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"Alas, Brave New Babylon" new fiction by Matt Bracken
Western Rifle Shooters Association ^ | August 26, 2013 | Matthew Bracken

Posted on 08/26/2013 6:20:36 AM PDT by Travis McGee

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To: Lazamataz

My goal was to keep it at under 11K words. It’s a quick arc of story, with a fast windup and delivery into the message phase.


101 posted on 08/26/2013 11:23:19 AM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: Travis McGee

“How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,That has such people in’t! “

Shakespere’s “The Tempest” Act V, Scene 1

Kipling predates Huxley, though... 1919.


102 posted on 08/26/2013 11:23:42 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: don-o

There’s a lot of exits it could be, but that part of I-81 put him close to the Appalachian Trail, giving him every possible survival advantage, including his trail supplies and a month of freeze-dried food. Water is so plentiful in those hills you barely need a canteen or water bottle.


103 posted on 08/26/2013 11:25:28 AM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: Travis McGee

Many thanks, Travis. Outstanding, as usual. :^)


104 posted on 08/26/2013 11:25:36 AM PDT by brityank (The more I learn about the Constitution, the more I realise this Government is UNconstitutional !!)
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To: Travis McGee

Thanks TM!


105 posted on 08/26/2013 11:26:13 AM PDT by Batman11 (Obama is not American.. he has no clue what it is to be American.)
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To: MestaMachine

Thanks, I spent more time on this story than any other short piece ever, including two road trips to the NC/SC/GA border area and the Appalachian Trail.


106 posted on 08/26/2013 11:27:50 AM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: Travis McGee

I noticed that myself a few years ago.

The poem was published in 1919; the book in 1932.

I don’t know when the phrase originated.


107 posted on 08/26/2013 11:28:44 AM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: DuncanWaring

#102


108 posted on 08/26/2013 11:29:26 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: LucyT

Thanks, Lucy.


109 posted on 08/26/2013 11:29:33 AM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: Travis McGee
I just noticed that Kipling’s “Copybook” contains the phrase brave new world. I wonder if it came before or after Huxley?

Before - Huxley wrote the novel in 1931, Kipling the poem in 1919. It's a reference to a line in Shakespeare's The Tempest.

110 posted on 08/26/2013 11:31:39 AM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: MHGinTN

I’m trying to set my literary bar high enough with pieces like this that even liberals and LIV’s will find it compelling. The plot in the first 2/3 is just a windup, to get the reader up in the tower with the historian, looking back. My target audience is not our choir, but the other side. As soon as I see that Salon or Daily Beast etc is mentioning “Alas,” I’ll put the .99 cent anthology in the Kindle free run for five days to encourage maximum downloading by the folks who need to read it the most.


111 posted on 08/26/2013 11:32:24 AM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: Norm Lenhart

If nothing else, I want people to think about how 100% dependent our entire system and society is on a freely running electrical system, forever with almost no prolonged, widespread stoppages. A simple “Carrington event” solar flare could trigger everything described in the story.


112 posted on 08/26/2013 11:33:56 AM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: Marcella

No, you don’t eat the berry. You let it ripen and harvest the seed, dry it and plant it.

You don’t eat the seed potatoes, either, once they turn green.

As for the Jerusalem artichoke, I’ll take your word for it. The ones here were highly touted to the farmers and the back-to-the-landers in the 70s by the local Extension as an alternative food. I’ve never dug them up. I vaguely recall someone giving us some tubers once, back in the day. Tasteless. Sort of like water chestnuts, IIRC.

I have them lining my drive. Pretty flowers.


113 posted on 08/26/2013 11:36:15 AM PDT by reformedliberal
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To: Travis McGee

It is fragile. But at this point, even if we could do something to revert to a more lotec way, most would refuse. And your scenario happens anyway.

You are a great and vivid writer Matt. Keep it up. Someone will listen. And maybe survive because of it.


114 posted on 08/26/2013 11:37:16 AM PDT by Norm Lenhart
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To: Nowhere Man

I wrote and rewrote this story so many times, I had mentioned ham radios etc in other versions, but the story grew too long, and my primary objective was brevity. Before, I had the narrator mention that if anybody was running ham or HF radios on their own power, he had no way of knowing it. It didn’t really add much to the story, so I dropped it. But yes, hams could still be operating, if they wound up in a safe location, with food, and could make their own power. But to non-hams, they might as well not exist, unless some rumors were passed along. In time, hams might develop their own news programming based on the reports they heard and shared.


115 posted on 08/26/2013 11:37:23 AM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: stephenjohnbanker

Thanks for sharing it; my goal is to get the other side to read it.


116 posted on 08/26/2013 11:43:31 AM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: Iron Munro

Yep, the military is falling fast too. Witness Hasan and Manning, two soldiers in good standing until their treasons.


