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STORM ALERT – If you live in the US NE, you better get ready… Sandy is coming!

26 Oct

The hurricane part of the storm is likely to come ashore somewhere in New Jersey on Tuesday morning, said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecaster Jim Cisco. But this is a storm that will affect a far wider area, so people all along the East have to be wary, Cisco said.

Coastal areas from Florida to Maine will feel some effects, mostly from the hurricane part, he said, and the other parts of the storm will reach inland from North Carolina northward.

Once the hurricane part of the storm hits, “it will get broader. It won’t be as intense, but its effects will be spread over a very large area,” the National Hurricane Center’s chief hurricane specialist, James Franklin, said Thursday.

One of the more messy aspects of the expected storm is that it just won’t leave. The worst of it should peak early Tuesday, but it will stretch into midweek, forecasters say. Weather may start clearing in the mid-Atlantic the day after Halloween and Nov. 2 in the Northeast, Cisco said.

“It’s almost a weeklong, five-day, six-day event,” Cisco said Thursday from NOAA’s northern storm forecast center in College Park, Md. “It’s going to be a widespread serious storm.”

With every hour, meteorologists are getting more confident that this storm is going to be bad and they’re able to focus their forecasts more.

Photos: Sandy threatening East Coast

  1. Waves, brought by Hurricane Sandy, crash on a house in the Caribbean Terrace neighborhood in eastern Kingston, Jamaica, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012. Hurricane Sandy pounded Jamaica with heavy rain as it headed for landfall near the country's most populous city on a track that would carry it across the Caribbean island to Cuba, and a possible threat to Florida. (AP Photo/Collin Reid)

    Photo By Collin Reid  – AP – Wed, Oct 24, 2012

    Waves, brought by Hurricane Sandy, crash on a house in the Caribbean Terrace neighborhood in eastern Kingston, Jamaica, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012. Hurricane Sandy pounded Jamaica with heavy rain…

The New York area could see around 5 inches of rain during the storm, while there could be snow southwest of where it comes inland, Cisco said. That could mean snow in eastern Ohio, southwestern Pennsylvania, western Virginia, and the Shenandoah Mountains, he said.

Both private and federal meteorologists are calling this a storm that will likely go down in the history books.

“We don’t have many modern precedents for what the models are suggesting,” Cisco said.

It is likely to hit during a full moon when tides are near their highest, increasing coastal flooding potential, NOAA forecasts warn. And with some trees still leafy and the potential for snow, power outages could last to Election Day, some meteorologists fear.

Some have compared it to the so-called Perfect Storm that struck off the coast of New England in 1991, but Cisco said that one didn’t hit as populated an area and is not comparable to what the East Coast may be facing. Nor is it like last year’s Halloween storm, which was merely an early snowstorm in the Northeast.

“The Perfect Storm only did $200 million of damage and I’m thinking a billion,” said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private service Weather Underground. “Yeah, it will be worse.”

But this is several days in advance, when weather forecasts are usually far less accurate. The National Hurricane Center only predicts five days in advance, and each long-range forecast moves Sandy’s track closer to the coast early next week. The latest has the storm just off central New Jersey’s shore at 8 a.m. on Tuesday.

As forecasts became more focused Thursday, the chance of the storm bypassing much of the coast and coming ashore in Maine faded, Cisco said.

The hurricane center’s Franklin called it “a big mess for an awful lot of people in the early part of next week.”


Do YOU “Thrive” on information – that is totally off topic?

1 Aug

I know, I know…

This is an ISBU blog.

But recently, as I watch over my child as he recovers from yet another tumble…  I’m watching a lot of TV and DVDs. And as result, I recently watched a film sent to me by an RR Reader, who wanted “Ronin’s Reaction” to  it.

So… I’m taking a poll;

I was sent a film called “Thrive”,  a documentary that is designed by it’s creators to cause us to “wake up”…

Have any of you seen it?

Do you find it factual or do you find it full of conspiracies, lies and myths?

Is the truth somewhere in between?

While I found some of it hard to “swallow”, some of it rang true…

I’ll let you decide for yourselves;

(I warn you that this is a long “watch”  – at over two hours…)

The producers say:

If you value what is presented in this movie, please go to where you can support Thrive Movement by making a donation. You will also find more in-depth information on each of the subjects discussed in the movie, learn about Critical Mass initiatives supported by Thrive, and connect with others who are waking up and taking action.

Film Synopsis:
THRIVE is an unconventional documentary that lifts the veil on what’s REALLY going on in our world by following the money upstream — uncovering the global consolidation of power in nearly every aspect of our lives. Weaving together breakthroughs in science, consciousness and activism, THRIVE offers real solutions, empowering us with unprecedented and bold strategies for reclaiming our lives and our future.

Pass the popcorn!

Change image quality to HD and then hit the “fullscreen” button on the lower right of the movie window for easier viewing…


Where are the memorials?…

11 Sep


A terrible day that actually took days to name.


A terrible day that we’ll never forget.

Almost everyone that I know knew someone in New York that terrible day… that perished.

9/11 was not a “tragedy”.

It was not even a “disaster” in the traditional sense.

9/11 was an attack perpetrated by terrorists bent on murdering innocent people.

It was an attack on the people of this country.

