Wednesday, November 19, 2014

No Obama Amnesty


I’m writing to let you know my opinion concerning our President’s plan to issue an “executive amnesty” to millions of criminals who have entered our country illegally.  We have a path to citizenship and I do not believe we should reward lawbreakers this prized status.  Such an amnesty would be a slap in the face to those who followed the legal path.

Mr. Obama’s amnesty would also be a violation of our nation’s laws.

Please don’t let him get away with this lawless amnesty.  As such, if he attempts such an illegal action, it is my opinion, as a tax-paying, working American citizen, he should be censured and impeached.

Thank you for your time.

You can find your Congressman here:

And your Senator here:

Sunday, November 16, 2014

$20 Challenge Soup

Last week, I posted a video (or a link to a video) of my shot at the $20 Challenge:

The $20 prepper challenge is an informal, get-ready contest going around the underground readiness community.  Basically, acquire as much readiness, preparedness, emergency supplies as possible for $20.  Then post a video of your goods with an explanation of why you chose those specific items.  It is a community sharing and education project to expand awareness and give those on a budget an idea of how they can start getting ready without breaking the bank.

In that video, I talked about soup made from the supplies I bought. I've made this soup before, but not with the same ingredients.  So I made a batch of it Saturday morning ... and it was delicious.  This recipe will make 6 cups of soup.

Here are the ingredients:

6 cups water
7 bullion cubes (extra cube makes for a more flavorful broth)
3 cups egg noodles
1 can chicken

Bring the water and bullion to a boil until the cubes are dissolved.
Add noodles and chicken (do not drain), cook until noodles are done.
Add pepper and spices to taste.

The supplies I bought as part of my $20 challenge will make the recipe above twice.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Republic, if You Can Keep it...

(Editor's note: David and I served together overseas in the 1980's.  We were both military trained journalists assigned to Misawa AB, Japan.  We have managed to keep in touch, with a few long breaks, for the last 30 years.  David wrote the editorial in 2014.  As we were discussing current politics over the phone recently, we decided it would be worth publishing again, because it's right on target with what's happening in this country now.)

Special Guest Editorial 

By David Carrigan
Lamar, Missouri

Part 1

It's only a Republic, if we can keep it.

I, my father, his grandson, and every generation of my family have served many hundreds of years to defend this country's Life, Liberty and Freedom. (Unfortunately, we haven't missed a war since the early 1800's. Not all made it through.)
For those of you that don't understand the principles this country was founded upon, allow me to enlighten you and give you a very important lesson. (And correct the garbage you were force-fed in the public (indoctrination centers) school system.)

The United States of America is not a democracy. (At least it wasn't originally set up as one.)

It's a Republic.

What does that mean?

Simply stated -- A Republic is representative government ruled by law (the Constitution). A democracy is direct government ruled by the majority (mob rule). A Republic recognizes the inalienable rights of individuals while democracies are only concerned with group wants or needs (the public good).

Many of you are shaking your heads, thinking what's the big deal. Well the big deal is this.

Democracies always self-destruct when the non-productive majority realizes that it can vote itself handouts (think welfare and government programs) from the productive minority (business owners) by electing the candidate promising the most benefits (usually democrats - thnk Obama) from the public treasury. To maintain their power, these candidates must adopt an ever-increasing tax and spend policy to satisfy the ever-increasing desires of the majority.

Sound Familiar?

Then, as taxes increase, incentive to produce decreases, causing many of the once productive to drop out and join the non-productive. When there are no longer enough producers to fund the legitimate functions of government and the socialist programs, the democracy will collapse, always to be followed by a Dictatorship.

Are your eyes open yet?

Old military training manuals used to contain the correct definitions of Democracy and Republic. The following comes from Training Manual No. 2000-25 published by the War Department, November 30, 1928.


- A government of the masses.

- Authority derived through mass meeting or any other form of "direct" expression.

- Results in mobocracy.

- Attitude toward property is communistic--negating property rights.

- Attitude toward law is that the will of the majority shall regulate, whether it be based upon deliberation or governed by passion, prejudice, and impulse, without restraint or regard to consequences.

- Results in demogogism, license, agitation, discontent, anarchy.


- Authority is derived through the election by the people of public officials best fitted to represent them.

- Attitude toward law is the administration of justice in accord with fixed principles and established evidence, with a strict regard to consequences.

- A greater number of citizens and extent of territory may be brought within its compass.

