On preparation (optimist's version)

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

The best starting place for preparations:


1. Water storage: seven days.

Rationale: At one gallon per day per person, the average family of five can survive from the water in the water heater for at least a week. The first priority of any emergency response will be the restoration of water and power. Potable water can also be gathered from alternative sources. For the nervous optimist buy a small filtration unit. (By the way, if an area did not have water for seven days, sanitation would become a really big problem.)

2. Food storage: 30 days.

Rationale: Those who buy groceries in bulk are likely to have 30+ days in the pantry. For simple frugality, it makes sense to shop at Costco or another wholesale outlet regularly. Example of savings: two pounds of yeast for less than $3. A $300 Costco trip will feed a family of five for a month with modest reliance on rice and beans. Disruptions in the supply chain may impact the availability and PRICE of food, but it is highly unlikely that there would be NO food available for longer than 30 days.

On a side note, when hunting every fall, I carry Gaines Burgers as a survival food. Why? Because there is no way I am eating dog food unless it is a matter of survival. Just a thought.

3. Total Y2K preparation budget: No more than $1,000. (Non-camping families may increase to $2,000.)

Rationale: If you enjoy camping on a routine basis, you have most of the basics suggested by the Red Cross sleeping bags, lanterns, flashlights, first aid kit, etc. Unless you are a serious backpacker or mountaineer, you dont have to worry about weight and its the ultra-lightweight camping gear that costs big bucks. One of the best sources of quality, affordable outdoor gear is the Cabelas catalog. Ask for the Fall Master Catalog for best selection.

Another suggestion, if you are frugal, use 20 pound propane tanks instead of the over-priced camping bottles. Fill two 20-lb tanks and you will have cooking and light for several weeks. (A 20-lb propane tank (empty) is about $25 dollars at Costco.)

WARNING: Do not accrue debt to finance preparations. Cut up the charge cards, pay down your debt and build at least six months of savings into a liquid account. If you are worried about banking problems, request December statements and tap your savings to have cashiers checks issued for all of your January bills. 4. Total withdrawals from retirement funds: $0

Rationale: Nervous optimists can park their retirement funds in short-term T Bills without losing any money to taxes or penalties. You can still access your funds in all but a total collapse of the social/economic system. Even if we have the Great Depression II, youll be able to withdraw your money (and perhaps avoid the penalty!)

5. Firearms purchases: $0.

Rationale: If you havent found a reason to own a firearm yet, you might want to sit tight.

6. Relocation: No, unless you are living in a house too large/expensive for your earnings ability.

Rationale: The most likely Y2K risk is economic. Moving to a completely new location often means finding a new job. First in, first out. Downsizing to a smaller house in the same area, though, might allow you to keep your job, save more money and lower your risk.

7. Generator: No, unless you depend on an electric well pump. Alternative heat source: Yes, but hey, who doesnt like a wood stove or fireplace?

8. Silver/Gold: No.

Rationale: A better investment is improving your skills and developing alternative career options. Your education is portable, always available and will last as long as you do. Unlike gold or silver, it cannot be taken (without killing you.)

Sorry for the delay.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 19, 1999


Sorry, Mr. D., but you of all people should be addressing your original scenario and providing the "hard numbers" you demanded from us. In particular, you conveniently glossed over the issue of "alternative heat". Please explain exactly how your plan keeps granddad up north not only alive, but also free from the debilitating stresses that the elderly and infirm are vulnerable to. Sleeping bags won't cut it for the very elderly.

-- Brooks (brooksbie@hotmail.com), May 19, 1999.

Original question:

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

I think all homes ought to have an alternative heat source, but I also suggest there will be very few areas (less than 10%) where power is out longer than three days. So, my 80-year-old grandmother will stoke her trusty fireplace or stay with my parents where they have both wood and electric heat. As a man who enjoys a good fire on a cold evening, I have at least a cord of hardwood on hand. If the power were out during a blizzard, I'd just sleep in the main room not far from the fire. (Even then, a decent sleeping bag and blankets will keep you warm down to very cold temperatures. Providing you are in a home or other shelther, there's no wind, rain or snow to worry about. Real cold is elk camp at 8,000 feet with no shelter and high winds.)


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 19, 1999.


Read it again.

Mr. Decker:

While we may be at different ends of the optimism/pessimism continuum, our preparations are remarkably similar. Thanks for your thoughtful, though not comprehensive, list.

-- regular (zzz@z.z), May 19, 1999.

Deck: diapers & formula. How much extra do I need? I'm a poor, unemployed (welfare) single mother, with no near family.

(Actually not, but pretend like it.)

-- Lisa (lisa@work.now), May 19, 1999.

Mr. Decker,

Very nice. Can you discuss sanitation options?

-- Codejockey (codejockey@geek.com), May 19, 1999.

Sorry Decker, you are describing an alternative heat source that you and your grandmother already have. You are also assuming that electricity and/or wood (in a leaky fireplace) are all it will take to provide heat. Your scenario would be life-threatening for my own parents. I have to keep my parents (late 80s) stress-free and out of a shelter - 3 days wrapped up in a sleeping bag won't cut it for them. Far more people died from complications in the aftermath of the Montreal ice storm after power was restored than died during the month-long crisis. Providing adequate heat is the biggest issue those in the north will have, so it has to be fully answered. Please provide hard numbers for the very common situation, especially for apartment dwellers, where there is no fireplace or wood stove and where availability of electricity is not the only requirement for a warm home.

-- Brooks (brooksbie@hotmail.com), May 19, 1999.

A FEMA document to emergency food and water (two week's worth) is at this link:


If an earthquake, hurricane, winter storm or other disaster strikes your community, you might not have access to food, water and electricity for days, or even weeks. By taking some time now to store emergency food and water supplies, you can provide for your entire family. This brochure was developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in cooperation with the American Red Cross and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This document doesn't take into account heating in January. It also doesn't take into account shortages of some items that, in my opinion, could last for months. Still, it's a good foundation.

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), May 19, 1999.

