Y2K-preparatory articles not on my site (posted here )LONG!

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

This is MinnesotaSmith, author of the Y2K-preparatory website http://y2ksafeminnesota.hypermart.net. I am behind on getting updates posted to my site, so am posting the latest versions here for interested people. Also, if this is inconvenient, I will E-mail the info on the entire site to anyone who asks. My E-mail is y2ksafeminnesota@hotmail.com.

An Introduction

I believe that the time is behind us when it was possible to prevent the Year2000 computer problem and other related phenomena from causing a multitude of very serious threats to the American people's livelihoods, comfort, and safety in the very near future. The late start on code remediation, the hardly-scratched embedded systems problem, the lost (and unrecoverable) source code, the lack of pivot-date standards for windowing, the Leap Year problem, the End-of-File Protocol problem, the almost total lack of Y2K remediation outside the English-speaking world, the GPS Rollover, the expected solar flares in 2000, the speculative bubble (overdue to burst) we call the Stock Market, the destruction of manual backup systems (e.g. railroad switching yards), the inherent fragility of a fiat currency interacting with a fractional reserve banking system, the sensitivity of Just-In-Time Delivery systems to cascading disruptions, and our accelerating social decay (consider the order-of-magnitude illegitimate birth rate increases in the U.S. during the last 50 years) are all coming together to create a synergism that will very probably make the Great Depression look rather mild. My assessments are not based on apocalyptic religious or political beliefs. I am not an environmentalist who resents Man's presence on this planet; neither am I some kind of Luddite. I have two hard-core science degrees, and am working on a third. When I am cold or sick, central heating and antibiotics look pretty good to me. I am just a reasonably intelligent guy who 1) learned years ago how to investigate and think; 2) has looked into the impending situation to a greater extent than the vast majority of people he knows (although I'm not on the level of the people in the Other Links or Suggested Readings sections); and, 3) thinks that the situation is such that action that would be paranoid/crazy in normal times is the only reasonable way now to carry out one's duties to one's family.

My judgement of what probably lies ahead of us begins with the opinion that most utilities, banks, welfare/pension systems, petrochemical refineries, pharmaceutical production, motorized transportation and telecommunication systems will be disrupted for months or years. I expect that the IRS and Social Security will cease to exist in 2000, that China will probably take Taiwan, that U.S. agricultural production in 2000 will be under a third of 1999's, and that most international trade will fall to levels less than 20% of current levels. (Think food, oil, coal, platinum, palladium, chromium, bauxite, vanadium, copper, tungsten, computer chips, spare parts, ball bearings, tools, fertilizers, pesticides, seeds, medicines, water treatment stuff, money, food, and food). Did I mention terrorism?

Nearer-term, I think we can expect bank runs before the end of September, and a Dow Jones under half the current level by Thanksgiving. I fervently hope the Nuclear Regulatory Commission disbelieves the nuke plant P.R. releases and forces all the U.S. nuclear power plants to shut down by July. (It takes 4+ months to cool the cores, and this has to be done while there is still external power, or they melt. Can you say "Chernobyl x 102"?).

Wow. I must sound like a total nutcase. Still, before you blow off my conclusions as preposterous, you owe it to those who rely on you to check into the Y2K subject and decide for yourself.

Where I sit compared to other Y2K people: Ed Yourdon, Jaeger, and Dr. Yardeni are more optimistic than I am. I think Infomagic is brilliant but unrealistically pessimistic, and I think Michael Hyatt, Dr. North, and J. Cunningham are generally in the ballpark for accurately pegging what probably lies ahead of us.

For those who might want my services in helping to prepare, I hope to have succeeded in showing you that I have in fact looked into this subject deeply enough to have found some aspects you might never think of (and prepare for) on your own. For everyone else, hope you find this collection of writings useful (or at least entertaining).

Finding Time and Money to Prepare For Y2K

If you are rather well-off financially, such as someone who could afford my highest level of service (and still have $20K+ remaining to spend on preparedness), then you can skip this section. This part of my site is addressed to anyone who sees a yawning chasm between his current resources of time/money, and what he believes he needs available in order to set up his household for Y2K.

There is a guideline used by dieters to appraise behavior. It involves judging every action in terms of whether it is a step forwards or backwards in terms of the overall goal. If you apply this in terms of preparing for Y2K, you will quickly find that you (and those members of your household whose behavior you control or influence) have many current diversions of time and money that you can quickly dispense with, freeing up resources for preparation.

