thy learned how to adapt to the new economy, the new market, and still make a living.
People still go out in Bs As, theres nightclubs, tourists and all that, its just that the society changed as well as the social pyramid. More poor people, less of a middle class and a strong elite. Some people make money out of that mass market of poor people, selling them "cumbia" clubs and crappy music, others go all the way up with hot clubs usually populated by fashion models, design drugs and 10 dollar Budwiser beer if you know what I mean.
Whatever it is you do, you have to be at least good at it. For people that didn't adapt after the crisis, I can tell you this much, they failed miserably.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Crime and Lawlessness in the US

Hi Ferfal. I've been reading through your blogs and have already shared them with my friends and family. I have always heard comparisons with the Great Depression and the Weimar Republic, but never even thought of Argentina until reading your blog. Even though I vaguely remember hearing about your economic problems down there, it never crossed my mind about the impact on your society and how it could mirror ours. What sets apart your example from the others is that it is so current. Truly valuable information.

I thought I'd contribute something, for what it's worth, for those who don't think that lawful society can deteriorate in a modern first world country. This is a documentary which shows that lawlessness already exists in pockets of America right now (at least in this one particular pocket, anyway) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-gsn0cdfPA

I look forward to reading more of your work in the future. The single biggest thing I've taken away from it so far is the existance of a gray area between the current state of affairs, and a complete meltdown where the dollar is worthless. The more I read your work, the more I think that is how it will play out. I believe that most survivalists think in extremes, it's part of our personality traits.


Hi Scott,
The movie seems to be more of entertainment (warning:image of partial nudity) than an actual dangerous place, but I'm sure there are pretty dangerous gettos in most big cities in USA.
The problem comes when the "nice" parts of town are dangerous as well, or when "gettos" take up most of the city, if not all of it.
People must learn to incorporate safety and security training to their daily lives rather than waiting until the SHTF day.


Medical field after SHTF


When the crash came, how did the medical field do? Specifically nursing. Did the work dry up for them? Did it increase? What happened to their salaries? How is the field now?

Thank you for your time in answering.
Best Regards

Sorry for the delay in replying.
Lots of nurses and medical care personnel had a tough time, I know many nurses and assistants lost their jobs. Doctors did better, but after the salary cuts many hospitals fired doctors as well or cut the salaries so much that many didn't even bother any more working in public hospitals.
Becasue of this there were many strikes and well, as you can imagine public health isn't exactly good... at all.
After 2001 many simply chose to leave, many of them to US, Spain or other EU countries.
There was a national plan some years ago that was supposed to give incentives so as to bring professionals such as doctors and scientists back to Argentina though it didn't have much success.
Surprisingly enough there's more work these days for doctors, specially in the plastic surgery field, as Argentina is getting known as a place for cheap yet adequate quality interventions.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Hello Ferfal,

I was interested in knowing what life is like for your wife.  Being a mom with two small children, I want to get some insight on what lies ahead.  What are "safe places" she is able to go?  Grocery store? Doctor/dentist?  How has her ability to conduct business and move around with the children to tend to every day home tasks been affected?  Any insight would be much appreciated.  If you have written on this already, feel free to direct me to the location as I am a new reader.  

Thank you for your insights, honesty, and hard work.



Hi Eileen, thanks for your email. It´s an interesting question and I was talking a bit about that with my friend Spook the other day.
My wife used to work in a very bad part of town, a place called Dock Sud, which is more dangerous than anything you´ve seen in the US.
She used public transportation because it attracts less attention and you don't have the car to get stolen either, so you avoid carjackers too.
She´s also careful not to wear any jewelry that may attract a criminal´s attention.
She´s been taken hostage a couple times and robbed both at her family´s business and her home, so she has some experience regarding these things.
She has to be very careful and mostly goes shopping and running errands when there´s the most people on the street, usually during mornings, or a couple hours after 4 PM, she avoids the 12 to 4 time when people seem to be eating, napping or have their stores closed for some reason, She makes sure to be home before the sun falls.
For going to the doctor, dentist, or other apointments with the kids, either I take them or she gets a car sent by the agency (remis car , kind of a cab service) the car waits for her until she´s done and drives her back.
She prepares food and does the cleaning around the house mostly when my oldest is in school and the youngest takes a nap. Of course I help her when I can, since I”m the be husband in the planet but that´s another story. :-)


Argentina and USA Comparison

Anonymous said...


    For you to say "no" to Argentina-like collapse in U.S. seems like a change for you. I don't know why you would be surprised to be asked that question from people who read your blog. Your book shows perhaps the worst case scenario (Argentina) and many of your posts suggest preparations (body armor, dogs, constant attention to firearms, big changes and near collapse of many societal structures) that imply a pretty profound change.

    Very puzzling.

    Constant Reader
 Argentina-like similarities due to economic events does not mean USA will fall like Argentina did.
US Dollar loosing 66% of its value overnight? No one will allow that, no serious country would let that happen.

I”ve always said I want to move to USA ever since I started the blog. Been saying it for years before that too. What kind of idiot would I be if I got myself into what I already went through?

What I did say was that Argentina was very much a textbook socioeconomic collapse. Greece, Island, its like following a kitchen recipe for disaster and many of teh consequences are similar.
The US is going through a crisis, that does not mean that it will go to hell like Argentina did.
What I did say is that, given what ALREADY happened in USA, theres going to be consequences, many of them similar to what happened in Argentina and for which the mayority of people are not prepared for, even prepers, becase its a change of lifestyle, not a Mad Max end of the world type of thing.

It’s also not ...” puzzling”.. if you understand something: Preparing does not mean that everything will happen exactly the same to a T. If crime in you area gets worse you can use the security advice in my book, you can do many of the things people did in Argentina and I write about here in the blog or in the book. if you get fired or want to prepare in case that happens, same for everything else. If you suddenly find yourself unemployed you can read the parts on making money after SHTF.
A good friend of mine in Argentina has a big dog that goes with him during his walks for security reasons, specially when his bones hurt more than usual and he’s not feeling 100%. That’s smart and works in Argentina, USA and Taiwan, makes no difference.