Mr Decker

Thanks for your opinion

I would have put more stress on alternate heat but then I always do. It seems to be the topic that everyone would like to go away.

The one thing that Mr Decker points out is the debt per savings ratio kind of thing. It would seem that the "we are ok" message that many suggest is not what the risks indicate. With so many S&MEs at risk of failure, this will possibly dislocate many paychecks. The economic advice that is above (six months liquidity) is almost "hoarding" in this day and age. Plus being more unlikely in my opinion than "hoarding" food and fuel. It must be said that this is not something that will be achieveable in the time remaining.

In retrospect I would have earlier suggested (other thread) that enough retirement fund should be taken out and square up the outstanding bills such as VISA ect. While Mr. Decker has had pollyish views this, his economist view of things would seem dramatic to impossible for the normal working family today.

I doubt that many Doomers could have 6 months liquidity.

And In regards to the propane tanks. Most would not know that you can rent tanks, 100lb tanks are just a few dollars a month and would provide HUGE security. One tank would provide fuel for cooking till the spring. Just get a small propane camp stove and an adapter. I have bought welding hoses just for the purpose of being able to keep the tanks outside and the stove in. If a person does choose this option remember to check and double check all connections with soapy water to see about gas leaks.

Lisa - It may be prudent to have cloth diapers. It maybe important for you to consider moving in with family or friends. Consider that it is 7 1/2 months and childern grow fast (last I seen) What kind of food will you require during that period. Good luck

-- Brian (imager@home.com), May 19, 1999.

Never read so much codswallop in my life.


double-decker is an irrational egocentric know-nothing who thinks he knows it all.

Two words. Bullshit advice.

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), May 19, 1999.


May I suggest renting an RV or small trailer if you are conserned. It is alot easier to heat a small area than a large one. This won't be a solution for everyone but it is easy and reletively cheap. This is what I plan on for a plan with my parents. My Dad is 82 and not a fan of the cold anymore. Easy insurance. And check out the propane tanks in the above post. A couple of hundred lb tanks would keep a small RV with heat for a month easy and likely more. Just chain them up as they may have a tendency to "walk off"

-- Brian (imager@home.com), May 19, 1999.


Correct me if I'm wrong. You're saying, for Y2K preps: if I store more than 7 days of water or 30 days of food per person, it's excessive. If I spend more than $1,000 (or $2,000 if I don't have camping gear), I've spent excessively. If I buy a gun, it's excessive. If I sell my house and move my family to a safer area, it's excessive. If I buy a generator or silver or gold, it's excessive.

Is that a correct summing up?

Seems to me you made Q4 into Q5, so that the last question on the original post, got lost. This is what it was:

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

Is it correct to conclude that it's anything over those numbers you gave?

And you didn't answer the main question: what are YOU doing to prepare? Are these just your recommendations or your actual preparations?

As you said, "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?"

So -- HAVE you made any preps, KC? How much of YOUR income have you been willing to spend? "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."

You DID say you had no problem ponying up the answers.

-- Squirrel (nut@acorn.com), May 19, 1999.


With all due respect what would you suggest? Remember that time is now running short for those that have just become aware of the situation. This concerns me, there is little time remaining for posturing. One might suspect Mr. Deckers motives but the issue is still the same. I see it as there is no more time for the doomer view, no one could get ready for TEOTWAWKI that has never lived that life before.

We have a problem here that has more questions than answers.

-- Brian (imager@home.com), May 19, 1999.


when I see a statement like - water - 7 days, it is so ludicrous as to be downright pathetic. How can you take the rest of what he says seriously?

7 days eh?

WHAT a maroon.

Also guns - nope. Yet d-decker is a hunter and probably has an arsenal.(and yes I saw how he couched his words on this - very weaselly, very transparent...)

Total hypocrite. Bullshit advice.

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), May 19, 1999.

Brian - that was a good suggestion I don't think I have heard before. (I'm actually all set for myself, with my wood stove and, I hope, soon-to-be-acquired stash of firewood.) What I expect Decker to cough up are the hard numbers. Since he says $1,000 will cover it, I want to make sure he has accounted for everything he has recommended. $300 off the top for food. The Red Cross (Decker's minimum) says to have cash or traveller's checks on hand. Plus Decker wants debts paid off and 6 months of liquidity. These are all part of the preps. What do they add up to? And what about the cost of the alternative heating system??

-- Brooks (brooksbie@hotmail.com), May 19, 1999.


I don't want to be negative - if you want to know what I'm doing I've detailed it in several threads.

I can assure you I have more than seven days worth of water stored.

Everything else has also been carefully thought out - I'm covering all bases, monetary especially.

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), May 19, 1999.

This sounds like mostly sensible advice to me, but then I'm one of those who thinks (rightly or wrongly) that the Y2K impacts in the U.S. will be mostly economic. If there actually are serious, fairly longterm local utility disruptions, water and heat will be particular problems for some people. Given the range of forecasts and the murkiness of available info, it's mighty hard to give reliable guidelines for personal preparations anyway. Among my relatives and friends, Y2K preparations range from zilch to 18 months (!). My own preps are rather modest.

By the way, Mr. Decker, I never got back to you on your thread about specific Y2K predictions (the list of 10, etc.). My visits to this forum tend to be rather irregular, and I often never get back to particular threads anyway. In this case it didn't matter much, because I really lack the information to predict reliably (or even unreliably!) such detailed things as the number of U.S. bank failures (if any) because of Y2K, etc. My hunch is basically that the U.S. is in for a moderate, quite possibly severe, recession next year, partly because of Y2K, partly because of underlying economic problems (which we have discussed before). Some disruptions in key govt. services, some increase in corporate inefficiency, somewhat higher bankruptcy rates among SMEs--that sort of thing. The possibility of serious supply chain problems in some sectors and areas. Some sporadic, localized utility disruptions, mostly short term. A stock market drop of 30% or more, for which we were due anyway, at least by traditional valuation models. Given market volatility, an unstable geopolitical situation, and the fact that investors can be easily spooked, that drop could be as much as 50%. These things can quickly snowball.