Many of us know people that paid the price at the Pentagon and on the aircraft filled with brave souls that fought to their deaths, to save others, knowing that they would not… could not possibly survive.

Many of us knew people who died in those landmark towers in New York City.

Policemen ran headlong into hell, knowing that the flames that had killed so many already could take them as well. And they stood those lines with silent resolve as the chaos surrounded and then engulfed them.

And there were firemen who assembled like a division of heroes, wearing their hearts on their sleeves as they did their jobs with bravery and courage.  Men with hearts larger than the 70 pounds of emergency gear they wore on their backs, their only focus on finding and then… saving lives as hell took all it could grasp.

They actually heard hell calling their names and they answered that call with roars fueled with bravery and courage.

The workers in the towers never knew what hit them. But… those firemen, EMTs and policemen did. They knew before hand and they strode forward without hesitation, with no regard for their own personal safety.

You can see the fear in their faces, in the photographs that we see daily that chronicle this tragic event. But it did not deter them. Because they knew that fear brought along with it courage. One cannot exist without the other.

They were from all the boroughs… places like Brooklyn, Staten Island and Queens…

… and they ascended those tower stairs to disappear into the flames and carnage. Some of them never returned to their families and loved ones.

I later read that three hundred forty-three firemen gave their lives that single day.

The number made my heart ache. It was like a cold hand swept heroes from the earth in one swipe.

I don’t honestly know how many policemen paid the ultimate price.

I’m embarrassed that I have to admit that…

What I do know is that is that at the World Trade Center memorial, with all the posturing, camera scrambling and political chaos that is created, no-one seems to be stepping forward to remind us that there is NO statue, NO memorial, not even a scratch in the ground, to remind us of the price these brave men and women paid.

That marker, that memorial would remind us that in these terrible and uncertain times, we are still surrounded by heroes ready to answer the call.

THAT their sacrifice is not recorded there in stone, to be used as fuel for our children… to remind them of the courage that this country is founded on… is the heartbreak that will not heal…

No matter the hardship… America will survive, because she is woven from the fabric of heroes… All we have to do is look around us to be reminded of that.

G_d Bless them… and every one of us.


All About “B.O.B.”

18 Nov

Welcome back!

To another exciting episode of:

“What’s that Shipping Container Idiot up to now?”

The other day a friend of mine (yeah… Ronin has a friend… didn’t think it was possible, did you? Huh?) and I were talking about the number of people who subscribed to our blogs using RSS and the like.

Now SHE has about eleventy-gillion subscribers, because her blog is;

  • (a) well written and readable,
  • (b) very informative and…
  • (c) even “catchy” and entertaining!

Plus, people actually “like” her. She teaches them really cool (and very affordable) “green stuff” to enhance their lives and brighten their day!

My blog, as we all know… is;

  • rambling to the point of documented psychosis,
  • incoherent to the point of wondering if I missed my med’s that day, and…
  • “Excedrin Headache #205”  waiting to happen to anyone foolish enough to try to digest it.

I suspect that people tune in here to watch “the train wreck” that occurs on each page… 😉

And I realized that (not unlike just about everything else on the planet) I had no clue as to how to figure out the answer. I mean, if I had all the answers, would I be living in a horrible hovel in Mississippi?

I think not. 🙂

So, I went to a forum filled with people whose brain cells actually touch each other… and asked about how one figures out these “complicated and mysterious things…”

I was recently contacted by a “programmer type” who was answering said inquiry about how I could determine the number of people whose minds I had bent… in my attempt at recruiting more “Corten Cronies…” 🙂

We traded some information, and he did a little bit of checking, and it turns out that I have over 20,000 subscribers to my RSS feed.

How he determined that, I have no idea. There’s gotta be some kind of mistake. That number CAN’T be right… It’s IMPOSSIBLE.

I PRAY that it’s wrong. Why? Because if it’s right (and it can’t be…), all I know is that I’m gonna be looking at  defending myself in a “class action lawsuit” when those 20,000+ people get together and decide to prosecute me for filling their head with “Corten Craziness.”

Now… as I’m a Jew (hey, you all know that… right?) I’m used to persecution… so… bring it on! 😉

As a “Container Cult Leader…” I can only say that I’m just trying to “spread the word among the pilgrims…”

And, after all, somebody has to lead us to the “promised land…” huh? Might as well be me.

I’m gonna have to do some more homework on this one, because if I have a bunch of RSS “follower’s…” the rubes…  🙂 …
… then my “view” count (not my “bodycount”) should jump quite a bit, with each published post. And by gauging that,  I can  start compiling data that I might be able to find useful. You know, stuff like which posts do well and point to stuff I can fill your minds with, to further cloud the issues with facts. Wait… you’ll get the posts whether you want them or not, in an RSS situation, right? Oy Vey…
I wonder… Is “RSS post retrieval” considered some “other” kind of server action, thus  it doesn’t actually get processed through a counter system I can see? Hell, I don’t know.  All this is giving ME a headache.

So… back to the show;

As you probably already know my family has decided to irritate just about everyone on the planet, for daring to stray outside the box… by wanting to live in one. At least, that’s the neighbor’s consensus…

While the idiots… um… er…  “authorities” in Mississippi continue to “debate” the merit of our home project, we’re helping other people (who fortunately live in areas where people are using theirs brains for something besides fertilizing their hair) build THEIR ISBU homes.

