On preparation: When does it become excessive?

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

On an earlier post, I asked readers to state their predictions of Y2K in economic terms. In my opinion, this was useful.


Once again, I am asking readers to consider a set of questions. This time, the questions ask for personal opinions on when preparation crosses the line between "enough" and "too much." To make the questions more manageable (and less personal), let's consider the plight of an "average" suburban family of five living within one hour of a major urban area. The family owns its home, but has significant personal debt. One grandparent is living with the family and has medical needs. I could make the family more defined, but you should get the general picture. After my specific questions, feel free to weigh in on what advice you would offer this hypothetical family.

1. How much water should the family store?

2. How much food should the family store?

3. If the total family income is $50,000 per year, how much should the family spend on Y2K preparations?

[Let's say they have $2500 in savings; $10,000 in 401(k) plans that could net $7,000 after witholding/penalty and $10,000 in home equity.]

4. Should the family purchase one or more firearms? If so, what kind, how many and how much ammunition?

5. Should the family relocate even if it means taking a financial loss on the sale of their home?

6. Should the family buy a generator and/or an alternative heat source?

7. Should the family invest in gold or silver coins? If so, how much?

8. At what point, if any, do you think this family has gone "overboard" on its preparations?

This forum has explored the preparation issue, but usually from the perspective of "what is enough." I am looking for opinions on when (if ever) preparation crosses the line into excess.

And let's not raise Chuck's (the night driver) blood pressure again. Please stay on the topic and away from personal attacks. Thanks.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 14, 1999


Very subtle, Decker.

Your semantic technique is getting better...

-- . (.@...), May 14, 1999.

I can only deal with my reality, not someone else's fiction.

-- Mike Lang (webflier@erols.com), May 14, 1999.

thorough preparation is never excessive.

Arlin Adams

-- Arlin H. Adams (ahadams@ix.netcom.com), May 14, 1999.

Mr. Decker,

"Excessive" ,in this context, is as intangible as beauty. Shall we argue about beauty?

-- carlos (riffraff1@cybertime.net), May 14, 1999.

Mr. Decker,

I'm sure everyone would agree that there is such a thing as excessive preparation, but many of us also know that reasonable men will not always agree on what is "excessive". But to me, it's a moot point.

Some people prepare for three days, some for three weeks, and some for three months. Whatever is prudent for that person to prepare for, it's better than not preparing at all. To me, the biggest danger isn't that someone will have three months of canned goods on hand; the danger is not having any extra canned goods on hand at all.

All a person can do is read Y2K articles from a wide variety of sources, read congressional testimony and draw their own conclusions. As I said, I think blowing off the whole issue Y2K issue and forgetting about it is more dangerous than having a comfortable cushion of consumer staples available on hand, at home in January 2000.

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), May 14, 1999.

1) I bought a dc water pump and solar panels to pump the water. The water is in the ground and stays there until needed. It is a savings cuz we all need water to drink, wash, grow food and provide barterers with. Barterers may make this worth your while in the long haul. 2) Wheat, Rice (white), Beans, Olive oil (lasts longer) and a buttload of Wide mouthed quart sized canning jars with canning equipment and lots of spare lids. The canning jars will last forever and you can can meat you kill which is free and crop yields you grow, also free if you save seeds from plants you harvested before.....the issue here is get plenty of spare jar lids....very cheap you see. 3) If you are thinking about money allocation in reference to what you earn; think again. Consumers insurance is money spent now to keep future costs low since items later may cost more and you will consume all you spend nonetheless. 4) Frugality says buy a 12 guage shotgun...plenty of cheap 7 1/2 small game/bird shot (a few 100 to 1000 rounds) and enough 00 buck shot for defense and large game you wanna save precious meat with. can can meat as any frugal canner can can. 5) hard call...will it be bad.hmmm. Country dwellin is much cheaper than city dwellin and what money gotten from city place will give you extra to spend after country place is purchased. It is really too late now but if you skeedaddle you can getta finder. Meet neighbors as fast as you can or hole up. 6) electricity is not as neccessary as heat. A woodburning stove and pipe can be frugal way. can can as a canner can with a woodburner. 7) Most all transactions are in cash and i heard govt is sellin gold for cash for their causes. Yoy need fundamental things first then buy gold/silver if it makes you feel more secure....that issue is up in the air. 8) You have over prepaired if you purchased too much of an item you cannot use as consumers insurance. If it spoils, then it is wasted. Realize that you are trying to ward off inflation of hard to get items. They say Italy and the import/export or maritime industry may be way behind in remediation. Olive oil is cheap and can store for three years. add bht or dried rosemary to make it last longer. Vegetable oil does not last long nor does crisco or lard feel good to the heart. Remember that Olive oil is a better barter item and will be like gold if TSHTF. By the way, you have also messed up if you purchased too much low fat stuff. Get canned tuna (not expensive albacore) stored in soy oil. Better yet Buy mackeral= 69 cents for large can...money spent/calorie ratio ought to be in opposite corners....ie...low money and high calories

"All right then", said swingblade.

Sincerely, Feller

-- Feller (feller@wanna.help), May 14, 1999.


Excessive preparation are any preparations found not to be needed after the troubles are over and things are stable.

(Unless required for future unexpected events like storms, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, or mean mothers-in-law.)

So, you tell me what will happen in my neighborhood - and I'll adjust me preparations accordingly. Deal?

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), May 14, 1999.

Decker, I am ready to speak in a sane voice. The question is unanswerable, and you know that. If I make decisions that result in hardship, they are my decisions alone. No one has put a gun to my head to make me prepare, no one has washed my brain, and I alone control my life. Numbers are only numbers, not insight. As none of this affects you, why are you interested? Is this an "official" poll?

-- Gia (Laureltree7@hotmail.com), May 14, 1999.

I could answer that it no longer matters because of the time frame. Unless someone is willing to spend most of their 'off'time chasing essentials and digging through garage sales, etc, they cannot meet all needs by Dec 31. My family has well over a year (3 adults) with both my wife and mother in law able to spend 30-40 hours a week and we are still not as ready as we would like.

Mr. Decker, your questions make a lot of sense but....

1. Without knowing the mindset of the adults in the family, one cannot possibly determine the EXTENT of their motivation.

2. Without knowing the extent of the drain credit satisfaction places upon their financial resources, one cannot possibly determine their ABILITY to purchase.

3. Without knowing the level of this family's knowledge of y2k, one cannot determine their KNOWLEDGE of what they need.

4. Without the knowledge of the family's cohesiveness and solidity, one cannot determine if the family in question has the emotional STABILITY to survive.

I wish I could answer your question. The variables are just too many to equate properly. One other point I would like to make. It is easy to SAY preparation, it is far harder to IMPLEMENT it.

Preparation is far more than generator, water, grain, gun, and firewood. Preparation requires a mindset. Not the one that your friends keep ascribing to us of "doomers" and "total right wing savages" (this from your Biffy forum). Preparation actually requires a much more level headed approach that pertains to life in general and not just Y2K.