My biggest worries are still overseas. It just doesn't look good. Add to that the fact that Y2K will come on top of really serious economic problems in some parts of the world, factor in increased international tensions, and I don't like the global picture at all. Severe Y2K problems abroad could considerably worsen the situation in the U.S., of course. Everyone knows about the possible threat to oil supplies, for starters. Yes, we have that strategic reserve (crude), but we really don't want to draw that down. The even bigger threats coming from abroad are more wars and terrorist actions. Militarily and economically, we are not the secure fortress that we fondly think we are.

As I probably mentioned before, I'm currently (on the WDCY2K scale) at a 6 for the U.S. and at an 8 for the world generally. Those are bell-curve numbers, of course, with considerable latitude possible in both directions. I feel better about the Y2K situation in the U.S. than I did just a few months ago; I feel worse about the situation abroad.

The simpler and more honest answer might have been "I still really don't know." But that's not what you asked for!

-- Don Florence (dflorence@zianet.com), May 19, 1999.

Mr. Decker, I'm afraid that most will go out and buy guns and have no clue how to use them.

Andy, you're sounding like a maroon.

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), May 19, 1999.

If that's true then I guess you and KayCee need to polish up your public relations skills.

-- bang (snap@crackle.pop), May 19, 1999.


I will have to agree with you there. Water is free and there is little reason not to stock well in the future for your fresh water needs.

Mr. Decker said

"I think all homes ought to have an alternative heat source, but I also suggest there will be very few areas (less than 10%) where power is out longer than three days. "

This is something I personally have a problem with. Even if it will be true which no one knows for sure, 3 days is long enough in cold weather for the infirm to be negitively effected without heat. Now think if the arctic storms come rolling through. Not only that, but the stress on people when they don't know when the light switch will work is going to be incredible. So just think of the childern when they ask dad when the power will come back on, every half hour. Something like "when are we going to get there dad" Better to have this well thought out.

There is no room for denial when it comes to the cold.

-- Brian (imager@home.com), May 19, 1999.

Have you ever noticed how thoroughly polite Mr. Decker is? Even though many of us may disagree with him, let us pledge to be as polite to him as he is to us. There is no excuse for profanity or name calling when responding to others' posts. Well reasoned arguments with supporting evidence are much more effective than incendiary comments.

-- DMH (aint@tellin.com), May 19, 1999.

My spending on Y2K preparations as of today: $0. Everything I recommend in my original post is part of the 'smart living' I already practice. Let me address some individual questions.

Sanitation: Have a shovel and a place to dig a hole. Not an elegant solution, but remember... no water, no flushing. (The super prepared can buy a bag of lime and a red Folger's coffee can.)

Welfare mother: There's never been a better time to move off welfare. Social services will provide transportation and child care assistance. Other agencies will kick in with fully funded job training. Unless you are profoundly disabled, you can work. With your new job, you can start earning your way towards economic self sufficiency and a better life. Job first, extra diapers later.

Alternative heat: Apartment dwellers will just have to bundle up. You can walk into a store, buy a sleeping bag rated for 0 degrees and spend less than $50. Or find friends or family with whom you can stay. (Very inexpensive). Bear the cold rather than take chances with carbon monoxide or fire.

Squirrel: OK, I'll correct you. If you are Bill Gates, $1,000 is the kind of money you lose in the couch. If you are disabled or have a chronic medical condition, you have much different needs than an able-bodied person. Preparation is an individual economic decision. I just wrote what makes sense to me. [It may be me, but it seems silly to fortify a house with sand bags and grenade pits.]

Unlike many, I decline to participate in "conspicuous consumption" or "pecuniary emulation." For example, I drive a well-maintained Toyota pickup with about 175,000 miles on it. People who earn less than me drive far newer and nicer vehicles... but the money I save on transportation goes into investments and savings. About 15% of my pre-tax income goes directly into retirement. And it will stay there for another 30 years.

I have living expenses for six months sitting in the bank. Costco is my favorite store and I do buy in bulk and cook.

As an avid hunter (even Andy can get one right) I have outdoor gear including a modest selection of firearms. I own some acreage near where I live and more near my "ancestoral" home.

[My property had nothing to do with Y2K. It was a simply a good investment. It provides firewood and a private refuge for hunting, when I am so inclined.]

This is why I haven't spent any money on Y2K.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 19, 1999.


it's his modus operandi. Can appear effective to those who can't spot it. Makes those more passionate about the subject "appear" foolish.

Cheap tactic -old as the hills. DD knows 'em all.

Not fooling me one iota. Out and out hypocrite repeatedly giving BAD advice.



-- Mr. Decker,

can't you people see through this transparent troll - sheesh.

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), May 19, 1999.


Thank you and have a nice day.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 19, 1999.

OK I've cracked.

Rant on.

1. Water storage: seven days.

[Bullshit. Store as much as you can get away with. Water is free and plentiful now. Buy a filter. If you have the means, sink a well.]

2. Food storage: 30 days.

[Bullshit. Why 30? Why not 29? Why not 31? Total and utter bullshit. If you are taking y2k seriously at all stock up on as much as reasonably possible (that's for you to decide, for me it will be over one year). go to Sam's or Costco - use your commons sense. You don't have to buy specialist MRE's. Just but tinned stuff, rice, beans, spices, multivitamins. If it's a bump, eat it or give it to food shelters. It's a win win situation here. treble-Deckers' advice is total BS as you all know.]

3. Total Y2K preparation budget: No more than $1,000. (Non-camping families may increase to $2,000.)

[Again, why this inane arbitrary limit. BS. Spend what you NEED to spend. You are talking about your and your loved ones' lives fer crissakes. Cost should be no object.]

WARNING: Do not accrue debt to finance preparations. Cut up the charge cards, pay down your debt and build at least six months of savings into a liquid account. If you are worried about banking problems, request December statements and tap your savings to have cashiers checks issued for all of your January bills. 4. Total withdrawals from retirement funds: $0

[And more BS. If you don't have the means to prepare, max out your credit cards. Spend what needs to be spent to safeguard you or your family. This is not a game. This could be life and death. It's fiat money. You will not regret taking my advice if TS really HTF next year. If it's a bump - so what, pay the interest, buy a cheaper car next year, pay off the cards with the difference - improvise, think laterally.]