You don't need to...

1) Buy another anything that plugs into the wall, including computers, video game anything, music anything, TVs, air conditioners, refrigerators, freezers, electric snowblowers, lamps, power tools, hairdryers, curling irons, dishwashers, clothes washers/dryers, electric heaters, etc. Possible exception: food dehydrators. 2) Go on vacations out of town. 3) Fly instead of driving. 4) Take any class that won't be useful in 2000 (or pay for anyone else to take any); classes that fail this test include most college classes, such as art/music/drama/history; any gender/ethnic stuff; any kind of advocacy; psychology, physics, advertising/marketing, anything theoretical, journalism, philosophy, social work, anthropology, cosmetology, sports anything, environmental anything, geology, aviation, law anything, oceanography, sociology, floristry, interior decorating, public relations, counseling, education, political science, most foreign languages, many business classes, tax anything, or any major mostly used in government employment. Classes that might pass this test: small engine repair, first aid/other (nonquack) medical, some chemistry courses, computer programming, public health, local wild plants, electrician/plumber/masonry apprenticeships, vegetable gardening/horticulture/practical agronomy classes, welding, firearm repair, locksmithing, Spanish, English (if you don't speak it well now), local entomology/pest control, animal husbandry, millwright, process control technician, mechanic, logging/rough carpentry, hydraulic/chemical/electrical engineer, food safety, marksmanship, martial arts, fence construction, blacksmithing, farrier, bowmaker/fletcher/archery, candlemaking, butchering, nonelectric sewing/clothes mending... you get the idea. 5) Go to movies or rent them. 6) Keep any TVs in the house; sell them or at least store them a few miles away (and remember to get the cable turned off, too). TV for most people is like a full-time job with no paycheck, and it's even worse for your kids. 7) Attend sporting events/cultural events/amusement parks. 8) Contribute any time or money to political or charitable groups (your family comes first). 9) Buy/read most fiction, e.g., romances, westerns, detective stories, fantasies, erotica, People, The National Enquirer, most best-sellers, most magazines, etc. 10) Go alpine skiing/snowboarding, or buy equipment for it (sell the skis/boards; other people will be selling their equipment for pennies in 11 months, anyway). 11) Play video/computer games, cards, boardgames, assemble jigsaw puzzles, or fill out crossword puzzles. 12) Do a whole lot of housework, especially if there is anyone in the house over 12 who is unemployed. 13) Use credit cards that cost you interest (or any, ideally). 14) Buy restaurant meals over $7.00. 15) Buy knicknacks such as figurines, mobiles, stuffed animals or windchimes (anything "cute" that performs nothing). 16) Go snowmobiling, or spend any money on the sport; instead, sell your snowmobile; between their embedded systems and the expected long-term petroleum refinery shutdowns, snowmobiles will likely be snow-covered lawn ornaments in early 2000 anyway. 17) Hunt anything you can't eat. 18) Plant anything you can't eat (exception: thorny plants for security). 19) Buy potpourri, incense, perfume, air freshener, or the like. 20) Buy or use most cosmetics (exceptions: women in some jobs, actors); no one needs them for school. Exception: a very few people with birthmarks/injury scars sufficiently severe that they effectively cannot function outside their dwelling without them. 21) Use the services of a taxidermist, prostitute, masseuse, manicurist, most counselors or therapists (exceptions: marriage or chemical dependence), fortuneteller, astrologist, tattoo artist, body piercer, etc.; the last two are not only money-wasters and health hazards, but they make you less employable; this will be especially undesirable next year when (in my opinion) unemployment can be expected to be about 50%, and employers will not be forced by labor shortages to hire people they would rather not use. 22) Use tobacco, consume beverage alcohol, or have anything to do with any illegal drugs (Y2K preparation is particularly difficult if fined into bankruptcy or imprisoned). 23) Drive or park in a way that results in a ticket. 24) Have the thermostat above 60 degrees in winter. 25) Have a radio/TV/music device/light on in an unoccupied room (exception: burglar deterrance) or one in which all occupants are asleep. 26) Behave in a manner that results in late fees (rent, utilities, library book overdues, etc.). 