You have to learn to take the information that you find useful and applies to your situation. There’s lots of important lessons that can be learned from what happened in Argentina. Wish more American politicians would follow those and not make the exact same mistakes we did!


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Reply:"Ballistic protection for kids?"

Anonymous said...I bought a used vest and cut the carrier apart. I put the front panel in my daughter's back pack because she is older/bigger and put the back panel in my son's. I tell them to keep the bag between them and the direction of trouble.
May 20, 2010 6:08 AM

I've heard similar things being discussed in some forums and I like the idea, specially given what happens sometimes in these... (give me a second here, trying not to puke)... gun free zones. Gun free until a nutjob brings a  gun none the less and starts shooting kids, and no good guy has a gun of his own to stop him. 

Its far better than nothing at all, but I'd still prefer the complete vest in the backpack. Specially with older children (and college students of course), if they practice it a few times and they have the time, they can put the vest on as they are supposed to if they have the time frame to do so. (hear shots down the hallway)

You have to keep in mind that its a very odd, random situation. You may run into the guy that is doing the shooting without even knowing it, a second later running away from him or the general area so you want  protection on both sides if you can.

Bulletproofme also sells panels for suitcases. You dont have the straps for using like a front vest in a pinch but its another alternative for people wearing suits.

Still in College Station guys, loving Texas. I know there's readers both in Chicago and LA (sorry for not replying yet to those of you I still didnt) but the things I had to do at those places aren't happening so as much as I'd like to meet everyone I don't think I'll be making it. Maybe  Chicago still but not likely.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Realistic post SHTF security

First of all, thanks for writing your excellent blog. I've also purchased your book and am reading that now. I just wish I didn't have to, if that makes any sense at all...

One thing that I'm concerned about is how security after SHTF. Let's be optimistic and assume that I keep my job. I live alone in an apartment...when I head off to work, my apartment will be left unattended. Given what you've said about police response times, I'm worried that my supplies will be picked clean. Plus, it seems to me that although I am on the third floor, it'd be easy enough to get into my apartment via the balcony rather than the front door. Any suggestions? I'd really appreciate any insights you can share on this topic.

Please keep my email address private. As long as you use only my first name, though, I am fine with you replying on the blog if that's easier. Thank you!

- Gregg

Good down to earth question, thanks.

By the way, with the trip and all, I'm behind in replying to emails, please have patience. Not playing any games just dont have the time, but I do reply, takes time thats all.

One of the things I've noticed while in USA, (and still seeing it again now in Texas) is that security is certainly not much of a problem in "normal" parts of town.

Some people dont bother to lock the doors, and even if locked most houses do not have serious barriers or security. I have a hard time adapting to that, not because I'm an idiot, its just that my head has been working in a different setup for too long. I cant leave stuff in my rent car or friends car, I cant leave the car door unlocked even for a minute when I get out, I cant relax easily while hanging out outside the house. Getting there, but not there quite yet.

Back to your question, yes definitely, you are right, and unlike Lala Land fantasy, you wont have an Ex SEAL buddy posted in the LP/OP guarding your $700/month little condo while you go work from 9 to 5 if you know what I mean. Doesn't work that way, does it? And getting told to simply get together a survivalist group and setting up a multi million dollar retreat... kind of isn't helping you much. :-)

Back to reality, if your asking me regarding serious criminal activity in your area, what it will depend on is basically 4 factors:

1) You living in a good neighborhood
, safest one you can afford to live in.

2) You keeping your mouth shut
about what you have, and keeping it out of sight.

3) Having a realistic layer of security.
Can someone simply break inside with a screwdriver (or brick)? Then you dont have a minimum security layer. If they get in, will something bite them? Keep in mind that the door is most often the easiest point of entry. People usually think that because they have a solid wooden door they are set. No, it can be easily pried opened, sometimes in seconds, or just kicked down much more easily than people think. I've written posts about security door before, look them up. Invest in a security door, bulletproof if you can, and a frame upgrade if needed. Fancy? You may think I've got loads of money for even suggesting it? No, it cost me about 400 USD to get mine, and even for the poorest person you simply cannot find a better way to spend money securing your house and protection you and your family. There's no security door company in your area? Then even better, get busy, learn and start one. You'll have a door and I promise you, given today's times, you'll be making lots of money if you have half a working brain cell.

4) Having an alarm system
that alerts both you and another family member, and the police if someone breaks in, as well as the loudest alarm siren you can afford, both inside the house and outside. The inside the house alarm (+120 dB) physically hurts your ears in close quarters, disorients and gets the burglar nervous. Cameras also help if there's a crime committed, there are game motion activated cameras you can set up without much trouble. There PC connected cameras that allow you to see inside the house with your phone.

About the balcony, you are right and let me tell you, its a favorite point of entry, these guys are like cats, and we've seen our share of "spiderman" burglaries (that's how they call them on the news in Argentina, sometimes they have some rappel and climbing training of some sort)

What we do here in those cases where the balcony its an easy target, we use some sort of wire grating or bars, looking for one that gives both protection and doesnt look too bad. You can use safety concern for kids as an excuse, your sons or nieces, whatever. Here are a few examples and a company offering this service in Argentina.


Is USA going to end up like Argentina?

No, not at all. I mean in real of possibilities just aobut anything CAN happen, but no I dont think USA will ever end up like Argentina. I”m saying this because I”ve been asked this question twice in the last 24 hours and I thought other people may have the same feeling.
What I have said though, is that exclusively based on what already happened in USA and is happening right now, you will see some similarities, specially how the society is impacted and changes.
I”m here right now and you can see them easily: The first thing I noticed was the one dollar coin which I didn”t even know existed, and that brought me dejavu of Argentina (they introduced in 1994). You also hear on the radio talk about advertisement of debt reducing programs, or this or that school actually being an investment in these hard economic times. Also the stores that have any other line of work, put up «I buy gold signs» which is typical of post 2001 Argentina and an y other country that went through a devaluation.
Crime is and will be getting worse too, but in spite of all this , no, I dont think USA will end up like Argentina.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ballistic protection for kids?