- Avoids the dangerous extreme of either tyranny or mobocracy.

- Results in statesmanship, liberty, reason, justice, contentment, and progress.
Is the "standard form" of government throughout the world.

The manuals containing these definitions were ordered destroyed without explanation about the same time that President Franklin D. Roosevelt made private ownership of our lawful money (US Minted Gold Coins) illegal.

Shortly after the people turned in their $20 gold coins, the price was increased from $20 per ounce to $35 per ounce. Almost overnight F.D.R., the most popular president this century (elected 4 times) looted almost half of this nation's wealth, while convincing the people that it was for their own good. Many of F.D.R.'s policies were suggested by his right hand man, Harry Hopkins, who said,

"Tax and Tax, Spend and Spend, Elect and Elect, because the people are too damn dumb to know the difference".

Article IV Section 4, of the Constitution "guarantees to every state in this union a Republican form of government".... Conversely, the word Democracy is not mentioned even once in the Constitution.

James Madison warned us of the dangers of democracies with these words,

"Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths...",

Violent in their deaths? Really?

Remember the Roman Empire or Greece. Great place to visit ruins....

He continued, "We may define a republic to be ... a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure for a limited period, or during good behavior.

It is essential to such a government that it be derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion or a favored class of it; otherwise a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressions by a delegation of their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans and claim for their government the honorable title of republic." - James Madison, Federalist No. 10, (1787)

Benjamin Franklin said it best just after the completion and signing of the Constitution.

In reply to a woman's inquiry as to the type of government the Founders had created, Benjamin Franklin said, "A Republic, if you can keep it."
Part 2:

The Rise and Fall of the Great America, like Rome.

You must all ask yourself today!

Have we done this to ourselves or was this all engineered?

The enactment of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution in 1913 allowing the government to impose a tax on your income, thereby opening Pandora’s Box to a 60,000 page tax code and allowing politicians to sell their votes to the highest bidder.

The signing into law of the Federal Reserve Act by Woodrow Wilson in 1913, transferring control of our currency system to Wall Street banks. The man made inflation created by the Federal Reserve has reduced the purchasing power of the USD by 97% since 1913 and has allowed politicians to promise $100 trillion of benefits to Americans, that can never be delivered.

The Social Security Act signed into law by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1935, supposedly to help widows and orphans, morphed into a giant ponzi scheme used by politicians to make Americans think it was a retirement plan and the money was in a lockbox. The scam continues, but ponzi schemes always collapse.

Fannie Mae was created in 1938 as a government agency and Freddie Mac was created in 1970 as a quasi-government agency. By promoting home ownership and subsidizing loans to people who should have never gotten loans these agencies caused hundreds of billions in mal-investment. As tools of politicians, they were used to push social agendas. The result will be in excess of $300 billion in losses to the American taxpayer.

The Korean War set a precedent where the President did not need to seek Congress to declare war as required under the Constitution. This has allowed the President the freedom to fight undeclared wars around the world for decades, while spending trillions, with no approval from Congress.

LBJ’s Great Society programs such as Medicare and Medicaid were sold to Americans as cost saving programs that would improve healthcare for all Americans. We now spend 17% of our GDP on healthcare and these two programs have an unfunded liability of almost $100 trillion.

Nixon closing the gold window in 1971 removed all restraint on the Federal Reserve, banks and politicians. With a fiat currency backed by nothing but promises, it was only a matter of time before the greed and corruption of bankers and politicians overcame any self imposed fiscal responsibility. The result has been the National Debt going from $400 billion in 1971 to $14.4 trillion today, a 3,600% increase in 40 years. Meanwhile, GDP only increased 1,350% over this same time frame.

The embrace of consumer debt by the Baby Boom generation beginning in 1980 created an atmosphere of living for today and not worrying about the future. This attitude has left 50% of all the households in the country with a net worth of $70,000 or below.

The repeal of the Glass Steagall Act in 1999 unleashed the hounds of hell upon America, as the soulless blood sucking vampires on Wall Street proceeded to rape and pillage the American economy with their financial derivatives of mass destruction and marketing of debt to the clueless masses. The housing bust and impoverishment of the middle class can be laid at the feet of these evil greedy bastards.

Bush’s unpaid for wars of choice, his reckless tax cuts, and his foolish expansion of a bankrupt Medicare program in the midst of two wars turbo charged the country on its path to default.