117 posted on 08/26/2013 11:47:09 AM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: Travis McGee
I wonder, what are the chances that in remote locations (and we have many in the foothills of the Appalachian chain) small communities could set up sustainable settlements that would increase defensible survival techniques? I've been preparing myself for such a possibility, by teaching myself gunsmithing and extensive tool use.

If enclaves are to survive and re-establish civilization on this continent there will have to be conscious efforts to gather the skilled together, for survival and improvements.

The kids of today are often very surprised by the machinery our founders had for use, run by pedal or water wheel energy output.

Many electrically driven tools can be rigged to work via an exchange of driveshaft, to accommodate a water driven driveshaft.

An old old mill near me once had seasoned black oak drive shaft running the grinding, until an iron one could be purchased in my grandfather's youth. The location is even IDed as Flourville! The same wheel driving the grinding shaft-drive can be used to run machinery like lathes, drills, and saws.

Enclaves would lend to gathering various technical skills together to thrive as a community, which would eventually lead to forms of government and law enforcement.

118 posted on 08/26/2013 11:47:12 AM PDT by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
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To: Marcella

I don’t know what a potato seed looks like, but I’ve got some seed pods that are green and about 1/2” in diameter - like an unripe grape tomato.


119 posted on 08/26/2013 11:47:14 AM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: Marcella
If you are talking about saving part of a potato, how do you preserve it until the next year?

Cold and dark.

I've heard suggestions putting them in a brown paper bag also helps.

120 posted on 08/26/2013 11:48:45 AM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: marron

Yes, that is a great paradox I could not explore in such a short story with one isolated POV. Primitive folks living close to the land will be hurt the least by the cutoff of power. In some cases, they might only notice the lack of the glow of city lights on a distant horizon. But there are not too many of them left. Most depend on grid power to one measure or another, even if it’s to supply a trading post by truck. Power goes down, the trucks will stop coming.


121 posted on 08/26/2013 11:49:46 AM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: painter

God willing. All of the signs are certainly flashing red.


122 posted on 08/26/2013 11:50:27 AM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: Responsibility2nd

That’s why I put “Alas” on my anthology on Kindle, instead of as a new stand-alone. I want more folks to read “Music Stops,” “What I was at the coup,” etc.


123 posted on 08/26/2013 11:51:27 AM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: The Shrew

I had a shallow well with a hand pump put in my back yard a few months back. It gives me a lot of comfort for the thousand bucks or so it cost.


124 posted on 08/26/2013 11:53:52 AM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: Travis McGee

Great story, Matt! It’s very depressing, but realistic. We truly have built our own Tower of Babel, just ready to fall.


125 posted on 08/26/2013 11:56:45 AM PDT by WI_Rifleman
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To: who knows what evil?

I drove around the three-state NC/SC/GA region on two road trips to get the flavor. Hiked some of the trail in snow exactly like in the story with my daughter last March. Bridal Veil Falls outside of Highland NC was frozen solid, most impressive. Sky Valley GA, what can I say?

That entire area of western NC is amazing, and down into GA too. Who knew that northern GA has 4,000’ mountains? I didn’t.

I had to go a little hazy on the specific geographical details, to not get pinned into inconsistencies, but I think it’s pretty true to the region.


126 posted on 08/26/2013 11:57:40 AM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: Billthedrill

Thanks, your comment captured my feelings and intentions perfectly.


127 posted on 08/26/2013 11:59:20 AM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: ryan71

They’ll suddenly care when their TV, tuned to “Celebrity Addiction,” goes black, the lights go out, and the fridge defrosts. And the water goes to a gurgle and stops too.


128 posted on 08/26/2013 12:00:53 PM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: Black Agnes

Katrina was just a quick glimpse, quickly remedied and forgotten, so imagine NOLA at two months with no power, and no outside help coming, ever.


129 posted on 08/26/2013 12:02:00 PM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: Travis McGee

What I skimmed is excellent. Bump for a whole read tonight. Thanks for sharing this!


130 posted on 08/26/2013 12:02:04 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Qui me amat, amat et canem meum.)
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To: Tijeras_Slim

Wow, another feather in Kipling’s cap that he predated Huxley’s Brave New World in Copybook.


131 posted on 08/26/2013 12:02:59 PM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: Travis McGee

Thanks, Watchman Matt!

^^^^^^^^^^^

Ezekiel 3: 16 At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me: 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.

20 “Again, when a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before them, they will die. Since you did not warn them, they will die for their sin. The righteous things that person did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 21 But if you do warn the righteous person not to sin and they do not sin, they will surely live because they took warning, and you will have saved yourself.”