27) Voluntarily do anything involving photography unless it is your well-paying primary job. 28) Buy another animal (except perhaps a nonfragile dog) or buy "things" for the animals you have. 29) Buy gifts or attend social occasions for people who mean little to you (includes some relatives). 30) Participate in gambling, including casinos, the state lottery, office sports pools, raffles, etc. 31) Undergo elective plastic surgery (facelifts, liposuction, nose jobs, etc.). 32) Visit a chiropractor, aroma therapist, acupuncturist, traditional/Asian medicine person, or Indian medicine man. 33) Decorate in any way for any holidays/occasions (home or work). 34) Buy a fur anything (I'm not against furs normally; they're just prohibitively expensive). 35) Buy anything to put on the wall. 36) Buy caviar, pate, lobster, expensive cuts of meat, or other expensive foods or beverages; you don't have to eat meat or desserts every single day, either. 37) Visit a beauty parlor/barber/stylist for anything except infrequent simple & inexpensive haircuts (no curling/straightening/coloring of hair). 38) Do any motorboating/sailboating/ice skating/ rollerskating/skateboarding; sell the equipment (possible exceptions: sailboat IF you live on a really big lake, or small boats you can row/paddle). 39) Buy any kind of ornamental plant, whether live or plastic, yard or potted. 40) Buy a new (or otherwise expensive) car; you only need one that will run until the end of the year. 41) Buy fireworks, car ornaments, cut flowers, jewelry, or sports memorabilia. 42) Buy carpeting; if anything, you should get the carpeting you have ripped out and replaced with ceramic tile, vinyl tile, or linoleum (in descending order of desirability); the reasoning is that you won't be able to vacuum in 2000, but you will be able to sweep and mop, and cleanliness will be even more important than now (think disease prevention). 43) Settle lawsuits out of court if 1/1/2000 will intervene before they will come to trial. 44) Cosign a loan or pay bail/fines for anyone not in your household. 45) Have only one job, unless it either consistently gives you lots of paid overtime, or you are actively studying something that passes the test of item #4. 46) Have anyone in the household over 14 unemployed (even 70-year-old Grandma can find something to do that brings in money). 47) Buy new (or much) furniture. 48) Build on to your house. 49) Drive children to anything fun. 50) Use full-service fuel pumps at service stations, even if the weather is unpleasant. 52) Buy exercise equipment; instead, keep your eyes open for equipment that has been discarded (expensive nongated suburbs and near private colleges are good areas to look); best of all, start walking to get in shape; everyone can do it (in 99% of weather conditions), and since you'll probably be unable to avoid walking your tail off next year, you might as well start getting used to it now. 51) Buy herbal supplements; 99% of them are a total waste of money, and often hazardous to your health; also, having once worked in a place that packaged them, I can tell you that herbal supplement quality control stinks. 52) Badger your doctor into prescribing you a prescription for antibiotics when he thinks you have a viral infection and don't need them; besides the waste of money (assuming your family has to contribute to their purchase cost), there are health detriments to needless antibiotic use. 53) Buy formal/fancy clothing (unless your job requires it). 54) Buy stocks or bonds (of any type); I expect that losing half of their value during the next eight months and becoming unredeemable for years is the best situation you can hope for if you own these for too much longer; if anything, sell every one of these you own before their price drops (and while you still are able to sell them). Don't buy short options, either; by the time the effects of Y2K would make them highly profitable, I expect that collecting on them will be difficult or impossible. 55) Have more than one phone line (unless your business/work requires it); believe it or not, you have no legal or moral obligation to allow children to have access to a phone. 56) Make personal long-distance calls instead of writing about 95% of the time; as a good rule of thumb, reserve it for occasions that require wearing a suit (weddings, funerals, got a good job). Also, never use a cellular phone when a regular telephone is available; I can't count the times I've observed someone chatting away about obviously non-urgent personal matters 20' from a regular phone that was not in use. 57) Conceive or adopt a child. This applies to everyone in the house. This may be the most important advice I give you. 58) Take on any new obligations or debts (monetary or time), whether they are your idea or someone else's.