By bailing out Wall Street on the backs of the middle class in 2008/2009, the politicians in this country showed their hand. They will protect their fellow power brokers and contributors and throw the American people under the bus. Wall Street controls Congress.

The Keynesian schemes rolled out by Obama and his minions have just added trillions of debt while depressing the economic system and doing nothing to help the average person. The Fed created inflation has inflamed revolution through out the world and further impoverished the middle class who need to eat and fill up their cars.

In the midst of a Depression Obama chose to create a brand new healthcare bureaucracy, add 30 million people into the government controlled system, and commit the US taxpayer to trillions of future healthcare costs.

Wake Up America....

Sunday, November 02, 2014

The $20 Preparedness Challenge

I've uploaded a new video to YouTube.  It's my take on the $20 Preparedness Challenge: Buy as much useful, necessary material as possible, for $20, to help deal with the expected future unpleasantness.  A good way to budget your preparedness dollars, using only a small amount each payday.

You can see the video here:

Saturday, November 01, 2014

25 Years and ... Today?

I make a public announcement on this day every year, provided I make it through: 

My name is John Smith (really) and today (Nov. 1, 2014), I have been alcohol free for 25 years.

When people tell me I should be proud of such an accomplishment, I'm not intending to be a smart ass when I tell them I'm not proud; I'm thankful.  Why would I be proud of doing the right thing?  That's like an NFL receiver celebrating and chest thumping for catching a routine pass -- that's what he's supposed to do.  I thank the Lord for giving me a life free from alcohol.  There was a time when I didn't believe that was possible.

Short story:  With my second marriage collapsing in ruins and my career in the toilet, I told a trusted friend that I needed help.  I subsequently spent the most unpleasant six weeks of my life in a military rehabilitation program.  There, I found Alcoholics Anonymous.  AA saved my life by giving me the tools I needed to deal with my addiction.  I haven't been to an AA meeting in over 20 years. But I use those tools every day.

And, I have a plan.  I call it my "76 Plan."

When I'm 76, if I make it that far, on Oct. 31, 2039, when I've made it 50 years without a drink of alcohol, I'm going out and buying me a case of Bud, a bottle of Jack, a bag of good weed and carton of Marlboros.  Then, I'm going out like Jim Morrison -- I'm going to get so stoned my heart stops.

Meanwhile, I've just got to get through today... To those dealing with addiction: Ask for help. And don't give up hope.  

To see the accompanying video for this article, go here:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Keeping up the Fight:

I’ve posted a new video.  Remarkably, it is not the rambling, angst-fueled diatribe I expected to produce.  I do wander a bit, but I didn’t script it.

As a print journalist by training and disposition, I want things researched, outlined, rough-drafted, proofed and edited before I present a product to the public.  I did have a few things written down to jog my memory.  But after that, it’s a free-form, extemporaneous talk about keeping up the fight and keeping the faith.

I’m not a broadcaster, but I intend to get better at it.

Hopefully, neither of my two (2) channel subscribers will jump ship on me.  

Shout Outs:

My good friend, the 101stMonk3y.

Jthornton64:  For this little jewel of an upload that made me decide to have another go at it.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Disarm the Government; not the People

Gun Control: Let’s talk about that (again)

Let’s start with what some of our founding fathers had to say about citizens owning firearms.  We've all heard these before, but I feel they’re worth repeating.

"I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people.... To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.... " --George Mason

"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. " --Thomas Jefferson

"Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion . . . in private self-defense. " --John Adams

"The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms. " --Samuel Adams

" . . arms discourage and keep invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. ... Horrid mischief would ensue were [the law-abiding] deprived of the use of them. " --Thomas Paine

Now let me ask a question: As an advocate for gun control; what do you really mean by that?  More to the point: What do you really want?

When I hear someone clamoring for gun control, what I understand they really mean is that they don’t want me or any other citizen to have firearms.  Then they must only want the government and law enforcement to have guns.  Isn’t that what “gun control” really boils down to?  The oppressors have the guns; we get screwed.  Is that really what a gun control advocate wants?

I think the whole gun control debate should start with the real problem.  Someone really serious about completely removing guns from society needs to start with the biggest problem: The Government and Law Enforcement.  They have more guns, more ammo and shoot more people than any other group of gun owners.

Here’s an interesting statistic to look up:  As a victim, are you more likely to be shot by: A cop? A Robber? A Spouse?  A Terrorist?  A Neighbor?