132 posted on 08/26/2013 12:03:54 PM PDT by WVKayaker ("Our nation endures and our government... has not perished from the earth."-Sarah Palin 7/1/13)
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To: Tijeras_Slim

Shakespeare, amazing. A throwaway line cribbed by both Kipling and Huxley.


133 posted on 08/26/2013 12:04:02 PM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: Norm Lenhart

I hope so, that’s my goal.


134 posted on 08/26/2013 12:05:34 PM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: MHGinTN

Yes, that would be a nice outcome. A remote valley could run power machines off of water power the way they did centuries ago. Defend itself, maybe, depending. Plenty of water, enough to eat. “Foxfire Books” and similar printed literature would be essential to rediscover the timeless old ways to make soap, candles, butter etc.


135 posted on 08/26/2013 12:08:03 PM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: WVKayaker

We all have to do what we can, and not succumb to PC timidity.

At the moment, it’s very unpopular to discuss possible North Atlantic icebergs ahead of the currently unsinkable Titanic.


136 posted on 08/26/2013 12:10:02 PM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: Travis McGee

And in “Copybook” he foretold the next century.


137 posted on 08/26/2013 12:10:19 PM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: DuncanWaring
I don’t know what a potato seed looks like, but I’ve got some seed pods that are green and about 1/2” in diameter - like an unripe grape tomato.

Sounds like you have the pods containing the potato seed...check out the vid at post #92.

138 posted on 08/26/2013 12:13:56 PM PDT by who knows what evil? (G-d saved more animals than people on the ark...www.siameserescue.org.)
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To: Travis McGee
I wrote and rewrote this story so many times, I had mentioned ham radios etc in other versions, but the story grew too long, and my primary objective was brevity. Before, I had the narrator mention that if anybody was running ham or HF radios on their own power, he had no way of knowing it. It didn’t really add much to the story, so I dropped it. But yes, hams could still be operating, if they wound up in a safe location, with food, and could make their own power. But to non-hams, they might as well not exist, unless some rumors were passed along. In time, hams might develop their own news programming based on the reports they heard and shared.

Good story, I guess I role played it in my mind if I was in it. BTW, I'd like to add CB radio in there too, it is low powered but there are times you can shoot skip for hundred or thousands of miles in the daytime if the sunspots are cooperating. When I was on CB, there were times I talked to places like Maine, Compton, California and even Mexico. Just the other day on my shortwave, I heard "outbanders" (illegally modified CB's or other radios operating outside the CB band) just below the standard CB band talking in Spanish from Central America.

Even as far back as the 1960's and 1970's, hams have made minature transceivers for voice and CW (Morse code) about the size of a transistor radio where you can make worldwide contacts using 1 watt or less running them off of flashlight or even penlight batteries. There was interest in even using solar power to charge up the batteries and run a CB/Ham station, then again it was the Carter 1970's, interesting parallel I see.

The interesting thing in your story is if there are fewer station on the air, the AM band will be less crowded and at night, it should be easier to receive weaker stations (like the 100, 500, 5000 watters) as well as across the Atlantic (or Pacific if you live there). KDKA first put 100 watts out in 1920 on 909 kc (in our present AM band) and they were received in Canada, Finland and even New Zealand. I've picked up stations as far away as Cuba, Berkeley, California and Anguilla in the West Indies here in Pittsburgh. Heck, if the UK is still intact, you might be able to receive BBC Radio 4 on 198 kc longwave (or Allouis in France on 162 kc) if things are right.

Somebody, somewhere will still be broadcasting but the trick is if the info is correct or based on rumor but still if it is there, at least you can try to put the pieces together as to the real story as well as knowing there is a voice out there.

Lastly about hearing things in radio static (or "snow" on an old analogue TV receiver), if you go above 30 Mc, most of it is generated radio noise in the receiver and any signal received must overcome it, it is a matter of physics, but other parts of the sound comes from space like the Sun, Jupiter, the Milky Way and even echos of the Big Bang at The Creation. It is an interesting thing to ponder but I think most people, even hams, most likely would not be involved into amateur, ad-hoc radio astronomy, except to contact the ISS if there is anyone there or if any ham radio satellites still exist and are working. There is even an amateur radio satellite that has been working since 1974.

It's just me, it is like when the power goes out, the first thing, after reaching for a light source, is to get my police scanner, usually I find out what's going on if it is storm, someone whacks a pole, etc.
139 posted on 08/26/2013 12:15:32 PM PDT by Nowhere Man (It is about time we re-enact Normandy, at the shores of the Potomac.)
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To: Black Agnes

Get off the F*cking Freeway

http://neworleans.indymedia.org/news/2005/09/4683.php


140 posted on 08/26/2013 12:27:19 PM PDT by SteveH (First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.)
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To: Travis McGee

Glad you posted it - you mentioned I think yesterday, and I searched online and couldn’t find it (not a good searcher person). I will email it around...