You get the idea. If anything makes it harder to ensure your family comes out the other side of Y2K, it stops now. Your family deserves no less.

Relationships in Y2K

{His wife speaking: as this is one of the more touchy-feely topics, my loving husband has agreed that perhaps a woman's touch is required. As a strong believer in monogamy, this topic is very close to my heart. In this day and age of the disposable relationship, Y2K is going to make a few changes in the way any sane person will carry on a relationship.

If you are currently in a monogamous relationship with someone you trust implicitly and who feels the same way you do about Y2K, then by all means continue the relationship. Do your best to strengthen and improve the relationship as you'll need to be able to depend and trust your significant other with all the trials and tribulations you'll be going through next year if what we believe will come to pass does in fact happen.

If you have looked at the other topics discussed on this site, you will be aware that many things we take for granted in our daily lives such as easy access to medical care, Wal-mart for our daily needs, power, cars, etc., may not be available. Without the ability to get to doctors, the risk of disease between partners who are not monogamous is tantamount to attempted murder. There are diseases out there for which there is no cure. You will have to be able to literally trust your partner with your life. Although this is a discussion about relationships, sexual habits must be a part of it as well.}

Back to the man's viewpoint: First, let me make it clear that I consider Y2K to be no time to be alone. That doesn't mean you must be sexually involved, but rather that you should not be facing this thing alone (i.e., living alone is definitely out of the question). That said, you need to be in a sturdy, healthy, productive situation; becoming divorced or separated in November would be disastrous for your prospects in 2000, no matter what your income level. Ideally, work to deepen and strengthen your present marriage/partnership (the latter for those of you in long-term relationships that don't technically qualify as marriage). However, if you are going to divorce/split, do it ASAP. You still have time (if you do it now) to find a nonsolitudinal living situation to hunker down in during Y2K and its (expected to be lengthy) aftermath. Parents, siblings, even the household of a former spouse/lover may be acceptable substitutes for the usual marriage archetype.

For those of you contemplating prevention of conception after 1999 (hopefully everyone who may be sexually active), a permanent or long-term method for achieving this is a likely concern. Some points on this subject: 1) Sterilization is the best method, with Norplant a close second. Everything else goes bad, gets used up, or otherwise stops working. 2) Sterilization of the male in a couple does not protect the female from impregnation by other males. Regardless of your certainty of monogamy in your relationship, there are multiple scenarios in which this eventuality might arise. These range from forcible rape to voluntary prostitution due to great desperation. Therefore, an approach that results in infertility in the woman is the preferred approach. 3) Among honest people (not brigands), sterile people will have the best sex lives in 2000+. When significant numbers of people figure this out, there will be an impossible jam-up in demand for the necessary medical assistance to acquire this status. We do not know when this will begin; therefore, if you or your partner are going to get sterilized before Y2K hits, don't put it off.

Suggested Readings

I have read all of these books. Since your funds are limited, I have a duty not to suggest any losers to you. The following seven books are all "must-haves". If there are any you are missing, obtain them ASAP. (I have read and own in excess of 40 more relevant books that were also going to be listed as "very helpful", but my wife says I have to reserve that information for the paying customers).

Disclaimer: The only author with a book on this list that I have any sort of connection to is J.C. Cunningham. At a recent Y2K expo I attended, I met him and he generously gave me a copy of his book. He also graciously spent a fair amount of his scarce time there talking with me. That is all, and I genuinely do believe his book merits a place on my "A" list. I also post on Mr. Yourdon's and Mr. Hyatt's forums/classifieds, but those are my sole connections to them.

1) The Millennium Bug by Michael Hyatt (1998)

2) TimeBomb2000 by Edward Yourdon (1997) or the second edition (1999)

3) Y2K Survival Guide by J.C. Cunningham (1998)

4) The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery (1994)

5) Man and Society in Calamity by P.A. Sorokin (1942)

6) The Y2K Personal Survival Guide by Michael Hyatt (1999)

7) What Will Become of Us...Counting Down to Y2K by Julian Gregori (1998)

Verbal Security

Here we go with another topic that involves my saying some impolite things in order to give you the best advice I can.

You and your spouse/partner can probably keep your mouths closed about your preparations with respect to your neighbors, especially if you move after you have been convinced about Y2K for some time and no longer feel compelled to talk to everyone you know about the subject. The problem is going to be the children, and anyone in your household either of limited mental capacity and/or who is still at all in denial about Y2K. Kids will talk (yes, yours included), no matter what they promise, and, by alerting others to your preparedness, will increase your prominence to looters once this thing hits. Your family's safety is too important to risk on the perfect behavior over months of people of less than adult capacities.

My Solutions:

1) Move miles (preferably over 10) away from where you are now (to a much more rural setting, preferably). If you are within 20 miles of the urban core, you probably need to move anyway.

