Monthly Archives: November 2010

Review of the Cold Steel Spartan Knife

I have carried the Cold Steel Spartan on and off for about 6 months now as part of EDC.  It is a good knife and well built but not with out its flaws.  Honestly I don’t really like it as an EDC tool but must admit it is a formidable self defense tool.

The Good

  • Very solidly built
  • The lock has amazing strength and zero play
  • Good self defense tool
  • Excellent feel in the hand
  • Can be used as an impact weapon for non lethal use
  • Opens extremely fast once you get familiar with it
  • Despite being large carries very nicely due to the high clip placement

The Bad

  • Not practical for EDC, draws to much attention when in use
  • Curved blade is not practical for any type of intricate use
  • The over-sized handle is not practical for a lot of tasks
  • Might be seen as a “weapon” by under informed LEOs
  • Doesn’t open easily with one had, need to flick or pocket draw

This knife is a very good tool as a defensive weapon over all but not very practical for much else.  They are available on Amazon.com for about 55 dollars.  My recommendation only buy this knife as self defense tool or to add to your collection if you simply collect knifes of all types.  It is a purpose built tool in my view and not the best thing for EDC.

Episode-560- Shipping Container Construction – The Good, Bad & Ugly

One of the most popular areas of interest that I consider “beyond the basics” that the audience has asked me about over the years is building with and utilizing shipping containers.   Today a listener we will simply call Mike joins me from the mid western US.  Mike is currently working on a very large multi container project that is 100% under ground.  The project is part of his extensive preps to go off grid if necessary.

Join me today to discuss…

  • Why use the storage containers as a shelter or storage structure?
  • What are some common misconceptions about shipping containers?
  • How to source containers and the average cost per unit?
  • What are the different sizes, grades and options with containers?
  • What are the best attributes about using shipping containers for construction?
  • Can you simply bury the container in the ground?
  • What about a partial burial with the container roof simply “roofed over”?
  • Can you use a container as a basement under a shed or a portion of a home?
  • What kind of weight can a container support and where is it weakest?
  • How do you reinforce the container to handle the weight of dirt if you were to bury it fully?
  • How do you ensure airflow in and underground set up?
  • What about the concern that a buried container would eventually rust through?
  • Are there steps that can be taken to prevent it from rusting out?
  • How do you go about providing drainage?

Resources for Today’s Show

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK and you might hear yourself on the air.

Husky Folding Razor Knife & Game Winner Pistol Cleaning Kit

This is just a quick video of two cool items I found recently.

One is a cool universal pistol cleaning kit from brand called “Game Winner”. I got this for 4.95 at Academy Sports and Outdoors. They do not have the item on their website though, they do have a store locater though.  You can find the Academy website at Academy.com

If anyone knows of a similar kit you can buy online, please let me know. Best I can tell “Game Winner” is a private label brand, so it is likely made under other names.

Second is a folding razor knife by Husky Tools, I have tried a few brand varieties of this type of tool. The one I got from Cobalt (sold at Home Depot) was more rugged but excessively heave and to thick for good every day carry.

The one from Husky in this video (purchased at Lowes but available from Home Depot and Tractor Supply as well) sell for about 10 dollars and comes with 10 blades in a spring pack. This is one of the best low cost EDC tools I have ever found. It saves my knife blade, it’s always sharp and uses standard (cheap) blades.

This tool is as rugged as it could need to be. The blade itself is the weak point so more bulk for steel scales only adds bulk and weight with no real gain in performance. One example of where overbuilt is actually a bad thing.

A few folks on YouTube suggested the Gerber EAB as a better EDC folding razor knife.  I have ordered two and will review them when they show up.

Episode-559- TSP Listener Feedback 10-29-10

So it’s Monday the 29th of November and we have a great selection of your feedback in cue today for the Monday feedback show.  We have questions and news today on new GMO apples, treating burns with herbal resources, the march of socialism in Finland, the Federal reserve, using tow bars during a bug out and more.

Join me today as we discuss,

  • Next up for franken food, the GMO apple because vitamin C isn’t good enough
  • A listener in Finland forecasts the future of those who don’t fight to retain liberty
  • Getting free commercial grade food storage racks
  • Build or buy a small solar back up system?  Build!
  • Keeping livestock at a BOL without daily husbandry
  • The Bond Arms Snake Slayer for self defense
  • Treating burns with herbal methods
  • Socialize or eliminate the Federal Reserve?
  • South Dakota shows us the meaning of,  “when it rains it pours”
  • Thoughts on flat towing bars for bugging out and more
  • Prepping in advance for a planned pay cut to pursue your dream

Additional Resources for Today’s Show

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK and you might hear yourself on the air.