You must evaluate the risk/threat and decide how severe and what effect it may have on YOU. Not your neighbor, not Ford, not Microsoft. This is where some people on both sides of the question go overboard. As you well know, there are fanatics on both sides of any question.

You must decide just how much of your resources you can reasonably allocate toward the fullfillment of your preparation. Obviously some can do far more than others. Does that make them 'hoarders'? No, not unless by buying more than they immediately need they are causing someone else to go short. (And that's not happening in the US)

And finally, you must decide what is important to you and yours. You must be willing to sacrifice lifestyle to secure your life.

What is too much?? When the implementation of preparation becomes an addiction. No different than an addiction to drugs, alcohol or gambling. You lose sight of the goal because of your intent concentration on 'acquiring' whatever it is you feel you need. For the addict, it is the drug, for the alkie, it is the next drink. For the person preparing, it is the feeling "This might not be enough, I gotta get....". You can never, never, never prepare for a 10 and God help those that think they can.

I realize that I have not answered your questions. I can't. If you have read any of my posts or answers in the past, you know I suspect that y2k will be a severe recession beyond the levels of 1929-30's. I do not think that the average family can prepare for this financially. I certainly cannot. If y2k is a 8 or 9, I hope my preps will give me the time to adjust mentally and begin a new life. If it's a 1 like you believe, then my family will eat well for 6 months. I hope you are right.

-- Lobo (atthelair@yahoo.com), May 14, 1999.

To others. This is actually a fair question that new folk would like to have as a basis to prepare.

Mr. Decker

It would seem that peoples preps. depend on location, location, location. Also it would depend on a persons ability to live with less if need be and their common sense to a balanced lifestyle. Oh and can they fish or grow food?

One thing though, anything that is produced overseas may be dear come next year. The US can do many things but going backwards is one thing that will be dificult to do. Sweatrooms full of sewers making clothes is not going to happen in the next year if the eastern countries go down.

I am going to have lots of clothes. And Boots, got loggers boots, steeltoe hiking boots, army steel toe boots and a good set of serious tread shoes. Plus in a good score I found hemp overalls for work. They should last for the rest of my life barring battery acid spills.

Hate to start on all the coats. Leather, gortex, wool, insulated, snowsuit and on and on.

Got clothes?

1. How much water should the family store?

Its free, go for it.

2. How much food should the family store?

You can eat later go for it.

3. If the total family income is $50,000 per year, how much should the family spend on Y2K preparations?

Cut the credit cards up and spend that for starters. What is your computer worth? This is worth more.

[Let's say they have $2500 in savings; $10,000 in 401(k) plans that could net $7,000 after witholding/penalty and $10,000 in home equity.]

Put the 401 in a very secure deposit, if the system fails the money is going to be worth little compared to a bic lighter. If you read the SEC files, corps. may have a bit of downtime. (I rarely here about "downtime" in manufactuing, big consideration)

4. Should the family purchase one or more firearms? If so, what kind, how many and how much ammunition?


5. Should the family relocate even if it means taking a financial loss on the sale of their home?

If they have a clear plan as of this moment yes. The time is short for such a move. A secure area will be important to a family. Base the problem on that. (do I hear Tom's Take?) If you are a squirrel watch for the wolves. By the way Mr.Decker are you aware of Tom's Take?

6. Should the family buy a generator and/or an alternative heat source?

Alternative heat source, that is a no brainer, they are stupid not to. Generator, if a person has a well they should consider it. Otherwise go oil lamp and have a 12 volt system and charge it up with the car in a emergency. Bit of light and communication. The generator also depends on location.

7. Should the family invest in gold or silver coins? If so, how much?

Invest in coffee and tea **VBG**. And bic lighters, gold only if you like the metal and see a long term investment, not for trade.

8. At what point, if any, do you think this family has gone "overboard" on its preparations?

When you buy stuff you have no idea how to use, or can't use or sell anytime. Life will always remain practical. So should you.

-- Brian (imager@home.com), May 14, 1999.

Ok, Mr. Decker, I'll bite:

1. I'm storing water for 2 months for 4 people (drinking only, but I'm an old backpacker, and have several very good portable water filters and the option of solar oven pasturization. I also have several ponds and a small river within walking distance, and a gas grill with 40 lbs propane to boil water with. Also 2 white gas (one is duel-fuel) camping stoves, and 10 gallons of fuel. 15 1-lb propane tanks, with lantern/stove attachments. An aluminum sterno stove with 10 cans of canned heat. As a final backup, 1 wood burning hobo stove. My house has a fireplace, although it has been rarely used.

2. I currently have 3 months of food at home, 9 months hidden, and am shooting for a total of 18 months planned before September. Why 18 months? I don't want to be a part of the "hoarding" problem by the fall of 1999, and I have a sneaking suspician that the 2000 harvest will be problematical. By then, I will know if there is a problem, and my expanded garden will be able to meet most of the needs of my family.

3. My total family income IS $50K, and for the 18 monthes mentioned above, I estimate @ $2500-$3000 total cost for Y2K prep (mostly canned goods and fuel).

4. I already have a firearm from my military experience; I am an expert shot, and my wife is trained. I have been considering a shotgun, but haven't decided yet.

5. No, we will not relocate, since we just bought this house @ 2 years ago, and can't afford to relocate. Anyway, we back onto a large wilderness area, and don't expect a threat from that direction. The other direction is suburban, but gated. We are 15 miles from the nearest urban area.

6. I live in the deep South, so I don't anticipate needing a generator. It may get hot, but there is always the river, if you don't mind the 'gator watch.

7. I have a certain amount of junk silver, but this wasn't planning for Y2K, it was handed down from grandparents. I will use it is there is no alternative left.

8. I will have gone overboard if I have borrowed (gone into debt) to pay for Y2K preps. So far, we pay cash, or we do without. I can't help but think that our finacial system won't die without a struggle; any debts a creditor CAN call, WILL be called in the end. I can't do anything about the mortgage, but all other debts will be settled by Dec 1999.

OK, Mr Decker?


-- Spindoctor (spindoc_99_2000@yahoo.com), May 14, 1999.

When talking to a CERT trainer, ex cop, he said that he TELLS people that they must prepare for 3 days supplies. When asking him why just 3 days he replied if you can't prepare for 3 days then 3 months is not going to make a difference. In a way one would think that the government may have to consider that.

This guy was good and had to deal with instructing apartment dwellers that were getting on in age and worried about Y2K. I see it as having to get the people motivated to do something is harder than the actual length of time. I mean it is no big deal to get a few extra 24s of TP now. Or anything else. The problem is with momentum Once the momentum is up then the rest will come more naturally. The mind set must engage (Scotty). This is where you need more force.

