Everyone is talking about the new Pope Francis, former Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio, and there’s indeed lots of reasons to be excited about it.
This is a man that just a few days ago, would take a bus and then walk into some of the worst shanty towns in South America, on his own. Even cops have to organize so as to enter by the dozens in these places, even hundreds when trying to arrest someone hiding there. He would visit them, baptize children there, help organize soup kitchens and spend time with some of the poorest, most needy people in the country while at the same time speak against the government handouts and state sponsored poverty.
A lot has been said about him in these last couple days. A Jesuit, humble man that refused to live in luxury when his position would have allowed him to do so. He lived in a small two room apartment in Buenos Aires and traveled in bus and train. While of course strongly opposed to gay marriage and abortion, he’s not beyond helping those that society sometimes chooses to ignore. He visited people infected with HIV, washed their feet as a sign of humility and servitude, he visited the victims of the Republica Cromagnon fire that claimed the lives of 194 people and those of the Once train station crash where 51 people died. Pope Francis, then just known as Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio (he didn’t like being called Cardenal) criticized the government. In the first incident, fire exits had been bricked shut or chained closed, clearly someone had bribed the fire inspector. Regarding the train accident its well known that the train failed to stop at the station due to breaks malfunction after decades of neglect by the train company that is subsidized (and supposedly supervised) by the government. The relationship between Cristina Kirchner, her late husband Nestor Kirchner and Pope Francis was “tense” to say the least.
Pope Francis didn’t beat around the bush when it came to calling out the visible corruption problems in the government and the crime Argentines have been suffering for years yet the government refuses still to acknowledge. Many times the then Cardenal Begoglio requested to meet with Cristina and Nestor Kirchner but was ignored. When he opposed the gay marriage law, one of Kirchner’s favorite liberal laws, he was mocked by president Cristina Kirchner, saying he belonged to “medieval times of the Inquisition” . Typical of the Kirchner regime, Cristina sent her lap dogs so-called journalists and politicians against him. They accused him of collaborating with the military dictatorship that ruled from 1976 to 1983. This was proven to be a false accusation without merit and there’s actual witnesses, even victims saying he helped them during the dictatorship . What was Nestor and Cristina Kirchner doing at that same time? Working for banks, friends of the Junta, kicking people out of their homes and flipping them for profit. Nestor Kirchner’s sister, Alicia, actually worked for the Junta during the dictatorship, and now holds the position of Minister of Development.
Pope Francis held no special animosity against the Kirchners. He just called it as he saw it, just like he did when criticizing previous presidents to their faces during mass, Carlos Menem, Fernando DelaRua and Eduardo Duhalde. The problem is , authoritarian people like Cristina Kirchner and her late husband believe that anyone that dares question them is a mortal enemy.
What this got to do with survival and preparedness?
1) I for one, I am happy about Pope Francis. Not because he’s from Argentina like I am but because he will no doubt do at least some much needed cleaning in the Vatican, but also because a lot of people already see him for the honest man he is. During times like these we all need all the faith we can get, and the more people there are out there with strong moral values the better for all of us.
And there’s also a lesson to be learned:
2) No matter how much power you have, don’t make fun of others you consider beneath you, even if you are the president of a country and the other guy is an old priest that spends his time helping drug addicts and people sleeping on the streets. You just never know, maybe one day that guy with well-worn shoes will become Pope and you’ll have to drag your sorry %$” over to the Vatican looking for his approval.
I tested different knives to see how they perform when chopping side by side. The knives used were: Cold Steel Kukri machete, a modified Tramiontins machete (which I cut a clip point to, added back serrations and made a new grip for many years ago) Busse Bushwacher Mistress, Busse Team Gemini Light Brigade, GK&Co. Nepalese Kukri and Hultafors Knife. Keep in mind that this test isn’t just about cutting wood, which may be one of the tasks demanded of a knife, but also gives you an idea of what to expect when cutting other media like meat (cutting game) or when used for defense. There’s hardly any surprises for those of use that have been using and collecting knives for some time but its still a fun exercise.
1)Heavier blades do chop better. Even shorter ones like the 7” Busse TGLB did ok for its size. Being blade heavy and having a lighter I beam tang helps.
2) I was pleasantly surprised by how well lighter machetes (Tramontina and Cold Steel Kukri) did compared to the heavier blades which are supposed to excel at chopping. Thin bladed machetes are often intended for thinner and green vegetation but both of them did very well on wood too. The long reach of the Tramontina and thin profile of both machetes made them bite into the wood with authority. No wonder machetes are such versatile blades, and pretty light to compared to the heavier ones!
3)None of the blades had any problems with chipping or rolling. I’m not surprised given that all the knives tested are outstanding and I highly recommend each one. I’ll include the Amazon links for them below. The Cold Steel Kukri Machete is a bargain knife. I’ve been recommending for years.
4)Kukris rock! I’ll do a proper review later on but the one I just received, the GK&Co. is made in Nepal by real Biswakarma, the caste of Nepalese blacksmiths that make khukuri knives. I’ll do a proper review later on but for now lets say that if you’re looking for a genuine kukri, this is the one I have and I highly recommend it. I’ll do a proper review later this week.
5)Size matters. Don’t believe anyone saying otherwise! The handy Hultafors felt punny in comparison and batoning simply cant keep up with bigger blades that can just chop away. Still an excellent 4” knife, great value at that price. I used that same Hultafors that same day to carve a base for a sharpening stone, at times hammering on its spine using it as a wood chisel. By the end of the day the knife was still hair popping razor sharp.
6)Big thick blades are nice but they do get heavy fast. They are heavy to carry, heavy to swing all day long, not much of a revelation there. At the same time they can be used for prying and hammering tasks which may be beyond the capabilities of a thin bladed machete.
Jerry Can – 20 liter
Today its hard or even impossible to find 9mm and 22LR among other calibers. If you didn’t stock up back in the day, today you find ammo to be hard to find and expensive. If the dollar crashes, you would see these products going up accordingly. The price of a Yamaha or Honda generator wont stay the same for long, it will quickly go up in proportion to how much value the dollar lost and you will pay two or three times as much as you would have paid before. In that case, the cash you have in your pocket is “melting”, buying you less goods and services as times goes by, especially so for high value goods like guns, a generator or other items that involve significant use of imported components.
Six months worth of expenses in cash is not a bad idea in my opinion. It would sure give you options if things ever get ugly fast, such as buying your way out of there if you chose to escape to a safer country. I like the idea of having enough money in cash to buy plane tickets for each family member, plus some money to get by, maybe rent a place to live as you get settled. Beyond six months you probably want something that is more “economic collapse proof”, so you’re looking at precious metals.
Someone emailed me this video about loafs of bead and other food being bought directly with the gold procured that same day. A loaf of bread ends up costing 0.1 grams of gold, which would be about 5 UsD. Given that the gold isn’t pure and just panned from the river it could be less than that.
The video from Zimbabwe is a few years old but still goes to show the value given to gold in modern times. Keep in mind that the Zimbabwe dollar is worthless, as the video shows just good for using it as an envelope to keep the precious gold.