This is frustrating, but I’ll tell you, it definitely has moved us to looking beyond the borders of this backwater State, to find a suitable home, for our home. And that search continues, with vigor.

Why… just the other day I was talking about going out to the garage and loading up the car…

Corten_Car1Yep, ‘leftover’ Corten Steel makes great panels for auto body work too! 🙂

And heading for greener pastures. But then I remembered… we ain’t even GOT a car, much less a garage.

But, we’re working on it… 🙂

When I’m not researching… I’m packing stuff up, just so we have a little bit more room around here. You’d be surprised just how much space this little tiny kid takes up…

Ever step on a Hot Wheels car in bare feet at 3am in the dark… trying to get to the bathroom? I’ve actually learned to suppress a scream of pain!

Now that’s a handy survival skill!  Ole’ Freddie Kruger and his hatchet won’t know I’m hiding in the closet! 🙂

Where was I? Oh yeah…

Right now, I’m boxing up old DVD movies that we haven’t watched in a while… And…

I have a DVD of a cartoon movie called Titan AE…

… in that movie, “no-good rotten S.O.B.’s” blow up the earth, and the heroes (who barely escape the disaster as children) grow up to fight like dogs against the high-tech bad guys… until they finally overcome insurmountable odds, danger, death threats, and airline food…  and create a new planet.


And, they named that planet… “Bob.”

A while back, I told you about an affordable “alternative housing”  solution I’d come up with… instead of those plastic domes you see bandied around everywhere…

And, I called it… you guessed it… “BOB.”

That’s short for “Bug Out Box” to those of you who aren’t savvy in “b@stardized survivalist lingo…”

Actually, a BOB is really a designation for a “bug out bag”, but we thought BOL (Bug Out Location) sounded stupid… 🙂

If we’d have titled this post “All About BOL” you wouldn’t have gotten it and we couldn’t have included both a reference to TITAN AE and a chance to further immortalize “the BOB” – Bob Vila…

And, I got a lot of heat for it. Surprisingly, I got even more heat than I anticipated. But, most of it wasn’t from people claiming I’d ambushed Intershelter’s polycarbonate dome project…

And, it wasn’t from people who were mad because I took the “name of Bob in vain…” 🙂

All Hail “THE Bob.”

It was from people who thought that an Emergency Shelter that only enclosed 300 square feet was a dead end!

Now, I’m betting these same people pack up the SUV and go camping in the summertime, in a tent or even an RV that is MUCH smaller than the octagonal shelter that I suggested could be built… for pennies on the dollar, compared to “off-the-shelf” housing solutions.

Lemme see… the average 9’x10′ is only 90 square feet, with no room to go UP. Even if it’s something cool like this:

custom_camping_tentIt’s not gonna be more than about 120 square feet…

But wait! There’s MORE!

f “your tent has wheels…” the national average for RV’s is right at about 20′ (according to national auto insurance surveys I read) and we all know that the maximum width for an RV is right at about 8′.

Ya like that curly-cue “I” thingy? I just wanted to demonstrate how much style and sophistication I possess…  I just usually don’t waste it on “the likes of you!”  😉

So, there’s 160 square feet, plus a loft or two, maybe. 200 square feet, tops.  And, I guarantee you that RV or trailer is gonna cost you way more than $6200, if you bought anything with any quality built into it.

So, from where I’m standing, 310 square feet sounds pretty luxurious. But just for the sake of argument, let’s see where this “dead-end” octagon get’s you.

If you build it the way I described it, you have this:

Octagon BOBIt’s  310 “clear-spanned”  square feet, to cut up any way you please. I could easily sleep 12 men in there, if I had to. And, I’d have room for all of their gear.

But, if you delete just one wall, and “you did the math….” (remember the “pop quiz?”) you’ll install a 20′ shipping container into that pre-engineered 8′ x9.6″ opening, and you have this:

Octagon BOB-r2Now, if you were to put your kitchen, a storage pantry, and a bathroom into that 20′ “add-on,” all your plumbing would essentially be in the same place.  There IS space for all three, you just have to get creative.

Build a galley kitchen and you’ll get about 16′ of countertop out of that kitchen (8′ on each side), and a huge pantry right behind it. Your kitchen at home may not even be that large. Build that pantry “galley style” too (gaining yourself several deep shelves on each side), and you’ll have a passageway back to a big over-sized bathroom in the rear. Yes, a washing machine will fit in there, too. It’s not gonna be a cave, either. We’ll plug in some strip windows over the top of the kitchen and pantry to add some daylight.

The bathroom will get windows of it’s own, so it will be “bright and airy.” I guar-unnnn-tee!

NOTE: NO Dryer. It takes too much energy to dry clothes that way… especially when you’re making your own power or trying to make ends meet during hard times. Hang your clothes outside and let the sun work on ’em. They’ll smell better, too!

If you have to have a dryer, then just reduce the size of the pantry and put the washer and dryer across from each other, ya big wuss! 🙂

addendum: If you’re MADRIGORNE… I guess that you can have a dryer. Nobody likes doing “frozen clothing” aerobics. But no one, else… the rest of you are all “wussies…” 😉

Okay, back to the basics;

Now, you have a big open “gathering/sleeping room,” and a “kitchen wing.” And that ISBU connection was pretty easy, even for you! 😉

But wait! There’s MORE…

I bet you could do it a few more times. After all, an octagon has (8) sides, right?