{insert the standard - have/love your book, rss subscriber to your
blog and read it daily, greatly appreciate the realistic insight}

You've discussed body armor a few times, but I was wondering
specifically if you do anything for your sons? I'm sure you don't
take them into the situations you've mentioned where you know ahead
of time that you should wear your BA, but do you have any
recommendations for those times where you might inadvertently come
into such a situation? If things get that bad here (US) I don't
see my daughter (4) out on the street in danger, but would be
concerned driving with her (fake roadblocks/ambushes/etc). I
googled and found some places that will make vest to size, but as
you know, they grow fast and that would get expensive fast.
Armoring the vehicle is quite expensive. There's that site that
does kids' backpacks, but that's not much coverage. Best thought
I've come up with so far has been using ballistic barrier blankets
(from bulletproofme, of course :-) mounted in the car around her
seating area (could double as extra protection in the closet in the
event of a home invasion. I don't know... do you have any better


Your right about me not taking my kids or wife to danger. Specifically regarding wearing armor when you know there's trouble, that also means that the wife and kids arent going, the are supposed to be kept out of harms way if its a situation you can prepare for in advance. The ballistic blanket looks nice, like something you can toss over your kids in a hurry and as long as they stay there they are protected from certain handgun calibers, other than that, I think you're doing much more of a favor to your family by protecting yourself when going into harms way to protect them.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Alive and well in Texas!

Hi everyone!
I'm in Fort worth but the hotel had problems with wifi so no internet, so Im posting from the phone. Just wanted to say hi and a special thank you to the people that went to LoveandWar! Thanks! Had a great time!


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ready for the trip

Hi everyone, sorry for not posting yesterday. Had lots of things to do before traveling to Texas.
Anyway, I'll see those of you that are going to LoveandWar restaurant. I'll be posting using my netbook so check the blog often, I'll be posting daily if possible.
I'll try to post mostly similarities between Argentina and the current situaiton in USA, other comaprisons, thoughts, etc.

Wish me luck and take care!


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Home Invasion

Thanks for the blog and book; I read both. Here's an incident which you might like to comment on:


Thanks, Ed

Craigslist Diamond Ring Ad Leads to Father's Murder in Home Invasion, Say Wash. State Cops

TACOMA, Wash. (CBS/AP) Four suspects are charged in a fatal home-invasion robbery linked to a Craigslist ad, according to Washington State officials. James Sanders, of the Pierce County community of Edgewood, Wash., was fatally shot on April 28 trying to defend his home from robbers who showed up on the pretext of purchasing a diamond ring he had advertised on the online classified site.

Sanders' wife, Charlene, told reporters last week how the people who pretended to be interested in buying a ring, robbed and beat her family and shot her husband.
"I had a gun to the back of my head with a countdown - three, two - and I'm just screaming and my kids are standing there, and I'm saying, please, God, don't let them kill me, don't let them kill my kids," she said.
She said her husband was shot trying to protect her 14-year-old son who was being pistol-whipped. James Sanders died in his wife's arms.

"I just kept saying 'honey please stay with me, stay with me, stay with us, don't go, don't go,' and he was just barely gasping for air," she said. "They took the love of my live."
Three of the suspects Kiyoshi A. Higashi, 22, and Joshua N. Reese, 20, both of Tacoma, along with Amanda C. Knight, 21, of Sumner, were arrested on May 1 during a traffic stop in California.
Officials say the fourth suspect, Clabon Berniard, 23, turned himself in to authorities on Thursday after being sought on a nationwide arrest warrant.

Investigators say they believe the people responsible for Sanders' death are also responsible for an April 25 robbery at a Lake Stevens home, north of Seattle, where the family had offered a TV for sale on Craigslist.
All four suspects are charged with first-degree murder, robbery and assault.
Knight appeared Wednesday in Pierce County Superior Court in tears and pleaded not guilty to all charges and was ordered held on $2 million bail.

Charlene Sanders was in court for Knight's appearance and called the whole experience "a nightmare" and told KOMO-TV, "When I saw her I started to shake."
She said earlier her 14-year-old son is recovering and both he and her 10-year-old son miss their father.

Careful people. This is the key of what I mean regarding people not understanding how things are changing.
Only the most stupid Argentine would fall for something like that: You can’t afford to be so naïve around here!
Anyone doing such  a transaction here would have chosen a public place of some sort, probably arrange the meeting at some jewelry store where they could also verify the quality of the piece.
Even when selling my car, I took extra measures. The car on the street, not indoors where they can restrain you at gunpoint. I was also armed and had body armor, just in case. Sounds exaggerated? Then read again what happened to this man.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Moving to Argentina‏

Hi Fernando,

I just found your site on the I-net. I'm moving to the southern Salta Province area. I want to be in a fairly benign area when the World Wide SHTF, far from big cities, and out of the northern hemisphere. NW Argentina is my pick. I may have some friends leave the U S and join me in Argentina once I get established.

I'm 63 (look 43), in excellent physical condition (organic type), an ex Nam vet (TET offensive action 67-68), skilled in self defense, weapons, construction, mechanical, general survival, etc. I have seen and dealt with some seriously bad shit in my worldly travels, survived it all (some skill and a lot of luck), and realize that most people don't quite get it. I'm one of the few that walks the talk. Like you said in your posts, be prepared, don't act or look like a victim (I definitely don't look like one), and if someone attempts to make you one be able to defend yourself.