The Survival Podcast M3 Medical Bag

The M3 Medic bag is a top choice for US Military and various first responders across the U.S and abroad.  Our version is designed for the civilian, it features the official TSP Medical Patch (an original design by Tiffany Rockwell of Rockwell Survival) and is made in high visibility red.

This bag is designed to keep your first aid kit, blow out kit and other emergency medical supplies close at hand, easy to access and ready for quick deployment.

Our supplier is Voodoo Tactical located in Gardena, California.  We choose Voodoo due to their excellent quality and rugged off the shelf design of the popular M3 Medical Kit Bag.

These bags are available at the TSP Gear Shop and retail for $29.95. http://bit.ly/gAz5TS

Maglula Magazine Loader from Mag Lula / Butler Creek

I never really minded loading up a magazine or two for some basic shooting but when I spend a full range day it can get kind of old.  I have fooled around with a lot of magazine loading tools over the years but nothing until now really seemed to have a cost to performance ratio that I found acceptable.

About a month ago a listener sent me a video about the Mag Lula Magazine Loader for the AR15 from Maglula / Butler Creek wanting to know if it worked as good as it appeared to.  So I ordered one from CheaperThanDirt.com and I have not been disappointed for a second with it.

I figured with Christmas coming this might be a good time to post this review.  If you have a shooter in your family that shoots the AR of any of the weapons they make a loader for I can promise you they will love one of these.  You can find this loader and loaders for other guns like the AK, Uzi, MP5, Universal Pistol, FN FAL and others at this link http://amzn.to/eqnm4y

Thanksgiving Pepper Harvest

Well our luck of avoiding a freeze in North Texas is running out.  Despite eating peppers every day for the last 6 months and despite working my dehydrator heavily I still have a huge surplus in the garden.  Most of it is peppers and we expect icing and 28 degrees on Thanksgiving night.  As I will be in a Turkey coma tomorrow I figured I better get all I could picked today, at least as far as the peppers go.  As the pictures show below both me and the dehydrator will be working over the weekend.

First a few shots just to show how beautiful our plants are producing this late in the year.   First up a pair of sweet peppers, one is a California Wonder the other a Big Jim Sweet.

Next up some of my awesome jalapenos and a mariachi pepper.

Last I had to also pick all the poblanos man these are just doing so awesome too bad the freeze is going to kill them.

So how many were left on Nov. 24th, a ton, here first one bag is sweet peppers the other poblanos.  These are those cloth shopping bags from the grocery to give some scale, the sweet pepper one is over 20 lbs.

These are mariachi peppers, this is what I got from just two container grown plants.

Next up jalapenos, man these have been doing great this year.  I had branches break off due to their weight.

Few more pictures I took while I was at it.  First some calendula, this has been doing great in the cooler weather.  Should survive the freeze if it isn’t too harsh and doesn’t get too much freezing rain.  I love these guys, flowers, food and medicine all in one.  These are also called “pot marigolds”.

The echinacea  is still holding on but the freeze will put it to sleep until spring.  Hope the new home owners appreciate me establishing it.

Did you know that when tarragon flowered that this was the result?  Pretty cool huh?

The New Zealand Spinach has been going absolutely mental.  I should get quite a bit of seed but no way to eat it all before Thursday night!  It doesn’t dehydrate well so that’s that, the huge ruby chard behind it though will do well right though a moderate freeze.

Last up the winter fava beans are well established and should handle a north Texas winter with no problems.

It is always a bit sad when you loose all your warm weather veggies to the first freeze of the year but I have tons of winter lettuce, spinach, cress, kale etc just waiting for a open spot.   So there will be plenty of salads all the way up till we move some time about Feb. 1st.  I really do hope the new owners of this place realize how incredible the soil we have built is.  Next year we will be working with 5 acres, I can’t imagine what that harvest will be like.

Anyway it seems kind of fitting that our final big harvest comes right around Thanksgiving this year.  We have a lot to be thankful for.  The thing I have been most thankful for though this year is all of you who have listened to, shared and supported The Podcast.  May your holiday be bountiful and may you have much to offer thanks for.