So, instead of buying (1) 20′ container, and just hacking the doors off of it…

Buy (3) more 20′ High Cube containers. Don’t buy 40′ boxes and cut them up like we did the first time. You CAN do it, but it’s hard work. And, the building inspector will drive you crazy with requests for engineering formulas and “proof.” So let’s just spend a few more dollars, and get rid of a bunch of headaches. Okay? Okay? Hey! I’m talking to YOU. 😉

Now, you WILL have to modify your roof  slightly, to allow for that new section of roof (over the new ISBU) to kiss it,  but it will be well worth it. (I suggest putting a Hip Roof over the 20′ box sections. A Hip Roof is strong, durable,  really weather resistant. I’d top it all off with Standing Seam Metal Roofing.)

And, hey… while you’re at it… weld the angled corner braces from the old wall sections to each side of the container openings, and you’ll get an incredibly (and I mean INCREDIBLY) strong box.  After you do that, it’ll look like this:

Now, I went ahead and drew in some interior walls for you, but it’s just to demonstrate just how much room you end up with. Plugging those (4) sections of ISBU into the Octagon grants you the ability to house a pretty good sized family, and guarantee that everyone has their own space.

In the Master bedroom, note that there is a built-in shelving system (right across from the closet) that will hold pull-out baskets for clothes. It’ll hold 24 (1 cubic foot+) baskets – 2 for you, and 22 for her… After all, a man’s gotta have a place to put his socks and skivvies, right?

You’ll also get a coat closet (so that all your “survivalist friends” will think you’re “royalty”…) and an “office” right behind that, so you can jump on the computer and play games, to wile away the hours out of sight of your better half.  After all, if she can see you, you’re not out doing chores, huh? 🙂

The configuration I’ve shown you would allow a family of 6 to live “out and away” for quite a while, in relative comfort. And, they could do it pretty affordably.

container-bedroomA nice place for Mom and Dad to bed down…

Just add a well, a septic tank, a solar panel or two for hot water production, and an array of photovoltaic panels, or even a wind turbine for power (electricity) and you’d be “totally off-grid and definitely in style.”

If you want to go a step further, add a greenhouse and a water tank/cistern.

As you can see, it’s very “doable” by anyone that can use basic hand tools.

IBH-BEDROOMYou could do this in your kid’s room REALLY easy.

And it’d happen fast, fast, fast…

It just might have to, ‘cuz my wife gets pretty P.O.’d with me sometimes… 😉

I gotta go now. I’m working on a project in a “borrowed” garage… And man, these plywood 4×8’s are heavy!  🙂

Stay tuned.

The Renaissance Ronin


It’s not getting “better.” You’re just “getting used to it.”

11 Sep

Hey, are we fixed yet?

I’m building a house out of steel… cuz’ the “Big Bad Wolf” swiped all the straw, sticks, and bricks, when I wasn’t looking…

He says he needs them for his next go-round of stimulus give-aways…

I’m the guy trying to build a Shipping Container house, in South Mississippi. Now, it’s not as ridiculous as it sounds, unless you ask the neighbors. In fact, most of them think I’m as crazy as a loon… So, as the “powers that be” try to deter me, I have some time on my hands…

And, that means… you guessed it…

I’m in the mood to whack “political pinata’s ” today, so here goes:

Imagine a President taking time out from his hectic “play” schedule, to address the needs of the populace!

If I was on vacation, well… you’d play hell finding out where  I was relaxing at! After all, I don’t pull a truck full of frosty cold beverages around behind me, when I head for the hills. At least not one to share with “strangers…” 🙂

If I’d been Obama, I’d have been pulling Martha’s Vineyard in around me like a security blanket, but ole’ Obamanation… he’s always ready to put a big happy face on whatever seems to be bludgeoning the economy (or lack thereof) of us lowly citizens here in the States.

Case in point;

In a recent press “meet and greet,” he actually said:

“We’re losing jobs at a much slower pace.”

That’s like telling an accident victim that;

“Relax… you’re not hemmoraging near as badly as you were a minute ago! You might survive after all! Maybe…”

So, the trainwreck is slowing down…. says Him. Well, not around here, it ain’t. We just had another round of layoffs, as the industrial sector (pitiful as it is here in Mississippi) tightens it’s belt further, so that the CEO’s can afford those upcoming ski vacations…

I took a poll recently, and 1 out of 7 people I know has either become unemployed, had their hours cut back, or tried to find a second job, so that they can keep their kids in Skittles and oatmeal…

But every time I turn on the damned cable TV,  I see some idiotic politician or jug-headed economist saying that things are getting better! What’s up with that crap?

I’m starting to think that those politicians living way up there on “Planet Stupidity” (where the air is apparently REALLLLLLY thin…) couldn’t find their asses with both hands and a GPS.

As the seasons begin their slow descent from “ungawdly hot and humid” to “Brrrrrr… it’s the tropics for cryin out loud! Why’s it so freakin cold?”  I’m wondering when things are going to start getting better.

HEY! This whole thing could be “seasonal.”

Since Bubba can’t afford to go Bass fishin’ every weekend cuz “the price isn’t right,” maybe he bought more beer and BBQ, and stayed home! Maybe summer sales of charcoal briquettes and lighter fluid are gonna heal what ails us!