5. Firearms purchases: $0.

Rationale: If you havent found a reason to own a firearm yet, you might want to sit tight.

[Hypocrite. Quadruple decker the "gentleman" hunter, has an veritable arsenal. Yet he "advises" YOU to sit tight. Do nothing. No protection. Total hypocrite here folks.]

6. Relocation: No, unless you are living in a house too large/expensive for your earnings ability.

[Total bollocks once again. If you are serious, and have the means, relocate away from major population centres. There will be roting, mayhem, no police protection (not that there ever was in all reality). I've relocated - many people have - I don't regret it, far happier now with a better salry to boot. Suggestion. If you can't or won't relocate - make arrangements with friends or family in the country. Buy a second-hand mobile home - put it on rented or owned property with hook-ups in the middle of nowhere. You can always sell it if it's a bump. Think laterally - there are many many options here.]

7. Generator: No, unless you depend on an electric well pump. Alternative heat source: Yes, but hey, who doesnt like a wood stove or fireplace?

[Why not a generator? You can always resell them. There is always a market for them. You can re-charge nicad batteries. You can help out your solar system. If you have the means, go for it. Why not?]

8. Silver/Gold: No.

Rationale: A better investment is improving your skills and developing alternative career options. Your education is portable, always available and will last as long as you do. Unlike gold or silver, it cannot be taken (without killing you.)

Sorry for the delay.

[BS once again. Gold and silver have been a means of preserving one's wealth since time immemorial. What is so different today? Gold is being manipulated now to be artificially well below $300. When the tiger gets out of the bag gold will increase dramatically, as will silver. Have a proportion of your wealth in precious metals, barter items, cash, food, water and friends/family. Be liquid. Stay alert as we approach rollover. watch the signs,. be prepare to change your plans. Follow your gut, your intuition. Be able to move if you have to. Have a bug out bag. Have caches in the countryside. Use your head. Read bewteen corporate and government spin. The writing's on the wall - this is going to be bad and quintuple-deckers' "advice" fails to factor in these things. He's an obvious know-nothing and dangerous troll. There is NO SUCH THING as an optimist's prepartion list. An optimist wouldn't have one fer crissakes.

Be A PESSIMIST and hope to be pleasantly surprised.

For somebody who tries to purports to be a brainiac, if I was a CEO and this marron delivered such a report to me his ass would be out the door so quick it would be dragging his balls behind it.

What utter tosh this troll continues to spew forth on all manner of subjects.

(Rant off ;) )


-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), May 19, 1999.


Since when is politeness a cheap tactic? I can tell from your posts that you are a smart guy. You might try countering Mr. Decker by channeling your intelligence and passion into well thought arguments showing why Mr. Decker is wrong.

-- DMH (aint@tellin.com), May 19, 1999.

I'm polite to people I respect - trolls get what they deserve "NO RESPECT" :)))

If you think I'm being hard on these fools, do a little recent thread research, with particular attention to OutingsRus...

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), May 19, 1999.


Normally, I ignore you, but I can tell this issue is really important to you. My post is just an opinion. I am not passing it off as "the gospel" or selling it to raise money. On an earlier thread, I asked people about preparations and was asked to respond in turn.

As a polite guy, I did.

For me, my "preps" work. I sleep well and enjoy a rather worry-free life. Obviously, you have a somewhat different (rather tense) view of the whole Y2K picture. Fine. As we Americans say, "It's your nickel."

Let me beg to differ on a few minor issues.

I think it foolhardy to maximize one's debt before a potential downturn in the economy. In fact, I think the wisest course of action is to eliminate debt... even if it means buying a sack or two less of beans.

My "arsenal" is a modest group of very non-military weapons. As you seem keenly interested in such things, I have a shotgun for bird hunting, a flat-shooting bolt action rifle for deer/elk hunting and a .22 for regular target practice. I have used firearms regularly since a tender age; first bird at 11, first deer at 13. If someone has never used firearms, I strongly suggest careful consideration before purchasing one.

I think planning for a complete meltdown of the developed world into a post-Apocalypse "Mad Max" wasteland is somewhat excessive (and a bit odd). Even so, it's your nickel. Dig a wonderful bunker in your English countryside and stand post against those Euro-centric invaders. You see, Andy, despite your rants I will continue to be polite. I just cannot take you seriously.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 19, 1999.

Au contraire DD,

I take YOU very seriously.

Yep - sprinkle in a little mad max here, a little "normally I ignore you there" [again, another Blatant LIE,you NEVER ignore me, you ALWAYS read every word I say - who the hell do you think you are kidding?]

better keep on your toes Troll - you have been rumbled, and so has your phoney "advice".



Mr. Andy

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), May 19, 1999.

Mr. Decker,

Where do you find the food storage recommendation of 30 days in the Red Cross web page? They officially suggested 1 week andI wonder if this was increased to one month.


On the wall

-- fly (.@...), May 19, 1999.


The 30-day supply is my idea. In fact, I'm not sure how someone gets by with less in the pantry. [Unless you never cook.]

Staples are much cheaper in "bulk" quantities. After you discover you can buy 16 oz of pure vanilla at Costco for about what 4 oz costs in the store... it's hard to go back. Cooking, while somewhat time consuming, saves vast amounts of money over prepared foods. And if you garden or hunt, it's nice to can or preserve some of your hard work.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 19, 1999.

Mr. Decker:

Please redress the issue of sanitation. Explain how residents of high rises in NY, LA, Chicago, Atlanta, SF, London, Paris, and the rest of the urban-bound world are expected to "have a shovel and dig a hole". And as for the, as you say, "super prepared", how many "red Folger's coffee cans" will be required for your anticipated 30 day's worth of dumps?


-- a (a@a.a), May 19, 1999.