2) Have the children in a school district other than the one corresponding to where you are moving to (if they attend public school). If they attend private school, it shouldn't be too close to your new home.

3) Have as much of your stockpiled materials in locked places where they never lay eyes on it even once. This would especially apply to materials that are particularly striking because of large volume (i.e., 5 tons of wheat) or controversial status (i.e., multiple firearms, fuel, gold/silver, tobacco, antibiotics). A secure mini-warehouse (preferably one you can access at night for greater privacy) in a commercial storage facility (that your children don't even know you have) is preferred to any setup on your property; many parents underestimate their offspring's success at prying into anything and everything around the house.

4) Have major deliveries (fuel, water tanks, stoves, grain, grain bins, etc.) or craftsmen doing obvious Y2K prep work on your house scheduled for when the kids are away from the premises.

5) ASAP stop receiving mail at your current house, and DO NOT receive mail (including packages) at your soon-to-be new house's address. Use a mail drop (Mailboxes, Etc. or U.S.P.S P.O. box). This reduces both the children's familiarization with your old and new addresses, and reduces the possibility of their friends obtaining your address. Have all addresses changed to your mail drop; you can even do this with your Minnesota driver's license, and other official correspondence. If the government functionaries you deal with are difficult, remember that non-P.O. Box mail drops are street addresses, and they almost certainly won't pick up on those. A law/regulation was recently put into effect forcing mail drop businesses to put a 3-digit code on addresses at their places; however, the U.S. Snail will continue delivering codeless mail to these addresses until at least September, although they do not promise (!) to deliver every piece without it during this transition time.

6) Take down the mailbox at your new location before you move there, and do not replace it.

7) The ideal, which few will seriously consider doing, would be to send the kids to Grandma's/Aunt Erma's/boarding school while you move, and the children do not see the new place a single time (or even have any idea where it is) until you bring them home in December when school is out. You should definitely have the long distance turned off or otherwise definitely unavailable to them before they arrive. Yes, this is drastic, but would be done with the whole family's best interests in mind. It is the best method involving modest expenditures I have been able to figure out to both have your children with you during the terrible uncertainities that can be expected to begin no later than the beginning of next year, and to ensure that your own flesh and blood do not target you for armed marauders (uniformed or not).

8) Other people: Once you have significant visible survival preparations, everyone stops having social visitors of any kind. Period. No exceptions. This applies most of all to people residing within several hundred miles/in the same state as you, people with any government connections, or friends/acquaintances that are connected in any major way (especially employees/in families of employees) to companies that cooperate closely with government such as utilities or banks. Children can't be trusted to follow this, however. Therefore, once this condition arises, they must always either be elsewhere, or have an adult be guaranteed to always be present when they arrive home from school (and all other times they are home as well) to enforce this. Try to have all repair work by craftsmen done soon, both to be able to get it done period (beating the rush), and so these workers don't observe anything they are likely to blab to other people.

Your Priorities for Y2K

The following is not exactly politically correct, but I believe it to be good advice.

You CAN (have to, really) try to keep your immediate family, those in your household, safe and healthy, and not directly injure other people by acts of commission.

You CAN come up with enough long-term storage food to feed the other family members in your household for years.

You CAN'T feed the neighbors, friends, or anyone else outside your household. We don't know how long Y2K will affect us, and your obligations to your family forbids taking any chances with their health for anyone else, which giving away any food is.

You CAN spend innumerable hours trying to teach your spouse or partner about Y2K, since if they're not on board, the whole family unit's chances are much worse.

You CAN'T do this for anyone else (Mom, Dad, your best friend for twenty years, Great-Aunt Gertude, co-workers, or your next-door neighbors.......ESPECIALLY your neighbors).

You CAN give advice and information to interested people. Anyone important to you outside your household, give them ONE letter, face-to-face talk, or long phone call, and unless they show interest, that's the end of it.

You CAN tell people that you've looked into this Year2000 thing some, that you think it might be pretty bad, and that they might want to look into it and decide for themselves. (Give them info on Hyatt's Millennium Bug, Edward Yourdon's TimeBomb2000 and Gary North's website address.)

You CAN'T spend even one minute arguing with anyone who is certain Y2K is no big deal and doesn't want to hear about it. They are similiar to (imaginary) people who would not believe there was such a thing as fire until someone poured gasoline over one of their arms and lit it with a match (and maybe not even then). You won't succeed in warning them. You may succeed in antagonizing them, or convincing them you are crazy and probably dangerous (an especially desireable outcome if you have a business relationship with them). You will definitely waste your time.