Oh and hey if you decide to do some holiday shopping check out some of the cool survival stuff on Amazon. Have a great Thanksgiving folks!  I will be mostly unavailable until Monday morning,

~ Jack Spirko

Episode-558- A Survivalists View of Thanksgiving

Today one day before the great American Holiday we stop and pause to think about what we have to be thankful for.  The beginning of today’s show is new, most of it is  rebroadcast of last years show.  Remember for Thanksgiving I am running a special on the members brigade, sign up between now and midnight Sunday and get your first year for only 35 bucks.

Tune in today to hear…

  • I have found our group of soldiers to sponsor for Christmas this year
  • Why much of what we learn about Thanksgiving is wrong or at least inaccurate
  • How Thanksgiving was at one time considered a “damn yankee holiday”
  • How Thanksgiving became a way for our nation to heal and reunite
  • How the date of Thanksgiving has often been moved around and why
  • The truth about those big buckles the pilgrims wore and all that black clothing
  • What feasting meant 100 years ago to our prior generation that we have forgotten

Resources for today’s show…

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show.  Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK and you might hear yourself on the air.

Photo Credit Above to Vicki’s Nature

Thank You Sen. John Tester for your Amendment to S-510

Due to my strong stance as a constitutionalist and libertarian the uninformed often call me a “right winger” which if you listen to the show is simply nuts.   Unfortunately I don’t get to give many politicians a pat on the back be they Democrats or Republicans.  Today though I get to thank a Democrat from Montana for his work with the turd of a bill known as S-510.

I just posted a long rant on S-510 blasting both side of the debate.  The opposition for the hype and out right lies and the proponents for legislation that could put small producers out of business.   One thing I pointed out that could be done is a small producer amendment that would exempt family producers and small farms.  Turns out there is such an amendment and it does seem to be sticking to the bill as it moves through the senate.

The amendment proposed by Sen. John Tester of Montana.  This amendment will exempt producers who produce less then 500,000 dollars in annual revenue (across a three year average) and expand the definition of direct sales.  While I still do not like this bill and don’t want it passed this amendment is based on good old common sense!  Make sure you tell your senators to support this amendment if the bill itself can’t be stopped.  I want to personally thank Mr. Tester for his efforts here.  I am sure I will find many reasons to disagree with him down the road but for now, job well done sir.

The following video is Mr. Tester explaining his amendment.  You can also read his amendment in full and a summary of it at his website.  I am personally going to call Mr. Tester’s office and say that even though I am from Texas I want to thank him for the introduction of this amendment.

Senate Bill 510 Now On the Floor of the Senate

One of the most alarming bills to the TSP community this year has been Senate Bill 510 also known as “The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act” .  I have talked about it on the air a few times.  Unfortunately this bill is rife with rumors that state nonsense such as…

  • Once this bill passes you won’t be able to give a tomato from your garden to your neighbor
  • This bill makes it illegal for you to save seeds from your backyard garden
  • Effectively this bill outlaws your ability to can your own vegetables

These statements are totally moronic and anyone claiming them as fact has either not actually read the bill, knows they are lying or isn’t capable of reading the language the bill is written in.   I have read this bill, every word of it and I can tall you for a fact this bill has NOTHING to do with your backyard garden, not one damn thing.

Personally I am opposed to this bill for a variety of reasons.  Chief among them is that the amount of expense and paperwork this new legislation will require may very will put thousands of small farms and food production companies out of business.  I also feel it is unconstitutional because it regulates in-state commerce; but it will be up to individual states to argue that if it passes.  The problem with the hype among opposition is it makes us look foolish and easy to marginalize.

Proponents of this bill claim it will make our food safer, the issue though is almost no one is ever made ill by food from small producers.  The dangers in our system come from giant companies who source food from hundreds of sources and use massive processing facilities.   If this bill only applied to large companies I would honestly not be as viciously opposed to it as I currently am.  They are the ones that have brought us chicken with salmonella, poisoned peanut butter, toxic dog food and hepatitis ridden green onions and jalapenos.

When I look at the past 5 years I can find dozens of instances of food contamination by this giant companies and it is no small wonder why.  Look how they farm chickens, process foods and ship livestock and it is honestly a wonder that more of us don’t become ill more often.  Yet I can’t find even ONE report of a person sick from food bought at a Farmer’s Market, from a CSA or a road side stand, not a single one.