Hey, maybe it’s that “back to school” madness, where parents ran like lemmings to a cliff, trying to get their kid just the right ensemble, so that they won’t become a social outcast, and be forced to “Columbine” the whole class!

Possibly it’s due to grandparents rushing to Kmart (the only department store that does Xmas layaways, evidently), trying to get the jump on other grandparents trying to lure their grandchildren back into their geranium smelling houses for the holidays! After all, they’ll be forced into “the home” someday, and they want visitors! You betcha!

Maybe it was “Cash for Clunkers!” You know, that program where some people gave up perfectly good cars (that were almost paid for), only to sell their souls to the “credit devils” again… for the promise of a few flashed Benjamins that won’t last over twenty seconds in this failing economy.


Did I forget to mention that it was taxpayer funded? That means that we were picking our own pockets… Duh! Am I the only one to see these things? Oy!

Now, they’re talking about another “Cash for Junkers” program, where you can trade your old appliances in, for newer, more efficient ones. I suspect that Uncle thinks we stashed some cash away that he couldn’t get to…

What we need are programs that actually speak to the common man… stuff like “Cash for Bunkers…” a program to help homeowners reinforce their houses, in case the crowds riot, looking for bread and gatorade…

Or “Cash for Dunkers!” a program aimed at insuring that we can afford Starbucks coffee and those outrageously priced pastries, as we schlep to work, only to quiver in our cubicles, waiting for that pink slip…

Hey… how about “Cash for Lunkers!” A program that subsidizes weekend bass fishing, so that the “Average Joe” can put some affordable protein back on his dinner table… Now, that’s a program I could cast a hook into…

And finally, how about “Cash for Punkers?” A program that helps beautify your city, by giving some kids (you know the ones…) hair cuts, and appropriate clothing… that doesn’t expose their underwear, the crack of their asses, or other naughty bits that we aren’t supposed to see until we’re married?

Call me a ^*&$%#!! liberal, but I think if you’re gonna give away money, it should be for something the “tired, poor, unwashed masses” actually need… like deodorant.

Cash for Funkers…” Brother, can you spare a lime… smelling antiperspirant stick?

And don’t even get me started on this stupid notion that the US Government actually cares about you enough to try and fix your health care. I can see it all now, like a horrible nightmare…

You know, the one where your In-Law shows up on your porch, wearing a Moo-moo, 12 pounds of make-up, and curlers… crying about how her house just burned down (because she was too stupid to turn off the stove), and now she has no place else to go…

Holy Housemates, Batman! Where did that come from? Man, I gotta get my blood-pressure checked again… Oy Freakin’ Vey!

The healthcare proposal is JUST like that! Shut up! It is TOO!

“Now serving number 1894! 1894! Hurry up, we ain’t got all day!

Okay, you’re Mr. Who again? Please stop bleeding on my desk, huh? I don’t want to have to call the Hazmet crew! What test are you talking about? What? Let me check…

Sir, You don’t even HAVE Heart Disease! You have breast cancer! You do too! I don’t care what those doctors told you! It’s right here on my computer screen. And, beside’s… you can’t have that test! You’re way too old!

Look… The waiting room is jammed full, and you’re the oldest fossil in the room! You should consider yourself lucky! Why… You’ve already had a long, full, “squander your childrens birthright”  life and we have to think about THEIR children! Why yes, as a matter of fact… There ISN’T enough to go around! NO! We don’t use a “quota” to schedule health care! We use complicated formulas to selectively prioritize who gets what and well… according to my computer… you don’t get ‘what.’ It’s all about shareholder values, profit margins, and CEO bonuses! You think those grow on trees?

I’m sorry you think you’re sick, but hey, you should have thought of that before we repaired your healthcare system! I think you’re being selfish, SIR!

After all, it’s not like we can just crap money, sir! The government doesn’t work like that! So, have a nice day and remember —  we’re the US Government and we’re here to help you! If you need anything else… you can call this toll-free number;


And you can bet that if you’re stupid enough to call it… you’re’ gonna get put on hold… forever.

And, since we’re asking… why does that woman on the other end of the telephone sound like she’s in Bombay?

Stay tuned.

The Renaissance Ronin


I Wanna Be Responsible!

15 Jun

Okay, okay…

Since the beginning of civilization mankind has been using fossil fuels to “move mountains.” Hey, for centuries we thought that those fossil fuels were cheap. I mean hell, they were laying right there on the ground in some cases!

It’s true! Uh-huh! It is too! I know it’s true because I saw it on TV! That Jed Clampett was a genius! Who’da thought of using a scattergun to drill for “Texas Tea?” 🙂

But that was then, and this is now. Now that we’re more “civilized” and supposedly even smarter (I wonder whose yardstick they are using to measure THAT by, because I’m sure not seeing it…), we’re starting to see the real cost of using these fuels.

There’s no doubt that we’re destroying the environment. There’s no doubt that with all the newfangled technology that become so commonplace, we’re spoiled rotten, and even lazy.

Recently, I was in a store (okay, it was [gasp!] Walmart) during a thunderstorm, and the power went out. So what, right? Well, we couldn’t buy anything. The cashiers didn’t know how to tally up the sales any way but by punching register keys.