You CAN'T tell people you think that Y2K will not be that big of a problem, even if that would be politically convenient for you. That could dissuade wavering people who respect your opinions from timely preparations, and would in my opinion have crossed the line into immorality.

You CAN buy critical survival items at bargain prices (compared to what they will surely cost by 10/1/99) from people ignorant about Y2K, especially strangers. Why? 1) What items you buy now will raise the demand for those goods from the manufacturers, so they will increase production in a timely fashion. The candle you buy today could be the two candles two people can buy in summer, and four candles four other people can buy in fall. You are actually helping later availability of those items by purchasing them now. 2) You can't be expected to save the world, especially at risk to your own household; your family is all that you have to take responsibility for (and that's a great enough responsibility for almost anyone). However, if you want to briefly warn the sellers about Y2K, after you have paid for the items and loaded them into your vehicle, that's probably OK. You just need to be reasonably certain that this warning will not be detrimental to obtaining supplies for your family in the future.


You CAN'T fight groups of uniformed looters (unless you judge they are about to kill you, in which case you might as well try; expect to die, though).

You CAN bury or otherwise hide food and other valuables, and not divulge the location, contents, or even that you ever thought about doing that sort of thing to anyone (except your partner) for any reason, especially neighbors or anyone with any possible government connection.

You CAN fight nonuniformed looters; in fact, sometimes you might not have a choice. I break down the possible scenarios as follows: 1) You are traveling, and happen upon a looting incident or obvious looters. A policy of armed neutrality is probably the wisest decision, especially if there is any risk to you and your group at all. Defend yourselves if attacked, but try not to bring on a confrontation. A minor bribe to avoid a fight may not be out of the question. 2) If your neighbor is under attack, you probably should try to help him. This is not an action you would be taking purely out of altruism. First, if looters are next door, they are likely to come after you next, so helping your neighbor now is enlightened self-defense. Second, if you have a mutual-aid agreement with your neighbor, and don't help him in time of attack, you will have proved yourself to be a knave. Honor becomes more important when times are hard, and guess how you will be known? 3) If a couple of people have just killed your dog, have climbed into your backyard, and are trying to break into your house, your course of action is pretty clear. Without any warning, you shoot them, aiming to kill, and continue shooting until they are dead (no prisoner-taking). You get the bodies off your property, hiding them the best that you practicably can, and never admit or divulge what happened to anyone. To those who (in an easy time of plenty) say that lives are more important than things, I retort that in a time of little or no food, robbing someone of their food is a crime belonging to the category of attempting murder, and the ancient law of self-defense (even higher than the Constitution, which I revere) applies to stopping that.

You CAN'T take any survival items by force from other, innocent people. That makes you a looter, a moral zero, and you know what I think of those...

You CAN'T accept paper or any other kind of promise in exchange for (above all) food or any other critical material item of survival value, especially if it is irreplaceable post-crash. My advice is to follow the rule of exchanging like for like; promises can only get promises, and material goods can get material goods. Additionally, to make sure you don't get fast-talked into a deal you will later regret, I advise only exchanging food for something else when it is originally your idea.

You CAN lie to, mislead, or misdirect anyone and everyone if it helps your family's safety, especially government people (of any type).

You CAN'T let Y2K make you despondent -- now and later, there's too much to do for that. Any human being who is alive today has ancestors who lived through worse than anything Y2K is likely to throw at us. You have the blood of survivors, even heroes, running through your veins. Live up to the example they set for you; be determined that you and yours will come out the other side of this thing.

You CAN remember this about Y2K -- this, too, shall pass. http://y2ksafeminnesota.hypermart.net

-- MinnesotaSmith (y2ksafeminnesota@hotmail.com), May 11, 1999


What a wonderful paper. It is so wonderful in fact; that I think Ed Yourdon should use your whole text for his Five Minutes before the Senate hearing.

It nicely summarizes the position of all of the G.I.s here.

Let the Pollys read it and weep.

Again, our deepest thanks for your brilliant summation.


-- G.I. NOW (gi.now@notoast.com), May 11, 1999.

Your charging people money for this advice?

Can you spell lawsuit?

Read it and weep? I don't think so, unless you mean weep for the unsuspecting people who pay this guy.

-- polly (.@...), May 11, 1999.