No surprise that most murders are by gun in the U.S.  What may be a surprise is that you’re most likely to be shot by your current or former partner than by anyone else.  After that, you’re more likely to be killed by the police than you are by a terrorist, robber, neighbor or any other criminal.  

I say, if you’re serious about gun control, start by disarming the government first.  Government functionaries (law enforcement, etc.) kill more people with firearms than any other class of citizen. As an American Citizen, you’re 8-times more likely to be killed by a cop than by a terrorist.

I’m sure some gun control supporter is right now saying, “Well if we took all the guns then less people would be killed?  See.”  No, I don’t see. First, let’s ask the disarmed law-abiding citizens of Chicago how that’s working out for them? Not too good; this city is a perfect example of how disarming the good people just makes things easier for the bad people.  Second, looking at the data, people who didn’t have guns used knives or blunt objects.  A liberal once said to me, “But, it’s so much more personal with knives or bats that a lot of people just won’t do it.”  Really?  The most common method of murder in unarmed rural China is rat poison.  How’s that for impersonal?

Guns are the great equalizer: A 90-pound woman and a 300-pound brute of a man can carry out the same amount of ass kicking with a 9mm semiautomatic.  Reverting back to the neanderthal days where fights were finished with sticks, rocks or bare hands, the 90-pound woman will lose EVERY TIME.  In society today, a woman trained with a handgun simply has to be a better shot.  Gun control whiners, cowards and fearmongers would prefer we all be defenseless victims.

A gun control advocate’s next argument would be the old, “What the Second Amendment really means is…”  Here’s what the Second Amendment says, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”  The argument here is usually, “It says ‘well regulated’ and that means the National Guard.”  The National Guard is nothing more than another Federal reserve army with the minor distinction that they can be called into service by a state governor. The Guard stopped being a valid excuse for gun control September 24, 1957.  According to Wikipedia, “President Dwight D. Eisenhower federalized the entire Arkansas National Guard in order to ensure the safe entry of the Little Rock 9 to Little Rock Central High School the following day. Governor Orval Faubus had previously used members of the guard to deny the students entry to the school.”  The Guard is no longer a militia; it is a branch of the federal military.  So we, the people, must stand in as the “well regulated” militia.

“Well regulated?" Let’s discuss that term for a minute.  We've already been "regulated" out of everything but small arms. That means we can't have cannons, artillery, mortars, rockets, grenades, bombs or or even Molotov cocktails -- (Though, I'm fairly sure the "Molotov" was called something a "fire bomb.")  All of these arms were available when the Constitution was drafted.  Nowhere does the Second Amendment say we can ONLY have small arms.  Let’s review.  It says, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

The Federal Government of the United States is the most incompetent, bureaucratic, out-of-control organization on this planet -- but don’t doubt they have a plan.  To quote Mark Twain, “Never argue with an idiot; they’ll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.”  A huge problem like 100-million gun owners is solved in the same way an elephant is eaten: one bite at a time. As it has been since the National Firearms act of 1934; followed by the Gun Control Act of 1968; followed by countless other gun and firearm regulations, federal and state.

We citizens have been regulated to the minimum and a line must be drawn.  We have very little left with which to defend our Constitutional rights.  Now, New York allows only seven rounds in a magazine and the the Federal government wants to limit the number of rounds in our weapons to 10.  What’s next?  Single shots only?  And then?

I truly believe that the government would already own all the guns of law-abiding citizens if the government didn't truly believe it would be a bloodbath to try to collect them. Government NEVER passes laws that give more freedom. They only take away, regulate and enforce...with guns.  

Gun Control Advocates:  You want real gun control; start with the real problem.  Disarm the government, not the people.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Video Blog Links 15 MAR 2014

Video blog: 15 MAR 2014

Watch the video!  LINK: Video Blog YouTube

Yesterday was Pi day!
I totally missed it.  So today is:

Brutus Day: 15 Link
Buzzards Day: 15 
Ides of March: 15
International Sports Car Racing Day:15 
 (3rd Saturday)
International Day of Action Against Canadian Seal Slaughter: 15  
National Quilting Day: 15 
(Always 3rd Saturday) Link
True Confessions Day: 15
World Consumer Rights Day: 15 
Corn Dog Day: 15
 (3rd Saturday)

(Most of this information comes from the Brownielocks website.)