Do the stuff that really counts first and doesn't take as much money. This applies to anything except heat and light. Get alternate heat and a bit of fuel if you live in a colder area. It is just one of those things you would not like to live without.

And the US south worries about air conditioning. I soak a shirt and put it on. Instantly refreshed.

Something's in life have an easy answer. If you don't know ask the forum or look in the archives. But find out the different views and pick out one that works for you. Y2k is global yet personal. That is what makes it such an enigma.

-- Brian (imager@home.com), May 14, 1999.


I don't know how to answer those questions, because that's not the mindset that I use when I think "prepare." I know how to hunt, fish, find wild foods, make my own shelter, and all that other "survival" stuff, so that's not nearly as big a concern as, say, making sure that I have plenty (at least a month, or even more) essential medication on hand, things like that.

To answer your questions, I don't spend very much on food, water, generators, things like that. I keep a couple of weeks of those on hand just on general principle (kind of silly to run screaming into the woods for a severe thunderstorm; easier just to open a can[g]). It's the stuff that depends on high technology that I'm more concerned with.

-- Stephen M. Poole, CET (smpoole7@bellsouth.net), May 14, 1999.

What or who is " Tom's take "?

-- CT (ct@no.yr), May 14, 1999.

In the annuals of y2k on the net Tom's Take inspired more debate on
prep. than anything I know of, bar Milneness BWHAAHAHAHAHAH.

Being personally involved with some of the debate, it was whether it was to late to move from the city to the country and make a go of it. This was as of late last summer. He thought that folks could not do it and encouraged folk in towns to forget it and hide like squirrels. There was many sides to the argument (as one would imagine). In a way he had a point, the town he lived in went though its own TEOTWATKI, with the major industry shut down. It must me a tough time, never been in a company town when the business shuts down. So Tom was a real doomer. My opinion, towns are insane and I can't understand why someone would want to be there. And as I mentioned above if you are a squirrel watch for wolves.

This discussion is nothing new.

Tom's Take

DN - Tom's Take, Part I: Where We Are

 DN - Tom's Take: Part II Where We are going. 

 DN - Tom's Take Part III -- The Fall

DN - Tom's Take, Part IV, The Final Chapter

-- Brian (imager@home.com), May 14, 1999.

Thank you Brian,

The sever went down and I only got to read the first 3.

It is a well thought out, and powerfull post. I hope he is wrong.

-- CT (ct@no.yr), May 14, 1999.

MR. DECKER: The questions you answer must be answered by each of us for each of us, and then only in the context of our values. There are no right answers, there are only if - then answers. It is similar to your post on insurance. How much is enough. You would answer insurance is a gamble in which the odds are on the side of the "house." Therefore no insurance is the ogical course for you. I, on the other hand, would answer differently.

Obviously if you expect, with a degree of probability approaching "certainty", that it is to be TEOTWAWKI, then to be anything less than fanatical in your preparation you must logically deem inadequate.

On the other hand if in your judgment, it is to be a "bump in the road," then a few shock absorbers will be adequate, with little more than an emergency "tune up."

In answering your questions I think the more important aspects are what emotions do the thought of either of these expected extremes trigger. I know personally of two people who are absolutely excited about the anticipated adventure of living off the land in an isolated area where they are "self-sufficient." It is something to which they are eagerly looking forward! Conversely, there are members of my own family who actually get angry over the thought that they might have to engage in even the most meager of preparations for Y2K, that "people" could be so idiotic to do so, and that "others" (the Government)would "let this sort of paranoia happen!?"

No Mr. Decker the question of how much to prepare and then setting the context for the respondents to answer is far, far, too rational a question for such an emotionally driven issue. Better to ask, What will it mean to you if you must live through human misery on an umimaginable scale? How will you react to watching innocent children die of hunger, disease, or at the hand of your fellows? How will you survive with your humanity intact should the worst of the predictions come to pass? Or will you simply divorce yourself from the carnage by numbing your mind to what is going on around you, and simply be "happy" to "enjoy" what your preparations have allowed you to live through?

I have thought about such things. At times, when I am not as optimistic as I otherwise try to be, these things provide me with fitfull nights.........

I soon will be posting a lengthy article entitled: Y2K: A Personal Journey. I will share with those reading it the circumstances that led up to my decision to prepare. I will also be sharing what exactly I have done to prepare. More importantly I think, I shall also share what I have not done.

I am fortunate in that my preparations caused a minimum impact to my current life. Others may not be as fortunate. When reading it you will no doubt get much insight into who I am and what it is that I enjoy out of life. I hope what comes out in that article will be my basic happiness and joyous outlook on life! That is one of the more interesting subtleties surrounding those that engage on this forum. Their soul becomes visible to those that wish to see.

I am preparing but in so doing I am not, nor will I ever be "prepared," should anything approaching worse case come to pass. If I may be so arrogant, I don't think anyone except the Gary North mentallity could possibly be prepared for such an unprecedented catastrophe.

With respect for all.

-- Dave Walden (wprop@concentric.net), May 14, 1999.

Well, we seem to be doing better.

1) Depends on whether there is a stream, pond, river or lake in portaging distance. If so, invest in th eDoulton Filter Candles, and the siphon filter system and don't store. Otherwise, & gal per person per week is MINIMUM and really needs to be 14. (duration- 3 months do your oun math)

2)3 months of what they normally eat. this will get through LOT, when fleshed out with whatever is available in the supply chain.

3) (I stopped here 5 hours ago and am trying again) DAM* I STILL don't have a good one here. I would want to have a family conference if the preps were exceeding 20% of DISPOSABLE INCOME (net normal bills, etc)

4)NOT A CLUE I have no input on this one. I know families who have asked me if they need firearms and I have said, very loudly and with great feeling NO, (and walked away praying that they listened).

5)Too many unknowns inthis one for an opinion.

6)The only generator I woul recommend would be to charge batteries, and to run the refrigeration on a set schedule to protect the meds for the special needs grandparent (also to run medical equipment if needed). this will obviously be one of the smaller ones which will NOT power the whole house or even come close.

7)Only if they like the shine, or happen to think that Silver Eagles are the prettiest coind they have seen (as I do), AND believe that they are at some time going to have to buy their lives with it. (IOW, NOT unless they are REALLY pessimists).

8) Just before one threatens divorce, ;-}. Alternatively, going overboard is not possible as no one has a handle on what is coming and ALL of the above can be used regardless (though the filter candles might be less useable, but they are truly CHEAP from http://www.pwgazette.com/gravity.htm .

Thanjs for making me think again, though I DO wish the framework had a little more wiggle room, but I say that a LOT now. I suspect that losing about 40 pounds would cause me to stop saying it so much.


-- chuck, a Night Driver (rienzoo@en.com), May 14, 1999.

Thanks (Spin, Brian, Chuck) for putting some numbers on the table. And I'm sorry if the fictional family didn't help.