This is MinnesotaSmith, author of the website http://y2ksafeminnesota.hypermart.net. What I charge people for is detailed at the bottom of this post; my site contains ~20 FREE articles containing material relevant to Y2K preparation for GIs (or potential GIs). While I'm at it, consider looking at "Warning Friends & Relatives" and "Warning Neighbors" on my website; I think you may see something of yourself described there.

About My Services

My goal is that up to 80% of the money you spend on Y2K preparation is not wasted if (against all evidence) Y2K ends up being no big deal. That is, you can eat the food, sell the gold, sell/keep the guns, throw the salt on the driveway for the next ten years, etc. I believe that preparing for no significant outside assistance with food, utilities, or water for at least 19 months (when the second post-1/1/2000 harvest starts) is the bare minimum your duty to those who depend on you requires. Overall, my preparation philosophy is to be as pessimistic as possible about Y2K in general and human nature in particular, so you can be as optimistic as possible about your family's prospects.

A) For $150.00 (up front), I will come and talk informally for approximately three hours on Y2K. I will leave a packet of hundreds of pages of information as well. I need to know in advance if 1) the emphasis is on preparation or persuasion, and 2) if business or household concerns are to be emphasized. You get two subsequent free half-hour calls as well.

B) For $600.00 (up front), you get the $150.00 talk, a bunch of useful printed material (over 18" high pile), three visits by me to advise or help, and unlimited phone calls for one month in regards to your Y2K preparation.

C) For $2,000.00 (half up front), you get all the services in A) and B), and unlimited phone calls for two months. I also find, prepare, and deliver tons of numerous bulk staples/supplies/trade items (years of supplies) to your door, ready for long-term storage. You have to provide the money to purchase these items, but I find them and get them for you. Delivery is free for anything locally obtainable I can move with my truck (under 2,000 lbs.). You also get copies of everything I have in the way of reference material, and numerous other services.

D) For $5,000.00 (half up front), you get your preparation for your household or business pretty much taken care of (turnkey). The same arrangement as in C) applies with funding the supplies, but I personally oversee obtaining the vast majority of items you could want, and move them inside your house to long-term storage locations. Likewise, you pay for the services of craftsmen I engage, but I help you figure out what needs to be done, and am present at your home whenever necessary. You get unlimited phone calls for three months and many, many other services.

Note: If you have purchased one level of service and later decide you would like to upgrade, the money you have spent so far can be applied towards a higher level. I can only take on a limited number of clients, and expect to be unable to assist anyone in their preparations after the end of summer.

Exclusions: I do not give tax/legal advice. I do not handle household moving, gold, guns/ammunition, or controlled chemicals (e.g. prescription pharmaceuticals). Other than tax/legal, I will give advice on all of the above (what guns to get, where to buy gold and how much, etc.). I do handle purchases of other trade goods, including uncontrolled chemicals, and just about anything else you may need for Y2K preparedness.

-- MinnesotaSmith (y2ksafeminnesota@hotmail.com), May 11, 1999.

I believe that the time is behind us when it was possible to prevent the Year2000 computer problem ...

Then perhaps you can explain why NOT ONE SINGLE PREDICTION OF DISRUPTION TO DATE HAS COME TO PASS? The Prophets of Doom are batting about .0001 thus far.

My judgement of what probably lies ahead of us begins with the opinion that most utilities, banks, ... [snip] ... will be disrupted for months or years

The Y2K news that I've been reading lately has been mostly good -- from utilities to the military. The problem is being fixed.

I must sound like a total nutcase.

Not at all. You sound like someone who's still banking on older predictions and data from 1997 and 1998 (by your own admission, you're listening to people like Hyatt and North, who've been so far out of touch lately it's scary), and ... you're selling Y2K preparation services. Let's don't forget that. :)

You don't need to ... [long list snipped]

That way, they'll have MORE money to buy your services.

[List of recommendations suitable for paranoid schizophrenics snipped ...] You CAN'T tell people you think that Y2K will not be that big of a problem ...

Not even if it's true? Talk about made-up minds!

You CAN remember this about Y2K -- this, too, shall pass.

You have no idea how eagerly I await the day. So: what are you going to be doing next year? Selling meteorite insurance? Lightning rods?

-- Stephen M. Poole, CET (smpoole7@bellsouth.net), May 11, 1999.