A few things to talk about.

How the hell do you lose a Boeing 777 in this day and age?
Either:  It fell in the water and we haven't found it yet or, somebody took it.
I'll leave the speculation on who might have taken it to the rest of the internet - they're already doing a fine job with that.

OBAMA:  He actually did something right.  I bitch about what an idiot he is and how tyrannical his government is becoming, so when he actually gets something right, as a journalist, I feel obligated to acknowledge it.  Upping the minimum wage for some salaried workers, such as fast food managers and salaried clerical staff, is a good thing.  It will directly help hard-working people I know.  This in no way means he's not an idiot -- it just means someone gave him good advice.

Which brings me to the next point: I'm not anti-government.  I'm anti-STUPID government; I'm anti-TYRANNICAL government; I am anti-POLICE STATE government; I am anti-NANNY STATE government.  I believe government should serve the people, not the other way around.  And I don't believe I should have to pay 40-percent of my income to the government at all, much less have them steal it before I've been given a chance to feed my children.  That is wrong. There may be someone in Congress and the Senate from my district and state, but they sure as hell aren't representing what I, and my fellow workers, want because the government is stealing my money. If I don't let them steal it, then they fine my company for not stealing for them and then jail me for keeping them from stealing my money.  That's totally wrong.

I am not anti-tax, either, but I believe individuals and corporations should be taxed at the same basic rate and everyone, regardless of income, pay a flat tax of about 5 percent of income.  Dump all the loop holes and all the credits and adjustments and all that stupid crap that keeps the IRS in business.  Every earner pays 5 percent.  We could abolish the IRS.  That 5 percent would keep us in good roads and pay for a military to defend our borders.  The rest of that money that we're not giving to the government to squander would be used in the U.S. economy to actually help with economic recovery.  Giving money to people who don't work is not the correct way to jump start the economy.  The best way to improve the economic situation in this country is to stop stealing money from people who actually work.

We have yet another kid, Columbus, Ohio, I think, suspended for pointing his finger like a gun.  Zero Tolerance policies are tools to keep educated idiots from having to make decisions.  They are STUPID (I said that in capital letters).  We have put these idiots in charge of educating our children and this is the best decision they can make when a kid is being a kid?  It’s ridiculous and retarded and these idiots should be removed from their positions and replace with people willing to think for themselves.

That’s all I got. 

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

10 Items for Every Get Home Bag

By John P. Smith
Freelance Writer

(Watch the video introduction to this article:

I'm not a "prepper," but I do believe in being at least somewhat prepared. So I keep a "Get Home Bag" in my work vehicle. A Get Home Bag isn't like a Bug Out Bag or a typical, portable emergency supply kit. The Get Home Bag should be designed to take care of you for 24 to 48 hours on foot should you not be able to drive yourself home. Really, a GHB isn't what might be considered "required" equipment, because you can travel without it, but you may not want to. I consider it much like a spare tire: Not necessary for the general daily function and use of an automobile, but absolutely essential when things go wrong.

I work 35 miles from home. I know I'll be traveling at least one full day, 10 to 12 hours, on foot if I cannot drive home, through some rough, mountainous terrain. I've designed my bag to have two days of food, shelter and other necessities to get me home on foot. I've also made one for my wife and my adult children who live away from home. My son attends college 70 miles away, so his bag contains more food and water. All in all, I custom-built four bags, each for a specific situation, yet, each contains a number of the same essential items.

I assume most folks are like me, and we can't afford to put hundreds of dollars into an emergency bag that we’ll just tote around forever and not have to use...if all goes well. Even more so if you're building more than one. The internet, the compendium of (almost) all human knowledge, has a lot of information available on being prepared and readiness and what to put in your Get Home Bag. Some folks will want you to start with a firearm and go from there. Others will tell you to carry a stick, still others recommend no weapon at all and a two-day supply of water. Depending on your situation, any and all of these might be correct.

Remember, this is enough supplies to get you to your destination if you have to walk. Of course, what you put in the bag is up to you. What I have listed is what I've put in my bag. I've personally field tested most of the items in this list, the plastic garbage bag tube tent being a notable exception. I have placed all these items in an inexpensive backpack ($8.) My total cost for the general material, including the back pack, was about $40. I was actually shooting for less, trying to make a bag for under $25, but it just wouldn't come in below that price range without skimping on something you'll really want to have when you're in the middle of a walk-home catastrophe.