People come to this forum for information and opinions. I respectfully request the posters who declined to answer to revisit the questions from their own personal perspective. What is enough for you... particularly in term of how much of your income you are willing to spend?

Based on my reading of this forum, the act of preparation has proven emotionally and financially stressful for many. There is also a common, nagging sense of "we could do a bit more." (Not so different, I imagine, from the sinking feeling you forget to pack something important for a long trip.) If someone could read this post and find a good sampling of actual numbers... it might help, particularly given the fact everyone has limited resources. Finally, can we focus on hard numbers.... and not just blanket statements?


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 14, 1999.

I said it once and I'll say it again: to me, the danger isn't that someone will have three months of canned goods on hand; the danger is not having any extra canned goods on hand at all.

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), May 14, 1999.

Why do you CARE double-d, y2k is going to be a bump in the road no???

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), May 14, 1999.

Mr. Decker,

Another aspect to consider when deciding on what percent of income to spend on preps is how soon a person starts. Especially for those on limited budgets, starting last year and buying a little extra each week has been the smart way to do it. Anyone trying to arrange, say, a month's worth of heat, water and food and starting to do this in October 1999 is going find it takes a big bite out of the weekly paycheck.

It also depends on whether winters in someone's area are typically mild or harsh. And it depends on whether you live in a part of the country near a distribution hub, or whether your location is remote.

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), May 14, 1999.


You do have a really good point there about what Mr. Decker's motives might be for wanting to know this information--especially since "mileage may vary".

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), May 14, 1999.

I hate it when people ask for opinions without offering their own

-- Elbow Grease (Elbow_Grease@AutoShop.com), May 14, 1999.

Easy for me to answer.

Prepare enough to feel comfortable and secure. Period. Prepare so you'll be ok if you are wrong in your judgement.

Are YOU prepared to be wrong?

-- Art Welling (artw@lancnews.infi.net), May 14, 1999.

When you have more than 100 people ould ever use in a lifetime. Then you have gone overboard(unless you plan on giving it out).

-- Crono (Crono@timesend.com), May 14, 1999.

personal responsibility will never be a popular activity in our t.v. addled world so,in the event of a disaster,we're probably prepairing for everyone we love who was too arrogant to see that anything could ever threaten our techno-enhanced lazy-soft lifestyle.got beans?

-- zoobie (zoobiezoob@yahoo.com), May 14, 1999.

I see my plea for "hard" numbers has gone for naught.

Unless we can move platitudes and generalizations, this forum will be of limited utility. I am simply asking for people to attach numbers to their opinions. How much food have you stored? A week's worth? A month's? A year's? When did you decide you had enough? On what basis did you make this decision? Let's try to make this debate more substantive. Express your opinion with numbers... not just words.

Even the most optimistic posters acknowledge the need for preparation in case of natural (or man-made) disasters. The real debate centers on the DEGREE of preparation. Unless you come out with numbers, this forum will continue to produce "dog chasing its tail" threads. (With all due respect to the resident "dogs.")

Come on, folks. If Old Git wants to post a recipe on this forum, great. (I'm fond of good cooking.) But you need numbers to make a recipe work! You can't just say, "You need flour, lots of flour, and then eggs, lots and lots of eggs." (laughter)

Finally, I am willing to share my own opinions preparation. Like on the economic outlook post, I prefer to wait towards the end of the thread.... As you saw on my previous post, Mr. Elbow Grease, I have no problem ponying up my thoughts... in hard numbers.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 14, 1999.

This is MinnesotaSmith, author of the Y2K-preparatory website http://y2ksafeminnesota.hypermart.net. I would say that relocation, a complete foodstockpile (with complementary water storage/supply/treatement capability) for 19 months (when the 2nd post-1/1/2000 harvest starts) would have to be considered minimal. In addition to this, get some more of the things that give a lot of value for the money. I would think above all have extra wheat and vitamin pills. In general, I think an achievable goal is to have 80% of the money you spend on preparation not be wasted if Y2K is no big deal. Check out my site for more articles along this line if you are interested. I would say in summation that they have gone overboard when both of two conditions are true: 1) they are in great shape for >5 years of economic and social collapse, and 2) their preparation activities are such that the family unit's prospects for making it to the end of the year (1999) are in jeopardy. Hope this helps. Yours in preparation, MinnesotaSmith

-- MinnesotaSmith (y2ksafeminnesota@hotmail.com), May 14, 1999.

I had the extreme pleasure of being asked to speak to a very small group of receptive newbies in my town earlier this week. Receptive in the sense that the group is focusing in general on sustainable living issues so were open to ideas of indivdual and community responsibility.

What I told the group was that, unless they were fully committed, they would be far better off psychologically if they concentrated on those preparations which they could always use up or would always be really good to have around in case of some other emergency. The store-what-you-eat/eat-what-you-store, TP or coffee for barter instead of gold coins kind of talk. That way, regardless of what they read in the news, or what their DGI friends and family say, they won't be as likely to drive themselves crazy. I also told them, that as far as the big ticket items go, it would be a win-win situation if they were to join forces with some of their neighbors and discuss how they could pool resources and skills and in the process develop a more cooperative relationship. I also emphasized that they need to take the time to research their options thoroughly before they made any big moves, but that they needed to get started.

Question #6 - generator and/or alternative heat source. This accounted for most of the serious research I did. That research took time. Newbies won't have the time. Of course, come next fall or sooner, this particular question becomes moot.

I see the potential for over-preparation or over-spending as being far greater if people prepare in panic mode. What newbies are running critically short of is the time to calmly sort it all out and to really explore their financial and logistical options. Washington and the news media and the pollys share the blame for much of that lack of time and for their condescending admonition "not to prepare too much", as though anyone could know what that means except not to prepare at all.

The "point" at which one has over-prepared is a matter of TIME, not quantity as you are implying. I will make a preliminary decision next December whether I have gone "overboard" collecting too much of some supplies (like oil lamps, wicks and oil). If so, the consequences of my foolishness will become XMAS presents. I'm not sure it will be fully known before at least late spring whether anyone has over-prepared.

-- Brooks (brooksbie@hotmail.com), May 14, 1999.

Absolutely agree this question is unanswerable on most points.

(Questions 1, 2 and 6) Basic nutritional/food requirements and medicine and alternate heating and cooking needs can be answered specifically with this hypothetical family using established guildlines in relation to their geographical area and length of time they plan to prepare for.

Even minimal water needs has too many variables depending on the individual plans this family makes and personal situation: pets, type of food stored, gardening objectives, waste water/sewage plan/bathing plan in relation to local rainfall amounts and collection/recycle plans for water or access to local natural water sources...