This is MinnesotaSmith, author of the Y2K website http://y2ksafeminnesota.hypermart.net. The "Finding Y2K Prep Time" article is specifically geared toward people that are not, and will not be, in a position to utilize my services. If you'd read the ENTIRE first paragraph you'd realize that. The article is public service, pure and simple. As far as the whole thing (Y2K) getting fixed/turning out to be no big deal, I suggest you begin learning about two subjects: A) embedded systems, and B) the status of code remediation outside the English-speaking world. A good example of the latter is given by the gov't of Kenya setting up an advisory committee on the Year2000 Problem that is due to give its report in 4/2000. Multiply this by a few thousand, and the whole thing doesn't look too solved, does it?

-- MinnesotaSmith (y2ksafeminnesota@hotmail.com), May 11, 1999.

Uh, Mr. MN,

After the whole financial systemunravels and you've gone and told folks to get sterilized, who was it that was going to take care of them in their old age? Should we send them to your house?

Talk about your short-term thinking!


-- David Palm (djpalm64@yahoo.com), May 11, 1999.


You are an abject jerk! No, somehow that does not quite describe my feelings for you. How about an arragont, greedy, unprincipled jerk? Yes, I think that says it a little better.

-- Watcher5 (anon@anon.com), May 11, 1999.

This just all reminds me of how a few erroneous underlying assumptions can lead to a whole maze of flawed conclusions. (Anybody remember "Tom's Take" last summer?)

Hardcore scientific degrees are commendable things to have; but not too many hundreds of years ago, it was those with the hardcore scientific degrees who declared that the earth was flat; not too many hundreds of years before that the science people said the sun revolved around the earth, and that the sun was the center of the universe.

So having science degrees certainly doesn't prove one's opinion that Y2k will be a disaster, especially when there are so many other people with science degrees these days who think Y2k is a problem which will be managed, and which will not cause the types of disruptions being described here.

Bottom line is what S. Poole has repeatedly pointed out: the Doomer predictions have not come to pass, time after time, though the Doomer 'scientists' were sure they would. Now it's, "it'll happen later"....how much later? Will we be still waiting for these predictions to come true in 2010, and still hearing the Doomers say "it's coming, it's coming"? Of course the Doomers don't like to hear that. Truth hurts sometimes.

-- Chicken Little (panic@forthebirds.net), May 11, 1999.

Chicken Little,

The whole disconnect is in the belief that "computer disruptions = End Of the World As We Know It (And I feeeel fiiiiiiiiiiine ...)."

Computers fail now, daily, and we work around them. Just the other day, a large department store here lost its POS system. They had to use calculators, cash drawers, and inventory sheets. Aggravating, but not the end of the world.

CIH slammed Asia, and yet, they seem to be working around it in due course. Y2K will be no different. Sure, there will be some problems -- a few whoppers, in fact -- but we'll work around them.

It's all a matter of attitude. Do I give up and run screaming into the woods, or do I just take it in stride and work around it?

-- Stephen M. Poole, CET (smpoole7@bellsouth.net), May 11, 1999.


I read your whole prep article and got a headache for it because I'm on web tv but it was worth it. Have been reading y2k sites for months, 6 hours a night & all weekend when I wasn't survival-shopping. I don't have to agree with every word of this to recognise its value. It's one of the most important things I've read (another is Tom's Take) - I understand your reasoning and disagree with the reactions that followed it - but I see the same names with the same comments on other parts of this forum, and I've only been here a few days.

Thank you.


-- Scat (sgcatique@webtv.net), May 11, 1999.

Minnesota, I appreciate the work you've done and understand the sincerity with which you've thought out the consequences of the Y2K scenario. Once we examine this issue and conclude that it must be faced, we quickly get to a point where we understand that our current lifestyle is too far removed from living on the land to easily adjust to a Y2K disaster. Please take a look at http://www.drivezero.com/herbal/ to add another weapon to your arsenal.

-- Alice Richmond (alicebrown@yahoo.com), May 12, 1999.

"It's all a matter of attitude. Do I give up and run screaming into the woods, or do I just take it in stride and work around it?"

Poole: and this was recommended by ..... who?

Minnesota Smith: take your pitch for selling your services to some other forum on the Internet. It's entirely inappropriate here.

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), May 12, 1999.

You may not be aware that your Johnny Come Lately attempt at making money on Y2K is doomed to failure.

-- Cherri (sams@brigadoon.com), May 13, 1999.

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