The high-rise issue is easy. Just live on an upper floor. Be *sure* you don't live on the ground floor. As for the coffee cans, you don't need them if you can open a window.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), May 19, 1999.

Flint, and you completely passed on SOL? (laughter)

Sanitation is huge problem for a metro area. In fact, an interesting anthropological tidbit... sanitation was a limiting factor for ancient cities. Too many people lead to sanitation problems, disease, death, and a reduction in population.

And personally, I do not plan on having to use the Folger's can of lime for 30 days.

Listening to Flint, though, I'd stay off the sidewalks.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 19, 1999.

Very funny. Interesting how easily you pollys can downplay the significance of an issue when you're stumped for practical answers.

-- a (a@a.a), May 19, 1999.


OK, one more time. Power and water will work as of Jan 1, 1999, for the 90%+ of the U.S. Any failures will be short-lived. Contrary to hard evidence to the contrary, that is my two cents.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 19, 1999.

Andy, this one's for you. How Decker reported back to his playmates on the Gary North is a Big Fat Idiot forum after his first visit here:


A visit to Ed Yourdon's forum... Date: Mar 28, 11:50

Dear Reader,

I dropped by Ed Yourdon's forum and left two posts. The first was a "food for thought" post about how vulnerable the average family is to "marauders." The second post was simply a compilation of other posts I had written here about the free market, Y2K, Gary North, etc.

The response was mixed. Some readers found the posts of some interest. The rest ranged from accusations that I was a "killer" to a "moron" to an "idiot." A few attempted lengthy replies, however, there was very little of interest, particularly in economic thought.

As I noted in one post, Y2K has passed into an article of faith for some individuals. I see little point in continuing a dialogue with those who could not be convinced. I hope someone decides to continue this board until well into 2000. I plan to visit this site and Ed Yourdon's after the millennium to count those who still think the sky is falling.


Mr. Decker

(Quoted by)

-- OutingsR (us@here.yar), May 19, 1999.

a, if you really want to know why don't you ask the people that handle waste management. Try talking to the vendors who service the portable johnnys. Just how long do you think you will be without flushing toilets? By the way, you can use a toilet with the water turned off; just put water in the tank and flush.

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), May 19, 1999.


Yes, I'd say Decker's assessment is dead accurate. He was indeed called names by the children here. That's the full depth of analysis for which too many here are capable, sadly. As for changing minds, that just doesn't happen. If y2k ends civilization, there will be those insisting that it's not all that bad, getting back to nature, less human population destroying the ecology, and so on. And if y2k turns out to be nothing, there will be some here claiming the NWO is *still* conspiring to keep it a secret, years later.

And there aren't many economists here, and the level of economic thought seems quite poor. Only Nathan really makes an attempt to explain the banking system. I don't have the knowledge to evaluate his points, but I'm suspicious when he keeps recommending that all the answers are to be found in books with titles like "How the banks are destroying your life and you're too stupid to realize it." These recommendations make me question Nathan's perspective a bit.

You may not *like* looking in the mirror, but that doesn't make you any better looking.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), May 19, 1999.

Thanks, Flint.

"Outings" doesn't bother me. I like to be quoted. If you'll notice, "Outings," it's been my real name and real email address on every post. Come on "out" yourself and join us.

I haven't read Nathan, but I cannot bear one more "The Fed is Evil and Fractional Reserve Banking is the Tool of Satan" post. Or, "The World Ended in 1913 and You Don't Know It."


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 19, 1999.

Flint, this was found under "About" on the first page of this forum -- Ed Yourdon's words, you know, the originator and webmaster of this forum --

"This forum is intended for people who are concerned about the impact of the Y2000 problem on their personal lives, and who want to discuss various fallback contingency plans with other like-minded people. It's not intended to provide advice/guidance for solving Y2000 problems within an IT organization."

Now, do YOU see anything about economics being a priority of this forum? It's only one of many, many other subjects, the most important being concerns about (not the insignificance of) the impact of Y2K and discussion of fallback contingency plans.

Ed's book and presentations are about the adverse effects Y2K will bring. It is NOT about WHETHER they will occur, it is about how BAD the effects might be and what can be done to prepare for those effects. The forum is named after the book. People expect forum discussions to be as advertised -- concerns about the impact of Y2K on their personal lives, and discussions of various fallback contingency plans with other like-minded people.

Try looking at reality instead of mirrors -- and smoke.

-- OutingsR (us@here.yar), May 19, 1999.


"To facilitate an ongoing dialog about Y2K issues, we have provided a Web-based bulletin-board forum that generated nearly 110,000 messages through mid-May, 1999. Send us any new Y2K information that you've come across, and join in our discussions!" Ed Yourdon's Web Page

I've already had Arlin try the "mission statement" bum's rush with me. Until Yourdon takes down the welcome sign, it looks to me like this is an open forum... economics included. While I have a bias towards the subject, I think the economic ramifications of Y2K are the most interesting topic of discussion here. [Frankly, I find the "how many bags of rice and beans" stuff pretty dull.]

So, were you planning on actually joining the discussion, or just quoting others?


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 19, 1999.

Outings, I'm not sure I'm following you here. Let's say that the single strongest case, based on the information available at some point in time (a future point, perhaps) is that effects will be mild and that preparations will be largely unnecessary.

Now, is it your position that strong cases be damned, we're here to panic and we don't want facts interfering with us? Or would you agree that if a substantial indication exists that effects will be more to the economy than the infrastructure, preparation advise concerning getting out of debt and boosting savings (rather than maxing out the charge cards buying generators and underground gas tanks) might be welcomed?

I simply cannot believe that Yourdon, in writing that charter, was trying to indicate that only highly selective, biased, one-sided viewpoints were welcomed regardless of what happens. If you really feel that way, I suggest you start your own forum, and clearly state in your charter that intelligent contributions are NOT welcome.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), May 19, 1999.

Mr. Decker wrote

OK, one more time. Power and water will work as of Jan 1, 1999, for the 90%+ of the U.S. Any failures will be short-lived. Contrary to hard evidence to the contrary, that is my two cents.