(Qustion 4)Firearms? It would be a disservice to suggest that a family that has no experience with, no thought out plan/experience/training on how or when to use the gun consider purchasing one, unless they plan to devote a great deal of time to learning such skills and handling. Long ago I heard the saying the most dangerous situation one can face is a nervous woman with a loaded shotgun...(my 15 yr old son just scored 100% in last week's trap shoot contest...mom's pride plug, sorry)...point being, if my son was a memeber of this family, they would already, probably, have a firearm. If the closest this family has came to a shooting situation is Nintendo(tm)...no way, tragic accident waiting to happen, y2k or not.

(Questions 3, 5 & 7) To many variables.I personally have no financial knowledge to comment on much here.

(Question 8) With a solid, well thought out plan with specific goals based on the families individual circumstances, finances, mental and emotional health and considerations and level of commitment to those goals, nothing is impossible as long as the focus is on the reality of said resources. Consideration must be given to skills this family is familiar with or which skills one plans to spend adequate time mastering.

With a solid plan, back up plan, family commitment and communication (even if those members who view preparations as a waste of time agree only to allow the preparing individuals time, space and resources to prepare), alot can be done. No well thought out plan, whether the objectives are 3 weeks or 3 months, can ever be considered overboard.

Also, if this hypothetical family is a real family reading this, please learn, please ask questions; don't be shy, time is late, but the only bad preparation strategy is no preparation strategy.

-- Lilly (homesteader145@yahoo.com), May 14, 1999.

Preparations are excessive when your hubby buys a 40kw generator!!!!

Taz....who still hasn't gotten her hot little red truck, but does have the red truck syndrome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Taz (Tassie @aol.com), May 14, 1999.

Mr. Decker,

I wish I could assign numbers as you wish. However, I can't. Nobody can truly say how bad things will be.

Personally I strive for balance - juggling living for the moment (and enjoying every bit of it) versus buckling down and prepping for the future (whether hardships are due to Y2k, illness, unemployment, etc.). As individuals we will all find our own path.

For me, I strive for quantities to carry us from "harvest to harvest" and low tech (read CHEAP) K.I.S.S. light/heat solutions. While working towards that goal I am tempered by a desire to keep my marriage strong, not file B.K., respect my husband's thoughts on the subject and not alienate us from family, friends and neighbors by ranting about it all the time. Some may feel called to act more drastically - who am I to judge them?

Newbies to this forum will find adequate information to prep and if they have a lick of sense in them they will do just fine. Hard numbers might seem important at first but gradually you accept that nobody can give them to you and you have to shift your mindset towards self-reliance and go from there. I realize as an economist that numbers are important to you and you probably feel a need to quantify this - sorry, I don't think you can until the actual event.

Did you get the peonies planted?

Sincerely, Kristi

-- Kristi (securx@Succeed.Net), May 14, 1999.

Decker, you may not have raised Chuck's blood pressure, but you succeeding in raising mine by your last post. Hard numbers, huh? What a misleading bunch of crap. Newbies - don't fall for it!!

1. With access to adequate drinking, could be ZERO. For instance, you have a filter, or you borrow a filter, or a neighbor has a well you can use or you have rigged a cistern. Otherwise, how can you have too much? The ultimate answer is your own well.

2. I want to be set up so that I don't have to go into a store come Thanksgiving. If the lines aren't too bad, then, sure, fresh eggs and milk would be great. So my food supply stash assumes life becomes obnoxious at least a month before rollover. As far as how many days or months of food I have stored? I have absolutely no idea. You tell me whether I will be also feeding my parents and also feeding my neighbors, and then maybe I can work out a "hard number" for you. I expect available food supplies to settle down early next year, but there may well be shortages of stuff we are really partial to, like coffee, tea, spices, chocolate. Store whatever your addiction tells you to, you can always give it away.

3. Whatever the necessities of life cost. By discouraging preparation, it becomes more likely that too much money will be spent as time runs out. My largest Y2K preparation was replacing my roof, my next largest was a wood stove which I will use extensively, regardless. Your implication is that Y2K preps are over and beyond anything else that one might do, and that needn't be the case.

5. If people are given enough time to establish a community approach, then need for firearms for Y2K could be ZERO. If the campaign continues to discourage preparations, then the need for defense will be much greater.

6. Generator and/or alternative heat source? Ridiculous to suggest there is a "hard number" associated with this. It is a case-by-case risk assessment and analysis of what people would like and what people need. If there is a community approach, or a fallback plan to stay with friends or family, it may be totally unnecessary. Newbies should check the archives for the many threads relating to this issue. For those of us in the north it is, however, a dilemma that must not be ignored.

7. Asset diversification takes on a whole new meaning in light of potential Y2K risks. A significant chunk of my money is in my new roof. I'm not personally comfortable with the idea of gold/silver coins, that has never been the type of investing I have engaged in. Besides, are you talking about gold coins a long-term investment or a means of currency? I'm skeptical that shop keepers will accept gold coins. I'm with the toilet paper-as-barter crowd.

8. See my previous post. This is ABSOLUTELY NOT a "hard numbers" issue. Just because some jerk has made someone doubt the necessary of accepting personal responsibility, doesn't mean that person has gone overboard, just that they are surrounded by morons.

rant off.

-- Brooks (brooksbie@hotmail.com), May 14, 1999.

Kristi, my plans were thwarted, but I will visit the property and plant my peonies this weekend. Thank you for your interest.

Brooks, with all due respect, it's the vague generalities that are "crap." I am not asking for people to create a "carved in stone" standard for Y2K preparation. I'm asking them to QUANTIFY what they have done and what they THINK is enough (or too much.)

I'm trying to move past the "fuzzy thinking" and armchair philosophy. I'm not even asking for a rationalization. You may decide three months of food is enough because that's how much you can store in your house without converting the family room into a mini- warehouse. Fine.

If you want to have a serious discussion about Y2K, we have to move past the empty rhetoric and get specific. I'm not asking anyone to predict the exact outcome of Y2K, but if you have a guess... define it! I'm not asking anyone to predict how much preparation will be necessary... just how much you (or anyone else) thinks is rational given the admitted uncertainties.

Frankly, I think a thread like this could be a gold mine for good discussion... thus far, I see more smoke than fire.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 14, 1999.

I have read and reread this thread. I think its very worthwhile and stimulates thought. I am not sure it answers any direct questions. We all have to deal with y2k from where we are. My family,... hubby, MIL and me,,,, are well prepared where we are. We have land, climate, seed,water, skills, equipment and a very good food supply based on eat what you store. But I have ALWAYS ground wheat and made bread. I have always canned foods, had a big garden, hubby hunted, elk, caribou and bear (mother in law has 3 bear notches on her gun, tho she admits that my husband had to help her field dress the last one and load it onto her pack mules) We used everything we killed. We rendered out the bear fat in addition to using the meat. So we come from a different world than 99% of you do. While we now live in your world, we have brought with us our knowledge and tools. So I am unable to give you helpful figures. You HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE PROBLEM FROM WHERE YOU ARE.That means geographically, your skills, your tools, your finances and your needs. You also have to deal with the psychology of it all. And while you may be lucky to have a support group, you still have to deal with it yourself. Too many of the populace will say (soon) "ok, give me a list of what I need and I will go and get it today." They think thats all they have to do. Sorry....you must use your brain even tho you don't want to. You must carve out your own path to follow and then follow it. No one can do it for you.


