Friday, December 30, 2011

Book Review: The Ultimate Suburban Survivalist Guide

I just finished reading The Ultimate Suburban Survivalist Guide: The Smartest Money Moves to Prepare for Any Crisis by Sean Brodrick. Contrary to what the title suggests, this book does not focus solely on money and investing. Brodrick spends a great deal of time discussing all the facets of prepping, including stocking up, bug-out-bags, medical preparation, and home security, to name a few. 

The thing I liked most about this book was all the resources the author identified. He gives websites for almost every topic he covers, albeit frequently in tinyurl form (I prefer to just have the actual website). There is also a section entitled “Building a Survival Library” that includes six pages of recommended book titles, with a short synopsis of what each book covers.

Outside of the investing information (which is the field in which Brodrick works), most of the survivalist stuff could be classified as good knowledge for beginners. However, I did find a few good suggestions or different approach angles that I hadn’t considered before. Being a gardener, I especially enjoyed the list of common medicinal herbs and how to use them, as well as another list I’ve never seen before: 23 Home Remedies from the Spice Rack.  And the chapter on home security provided some useful information and new-to-me ideas about making it less easy for intruders to gain access to your house, how to choose a security system that’s right for you, and clever ways to hide valuables in your home, plus quite a few other topics. It was probably my favorite chapter, though I felt the author could have expounded more on gun ownership; but then, that’s a highly opinionated topic anyway.

Overall, the book was good. I borrowed it from the library, and I’m glad I read it. I will take some notes from it, but I don’t intend to buy it. It didn’t have enough information that I didn’t already know to justify the $27.95 price tag.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A New Dehydrator and DIY Dog Treats

With a job that takes up 50 or more hours of my week, I sometimes have difficulty finding time to blog. Add in the holidays, and the blog (and blog reading) have to take a back seat.

We have been "blowin' and goin'" around here as of late. Seems like there is always just one more chore to do, or one more errand to run, or one more function to attend. I'm ready for January and the slow-down that winter brings, although I wouldn't mind a bit if we didn't see any snow--but I think there's already some in the forecast.

So I bought a dehydrator. Haha, it wasn't that long ago that I sold a dehydrator on craigslist, because I didn't think I'd ever use it and I didn't want it taking up space in the kitchen. But that was before we started seriously getting in to prepping. Well, I'm still glad I sold it because I was able to buy a new, more modern unit. I've been eying the Excalibur dehydrators, but I just couldn't talk myself into spending that much money.

Then one day I was in Academy (an outdoor store) and came across this dehydrator. It has the things that I liked about the Excalibur: adjustable thermostat, and fan at the back instead of on the bottom. I tried to find some reviews online and could find only one, which was a 5-star review, but I was hoping for more than one review. So I continued to think about it, and in the meantime the dehydrator went on sale. I decided that for $79.99, it was worth a try.

Turns out that GameWinner™ is the Academy store brand. I talked to a sales associate about it before I bought it. He said that Academy has been actively soliciting more reputable companies to make their store brands for them, and he thought the GameWinner™ series had a good rep. He also said I could return it within 30 days if it sucked. :)

On first glance, I like it. It feels solid. The trays are not too wimpy. The thermostat goes up to about 165 degrees, which should be sufficient for most, if not all, the things I want to dehydrate.  It is a little loud when it’s running, but not unbearably loud. I thought it might get on the hubster’s nerves after a while, so since the dog treats I was making needed to dehydrate for 18-20 hours, I went ahead and put the unit in an empty room and closed the door.  

On to the dog treats! There are a lot of furbabies in my extended family, so I thought I would make some Christmas treats for them. I found this recipe on Bacon and Eggs. She had three recipes listed, and I decided to try the ground beef one. My protector wanted to “help.”

I picked up some 96% lean ground beef, since leaner cuts of meat dehydrate better, and the finished product stays good longer. 

I then rolled out the meat, a half-pound at a time, til it was about a quarter-inch thick. I don’t own a rolling pin, so I used a glass.  I rolled the first batch out directly on my cutting mat, but after trying to pick it up and lay it on some parchment paper, I got smart and rolled the rest out directly on the paper (on the mat). I then transferred the meat and parchment paper onto a dehydrator tray. I did all six trays. 