I've worked construction (management and inspection of big projects in later years) in the U S and Asia and traveled to much of the rest of the world. I have been to every Latin country and have worked as an electrician on drilling rigs in several countries in S. America. I lived temporarily in Quito, Ecuador. I have been back in the States for 11 years and am ready to retire (or semi-retire) in Argentina. I will be getting my residency established before leaving around the 1st part of August. I used to be nearly fluent in Spanish back then and it won't take much time to be back into it.

I just started reading the posts in your website. I have lots of questions. Most of the chat rooms and other sites don't seem to be of my mind set. Yours is.

I enjoyed the video of conditions in Bs As. I was there before the collapse and it was thriving but expensive. They were modernizing the capitol building at that time. It was a bit of a shock to see Argentina collapse like it did. I was living in Quito when it was going down. Wow, it seemed like it happened overnight. Most areas of the city were safe to go to anytime and then it was very dangerous to be out at night anywhere, especially alone. I see a lot of indicators that the U S is heading in the same direction. Lots of blame to go around. Ignorance is one's worst enemy. I've made lots of mistakes but chalk it all up to experience. Pick up the pieces and move forward (or retreat if conditions require).

I can't seem to find the cost of a new 4x4. I have a 2007 Toyota 4x4 quad cab now and a Dodge 2500 4x4 quad cab long bed diesel. I would like to send them down there but the costs?, hassles?, and what about the import duty (who establishes the value)? Most sites recommend buying there. What would an equivalent to the Toyota truck cost?

I'm looking forward to hunting there. How many guns can one import? The info I have found says you need papers, receipts? Some of these I have had for 40 years and don't have any paperwork, especially my old Ruger M77 .270. It appears also that you can't bring ammo. It must be expensive. I have reloading equipment. Any problem with bringing that? and components? I may just have to cash everything out here and buy there.

I'm not a rich guy, having lost a lot in the market and other bad investments. I have gold eagles that I pulled out of my IRA that I will declare (1099 submitted to the IRS upon withdrawal, I have to pay taxes on these) on my way out of the U S and would like to bring with me. I also have various forms of silver which may be too heavy to bring. I have read that customs agents at the arrival airport (Bs As and on to Salta) will call their 'friend' and unburden you of your valuables and cash before you reach your destination. Are there other hassles? What would you recommend for secure ways to deal with this? It has been recommended not to ship it. Maybe I'll have to cash out and use another means, but I would like to hold on to the gold for awhile as I think it is ready to go to the moon.

I plan on renting until I find the right place to buy. No hurry, taking my time to find a good deal. Cafayate is high on my list.

Thanks for your great website.


For Argentine prices in general, use mercadolibre.com.ar. A Toyota Hilux (that’s what you want to buy) costs 26.000 USD , that’s used, 2006 in good condition. You can find one cheaper but usually beaten around a lot. Expensive? Yes. One of the many reasons why I don’t want to live here. Importing might be an option. Its still expensive but might work. Just make sure it’s a car that has commonly available parts in Argentina. Another option would be buying a used US car with high resale value in Argentina (BMW, Audi, Mercedez Benz) selling it here and buying your Hilux.

Food will be cheaper in Salta, but other than that be ready to spend between 25 %–50% more than you’ve been told. Oh, by the way, if you’ve been reading Doug Casey, let me be the first one to tell you he’s full of crap and down right lying to make money with expats.

If you’ve already been living in Salta for some weeks, then that’s a different story and I guess you know what you’re getting into.
Its beautiful, but its also the middle of nowhere province in a middle of nowhere country. May sound good to some people, but that’s until you need a doctor that does more than stitch cuts… or until you pay 4 times what you’d pay in USA for a TV, new fridge, or just about anything that isn’t produced locally .
You can import 2 long guns and 1 handgun per year ,but you can buy guns here once you get your residency. Guns are usually x2 as expensive compared to USA, make that x3 if buying in Salta, same for ammo and reloading supplies. By the way, reloading equipment has to be registered like guns, so no importing that until you are a legal resident. For everything gun related in argentina ,google "RENAR Argentina " and go to their website, its in English as well.

Don’t bring much gold, just a few pieces you can carry discretely on you. Other than that just get a international ATM card (that uses Maestro & Cirus) Then you can buy gold again. Again, it will be more expensive in Salta.
I’d seriously advice you to first visit for a month or two. Maybe rent for year after that. There’s a reason why most people run away from the poor northern provinces and move to Bs As: Poverty, very harsh climate, lack of job opportunities and general lack of everything that isn’t produced locally.


Greatest movie line ever…

Or at least pretty good :-) Enjoy.
Thanks Flyboy
PS- Guys, spare me the angry emails, its called a joke, ok? :-)

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101 uses: Duct tape

Found this little germ worth sharing about uses of duct tape, enjoy!



Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Crisis Meltdown Greece - Sheep, Sheepdogs, and Wolves

Hello All,
Please consider the following article for your website, newsletter or blog.
In this I look at what is taking place in Greece and showing it as a foreshadow of things to come here in America.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me.
In His Service,

Ray Gano

Crisis Meltdown Greece - Sheep, Sheepdogs, and Wolves

By Ray Gano

Crisis Deepens; Chaos Grips Greece
Greece protests: Riots erupt in Athens, 3 bank workers killed
ATHENS—Greece's fiscal crisis took a new turn to violence Wednesday when three people died in a firebomb attack amid a paralyzing national strike, while governments from Spain to the U.S. Took steps to prevent the widening financial damage from hitting their own economies.
In Spain, rival political leaders came together Wednesday with an agreement that aims to shore up shaky savings banks by the end of next month. Banks in France and Germany, which are among Greece's top creditors, pledged to support a Greek bailout by continuing to lend to the country. Investors, meanwhile, are pouring money into bonds of countries seen as less exposed to the crisis, from Russia to Egypt.
Anxiety over the Euro-zone economies sent the Euro down to about 1.29 to the dollar, its lowest level in more than a year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell for the second straight day, losing 58.65 points, or 0.54%, to close at 10868.12.
If you have not been paying attention to what is going on in Greece, you need to be.
Because this is a foreshadow of things to come here in the US.
Here is a new acronym you need to learn. SHTF = Shcumar (crap) Hits The Fan.