-- Taz (Tassie @aol.com), May 14, 1999.


1. How much water should the family store?

There is a variety of professional aid agency sites on the net which advise on the amount of water per person per day. The family might want to locate one of those sites, decide how many days there will be problems, and then multiply accordingly.

2. How much food should the family store?

There is a variety of professional sites on the net which advise on the amount of food per person per period of time. The family might want to locate one of those sites, decide how many days there will be propblems, and then multiply accordingly.

3. If the total family income is $50,000 per year, how much should the family spend on Y2K preparations?

If the family does not know by now how much money it has left over after paying monthly bills, perhaps it might not want to even bother preparing for Y2K -- it will only make a thorough muddle of it.

[Let's say they have $2500 in savings; $10,000 in 401(k) plans that could net $7,000 after witholding/penalty and $10,000 in home equity.]

The family will probably do what it or its financial advisor thinks wise. For a complete stranger to offer such advice would be irresponsible. For a family to take such advice from a complete stranger would also be irresponsible.

4. Should the family purchase one or more firearms? If so, what kind, how many and how much ammunition?

It is up to the family to decide whether or not they wish to purchase a firearm. For a complete stranger to offer such advice would be irresponsible. For the family to take such advice from a complete stranger would also be irresponsible. If they decide on their own to do so, their friendly neighborhood gun shop professional will be happy to demonstrate and advise them on all aspects of gun specs, care and feeding.

5. Should the family relocate even if it means taking a financial loss on the sale of their home?

For a complete stranger to offer such advice would be irresponsible. For the family to take such advice from a complete stranger would also be irresponsible.

6. Should the family buy a generator and/or an alternative heat source?

A generator is often advisable if the family lives in an area where disasters are not unusual. If the family can afford the price, is familiar with safe operation, and wishes to purchase a generator, why not?

7. Should the family invest in gold or silver coins? If so, how much?

For a complete stranger to offer such advice would be irresponsible. For the family to take such advice from a complete stranger would also be irresponsible.

8. At what point, if any, do you think this family has gone "overboard" on its preparations?

When the family feels that way.

This forum has explored the preparation issue, but usually from the perspective of "what is enough." I am looking for opinions on when (if ever) preparation crosses the line into excess.

My problem with your questions is that 7 of 8 ask if the family "should" do something or other. "Should" is paternalistic. We've got enough paternalism in this country. By all means give the family information on how to search on the net; allow them the use of your computer if necessary. But do not presume to tell them how they should manage the most personal details of their lives. Let the family gather the appropriate information from a variety of sources and decide for itself.

Remember the "fish" story - teach them how to fish.

-- I'mNot (YourFather@all.com), May 14, 1999.

Might as well keep all of my grumpy comments limited to one thread...

Mr. Decker, I think your questions are great, it's just that you are trying to condense the subject matter of 100,000 posts to one thread. "I'm not even asking for a rationalization." Most of the answers will be meaningless (and inviting of dismissal or flaming) without a rationalization or an understanding of the limited circumstances. How could it be possible to over-prepare for those with young children? What, specifically, are people gambling and what is their starting point? As someone on this forum has said, the issue is what is at stake, not what are the odds.

I am up against 3 scenarios - what I think might be needed based on my most plausible worst case scenario, what I most expect to happen, and what I am preparing for (which lies between the two). All 3 scenarios keep changing. (My preps keep growing, cuz those trips to the wholesale club are SO therapeutic!)

What I generally have in mind as a starting point is the recommendation (if I remember correctly) in Vic Porlier's book to prepare for 2 to 4 weeks of initial breakdowns, and 6 to 18 months of varying disruptions.

My major issue has been heat since I question whether my elderly parents would survive life in a shelter. I feel "prepared" knowing that with my wood stove I will have sufficient heat through the rest of the winter. I have 11 reasons why a generator was not right for me, including the fact that my natural gas furnace needs both gas and electricity to operate. But there are so many kinds and sizes of generators and wood stoves, and many options for room-size solutions like portable kerosene heaters, that question #6 can't be quantified.

I have sufficient containers to store up to 500 gallons of drinking water and 500 gallons of non-potable water, plus rain barrels for my roof, plus a filter and camping stove to purify the water. Ask me next year whether I bothered actually filling the containers or whether I gave some of the containers to loved ones I was concerned about.

For me, relocation, arms and gold coins are excessive, but I have faith that my yuppy community's unwelcome behavior will be generally limited to high-pitched whining next year. I also have no children.

I expect very long term economic and supply chain issues for which I'm not sure it is possible to over-prepare. Although I am trying to plug some of those holes (for instance, I'm all set on clothes and footwear for a couple years), this is the area I have the hardest time figuring out how to plan for.

I still object to the focus of your question that assumes one is going this alone - that approach by itself could make it excessive. We need the leadership that would stimulate community preparation.

-- Brooks (brooksbie@hotmail.com), May 14, 1999.

Saw this on another thread.

"While everyone has a right to prepare as they see fit, I think some preparations are excessive.


-- Mr. Decker"

So he already knows what's excessive. He just wants to plant the seed in your mind that what *you* have or plan to have could be excessive. In a little while he'll tell you what he thinks is excessive and how foolish it is to have more than what he thinks you should have. You're giving him the bullets to shoot you with.

-- Squirrel (nut@acorn.com), May 14, 1999.

Mr Decker. Did you say "Goldmine"? Think about what that means these days...

-- Gia (Laureltree7@hotmail.com), May 14, 1999.

Thanks for the straight answers....

Squirrel, if you have read my posts, you know that I strongly favor economic freedom and personal responsibility. I generally reserve "foolish" for opinions on how the government spends my tax dollars. I will defend your right to spend your money... however you wish.

The point of the this thread was not to chastize people for their preparation efforts, but to have a dialogue. There is no trap set here and I don't intend to critique the efforts described on this thread.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 14, 1999.




-- nothing wrong with these (.@...), May 14, 1999.


I meant it as a colloquial phrase, not a literal one. As a native westerner, we also use "hit the motherlode," "struck it rich," "didn't pan out," "played out," and other phrases related to mining. Now that I give it some thought, a surprising number of colorful phrases....


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 14, 1999.

I keep a billion gallons of water in the aquifer under my house. Is that too much?

-- Prometheus (fire@for.man), May 14, 1999.

Decker, you are without a doubt the cleverest troll that this forum has ever seen. Of course, you work at it pretty hard, which gives you an advantage that the others don't have. You get tons of responses to your puffed up nonsensical questions. (Eat your hearts out, Mutha, Y2K Pro, et al.)