Where before, we walked to the store, or sent a letter, now we use our computers or a cell phone.  In most homes, we don’t wash dishes in a sink, we use a dishwasher. (Okay so in MY house, I’M the dishwasher.)  The point is, now we rely on technology instead of our backs. And, that’s a bad thing, I’m thinking. Our health has deteriorated as fast as our muscletone.

This is just the beginning of the bad news for the next generation. There’s more. Not only will they be rather unfit, and ignorant about how things work, the way things are going, there won’t be any power to run all of their gadgets. Mankind will come to a screeching halt. Why? Because everything runs on electricity, nowadays.

According to the newest forecast from the World Energy Council (WEC) global electricity requirements will double in the next 40 years. And at the same time, “the same guys” (OPEC) are gonna be in charge of the oil, so you can bet that prices for the dwindling resources of petroleum and natural gas are gonna go sky high.

I know that we’re trying to shift to other alternative sources of energy but frankly, the cost is still way too high for us “little people” to embrace. For example; we know that solar energy is a really great energy source. It’s clean, it’s green, and the sun isn’t going to go out any time soon. But the price of solar panels still resides heavily on a common man’s pocket. Our government has to stop talking about how much they’re doing to “help us,” and actually start doing it.

In my income bracket, giving me a tax credit isn’t enough. They need to step in and subsidize the cost of solar energy, especially in areas of residential usage.

They haven’t re-invented “the grid.” It’s still archaic, full of holes, and fraught with peril.  A windblown tree can knock the power out regionally, for days. One tree. And the resulting power outage from that single tree falling across power lines can kill people. I’ve seen it happen. And that’s not going to change any time soon.  I watched a commentary by two politicians the other night on CSpan, where they were debating where the funds would come from to rebuild the national power grid. They were throwing around numbers like $1 TRILLION dollars. A trillion dollars.

Subsidizing Solar Energy costs would cost far less, and give back some of the responsibility to the families that actually use electricity.  Making our own power would actually TEACH us to use it more responsibly. Imagine that… responsible consumers. If they really want to help fortify the infrastructure of America, they can start by taking off some of the load, by letting us carry it ourselves.

And, I can use one of them newfangled solar panel contraptions to help warm up my “cement pond!”

I bet you could even use one to power a still. I mean, I’ve heard about “solar stills” before. I wonder how many proof they get outta those rays for my ‘shine? Hmmm? 🙂

That’s what I think. I wanna be more responsible. Gimme the power! What do YOU think?

Stay tuned.

Yeah, I know… I’m more like Jethro Bodine, than Jed Clampett, but I can dream, huh? 🙂

Thank You.

23 May

memorial_day_rrMemorial Day, which was originally called “Decoration Day,” is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service.

But where did it come from?

Although dozens of cities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, my favorite attribution is the evidence that organized women’s groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, “Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping” by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication;

“To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead”

(Source: Duke University’s Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920)

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5th, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in General Order No. 11. It was first observed on May 30th, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

In 1915, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael replied with her own poem:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

But it saddens me that when you ask people what they’re going to do on Memorial Day lately, it seems like it’s just turned into another opportunity for “Beer and BBQ,” or an automobile “Blow-out” at the local car lot.

The traditional observance of Memorial day has decayed over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and even the traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, and even neglected.

Thankfully, where I live (in this part of the South), this is not the case. At the Biloxi National Cemetery, it reminds me of growing up in Orange County, CA (a farming community when I was young), it almost looks like hundreds of fieldworkers picking produce, as legions of citizens place flags and flowers on the graves that cover the vast repository of our fallen. But this attending to graves, albeit touching, isn’t quite accurate either.

You see, most people don’t remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. And, some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.

Memorial Day is specifically placed, a day to honor those paid the ultimate price and gave all, in the service of our country.

But what may be needed to return the solemn, and even sacred, spirit back to Memorial Day is for a return to its traditional day of observance. Many feel that when Congress made the day into a three-day weekend in with the National Holiday Act of 1971, it made it all the easier for people to be distracted from the spirit and meaning of the day. As the VFW stated in its 2002 Memorial Day address:

“Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public’s nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.”

“To all that have fallen…
Mothers, Fathers, Sister and Brothers…
We grieve as you are sorely missed.
Until we are all reunited,
May you rest peacefully in G_d’s arms.”

The Renaissance RoninG_d bless you all! Amen.


I Gotta Get Me One Of These “Bug-Out Boxes!!”

27 Apr

Say hello to;

The All Terrain Cabin (ATC)

A bunch of Canadians, tired of being shown up by us “innovative Container types” decided that they’d “one-up” us by slapping together a cabin, and putting it on the road, for everybody to see…

atc1Little did they know  that they were playing right into our hands! You see, it’s exposure that we’re after! We want people to see us (but not “exposed,” because that’s against the law)!! 🙂


So, probably fueled by that horrid Canadian Beer, they bent over their drafting boards, and came up with this beauty of a cabin! Now, I’m guessing that they came up with it “lickety-split,” because everybody knows that Canadian beer isn’t all that good, and it goes right through you like “a bullet through butter!” 😉


Seriously, a few “bright bulbs” in Canada decided to show us how it’s done, and I must say that they did a fine job!  They’ve brought together good design, some great technology, and even some imagination and wrapped it in a “Corten Cocoon.” And now, it’s on the road, for everybody to see and experience!