Folks, many people out there have bought into the Hollywood scenario of the apocalyptic world of Mad Max and the Thunder Dome.  

When the SHTF, we are not going to resort to being Will Smith in "I am Legend" world.
You know what is going to happen?
Life will go on as soon as the main crisis slows down.
What people do not realize, it will be a completely different world from the one you used to live in.
Those who have prepared will make the transition, those who don’t will fall by the way side and become a casualty of the crisis.
Everyone is worried about EMP, or a Nuke attack and zombies. Can these things happen? Sure, well not the zombies, but the odds are pretty high to possibly not happening at all.
But the odds of a financial crisis hitting this country is very good. In fact I am going to say that it isn't a matter of "IF", it is a matter of "WHEN."
One of the greatest teachers is history.
It is a teacher we often ignore.
Scripture says…
Ecclesiastes 1:9 (KJV)  The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
What we are seeing in Greece is a repeat of history. This is the same thing took place in Bolivia, Zimbabwe and in Argentina  just in the last decade.
Folks, a financial crisis is here, the masses just don’t know it yet.
It isn't zombies that you will be fighting, it will the crime, the high price of everything, sporadic water services, sporadic electricity, all the while everything is breaking down around you and nothing getting fixed or replaced.
Again looking at history and those countries that have come before us we see what will take place.
But out of all of it, it is the crime that will sooner or later be like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Again history and just knowing the sin nature of man will show this to be true.

When the SHTF,  you’ll feel a real, urgent need to increase your security habits and find means of self defense.  Problem is that the million or so other people that live in your general area will have the same real urgent need.
Wanna get a gun, the shelves will be empty. That or the cost will be so high that it will be basically impossible. Those who are prepared will have already taken their personal, family and home security into consideration and have already acted. This is why I highly encourage you to get a Carry & Conceal license now. On top of that, take at least some basic fundamental classes on how to handle the weapon and even some close quarter tactics. They are out there, call your local gun shop owner and they can usually hook you up.

What about any sort of home alarm system, security system, even automatic lights. You will see the prices go through the roof. But not only because the money you are using is basically worthless, but the fact that you are now competing against the million or so masses who are looking for the same things you are. Those who are prepared have already set this up as well.
When the SHTF you will not be able to make ignorant mistakes, they will cost you in money and God forbid, possibly your life if you are too foolish.
People will naturally be divided into three groups. There will be the "sheepdogs" and there will be the "sheep." The third group, they are the wolves. It is the wolves who the sheep and the sheepdogs will need to contend with. 

What About a Job and Food?
Like during the great depression, people will be job hunting for months, even years. Competing for a job will become an art form of its own. Monster and the classified adds in the newspapers will be a joke. Those who are prepared will already have friends of friends, networks and abilities to help secure a much coveted job.
In fact, just getting to and from work will be an exercise in logic, tactics and nerves of steel. You will have riots, roadblocks, fires, carjacking, kidnappings, shootings and looters to contend with. That's just to name a few of the obstacles.
Grocery stores will have very limited supplies and when they do, getting in and purchasing food will be like walking the gauntlet. You will be on alert getting to and from your car with pepper spray or other means to keep the wolves at bay in hand.
Once inside you will have to contend with the prices being 200%, 300%, possibly even 700% higher.
Do you know that today it costs 32 billion Zimbabwe dollars just for a dozen eggs?
But that is not all.
The banks are going to be closed and when they do open they will limit how much you can withdrawal.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the equivalent to our own Fed Reserve has fixed the daily withdrawal limit at Z$100 billion. Folks, that is roughly US$1.25 per day for individuals. Newsflash -  that doesn't even cover the average day to day cost of living for people. Not to mention that they are living in the world's most inflationary country on the globe today.

Want a shocker, a loaf of bread costs Z$100 billion, meat sells for Z$450 billion a pound. (about US$5.60) and a half-gallon of milk costs Z$200 billion (about US$2.50). These items are all fixed priced by the government by law too. If they weren't the cost would be astronomical.
In Zimbabwe, local shops that are open associate a fee just for using Z-dollars, and although these fees differ, most charge about 15% commission for cash.
Why? Because the hyperinflation is so bad that within 24 hours, they have lost money due to prices going up higher and higher.
Those who have prepared have protected their wealth by putting it into silver, gold, jewelry, hard based assets. They may even have other hard currencies on hand like the Swiss Francs, Chinese Yuan or other currency that has not lost value in the worlds economy.
 They in turn can trade these items in and will be able to afford food to feed the family, gas to go to work, and other day to day expenses and not have to worry to much about the bank limits set upon them.
People, you have time right now to decide who you will be. Take this opportunity so that you can prepare for this situation now. 

Life will go on after the SHTF, but it will be the end of the world as you know it and be an entirely different world the next morning with new rules and new attitudes.  
Those who have prepared now will have the upper hand and be able to transition. They will have already seen the writing on the wall for a while now.  These people will be the sheepdogs
Here is what they have already done…
They have purchased food and have a well stocked pantry - they see food as an investment.
They have provided means to protect themselves, their family, their home with as many means as possible.
They have chosen to be the "sheepdog" instead of being the "sheep."
They blend into the crowd, walk with a purpose and completely alert to their surroundings before they even step outside their front door.
They prepared knowing that this situation was coming not only because they have learned from history, the bible told them also told them too.
There is nothing new under the sun.
The key is will you take the time to learn and be a sheepdog or will you ignore it and become one of the sheep.
The wolves will be out there and you will have to learn how to contend with them either way you look at it.
Take the time now and learn from Greece, Zimbabwe, Argentina and the others. It is not a matter of "IF" it is only a matter of "WHEN."