Here are 10 items common to all my bags:

1: Water. Water can be made safe by boiling, disinfecting or filtering. This is as simple as it gets. The average person requires about 2 liters of water per day just for drinking. I carry two containers: a 1-liter bottle in the bag and a 500 ml bottle in an outside pouch. I tightly wrap the cap of the bottle in the bag with stretchy electrical tape to prevent accidental opening. This should get an average person by for 24 hours but leaves little room for cooking and personal hygiene. Cost: Practically nothing.

If you're going to need more than 24-hours of water, there are alternatives to carrying it. First, let's apply a little common sense: If you're finding water in the wild, or just outside, if the water is dark or black, smells of decay, chemicals or like something is dead, then DO NOT USE IT. Find another source. I also carry a small quantity of bleach and some coffee filters. Use the filters to remove sediment and particulates. Then use the bleach to kill bacteria and viruses. This is common, unscented, household, chlorine bleach. Use 1 drop per liter to purify water. Then let the water set for 15-30 minutes, repeating the process if the water doesn’t smell of chlorine. Cost: The coffee filters are about 2 Cents each and the bleach costs less than $1 a gallon. 

2: Food: Carry a few high-calorie meals that do not require cooking. For 24-48 hours, we can get by without food, but we really don’t like to. I carry 2 Clif's bars, a couple of granola bars, 2 foil packs of tuna, 1 package of chicken salad with crackers and maybe a small pack of beef jerky. Carry single-use food servings. Burn or bury you leavings. Don't carry anything that smells like food in your bag. Make sure if you haul a bag of jerky, that it is resealable. I actually keep all the food rolled up in a small plastic bag and tied off with a rubber band. My walk home will be extremely rural. I'm not too much worried about wolves, bears, coyotes, cougars and such (although those are actual dangers) but more so about the family dog. The last thing I need is to be chased by a farm hound when I'm trying to cross the creek on the back 40 because he smelled tuna casserole from a kilometer away. We do not want to hurt an animal for doing its job. And a hurt animal makes for a suspicious owner. In a suburban or urban setting, dogs will be a secondary worry. It is best all around to simply avoid detection. Remember, this whole idea is to get home. Cost: Approximately $5.

3: Clothing: This will change with the seasons, but some items will be constant. Specifically, a dry pair of socks, a dry T-shirt, a hat and a disposable rain poncho. I keep mine in a zip-lock bag. Pack clothing according to the season. I carry a complete set of sweats, in addition to the items above, rolled up and sealed in a trash bag. I live in the South, so in the summer, I also carry a pair of light-weight shorts. Spending the night outdoors, trying to stay warm wearing wet clothes is a miserable experience. (That's the voice of experience speaking.) The sweats can be worn in place of wet clothing, or over, or under, as needed depending on the weather and the situation. In northern climates, more precautions are needed. In winter, don't run across town to the mall wearing clothes you can't walk home in. At least have those clothes available in your vehicle. Take a coat that you can spend the night wearing and have some warm, waterproof shoes. Cost: You should already have the clothing items. Poncho: $1. 

5: Light: You'll need light. If you have to start out at night, or if caught out at night, you'll need light to find a place to bed down. Everybody has an opinion about flashlights and lighting. I have Mag lights and rechargeable batteries in my wilderness camping backpack. For my get home bag, I have two plastic lights and a change of batteries. I bought these nearly a year ago and they're still working fine, because they stay in my bag. The extra batteries guarantee me several hours of light. Unless you know exactly where you're going, you'll probably not want to travel at night. If you run into a situation where you have to travel in the dark, remember, light attracts attention. If possible, only use the light to get yourself set up for the night and light your fire. Cost: Flashlights with batteries, $2, Additional batteries, $1.

4: Shelter
: I carry 3 industrial-strength, 33-gallon garbage bags and a coil of light cord and some tape. This is supposed to be a one-time use item, but you'll want to roll it up and take it with you when you leave. With this equipment, it is easy to set up an open-ended, tube tent. Leave the bags intact until they have to be cut. In a worst-case scenario, where you're caught in an open field, etc, you may have to use one bag as a ground cloth and just curl up inside another, feet up hill, head pointed down. You wrap all your equipment in the third bag. (I interviewed a guy in 1987 who crossed the Iron Curtain out of Romania doing just that.) Create the tube tent by cutting open two of the bags and taping them together. Run a piece of cord between two trees about a meter above the ground.and lay the sheet long-way over the cord. Tape the bottom together with the inside seam pointed up hill. Place your gear in the remaining bag to keep it dry. If it's particularly windy, you'll want to choose larger trees to keep your tent from moving too much. Cost: Bags, $1.50, Cord, $1.25, Tape, $1.25.