141 posted on 08/26/2013 12:30:24 PM PDT by little jeremiah (Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. CSLewis)
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To: Travis McGee

Bump for later


142 posted on 08/26/2013 12:36:54 PM PDT by Rebelbase (Tagline: (optional, printed after your name on post))
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To: Travis McGee

Kipling was particularly prescient, and his darkness understandable having lost his son in WWI.

Another piece of visionary writing is part of W.H. Auden’s “For the Time Being” from 1941-42.

“Reason will be replaced by Revelation. Instead of Rational Law, objective truths perceptible to any who will undergo the necessary intellectual discipline, Knowledge will degenerate into a riot of subjective visions... Whole cosmogonies will be created out of some forgotten personal resentment, complete epics written in private languages, the daubs of schoolchildren ranked above the greatest masterpieces. Idealism will be replaced by Materialism. Life after death will be an eternal dinner party where all the guests are 20 years old... Justice will be replaced by Pity as the cardinal human virtue, and all fear of retribution will vanish... The New Aristocracy will consist exclusively of hermits, bums and permanent invalids. The Rough Diamond, the Consumptive Whore, the bandit who is good to his mother, the epileptic girl who has a way with animals will be the heroes and heroines of the New Age, when the general, the statesman, and the philosopher have become the butt of every farce and satire.”


143 posted on 08/26/2013 12:38:29 PM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: Travis McGee

You have to wonder if the Rupture could be the end of European civilization. Europeans may not understand how to live without electricity, but I’m sure that many Middle Easterners wouldn’t be bothered. Europe crumbles, the muslims invade.


144 posted on 08/26/2013 12:41:04 PM PDT by WI_Rifleman
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To: Nowhere Man

My intention with this story is that it is an enclosed set piece, over, done. It’s sort of like Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” for me, but shorter. Just an image of a world, with more back story explanation of how the calamity might have happened.

All of my novels have as a background some type of infrastructure decay or collapse. My Dan Kilmer novels will delve much more into outlaw radio, since their setting is a 60’ steel schooner with two equal masts, which any sailor knows is a perfect dipole setup, with 60’ of steel as the ground plate to the earth. A dipole antenna 90* to its target like that is a hot setup for long range comms, or so I am told.


145 posted on 08/26/2013 12:52:33 PM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: little jeremiah

Thanks. I hope it’s read by those outside the choir.


146 posted on 08/26/2013 12:53:33 PM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: Tijeras_Slim

I need to read up on my Auden, thanks. None of these writings change anything, except at the margins among the reachable. Get away from herds, think about an escape pod, think about where your water comes from if the power stays out. Things like that can make a difference to a lot of folks, and they are plenty enough reason for me to write. And maybe just to get it on the record that a lot of us were looking forward with extreme foreboding, but could change nothing as the buffalo herd stampeded for the jump.


147 posted on 08/26/2013 1:00:48 PM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: Travis McGee

The inclusion of of technology in a survival story, done realistically as opposed to the “deus ex machina” plot device, can fatally complicate things. A HAM radio introduces it’s own necessary logistical tail, it brings in an element of the “stationary”. This story, I perceived as being very much about motion, keeping on the move, the survival skill of knowing when to get out.


148 posted on 08/26/2013 1:06:18 PM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: GeronL

My earliest years were spent on a subsistence farm with no electricity. I can vividly recall those days and how we got along just fine without any of the modern conveniences.

I sometimes thought I was pretty well prepared, I have a lot of rechargeable battery operated devices including a small 7” HD TV set. I also have a couple of generators and a couple of small converters so I could use the car battery for small recharging.

Well the electricity went out a few weeks ago. No problem, it usually comes back on in a half hour or so. This time it stayed off. I didn’t want to get out the large generators as the power would be back on fairly soon.

Well, I got out my little TV set and it ran for maybe 15 minutes before the battery ran out. I had just not kept it charged. No problem as I have 3 different battery sets with an almost infinite combination of converters. The only problem was I had not charged them in over a year.

I finally realized that I was about as dependent on the power as all the people I felt superior to.

Yes I could have fared OK for a few days or so if I went into full self contained mode. After that I would have to get more gasoline.

I now make sure all my rechargeable devices are charged. I got a good deal on Ray-o-Vac alkaline batteries and bought nearly a hundred dollars worth of various sizes. I doubt I will live more than 10 more years and those will probably last me most of the rest of my life.


149 posted on 08/26/2013 1:08:05 PM PDT by yarddog (Romans 8: verses 38 and 39. "For I am persuaded".)
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To: Travis McGee

I really liked it. Shorter, and less brutal than “One Second After.”


150 posted on 08/26/2013 1:15:17 PM PDT by Larousse2 (The price of Freedom is Eternal Vigilance. ~ Thomas Jefferson)
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