Thanks Ray, very well written article. It was just last week that sugar here was limited to 2 or 3 packs per family in most supermarkets (some didn't even have sugar at all). Now things are back to normal. These things happen every now and then, no one goes crazy, but I do remember a time when this  would have been unthinkable. As you well say, you end up living differently and have a hard time pinpointed exactly when it happened.
Price changing within 24 hs? Try minutes instead. Its crazy, watching supermarket employees running around with pricing guns, not even bothering to remove the old price, just sticking the new one on top! The price would change (increase) several times each day.  
As Ray says, preparing the basic supplies makes a big difference. Having a % of your savings in precious metals, a gun and the knowldege to use it, and most of all, the mind set to deal with all this as just a fact of life. 
These things happen, you just learn to roll with it.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Knives for Defense

Good observations by John Farnam in one of his Quips. Notice his observations regarding the Cold Steel Vaquero Grande, a knife I carry myself and constantly recommend.
Good comment regaridng leather jackets too. Dont think it would make much of a difference in a gunfight, but there's some slash protection there.


John Farnam
Knife Penetration:
Last weekend, as we cheerfully shot various handgun bullets into Mike Shove l' s gelatin blocks, some of us decided to also experiment with knife-blade penetration and cutting ability, especially when heavy clothing and leather jackets are involved. I'm still far from persuaded that gelatin is particularly useful for any purpose, nor am I convinced that penetration results from shooting such a unrealistically homogenous medium mirror reality to any specific degree. Conversely, I'm not sure we currently have anything better that is readily available, is as easy to use, and is as transparent so as to generate effective, visual results. We can probably describe ballistic gelatin as: " the best of the worst."

I "stabbed" the gelatin with two of my Cold Steel blades, a Ti-Lite and a Vaquero Grande. In bare gelatin (the "Nudist-Colony Test") both, of course, penetrated easily, requiring only a few pounds of insertive pressure in ord er to slide in to the hilt. When the same test was done where the blade had to first penetrate the leather jacket and then four layers of denim before reaching the gelatin, results were largely the same! Both knives effortlessly penetrated to the hilt. Even leather and heavy clothing provided scant shielding.

However, when we did the same test with differently-shaped blades, results changed radically. On student had a folder with a "bulb" point. The knife was reasonably sharp, but, when he stabbed the clothed gelatin, even with a great deal of strength, the blade refused to penetrate leather. He enthusiastically attempted several times, all with the same result. "Tanto" blades faired slightly better, but still not nearly as well as the stabbing point found on the Ti-Lite.

When we slashed the gelatin, we learned that "reasonably sharp" produces poor results! Leather effectively shielded the gelatin from even enthusias tic slashes from several utility blades, including the bulb-pointed one. Once again, however, both the Ti-Lite and the Vaquero sliced through leather and denim handily, delivering deep cuts to the gelatin beneath. The serrated Vaquero was particularly effective, slashing through both leather and fabri c with ease. 

My conclusions: Heavy leather is an underrated form of armor, frustrating both pistol bullet performance and knife attacks alike! Not long ago, it actually was used as armor. Even today, some folks routinely wear leather g auntlets around their wrists. I often see my good friend, Mas Ayoob, in a substantial, leather jacket. I now know why!

To be effective fighting tools, knives need to be (1) strong, (2) appropriately shaped, and (3) razor sharp!
Weak, flimsy knives (of which there are too many) lack the strength and structural integrity to get one through a fight. In order to "cut strongly," one needs a strong knife, not an anaemic toy that will break the first time it is put to heavy use!

I have become persuaded that the shape of a knife blade is important. Blades designed for skinning and utility cutting are poor for fighting. In order to stab deeply, the knife tip must be able to penetrate, and the blade behind it must be appropriately shaped so that you'll be able to cut ruinously as the knife is withdrawn. Otherwise, as we discovered, the entire knife is little more than an impact weapon!
Dull knives are basically impact weapons too! I've always marveled at the extreme degree of sharpness with which every Cold Steel knife comes from th e factory. Now, I see why! In a fight, you're going to desperately need every bit of that sharpness in order to cut through clothing and penetrate deeply into flesh. Don't carry a dull knife and naively think you'll be able to u se it as an effective weapon!
Finally, I'm going to follow Mas' lead and get a leather jacket!

Reply: "Dallas reunion the 16th, night or afternnon?"

Trey said...

"Dallas" covers a lot of territory. If we want to stay near the airport - I am assuming DFW - we should consider 'Love and War in Texas' in Grapevine. It's a great place to bring a tourist, the food is good, it's central to the metroplex, and near the airport.


If there is any interest in this, I can look into getting us a room there.

Thanks, Trey ~

Trey said...

I called 'Love and War' to see if they have any private rooms. They do, so I went ahead and booked a room for 20 folks for Sunday evening from 5 PM on.

We certainly do not have to go there, but I thought I should grab it while I could.

Thanks Tray, looks like a nice place!
It would be nice to know how many people would be showing up so as to have an idea.
I received several emails from people in Dallas that might be interested.
Lets do the following, anyone that can confirm going, please post here in the comments so as to have an idea of how many people to expect, ok?

Again Tray, thanks.


What to do if bullets start flying all around you

Zombies and raiders sound cool, but ordinary shooting incidents happen everyday

I’m listening right now while answering emails about yet another kidnap that ended up in a gunfight between the cops and police, with the victim caught in the middle.

A couple in a mini Cooper ( a very expensive car here, that translates into rich people) was kidnapped as they were entering their house and they went “ATM Touring”, getting as much money out as possible.
The kidnap ended in a gunfight in Villa Carlos Gardel, a well know slumber town. They tracked them down because the car had Lowjack tracking device, a neighbor had reported the incident.
They took the woman with two of them to the ATM, the other two stayed with the husband at their home.
What this woman did probably saved her life: She hit the floor.
In most cases where people survive a gunfight, people that aren’t doing the shooting and are caught in between, they survive because they hit the floor, going as low as possible.