Folks, nobody knows what Y2K is going to bring. Here is a rule of thumb: If your preparation is such that the world HAS to end for you to come out ahead, then THAT is clearly over-preparation. "Prepare for the worst, hope for the best."

-- King of Spain (madrid@aol.com), May 14, 1999.


Q: How much should I store?

A: This being America, and not a nation of toy-making slaves who are property of the State, the answer is: "as much as I damn well please." In future I'll thank you to mind your own f*cking business, you nosey little socialist turd .


-- Dano (bookem@blacksand.srf), May 14, 1999.


From a few posts above yours...

"Squirrel, if you have read my posts, you know that I strongly favor economic freedom and personal responsibility. I generally reserve "foolish" for opinions on how the government spends my tax dollars. I will defend your right to spend your money... however you wish."

Is this statement not clear? Did you bother to read the thread before you decided to engage in name-calling? If you want to be taken seriously, try answering the original question... or, try reading the entire thread before you post.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 14, 1999.


The supposition that ANY amount of preparation might be deemed "excessive" -whether by govenment at any level, by the press, or by the Neighborhood Commitee for Minding Other People's Business- is offensive in the extreme. You entire post is an elaborate support for the very idea that one might deem another's preparation as "excess." Certainly, the time may soon come when anyone who has enough to eat in some areas might be accused of "excess." If, as Koskinen has said, "the free market may not be the best way to distribute goods" in Y2k, then anyone with cigarettes, a little booze, batteries - may be criminalized and his stores confiscated, especially if he trades freely with others and turns a profit. There will be wage and price controls. Today's preparer will be tomorrow's "black marketeer."

You are also fascinated by other people's preparation. Why focus on this? This is what the Media Cartel is focusing on to draw attention away from the causes and effects of the coming disaster. Don't want a slap in the face? Don't parrot the lying bump-in-the-road propaganda.

I'm would bet even money that Decker had a jesuit education...


-- Dano (bookem@blacksand.srf), May 14, 1999.

I documented my preps six months ago on a similar thread, so I won't go into that. As far as advice to your hypothetical family, this is the best I can do:

From Yourdon's Y2K Crystal Ball essay:

One last point about the crystal-ball assessment, and the decisions we make: I think they deserve to be private. I'm really tired of newspaper reporters asking me, "So, Ed, tell me: just how much food have you stockpiled in your house? How much cash have you taken out of the bank? How many Kruggerands have you bought?" The proper answer, I believe, is: none of your business! After all, nobody asks me how much money I have in my savings account, or what percentage of my annual income is set aside for savings and retirement; nobody asks me how much auto insurance I have, or how much life insurance I'm providing for my family. At least in North American society, those questions are considered an invasion of privacy. But why do we bother with a savings account or insurance policies, if not to provide a "nest egg" for a rainy day? How is that any different from the decision that a few folks are making to stockpile some extra food in their pantry to cope with possible Y2K disruptions? While there might be emotional criticism about "hoarding" of food and supplies in December 1999 if everyone decides to rush to the grocery store at the same time, stockpiling ought to be a personal and private decision today  just like the decision to divert some of our disposable income to savings, rather than consumption. "

-- a (a@a.a), May 14, 1999.


Right on, tell it like it is.

Big picture.

It is not a matter if you can stock up and arrange your affairs but if you also have the confidence in a livestyle change that may boarder on the unplesant for some. Make an assesment, remediate, verify and test your Y2K lifestyle compliance. Word are cheap, live the real thing. As I always say the best thing people can do is go camping this summer and think Y2K, then imagine doing it in the winter.

-- Brian (imager@home.com), May 14, 1999.

There you have it, folks. The great Mr. Decker. Have you ever seen such prestidigitation? "Magic" and "sleight-of-hand" are mere shadows of the feats we have witnessed. Legerdemain and levitation unparalleled in all the known world. He has taken something extraordinary and made nothing out of it once again. Isn't he GREAT, folks? How about a round of applause for Mr. Decker? (Applause) Wait...wait one second, ladies and gentlemen... I believe Mr. Decker is returning for an encore.... Yes! Yes! (Louder applause) Mr. Decker *did* say he would dazzle us with his own hard numbers on this subject, didn't he? I hope he hasn't made himself disappear *prematurely*!!!!!???

-- Elbow Grease (Elbow_Grease@AutoShop.com), May 15, 1999.

Never fear, my dear Mr. Elbow Grease. He will be back. Remember, we are a part of his "work".

Mr. Big Dog

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), May 15, 1999.

Mr. Decker,

This was recently posted to the forum on another thread by Steve Hewitt, but as it relates to the topic here, I think it bears repeating:

"They have cashed in their IRAs, quit their jobs, spent thousands on supplies, bought gold, purchased guns, generators, and basically totally changed their lives. Some have allowed Y2K to cause division in their marriages, between their friends and other family members, and have been a part of causing churches to split. Some still hold to their stand, but I am already meeting many that feel they have been betrayed."


"You might say that these people have not been too responsible if they only depended on a few Christian sources as their reasons for making such decisions, yet it just shows the serious responsibility one should consider in reporting speculation and opinion without balance. (I met one young couple that had spent over $20,000 on Y2K, and had decided to not have any children until this is all over, although they had the means (financially) and the desire to start a family. They made this decision as a result of the three part Y2K series on Focus on the Family last Fall, and from reading Hyatts Chaos book.)

"I estimate that those that have made life changing Y2K decisions that they will regret, to range in the 100s of thousands. I estimate that the Y2K fear business to be over 50 billion. Now, IF Y2K continues to be handled like it is now, by businesses each day, with few results being felt by the general public, what is the responsibility of those that presented such a biased viewpoint of gloom, doom and the need to prepare?"

A sobering report from the trenches.

-- Celia Thaxter (celiathaxter@yahoo.com), May 15, 1999.

Celia -- Steve is a business. If you go to his website you are confronted by a half-page window advertising a Y2K video for $27.95. He publishes Christian Computing magazine, writes books, gives seminars, has a radio show, and so on. Just as Der Boonkahs say Ed is making money off dooming Y2K, then so could we say Steve is making money out of pollying Y2K.

-- OutingsR (us@here.yar), May 15, 1999.

one years worth of dried food,if I NEED more than a years food the world will have turned into a mad max satire.I don't know if people SHOULD buy guns,but I sure did(and got her into training).I've stored up about 100 2litre bottles and I've got two high end pur filters good for 150gallons each,and 2 replacement filters.as to overboard,that's totaly subjective and who am I (you,we)to judge?

-- zoobie (zoobiezoob@yahoo.com), May 15, 1999.

uh,"her" being my wife,sorry...

-- zoobie (zoobiezoob@yahoo.com), May 15, 1999.

Y2k and Risk


-- Then (vintage@dckr.ee), May 15, 1999.


Maybe the government should make all financial decisions for us, so we are protected from the consequences of our own financial mis-management.