In spite of being taxed by that terrible Molson stuff (how in the world do you drink that swill? Blaaaaech!) they designed a small cabin, using a standard ISBU shipping container as the basis, and then they brought the “Canadian Flair” to it. Now Canadian Flair isn’t a WWE wrestler, it’s a combination of all great things Canadian, squeezed into a very small package. Hmmm… That reminds me of a tiny little lass from Toronto I used to date, back when I still had hair on my head. I wonder what she’s up to? I’d call her, except for that pesky restraining order… 🙂


The result is a a really efficient cabin, full of style and smarts! The cabin, although quite small, is perfect for a for a family of four (and even your dog) to live or vacation in, “off the grid” in what can only be described as ” Corten comfort and contemporary style.”  Remember, it’s a shipping container. Delivery is as easy as you could imagine it might be! Just roll that lil beauty onto a train, truck, ship, airplane or helicopter (if it’s on steroids), and off it’ll go, to the destination of your choice. And, in travel mode, it’s all folded up and indistinguishable from any ordinary shipping container. So, you could move it every year! Talk about a “time-share” that keeps on giving!  This year; “The Rockies!” Next Year; “Tahiti!”  Yeah, Baby!


Once it arrives “home,”  it unfolds rapidly to 480 glorious square feet  of completely self-contained, sophisticated living space with all the comforts of your home in the city!


If you want to live softly, smartly, and stylishly on this rock of ours, this may just be the way! But, it’s just an evil April Fools Joke, I’m afraid. You can’t have one. Why? Because there’s only one ATC in the whole world and there are only so many places it will visit. They have no intention of building them for us to live in! Oh the horror! Why? Oh Why? 😦


See? I told you you had to watch out for those darned Canadians, they’re SNEAKY and they’ll break your heart!! I expected something like this out of Paul Stankey, but to have it perpetrated  by our neighbors to the north? That’s just wrong! 🙂

Stay Tuned!

The Renaissance RoninRenaissance Ronin is a blog dedicated to helping you help yourself. We’re going to teach you everything you ever wanted to know about building a home out of recycled materials. A home that will save you money, provide you with comfort and security, and provide for your needs, for decades to come. If you appreciate what we’re doing here, hit the Paypal button up there on the right, and lend us a hand!  We really need your help!

The 2 liter lightbulb!

23 Apr

Every once in a while, you hear about something and wonder why nobody had thought of it before! This… is one of those times!

Think simplistic, powerful, cheap, easy to “manufacture,” and capable of affecting lives all over the entire planet.

Step right up folks, See the future! And if you slap down those $20s right now, we’ll double your order, absolutely free!  You’ll never pay for light again! It’s the “Ronco 2 liter lightbulb!”

Actually, Ron Popiel had absolutely nothing to do with this. But I bet he wished he did!

Alfredo Moser is an Brazilian inventor. And like all inventors (that we all hope to be) hes invented somethingthat will aid mankind. Not just “rich” mankind, but ALL mankind! Alfredo’s newest invention is spreading like wildfire through his neighborhood in Brazil.

“Like all really great ideas, it was born out of necessity. During a 2002 energy blackout in Brazil,  Alfredo’s workshop was plunged into darkness. And so, using a simple 2-liter bottle of water,  a cap full of bleach or two of household bleach and an old 35 mm film canister, he created this lightbulb.”

He figured out that all he had to do was cut some holes in his workshop roof, so the new water-bottle lightbulbs could shine the sun’s rays directly into his dark workplace, bathing it in light! Voila, instant illumination, and he could go back to work!  And he shared this invention with others, too! Now they have been using his invention to light their homes without having to pay for electricity.

Now, unless you’re a moron, you’re not gonna go hack holes in your house roof, so that you can use these lil beauties to light up your life. That would border on “idiotic.”:)

But…  it could easily work in that shipping container shed or workshop in your backyard! I’d be willing to bet you money that there are a gaggle of geeks looking at this environmentally friendly light source, as we speak!

Of course it has flaws. It works using the sun. No sun, no light. However, It’ s not a solution to all our lighting needs. It’s a solution to light up a dark place during the day, without spending one single penny on electricity.

Have you ever watched National Geographic specials on Brazil? I didn’t see a lot of cash floating around those barrios and shanty towns.  And this works wherever there is sun, you know, even in the poorer third-world countries… places like Laos, India, and the African nations…

This invention is going to change lives.

Now all I have to do is go down to my favorite deli restaurant, and see if I can get a sandwich named after him…

“Excuse me, I’d like a Moser on Rye, extra oil and vinegar! NO BLEACH!”  🙂


A word about Donations, Charity, and “Hand-outs!”

11 Apr

The world is rapidly changing around us.

This blog’s followers know that I’m building a home out of shipping containers, for my family. I’m doing this very slowly, and out of necessity, because Hurricane Katrina showed us a side of our insurance company that we never wanted to see. The insurance company we dealt with decided that it was easier to string thousands of us along, than settle our claims.  And we’re still in court, to this day.

Fast forward to today. In light of the housing crisis, the mortgage crisis, the Stimulus Bill (and the imposed crisis it presents), rampant unemployment,  and the decaying state of the economy in general, Americans are facing times that may rival the Great Depression, if we aren’t very lucky, and real careful.

