Thursday, October 4, 2012

james ballou books

JAMES BALLOU BOOKS
There is indeed something in a name.  James.  The majority of the best and or most popular survival/doomer writers out there are James’.  Rawles, Kunstler, myself of course ( I’m the best, the other guys are just popular ) and Ballou.  Author of two fabulous post-apoc how to books, “Long term survival in the coming dark age” and “Makeshift workshop skills”.  He also has “More makeshift skills”, which I’ll get to in a moment, but which isn’t as indispensable as the first two.  Now, I’m not going to get into too much depth here on the books.  I reviewed each one separately, in glowing and gushing terms, over at the Bison Survival Blog.  Suffice it to say that if you are at all interested in turning junk into useful tools ( and in staying with the advantages of metal as all other descend into the Stone Age post-apocalypse ) and aren’t a natural tinkerer that has come up with all these things on your own, these books are a must and well worth the insane amount of scratch Paladin Press seems to be able to get from their books ( if I had the energy I’d love to undercut those gougers and try to put them out of business.  Alas, a fool and his money are soon parted and I am only one man ).  The authors I’m sure don’t share in the bounty.  As far as the “More makeshift”, I admit a lot of my disappointment was my own fault, having conjured up immense untold greatness that recycling and re-working in plastics could bring.   But the material isn’t really all that great the second time around, at least using low energy systems.  That was covered as well as possible, but it seemed to me that the rest of the book was sort of grasping at straws, petering out of steam with the whole concept.  If you get it, as long as you don’t expect it to be on par with the first two you’ll be okay.  You will surely find something worthwhile in it.  But if you don’t buy it I don’t think you’ll miss much.
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So why do I bring up this particular author right now?  It isn’t to rag on him about his last book.  His first two were so good, I don’t begrudge the $20 on the last book in the slightest.  No, I bring him up today because I just found out he has a new book out.  “Arming for the apocalypse”.  Normally, I would give two craps about an apocalypse arsenal book because I would just be reading it for the gun porn.  It would merely be entertainment.  But since it is by a damn fine author who has a unique perspective which is refreshing, I look forward very much to it.  I’ll be ordering it next week ( I had just ordered this weeks batch of books that morning, then the catalog came in the afternoon ).  And of course I’ll get back to you on it.  And of course I’ll be stealing ideas from it if it is half as good as I hope ( one wag once said “if you copy the words it is plagiarism, if you copy the idea it is research ).  I also noticed a copy of other books in the Paladin catalog I am itching to try out.
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“Living on the edge” by FJ Bohan looks mighty interesting ( although obviously his first name isn’t James so I have to be wary ).  Not only is the book affordable ( by Paladin standards ), it looks like it is right up my ally.  The author yanks his kids out of school, jams the wife and kids into a tent ( for 18 months! ), then saved up for land and built a house as the cash came in.  In the desert.  Although it looks like a high desert with trees, so it seems like he could cheat a bit as far as shelter and heat.  But it has great potential since it covers those things frugal back-to-landers want to know, such as making money in an impoverished area, securing enough water to raise animals, off grid power, and all the rest.  This will be the next book I secure, although it might have to wait an extra week since there is a new release I simply must have, The Big Flatline: Oil And The No Growth Economy by Jeff Rubin.  Jeff is the one who came up with the concept (Why Your World Is About To Get A Whole Lot Smaller ) of home use in oil producing countries contributing to a bigger decline in imports than what Peak Oil would account for ( in other words, we are screwed faster than we think ).   I enjoyed his first book since he managed to keep the optimism down to a level just below my mandatory puking zone.
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Today’s article should have been titled “these are the books I’m going to buy and I know you don’t care but in the off change you’ll also be interested and buy yourself a copy and support me in the style that I deserve but which has been denied me lo unto these many years, it would be appreciated”.  To round out this collection of observations you don’t care about, I’d like to advance another hairbrain idea.  I was wondering in years past what the big deal about switching to digital TV was.  The only theory I heard advanced was “they want more available spectrum for emergency personnel use”.  This isn’t that far fetched, and could be reasonable given the growth of Das Homeland jack booted thugs.  But I’ve come up with another theory.  I think it was just about rewarding the major media.  They tow the line, replace news with infotainment, and as a reward now have three times the channels.  I have four channels ( over the air, not cable or DISH ) of nothing but old time shows ( The Brady Bunch, MASH, A. Hitchcock Presents, etc. ).  Granted, they are better than the reality shows on the main channels, but they are also larded down with commercials.  You know they syndicate the shows for next to nothing.  Almost free money.  Better, in their eyes, than producing new sitcoms or whatnot.  Greedy bastards.  Sell-outs.  Whores.
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