Now that would mean 30 million Americans and possibly 3-4 million Canadians could be without power even for a short term in the dead of winter with few ways to provide alternate heat. Mr. Decker you aren't turning to a doomer are you? (I couldn't resist)

-- Brian (imager@home.com), May 19, 1999.

Mr. Decker: I live up north in the snow-belt. Wind chills go below -30 on a regular basis. We have received over 5 ft. of snow in 3 days in past winters. The national guard had to be called out to heip with snow removal from both streets and rooftops. I don't think my elderly parents are going to be anywhere close to prepared with a weeks worth of water.(and by the way, how are these 70+ year old people supposed to carry all the water from the hot water tank up 2 flights of stairs to use for cooking etc.)

The average american, who is living from pay check to pay check doesn't have $ 1-2000 to spend on preps. anyway. Ever think that cost might be keeping some of those who might prepare from doing so? What you need, if you are going to give out a general list for others to consider is one that will take even the modest budget into account without makeing the receipient feel like they will be eating 3rd world leftovers and huddling together under their blankets.

The point of sharing a preps list should be to encourage others to join in and the minute you hit the thousand dollar mark you lost half of you audience.INHO.

-- kitten (kitten@vcn.net), May 19, 1999.


With all due respect, the "average" American throws a lot of money away. I have spent some years "saving the world" and have worked directly with people living in poverty. It's amazing how many can afford to buy cigarettes, rent videos and have cable TV. Some of them drive nicer vehicles than I do. Many can "afford" to go out for dinner, eat fast food and buy lottery tickets. From my experience, the "average" American family can save more than $1,000 if they began living smart and cut back on the excess spending.

The only way to escape poverty is to earn more than you spend. Most people sit around wringing their hands about earning more money, but the easiest route to economic self sufficiency is spending less. You can be "broke" on $10,000 a year or $1,000,000 a year.

And please don't take the $1,000 mark as set in stone. It was a rough estimate of what I thought the "average" family (who already has camping equipment) might spend to prepare. Best of luck.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 20, 1999.

"Mr. Decker":

Notice I am addressing you as "Mr. Decker" since this is how you sign your name. You say you are leaving your retirement money where it is for another 30 years, so I am assuming you are fairly young - thirties????? I have to ask, why do you sign your name "Mr. Decker", yet address everyone else by their first name? I think it's an ego thing. I can tell from the tone of your articles that you're very arrogant - you brag about what you own and what you have, etc., etc. BRAG, BRAG, BRAG!!!!!! I never hear you mention a wife! I wonder why................... I don't think anyone could tolerate your ego!

-- Eyes Wide Open (ready@y2k.com), May 20, 1999.

It's a form of polite address. If you sign your post with Mr. Jones or Ms. Smith, I'll address you as Mr. Jones or Ms. Smith. If you sign your post as John Doe, I'll consider it option play.

My age is not really relevant to this forum, but I will say that like my great-grandfather, I plan to work until I die. Retirement sounds terribly dull.

I've been accused of arrogance, but only on this forum. In real life, I haven't had this charge leveled against me. While I'm willing to use my real name, I prefer to keep the details of my personal life (other than "PREPS") private.

I am not a wealthy man, but I am a frugal one. I live in a modest home and drive an older vehicle. In fact, I have very few material possessions aside from my computer, a library of books and my gear for hunting, fishing, etc. No boats, no jet skis, no ATVs, no expensive collections, no "designer" garb, no European vacations, no country club memberships, etc. Accuse me of arrogance, but I am proud to be debt free and have money in the bank... giving to society rather than waiting for a hand-out.

As a tax paying citizen and veteran of the armed forces, I have paid some dues, friend. Like me or not, I think I've earned the "Mr."


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 20, 1999.

Deckers first name is Kenny

-- ghost in the machine (ghost@!.!), May 20, 1999.

maria: of course you can manually flush a toilet if the power is off for a few days. But what about in areas where it is off for weeks? (power off=no sewage treatment). Do you know how much crap a city the size of Detriot produces daily? Maybe that will be isolated events here in the US, but abroad the situation looks a lot gloomier.

-- a (a@a.a), May 20, 1999.

Why, in response to Mr. Decker's polite, thoughtful, sometimes funny, and often useful/informative posts, do those that do so, respond in such a hostile fashion, with derogatory and truly hateful comments, that even go to the extreme of questioning his motives!?

Surely you are aware of the fact that of all the individuals that post on this forum, Mr. Decker's posts are invariably those that garner the most intense dialogue, discourse, and frequently insightful comments - both from himself, and from the many respondents as well.

I certainly do not always agree with him, but like so many others on this forum, his posts always require that I give thought to that which he articulates.......

Use this resource to your advantage. All that is required to continually be able to do so is to be equally respectful and occasionally as informative as is he.

-- Dave Walden (wprop@concentric.net), May 20, 1999.

Don Florence has it right. My personal preparations (beyond what Decker suggests) consist mostly of saving as much money as I can, so that after Mar, I will be able to buy preparations that other people are selling cheaply, so I can be prepared for the real Y2K problem: economic downturn 6 months to 3 years later, when the ramifications of Y2K failures in foreign countries hits the US the hardest.

-- Walt (walt@lcs.k12.ne.us), May 20, 1999.

Mr Walden,

why don't you give Mr. decker a blow-job while your'e at it .

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), May 21, 1999.

Andy double-standard.

You should give him some expert tips. Considering you've had Mr Ed's bell-end rammed down yer gullet for the last year at least, I should think by now youd be considered a world expert.

Glasshouse bloke got stones ?

-- You've got (more@front.than.woolies.tosh.com), May 21, 1999.

hey asshole that is afraid to post a real address,

i mean what i say,

ok dave?

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), May 21, 1999.

The essence of a good plan is "achieveability", not perfection. The steps in this plan could be implemented by the majority of households, with admittedly some short-term sacrifices. I know this -- mine is a very modest, single-income household and just these preps are a stretch. That said, if Mr. Decker's plan were implemented by every family, we'd be in very good shape heading into Rollover.