What you really need to understand about S-510 is what it does, not the lies about what it means for your pepper patch.  The reality is most of the power in this bill is already law and already exists.  Currently it is exists in multiple departments and this consolidates that power.  Of course we are lied to about how this will “improve efficiency and cut waste“.  I would actually like to see a law that made it illegal for politicians to use that phrase with out independent third party verification in advance!  The key is though while I am opposed to many of these policies and powers they do in fact already exist.

The chief new rules in this bill and the ones that will crush small growers though revolve around tracking.  Under the new system if you eat a single bean and get sick the government should be able to instantly track that bean back to where it came from.  More importantly they will be able  find all other beans from that source instantly and get them out of the system.  Honestly that doesn’t sound like a bad idea given how many times our food has been infected by mega corps over the past few years.

So how does it hurt small growers?  It adds massive labor, paperwork and expense to people who generally struggle to get by as it is.  More to the point it treats the guy with 4 acres that sells direct to the public with the same regulation as the grower with 10,000 acres who sells to 50 different wholesale distributors.

Large scale producers can easily adapt to this type of regulation because they have the infrastructure to do so.  Of course Monsanto, Conagra, Tyson and many other big companies fully support it even though it will raise their costs.  Why?  The costs are easy to absorb with economy of scale and most of them are already doing this type of tracking for marketing and logistics purposes.  All they now do is provide the information to the government.  The same government they lobby for every goody they desire while their competition is crushed by new regulations and red tape.

The small grower though who sells direct or via a one step distribution system (like  coop or Farmer’s Market) though can’t easily adapt.  They are already squeezed by big agriculture six ways from Sunday and now they have to add tracking and paperwork to track an ear of corn they sell to you or me.  Now let’s forget that after my exhaustive search I can’t find ONE SINGE CASE where a person has been made ill in this type of transaction.  The key is this bill doesn’t make food safer anyway, it is about tracking food after someone gets sick.

Well if  buy tomatoes from Farmer Joe and get sick, do we need rfid chips and a mountain of paper work to track the tomatoes to the farm five miles down the road?  Of course not!  Only a complete idiot would ague that in such a flat and small distribution system needs the same regulation as a multi-billion dollar global conglomerate.

Look there is a lot of hype about S-510 but the reason to object to it is simple.  It puts undue burden and expense on small farms and small producers.  Including many who conduct in-state commerce only.  Look I don’t tell you what to think politically, but if you are opposed to this bill my suggestions are as follows.

  1. Call your Senators and tell them you oppose S-510 because it puts undue burden and expense on small farms and small producers.
  2. Ask your Senators their position and voice opposition if they support it, voice thanks if they oppose it
  3. Tell them the Federal Government has no business regulating in-state commerce.  Tell them if they try it you will be calling your states Attorney General and asking them to sue in opposition of it.  And that you will be asking your state’s legislature to oppose it with state regulations as well.
  4. If they oppose it ask them to consider drafting or sponsoring a small producers exemption amendment.   Tell them if they can’t succeed in preventing passage this is the next best thing and there is no reason why this can’t be done or at least attempted.

I should note that there are currently 17 amendments proposed, I don’t know if any are for small farm exemptions.  They are listed on Gov Track but no info is available.   Based on the names of those who have proposed them, (such as the turn coat Arlan Spector who seems to want to do damage on the way out), I don’t have much hope for that.  You can read the bill and follow it on Gov Track here.

On a side note, I did call my Senators and here were the results…

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson – I was put on hold twice while the staff tried to get me her position which I could not find online in any public statement.  (Par for the course for Kay)  I also had to tell them what S-510 was because they didn’t know.  In the end they said she had not made a public statement as to her final position (again this woman never seems to have a position during a process) but that she had voted no on cloture.

I was at least encouraged by that.   I did tell the staffer I opposed the bill and asked them to suggest a small producer amendment as a last resort to mitigate the damage.  I also asked that they make the Senator’s position known in public, I won’t hold my breath on that.

Senator John Cornyn – His office was much more on the ball.  They knew he was opposed and that he voted no on cloture.  I made a request that he publicly state his opposition and was told he had released a press release about it.  I can’t find this Press Release, it is not on Google News, it is not on his website, well, unless it is buried as a byline in an unrelated release.

At least in this case the Senator has a postion and his staff was informed.  If you can find this press release or any public statement by Mr. Cornyn opposing S-510 please let me know about it.