6: Fire: Depending on your situation, you may or may not want a fire for an overnight stay. If you're in cold country, you'll want a fire. Remember, light attracts attention, so you'll want to have some way of shielding the flames so they don't advertise your presence. This is usually done by building a screen of rocks, dirt or even wood. You'll also want to use a smokeless fire, if at all possible. Burn only dry wood. Try not to use green or wet wood, branches or leaves. In my fire kit, which is sealed in a zip lock bag, I have a package of tissue and several paper towels. These serve many purposes, from toilet paper to hand dryers to kindling in wet weather. It also includes a box of matches, a butane lighter, two tea light candles and a can of home-made fire starter. The fire starter is cotton balls dipped in petroleum jelly. One of these cotton balls, liberally coated with petroleum jelly, will start with just a spark and burn for five minutes. Each bottle contains about a dozen coated cotton balls. Cost: About $1.25.

7: Knife/Tool: A knife is a necessity. A multi-tool will almost always have a knife blade included and can be used. However, a pocket knife for cutting line, plastic bags, kindling, whatever use, doesn't have to break the bank. I've used the knife shown above for the past year in all my outings and even carry it to work frequently. It's basically a no-name utility knife I bought at a discount supply warehouse (similar to Harbor Freight.) It has served me well enough that I bought one for each GHB so they had a decent knife. Some folks advise you to have a K-Bar or some other expensive blade. But let's face it, not everybody can spend $50 or $100 on a knife. Remember, again, this is to stay in the bag and help get you to your destination if the kaka hits the rotating blades. It doesn't have to break the bank. A multi-tool is also quite handy and a good backup if you lose your knife. The tool pictured here is from my bag. I picked it up at a sale somewhere a few years ago. Cost: Knife, $7, Tool, $6.

 8: First Aid: Basic First Aid should be sufficient for what is essentially an overnight stay and a day long walk. I found these small, plastic First Aid Kits at Walmart. I added some basic items: Larger bandages, aspirin, ibuprofen, allergy tablets, antacids, a hand-warmer and some gauze. Remember the package of tissue in the fire starter kit? It can also act as a compress if necessary. I dropped a few miscellaneous items into the kit also, including a few cable ties, some paper clips, a couple of safety pins and a nail clipper. I also have an emergency blanket, which I include with the First Aid, rather than shelter. I also included is a small fleece blanket. In extreme conditions, this could be cut to act like a poncho and worn under the emergency rain poncho as added warmth and protection from cold. Plus, if you're spending the night in the outdoors, even a light fleece blanket is nice to have. But it is not a necessity. Cost: First Aid Kit, $1.50; Emergency Blanket, $1.50.

9: Personal Defense/Protection: This is entirely up to you and your situation and the laws in your state for carrying weapons.. For the purposes of this article, we will talk about your knife and a walking stick. I do not expect to run into people who want to fight me or take my stuff. If I do, I'm prepared to deal with them. I spent 8 years in the military and in addition to that training, I've studied the long staff, the cane, trained with knives, pistols, rifles and my bare hands (Jujitsu.) As stated earlier, your best bet is to avoid detection and remain unnoticed. However, if you are trained and comfortable with a weapon, and you're willing to use it, that is a personal decision. For this situation, we'll use our knife to cut us a simple walking stick, about shoulder height, with one end sharpened. If you've got a fire, harden the sharp point by heating it, but not burning it. If you're not trained with anything, this is better than nothing. Get some training. Cost: Nothing.

10: Radio/phone/GPS: A cell phone should be able to pick up local radio or digital news feeds. If you neither have nor want a cell phone, find an old AM/FM radio at a pawn shop for a couple of bucks. Put the batteries in it when you need it. I found a great deal on crank flashlights that will also charge small devices. I carry this in my bag to charge a spare battery that will charge my cell phone. (The crank will not charge an iPhone directly.) If you don't have any of the above, at least have a map of the area and a decent compass. And know how to read it. This should be included in each bag, regardless. My Cost: $5.50. Your Cost: Your choice.