What's really funny-peculiar is that Mr. Decker's seen as a "Polly" by so many in this forum, but I know from experience that suggesting almost this exact plan (1 month of food, extra water, alternative heat, debt reduction, etc.) almost anywhere else will get you labelled a "Doomer".

"One man's mead is another man's poisson." -- from Riders of the Purple Wage, Philip Jose Farmer

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), May 21, 1999.

Mac is exactly right. I and others who have been labelled "pollys" are considered "doomers" by many of the folks around us.

-- Buddy (.@...), May 21, 1999.

This is why KC looks like a Polly.

From the Gary North is a Big Fat Idiot Forum --


Gentle Reader,

I was forced to stop at a local Walmart just today. (One of my wiper blades was not "rain-to-day" compliant.) In the sporting goods section, there were hand-written "Y2K" signs above sections of outdoor gear... propane lanterns, stoves, etc.

As a "regular" contributer to this site (BFI), I nearly laughed out loud. Obviously, the local manager felt a little Y2K hysteria might move some product. Y2K hysteria has truly gone "mainstream."

Mr. Decker This is also why he gets flamed -- he was "forced" to stop at K-Mart. Well, poor guy, why couldn't it have happened outside Neiman-Marcus?

-- OutingsR (us@here.yar), May 21, 1999.


I was forced to stop at K-Mart because the wiper blade assembly on my truck (over a decade old) broke off while I was driving by. I did not want to a) drive in pouring rain without wipers or b) dig a groove in my windshield with the metal wiper arm. To my knowledge Neimann-Marcus does not stock wiper blade assemblies for older trucks.

Cut-and-paste to your heart's content. If I wrote it and signed it, I'll take responsibility for it. But you might try actually reading what I have written, instead of scanning for something you can try to needle me with. Try contributing to the dialogue, Outings, and try using a real name and email as suggested by the systems administrator.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 21, 1999.

Mr. Decker wrote:

>>It's a form of polite address. If you sign your post with Mr. Jones or Ms. Smith, I'll address you as Mr. Jones or Ms. Smith. If you sign your post as John Doe, I'll consider it option play.<<

Are you being the slightest bit disingenuous or is the Alzheimers kicking in?

Mr. Elbow Grease

-- Elbow Grease (Elbow_Grease@AutoShop.com), May 21, 1999.

As an experiment, some scientists took an ordinary monkey, dyed it green, and released it back to the jungle. The other monkeys tore it apart.

Mr. Decker has a unique locution. To most inhabitants of the lowest- common-denominator internet, it sounds like he's putting on airs. It sounds like most of the negative reaction to Decker is much more to his language than his message. Exactly the sort of difference that triggers the bully in the worst of us.

And to Mr. Decker: The vernacular rules. Adopt it or your message will be subsumed.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), May 21, 1999.

Mr. Decker,

I have taken your suggestion to OutingsR to heart and after actually reading what you wrote I have a question for you. In your initial post at GNBFI as cited above, and in OutingsR's cut and paste, you related a stop at Wal-Mart for a wiper blade. During his post, OutingsR changed the location to K-Mart. In your response today, in this thread, you changed the location to K-Mart.

Now, I doubt that if I were to find myself replacing a wiper blade in the rain that I would forget where I had been "forced to stop" to obtain it. That is not to say that you would necessarily remember, but obviously there is a disconnect here.

You have always appeared to me as one who chose his words with care and paid great attention to detail. Perhaps this is not so, but it is my impression of you. Were it not so, I would consider your tales of prowess at the poker table to be only so much talk.

In view of your comment, "If I wrote it and signed it, I'll take responsibility for it", would you care to comment?

-- Hardliner (searcher@internet.com), May 21, 1999.

I tried to post a response... and it evaporated. Here's the short version. Hardliner, I was wrong, it was Walmart. When you own an older vehicle, minor glitches are just a part of daily living. I keep tools in the work box for that very reason. Instead of thinking about the incident, I was steamed by the insinuation that I thought I was "too good" for store. Next time, I'll be more careful. Sorry.

Mr. Elbow Grease, are you still miffed that I didn't take a "Mr." on what I thought was a nickname? Does anyone call you "Mr. Elbow Grease" in real life? Wouldn't your time be better served discussing the assumptions underlying your Y2K economic numbers? You have an event coming that makes the Great Depression look like a walk in the park. I suggest the forum better served with that information than another voice in the "Decker Sucks" chorus.

Flint... do you really think if I take a more informal approach that the childish insults will stop? By the way, adolescent taunts are far from being "torn apart." Every time someone slurs a reasonable person (like Dave Walden), it just makes the character of the attacker more clear.

This forum has a double standard, Flint. If I were a pessimist, my writing style would be a nonissue. But as someone who questions the "TEOTWAWKI" Y2K scenario... no free pass. But, hey, eventually the thoughtful people will figure out who wants to talk issues and who wants to engage in character assassination.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 21, 1999.

Mr Decker:

I admit I'm guessing. Of course posters like Ray, Andy and 'a' will attack whoever posts any non-end of the world opinions, that seems to be all they know how to do. I'm not talking about them.

But I confess the acrimonious response you've elicited from many usually thoughtful posters lacks any other basis that I can see. Your advise has been sensible, you've never claimed we'll experience no problems, and your requests for detailed predictions have been useful and nondenominational.

Perhaps Stephen Jay Gould is right. People like to be told stories, and learn what they can from them. People don't deal with probabilities easily, preferring clear definitions and binary choices. So your fate may be a combination of stilted presentation, refusal to froth at the mouth, posting on 'enemy' forums (another binary reaction), and imponderables beyond me.

In combination, these factors render you an outsider. A green monkey. I'd like to see your efforts succeed in steering discussions into useful channels. But all that's worked for me is sheer perseverence, in the hope that I get lucky every now and then.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), May 21, 1999.

Mr. Decker,

Fair enough.

BTW, I suspect that rather than "evaporating", your first response ended up on your "Asking for the Numbers" thread.

-- Hardliner (searcher@internet.com), May 21, 1999.