People are nervous, and more and more people end up without jobs, homes, and hope…

How can we make a difference, when things are so hard for us too?

Many of my readers know that I’ve frequently emphasized the theme of charity in my blog posts.

Quite recently, ole’ Ronin hit a logjam, and we didn’t have what we needed to satisfy our bills. The utility people don’t care if you have a tax check headed your way, they only care that you pay them on demand, or else. Period.There aren’t polite words to describe our frustration at them.

My wife is hooked up to several machines here at home, to help her get thru the days, and to let her doctors monitor her status “over the internet.” But, if we have no power, we’re dead. And, so is she. But, the power company doesn’t care. They just want their money. Sure, they could enlist us in “some program,” but they aren’t taking “new client” interviews for a few more months, because demand is so high.

Sure, they could list us on a “Medical Alert” program, but that only tells them that in case of a black-out” we  need power fast. It has nothing to do with falling behind on your power bill.

I’ve had to hustle, interview, and almost cry in anguish, to no avail. Except, for the help of friends that look over my shoulder, and help where they can. To them (I’m not going to embarrass them by naming names) I am truly and profoundly grateful.

I have a deadline coming up for the power bill, and I’m praying we make it. If not, well… everything will go as black as this text. We’ll see, in a few days.

So, it’s obvious that my family isn’t rolling in anything but our own stress. But be that as it may, I want to share with you a method that we’ve found, so that we’re still able to help the neighbors. We’ve found a painless way to do it, and it’s a way that makes a big difference.

What we’ve been doing is including several dollars worth of canned goods each time we go to the store. We also frequent the “day old” section of the bakery, and then freeze the loaves of bread. That food, carefully packed away, has fed a lot of families, and we didn’t even feel it leave.

We live in the Hurricane Belt. It’s a wild land, full of monsoon rains, catastrophic flooding, and utter chaos. So, for these times, it’s important to stock up on stuff like extra flour, cornmeal, rice, beans, sugar, powdered milk, and even (gasp!) peanut butter!

Let’s face it… The way that things are going, it’s become vitally important to keep far more food on hand than you expect your family can actually consume. Your first priority is to your immediate family. That’s pretty obvious. But if you’re one of “the faithful,” or you just have a good heart, it’s important to me sure that you’re well stocked, as things start getting tighter. If all that you have on hand is barely enough to supply your own family or “community,” you won’t be in any position to help anybody else.

Like many others, I was raised to believe that charity isn’t an option, it’s a  responsibility. I feel very strongly about this.  Whether you’re a Jew or a Christian, whether you read the Torah or the Bible, G_d made it clear that we are supposed to help others in need. If nothing else, it’s one of the ways that societies stay connected.

I was raised to believe that you should hold 10% of your wealth in reserve, to help others. It’s called “the the tradition of tithing, which has its roots in the Old Testament law. I’m referring to a law called  “Tzedaka.” This “law” says that you should provide for your immediate family first. After that, look to your extended family…  and then if you still have it… reach out to your local community.

Now I’m not going to preach except to say this;

G_d’s gifts to me are “unearned.”

I didn’t do anything exceptional. He cares for me, even though I’m a “screw-up,” who sometimes can’t take care of his own family. I can’t tell you how hard it is to speak that. But sadly, it’s true.

So, I’m going to do anything that I can, to help anybody that I can, because it’s the right thing to do.  We know what it’s like to be homeless, hungry, and without clean clothes. We’ve been there. We know what it’s like to be able to pay the rent, or the pharmacy, but not both.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve hit my knees, in tears, only to have Him help me get past whatever obstacle my family faced, over and over again.

There are people all around us that need help. There are those that are less fortunate and those that currently lack the foresight (or the means) to stock up for bad times.

The best charity is help that comes without strings. It’s one thing to get a “help check” from your “In-Laws.” But the strings are as strong as braided steel cables. The act of charity is supposed to be transparent, anonymous.  You don’t have to draw attention to yourself, or make a big deal out of it.

“It’s the right thing to do. Think nothing of it… Bye-bye!” goes a long way.

If you want to (and you have them), including uplifting spiritual material is  a good idea too. When you’re struggling, the words on those pages can yield great comfort. Take it from me. My Rabbi would be quite pleases with the amount of time I spend in my “soul-searching and studies.”

Think of how many lives you could influence in a positive way,  just by pulling food out of your storage pantry to help a struggling family!

God’s bounty is a gift to be shared. Consider yourself an ambassador of goodwill, and then… help out where you can. You’re not doing it for yourself, you’re doing it because “it’s the right thing to do.”

I’ve heard lots of “food storage” formula’s… but there’s the one that works best for us;

“Look at your food supply as a hearty one year supply for your family. Then reconsider it as a carefully measured out six month supply for three families, or even a ‘cautiously doled out’ three month supply for six families.”

And what if you find yourself in a disaster, with no hope in sight? I can only suggest that you do what I do and pray about it. And then… give until it hurts.

Stay tuned!

The Renaissance RoninIf you like what you’re reading, and you can spare it, we need help keeping this blog afloat. I hate to ask, but between health care and medications, we’re scraping beyond the  bottom of the budget barrel and something has to give soon.  Hitting that Paypal button up there with a fews bucks would go a long way! Thanks!