If you have cover near by, that is of course better, but when you measure time in fractions of a second, you have no place to go and you’re surrounded by people that are going to get gunned down, hitting the floor and going as low as you can will probably save your life. The good guy shooting your way will appreciate it to, you just gave him green light to shoot your kidnapper.

If the gunfight continues after that initial second or two, you can drag yourself with your arms like a snake (don’t crawl) towards cover. Again, do so while remaining as flat as possible, leaving the smallest and lowest possible area to get shot, minimizing the odds of such a thing happening.
Sounds exaggerated, far fetched situation? It happens all the time.
Regarding cover, you should know the difference between concealment and cover. Cover stops a bullet, concealment doesn’t.

People sometimes underestimate the penetration power of a handgun caliber projectile. Commonly used 9mm will go through 4 layers of thin metal without breaking a sweat. This means that a car door is concealment, not cover. Same goes for most signs you find on the street or drywalls in houses. Unless it hits a beam or some structural part of a door or building combined with a good dose of luck, the projectile has enough velocity to inflict a lethal wound. A dry wall, or other thin layers of metal or plastic will hardly slow the projectile at all. Remember that steel rifle armor plate is 0.25” thick! Cement columns, brick walls or landscape that gives you a couple feet of dirt

How fast do you drop, in what way? Beats me. You probably have a suitcase with you, grocery bags. You’ll be caught in an awkward moment while putting your jacket on as you hold a purse or briefcase.
You’ll have you baby in your arms and decide right there and then what you do. Its going to be the equation of your life, where you take into account the possibility of hurting yourself (and maybe your child) if dropping like a sack of potatoes or doing it more carefully, the urgency of the situation, likeliness of getting shot, and having to make the decision that may cost you your life in a fraction of a second. I’d go for it as when doing pushups, only faster and trying to minimize the impact with my hands, but your life is well worth a few bruises or even a broken bone. If I have my baby boy, I’d drop fast too protecting him with my arms as well fall. If its my older boy I’d grab him by the neck and pull him down along with me, the priority being getting down as fast as possible, minor injuries a far distant second place.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Dallas reunion the 16th, night or afternnon?

Hi guys, I'm getting a lot of mail from people in Dallas.
It would be perfect if someone had a place where we could all get together. (I'll reply to everyone by the way, just give me one more day to catch up) Anything from a community hall room, conference room somewhere, it would be nice if someone could organize it, I'd gladly drop by. If not, then some Denny's or Friday's or some sort of restaurant or maybe a bar of some sort. (family oriented please guys :-)  not some hole in the bad part of town)
I'm arriving to Dallas the 16th around  12 AM, so I'd say 16 th afternoon, say 5PM or later would be safest in case there's any flight delay. Would also give me a few hours to pick the car, leave my luggage, etc.
Anyway, if someone wants to organize things a bit, maybe find a location of some sort, I'd really appreciate it. The following day I'm heading to southern Texas. I'll be back to FW/Dallas later but it would be nice to do it right away in case I end up having schedule problems later.
Thanks guys, take care and see you soon!


Friday, May 7, 2010

Vaquero Knife and Fenix Flashlight

Hey Ferfal,

I'm a longtime reader & fan of your blog. Just writing to let you know I recently bought two items you recommended & am very happy with them.

1) The Fenix 2xAA cell flashlight is a real winner. I tested it against a 2 AA cell Maglite I have & it was at least 1/3rd brighter, with more options for power settings, etc. The Maglite has a focusable beam & is bright chrome (easy to see in glove compartment), so I keep it in my car & the Fenix in an emergency bag I made. The bag started for hiking a few years ago (sprained ankles, weather, stuck in wilderness overnight, etc) but has grown for use in earthquakes (CA) or bugging out of town.

2) The Vaquero folding knife by Cold Steel is the other item, & it is also a winner. The medium was a little small, but the large is an excellent fit for my hand. It goes in the car and gets carried, also with a small can of teargas, when I inspect properties in bad parts of town. I do real estate appraisals in LA, CA and occasionally need to go to the worst areas of LA, like near Nickerson Gardens housing project. If I go early in the AM, like today, the good people are out taking kids to school or rushing to work, and problems with residents are few. The main hazard is stray dogs, which are common, and often aggressive. Sure enough, as soon as I exited my SUV with mace can in hand, a loose pit bull wanted to approach me. It kept its distance & I didn't use the mace, but having it made things less stressful. Dogs can smell fear on people, and then move in, so maybe the teargas kept me from nervous sweat? Pit Bulls are often bred in that area for fighting and then escape or are freed by owners trying to save money. These are NOT dogs to touch and befriend! The Vaquero is a backup to the mace, in case a stray pit bull or Doberman gets past the mace.

Will likely buy the water filter next, good for hiking, earthquakes and disruption of utility lines.

Take care!


Hi GT, Glad you liked them. I own the Vaquero Grande and it is in fact a terrific knife, specially for a self defense blade.
I have a couple Fenix flashlights and they are highly recommended as well. They are well made and use the Cree LED emitter which I like the most.
Whenever I recommend something, I make sure it’s a product worthy of it. I also own most of the gear I recommend to others, or know the products quality is superb.
For me, the basic everyday carry gear supply revolves around the light-fire-tool triangle, so both items mentioned are of importance for anyone that wants to be prepared. Sometimes the “tool” can be subdivided into a multitool and a dedicated knife, but that’s very much the core of a basic tool setup: Something to see in the dark, something to start a fire, a knife and/or other basic tools.
Anyway, glad you liked them. You’ve bought quality and it will serve you well.


Flu shots ... yes and no.

Last week my son’s pediatrician told my wife that this particular flu vaccine hasn’t been tested enough, and that something fishy went on with the Argentine government happily paying for it in spite of this, heavily pushing its use on TV and other media.
My youngest son is healthy like a bull so he says its not worth the risk.

On the other hand, my doctor told me yesterday that because I often have respiratory problems, I should get it in spite of this.