Hardliner, oops. Remind me to work within one window and one window only.

Flint, I try to write short pieces that encourage critical thinking about Y2K. I just don't have patience for fuzzy thinking or vague statements of doom. I'll respect a well-crafted essay, but not the "shoot from the hip" posts where people are just guessing. I suppose I will not be voted Forum President.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 21, 1999.

Mr. Decker observed:

>>Mr. Elbow Grease, are you still miffed that I didn't take a "Mr." on what I thought was a nickname? Does anyone call you "Mr. Elbow Grease" in real life?<<

Rather than waiting several days and starting an entirely new thread, I will answer the questions here and now. No, I'm not "miffed" and was never "miffed" about that initial faux pas on your part. And, Yes, in "real life" I am often addressed as "Mr. Grease" but mostly "Elbow" for esoteric reasons not germane to this forum. But you know that. I've already responded to that question.

For your convenience, here is the thread for your review.


I do not take you to be a dim bulb, therefore repeating the query would seem to be an ego thing; an attempt to deflect the issue from my point that you are *not* consistent with your self-declared "policy;" an attempt (as always) to frame yourself in a more favorable light. Mr. Flint labelled your style as "supercilious" on another thread and I heartily agree. On more than one occasion, you have written, in essence: "I don't mean to label >Mr. XXX< a cretin. He may well be a very fine fellow. But he is an idiot." *This* technique bothers me. It is the practice of a common rabble-rouser. Veiled insults, left-handed comments and negative broad-brush stereotyping are unnecessary and incompatible with "civility" and their use throws your entire motivation into question. Hence the question posed to you on that other thread: What is the point of starting a thread titled "What is the point?" containing your gratuitous slurs, if not for the sole purpose of increasing the noise level? (Hmmmm.... to grab attention? How infantile.)

There is more to civility than prepending "Mr./Ms." and ending a post with "Regards."

>>Wouldn't your time be better served discussing the assumptions underlying your Y2K economic numbers?<<

Yes, probably. Insofar as the point of this thread: you waited so long to come across with your own responses, despite numerous gentle hints, that I've lost interest. In addition, the current topic seems more accurately to be the question of your style and veracity.

>>You have an event coming that makes the Great Depression look like a walk in the park.<<

How Doomer of you! This sounds like hyperbole. It is not consistent with your numbers, predictions, and preparations.

>>I suggest the forum better served with that information than another voice in the "Decker Sucks" chorus.

Portray yourself as a lightning rod, and you will have to take some strikes when your foibles become apparent. Besides, it's the "Mr. Decker Sucks" chorus, didn't you know?

>>I suppose I will not be voted Forum President.<<

What? No "(laughter)?" *That* was funny!


Mr. Elbow Grease

-- Elbow Grease (Elbow_Grease@AutoShop.com), May 22, 1999.

Iron Hide,

I'll tell you that I'm quite impressed with that iron hide of yours. I am reminded of Achilles as he raged upon the field. There is also a heel, but it seems only to get grazed so far (though they aim hard for it). Why you suffer the insults, I will not pretend to know... and the how is probably closely related to the why. Perhaps, you will tell me one day over a cigar. Your long drive (as Homer might have described it) is not all that reminds me of Achilles. Your argument drives so hard that it splinters shields and pierces breat plate. But let me take this comparison one more step. When you defeat Hector, I imagine that you'll circle Troy seven times, dragging along his broken body.

I hope I'm wrong about THAT. (grin) I do wait to read what happened.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (info@giglobal.com), May 22, 1999.

How William F. Buckley might have written the Walmart piece.

KCD -- I was forced to stop at a local Walmart just today. (One of my wiper blades was not "rain-to-day" compliant.) In the sporting goods section, there were hand-written "Y2K" signs above sections of outdoor gear... propane lanterns, stoves, etc.

WFB -- By sheer good fortune, a windshield wiper blade gave up the ghost in close proximity to a Walmart superstore. Seeking the Automotive Supplies section, I chanced through Sporting Goods and beheld hand-written "Y2K" signs above various and sundry items of camping paraphernalia, such as propane lanterns, stoves, and other accoutrements suitable to outdoor enthusiasms.

KCD -- As a "regular" contributer to this site (BFI), I nearly laughed out loud. Obviously, the local manager felt a little Y2K hysteria might move some product. Y2K hysteria has truly gone "mainstream."

WFB: As a regular contributor to this forum debunking Gary North and others of similar bent, I could not help but surmise that the local manager felt an appeal to those Y2K emotions inherent in the more cynical and pessimistic consumer might be hooked and landed as additional revenue in the cash register. Y2K mania has indeed progressed to the forefront of middle America's sentient thought.

-- Not Bill (Buckley@National.Rev), May 22, 1999.

Mr. Elbow Grease,

One last time, for the record. Most of the time, I try to write in a polite manner... and your choose to interpret this as "insulting." There is another possibility... that I write exactly what I mean.

I'll stand my what I have written... including "What's the Point?" I did not identify specific writers, but I think some of the posts here have been WAY out of line. There have been violent statements, anti- Semetic statements, racists statements, not to mention some that have been just plain dumb.

But, hey, we have the good, old double standard here. You are willing to turn a blind eye to the pessimists on the forum who engage in all manner of slurs and slanders... but you take issue with my "writing style." To my knowledge, I am the only writer you seem to take issue with. If your interest was a civil debate, you might offer "feedback" to those who engage in unrelenting personal attacks.

But civil debate isn't the issue, is it? You really just don't like what I have to say or how I say. So instead of debating the real issues, you simply nip at the heels of my character.

Let's try, one last time, to talk real issues. Compare the "high" end of your predicted numbers with actual economic data from the Great Depression. (I can help you with some source documents, if you need it.) Do a side-by-side, print it, and then explain them. If you crunch the data, you'll see my statement is not hyperbole... your prediction is significantly worse than the Great Depression. And I'll respond in kind.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 23, 1999.


Who is "Iron Hide?"


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 24, 1999.

To refresh Decker's memory.

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

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