Oops - forget it; that's already happening (forgot about "Social Security". I guess it's just too bad they've been looting it and it's going to fold!).

What's your point, Celia? That we should gag people who are trying to warn the world that we're all in deep shit here with Y2k? Some fools are always going to spend more than they can afford, on Y2k as on every other thing you can throw money at. It proves nothing but the stupidity and profligacy of those who overspent. They are responsible, and they should live with it. Twisting their mistakes into an argument for stifling freedom of speech with the "yelling fire in a crowded theater" gambit might work - IF THE THEATER WEREN'T ON FIRE!!! Read the post on the Italians and Y2k. I don't see any evidence that we are in better shape - it's just that our public officials are more discrete. We're screwed, and these people are going to be glad for every pound of beans they bought, well into the next decade.

I'll make my own decisions about preparedness, thank you, unless you can somehow absolutely guarantee me post-Y2k water, heat, food, electricity, public order, employment... No? Didn't think so.


-- Dano (bookem@blacksand.srf), May 15, 1999.

After an enjoyable weekend away, I thought this thread might prove interesting. Unfortunately, it has not.

By the way, Mr. Elbow Grease, are you "asking" for me to post my numbers? All you have to do is ask... politely. You'll find me more receptive to a polite question than a "smart ass" attitude.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 17, 1999.


Wouldn't take the bet above because the quality always shows through. Some of my most challenging friends in the past have had either SJ after their name, or have closely associated with many that did.

Remember, the Jesuits were created to replace the Templars as the Church's warriors and , well, let's not use the term spies, but....


-- chuck, a Night Driver (rienzoo@en.com), May 17, 1999.

And what did KC Decker say above? "The point of the this thread was not to chastize people for their preparation efforts, but to have a dialogue. There is no trap set here and I don't intend to critique the efforts."

Now he says - "After an enjoyable weekend away, I thought this thread might prove interesting. Unfortunately, it has not."

You remember the scene in Dickens's Great Expectations, where the pretty, beautifully-dressed little girl asks her little friend to do something for her and he gets himself all muddy? Then the little girl tells him what a filthy pig he is and she doesn't want to play with filthy pigs?

Isn't that what KC just did?

"You'll find me more receptive to a polite question than a "smart ass" attitude."

Well, let's all give thanks that KC still wants to play with us, filthy pigs though we might be.

-- OutingsR (us@here.yar), May 17, 1999.

Why, Mr. Decker, it disturbs me greatly that my intentions were so grossly misunderstood, especially by someone of such sensitivity as yourself. Perhaps my inadequate attempt at levity has missed its mark due to the failure on my part to append "(laughter)" to those unworthy observations. (laughter) No, sir, I was merely pointing out that you have *not* offered anything of substance to yet another thread started by you. (laughter) (laughter) (laughter) Please accept my most humble apologies for mistakenly believing your expressed statement that such numbers would be forthcoming. My disappointment knows no bounds. I shall not make that error again. (laughter) (laughter) (laughter) (laughter) (laughter)

Mr. Elbow Grease

-- Elbow Grease (Elbow_Grease@AutoShop.com), May 17, 1999.

Mr. Elbow Grease,

The post where you "questioned" my lack of providing numbers was hardly an attempt at levity... although you do seem to have thoroughly amused yourself. Sarcasm, plain and simple. (And I emphasize both "plain" and "simple.")

I'll post my numbers, perhaps on a new thread... though I am not sure I will wait until you manage to parse a civil request.

"Outings," my lack of interest was based on the lack of NUMBERS provided... like in your posts.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 17, 1999.

Mr. Decker,

There is no question about it. You "simply" haven't contributed any meaningful dialog on this subject. Period. And, No, don't wait for a request. Your opinion is of no special import; you think much too highly of yourself. (And yet, there doesn't appear to be any basis for it.) Do you or do you not see how you present yourself? Put away the superiority, pretention, and egocentricity; discuss issues here as peer to peer, as an equal among equals, and you may earn some respect.

Mr Elbow Grease

-- Elbow Grease (Elbow_Grease@AutoShop.com), May 17, 1999.

Kenny, post your numbers please.

-- Kenny Decker (zoobiezoob@yahoo.com), May 20, 1999.

whoops,Im not ken decker!pesky minimized windows!

-- zoobie (zoobiezoob@yahoo.com), May 20, 1999.

After some delay, I have a reasonable answer for Mr. Decker's question about what constitutes reasonableness in preparing for Y2K and whether reasonableness is the only factor by which to evaluate one's effort and thinking on preparing for the variety of threats presented by Y2K. I admit that this response was developed in another thread, so you may have already read it elsewhere. I will, however, resist from making it a new thread-- though the temptation to see response to it is in me.


However, you define common sense, I think that you will agree with me that sometimes, common sense is on the money. Sometimes, it is not. Sometimes, uncommon sense is required. I tend to read Poole's use of common sense as "popular mood" and he is quite right about the popular mood. But "popular mood" and "common sense" seem to be classically distinct concepts. Common sense denotes a certain degree of prudence and prudent actions, while popular mood denotes a certain group think.

In regard to the ambiguities of potential Y2K problems, common sense will be found between Mr. Decker's preparations (7 days water, 30 days food, wood stove, and lowered debt) and my own preparation goals (3 months food and water, wood stove, lantern and lamp, hand crank radio and flashlight, alternate professional/income preparation, reducing market risk, camping gear, bug out bags, etc.). Uncommon sense in action may range from 6 months preps to 1 year (or more) of preps.


Uncommon sense will vary with the mileage. In regard to Y2K, it seems to refer to a willingness to make real and hard sacrifices in one's current lifestyle (living on beans and rice today in order to buy more beans and rice tomorrow) and changes to previous retirement planning strategies (cashing in retirement plans and losing some of that money due to penalties and taxes). Uncommon sense may not be prudent (as I understand "prudence") or reasonable; it may evolve from an intuition.

Intuition is not something to hastily dismiss. Nor are our intuitions necessarily right on. While you may not take Herr Carl Gustav Jung seriously, Hegel, Husserl, Marcel, and Wojtyla offer respectively increasing improvements over Kant's obsession with mere human reason. Unfortunately, the phenomenologists are not easy reading and, thus, aren't likely be become popular reading. My point is that uncommon sense is just that; it is uncommon, but it is not necessarily wrong.

Or right.


Yet uncommonly bad sense would be to not prepare for a threat, to go on without any concern on one's future, and to imitate the grasshopper in Aesop's fable of the Grasshopper and the Ant. Despite the deeply interconnected and interlocked personal position in human society, we also have a serious responsibility to ourselves, our loved ones, and our fellow human beings. This responsibility requires us to exercise our minds and hearts collaboratively with others-- not in subjection to public mood.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (info@giglobal.com), May 23, 1999.

To refresh Decker's memory.

-- OutingsR (us@here.yar), July 15, 1999.

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