I remember the big vaccine debate we had last year, with people having strong opinions on both sides.

What I’m trying to say here is, make informed decisions. Not all vaccines are made equally, not everyone’s situation is the same. Google up the information, ask your doctor, hopefully one you trust enough, and then make the decision.

Take care.


Thursday, May 6, 2010


Hi guys, I’ve got my plane ticket and I’ll be in Dallas, TX the 16th of May. Probably traveling to Los Angeles and Chicago as well.
It would be impossible to meet everyone but if someone has a class or students, and you’d like me to drop by and talk about some of the topics usually covered in the blog, send me an email to ferfal308@(remove)hotmail.com . Erase the "(remove)" part, of course. ;-)
(edited to add: of course, radio or tv interviews are welcomed as well)
I might travel to other cities so if you have other propositions or request just emial me and I'll see what I can do.

Take care!


Economic Crisis in Greece

This reminds me so much of the 2001 Crisis. The bank protests, the rioting, financial institutions being attacked, etc.
Maybe Greece has an even greater debt, but they didn’t have our social problems. Thousands of people that took the streets here were people that really couldn’t put food on the table because of unemployment and inflation, their families growing hungry.
Another difference is that in our cases, people weren't the ones living in debt, getting loans, it was the government and the politicians, who also got pretty rich thanks to that debt, so I guess that makes the public outrage even greater. I mean, you didn't have a credit bought car or house to even feel guilty about. It was all money loaned to the Argentine government that we never got to see, only got the tab to pay.
None the less, the resemblance is noticeable, and I suppose economic crisis end up having many similarities once they go down and the middle class starts protesting.


Greek bailout: Athens burns – and crisis strikes at heart of the EU


At 2.03pm today, on the third floor of a neoclassical building in the heart of Athens, three people died – and Greece changed. As the bank employees tried to beat back the flames, ignited by a firebomb tossed into the building by protesters, the economic crisis enveloping the debt-stricken country not only claimed its first lives: it shifted from bewilderment and disappointment into violence carried on an unpredictable current of rage.
The young bank employees, a man and two women, one of them four months pregnant, died in the fire which came within an hour of irate protesters laying siege to the Greek parliament.

"All of us are angry, very, very angry," bellowed Stella Stamou, a civil servant standing on a street corner, screaming herself hoarse, a block away from where the bank had been set alight.
"You write that – angry, angry, angry, angry," she said, after participating in one of the biggest ever rallies to rock the capital since the return of democracy in 1974. "Angry with our own politicians, angry with the IMF, angry with the EU, angry that we have lost income, angry that we have never been told the truth."
Across Athens today the signs of that anger were everywhere: in the central boulevards and squares that resembled a war zone, the burning cars, the burning hotels, the burning government buildings and rubbish bins and shattered windows and pavements.

Surveying the debris, Karwan Ahmet a 28 year-old Iraqi Kurd caught up in the chaos, described the scene as "being straight out of Iraq. It reminds me of all the shit we saw in Kirkuk."
What had started as a general strike called by unions to protest against deeply unpopular austerity measures turned into a tidal wave of fury as an estimated 100,000 private and public sector workers took to the streets screaming "let the plutocracy pay".
By midday that rage had assumed a new and determined dynamism as demonstrators – including once-stalwart supporters of the governing socialist Pasok party – began to shout "thieves, thieves".
Their venom soon turned towards the large sandstone building that is the Greek parliament. After scuffling with police, chasing the ceremonial guards away from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and taking axes to the monument, hundreds tried to storm the building, screaming "let the bordello burn".
As MPs inside debated the draconian economic reforms that eurozone nations and the IMF have demanded in return for the biggest bailout in history, riot police outside fired off rounds of acrid teargas to keep the crowd at bay. "All of them are dirty and have eaten from the trough," said one man brandishing a large wooden club. "Our politicians are squarely to blame and the worst of the culprits know it because they have fled the country."

With Greece facing a 19 May deadline to refinance its staggering €300bn euro debt, the EU and IMF agreed last week to inject up to €120bn euro into its cash-starved coffers on condition that Athens makes unprecedented budget cuts.
The tough regime, which also includes a freeze on public sector wages and pensions in addition to tax hikes, has not been seen since the country emerged from the privations of civil war in 1949.
"Why should we, the little man, pay for this crisis?" said Giorgos Didimopoulos, a 55-year-old jeweller who belongs to a communist-backed union which on Tuesday stormed the ancient Acropolis to make precisely that point.
"What people forget is that we Greeks don't like authority. We have always resisted when we think something is unfair. We fought against the Persians at Marathon, the Germans during the second world war and we will fight the IMF because in reality we no longer have a government. It is foreign forces who are in charge of us now."

Polls show that he is not alone. The perception is growing that it is low-income Greeks, already hit by three previous packages of austerity measures, who are being made to suffer disproportionately from the three-year fiscal and structural programme. In repeated surveys the vast majority have said they will take to the streets to oppose the "barbaric" measures. For many, today's violence is a taste of what is to come.
With unions backing the general strike – a walkout that crippled the country and isolated Greece from the rest of the world – the protests were seen as a key test of prime minister George Papandreou's determination to carry out the reforms. Germany, which will be picking up the lion's share of the emergency aid, has been quick to warn that if Athens strays the money will dry up.

But he clearly has a battle on his hands. "No longer can they say that these are isolated incidents of violence carried out by stone-throwing anarchists," said Makis Papadopoulos, who owns a popular tourist store in the capital's historic Plaka district where shopkeepers were fearfully boarding up premises.
"People are being pushed to the hunger line. With the intervention of the IMF things have changed. We now have an explosion situation and no one knows what the limits of Greeks are, how far people will go to vent their spleen." Resolution, say some, will only come with a root-and-branch clean up of Greece's corrupt political system.

Papadopoulos said: "This crisis has taught us that we can't go on acting the way we did, living off loans, treating the state as an endless treasury to be raided, never thinking about our future."