Per the user manual, I turned the dehydrator on and let it warm up for a few minutes before inserting the trays. Once I put the trays in, I made note of the time: 10 a.m. I then doublechecked the recipe, and it’s a good thing I did, because I thought I remembered that the meat needed to dehydrate for twelve hours. But when I read it again, I saw it was actually 18-20 hours. 

Like I said, I moved the dehydrator to an empty room, and I checked on it every hour or so until I went to bed, just to make sure no problems had occurred (i.e., my house wasn’t on fire). Other than that, I left it alone until about 5:45 the next morning, when I checked to see if the meat would break when I tried to bend it. It did, so I turned off the dehydrator while I got ready for work. Then I brought it back into the kitchen and took each tray out, one at a time. The pieces were a little greasier than I expected. It wasn't until later that I looked at the comments on the blog post where I got the recipe, and saw a suggestion to put paper towels under the meat after it had been dehydrating for a while, in order to soak up some of the grease. I'll have to remember that for next time.

I broke each large piece up into bite-size pieces. My dog sampled a few and enthusiastically approved. I might stop at the dollar store and see if I can find some cheap, cute, airtight containers to pretty them up with. Hopefully all the canines will be happy! And in case you're wondering, I haven't forgotten about the cats (and there are plenty of those in our family, too). I've got a goody planned for them also, but it doesn't involve the dehydrator.

So far, I love the dehydrator. Next up is celery, as I still have a few plants growing in the garden and I’ll have to harvest them soon. 

I probably won’t be around much more until after the holidays. I’ve got a couple things in mind to blog about then. Also, I got a new camera, and need to learn how to use it, so I might start participating in some of the photography round robins. 

I wish you all a great Christmas!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holidays, Unwell Grandma, and the Leader of the Free World

It’s that busy time of year again. I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving. As we get into the full swing of Christmas season and all that it entails, I will probably be posting even less frequently than normal. 

I took a last-minute 7-hour drive this past weekend to help out my grandparents. My grandma had a seizure or stroke—they don’t know which—and as a result her left leg and foot are not working like they should and she can’t get around much. I just hung out for the weekend and did some cleaning and cooking. Their oldest son lives a little closer to them and he’s around to help out a lot as well. Hopefully my grandma will be up and around again before too long. 

We talked a lot about prepping while I was there. My Papa was the first person to tell me I should start stocking up on stuff. I checked out their pantry and they’ve got a lot of food stored: lots of store-bought cans and lots of stuff my grandma canned up as well. They just had their beans and rice in plastic containers and such, so I told my Papa about mylar bags. He hadn’t heard of them before (they don’t have internet). So I guess I know one thing I’ll be getting him for Christmas. They’ve got a deep well and a pond full of catfish, with a large lake within walking distance. There’s lots of deer and turkey as well as bears where they live. They have a fat dog that my Papa “jokes” would make a good meal if it came to that. 

Looks like we might be hosting my brother for Christmas. My mom wants him to come, but we have a spare bedroom and she doesn’t, so he’ll stay with us. I’m looking forward to seeing him but it’s always stressful to have someone come in and break up our routine. Add to that, that we might be hosting the Christmas get-together for both sides of the hubster’s family, and you won’t begrudge me when I say I’ll be glad when the holidays are done. 

Thirty-five days until the first presidential primary in Iowa on January 3rd. Currently it looks like Romney and Gingrich are the front-runners for the Republican nomination. After what the press has done to Cain, I don’t see him recovering. I’m not defending Cain, but I think that of all the possible candidates, before all the sexual allegations surfaced, Cain had the most likely chance of beating Obama at the polls. Romney might be able to pull it off, but I doubt Gingrich can: his abrupt style rubs too many people the wrong way. If the GOP puts up Gingrich for its nominee, then what that says to me is that they don’t want to have a Republican president in office when the S hits the F. And if Obama is re-elected, he’s got nothing left to lose: he can’t be elected for a third term, so he’ll start pushing his real agenda more heavily without worrying about what it does to his voter appeal. Scary stuff. 

In my office, people generally give out a small present to everyone before Christmas, like a nice piece of candy, or a coffee mug, etc. I am trying to think of some inexpensive, prepping-related thing I could give out to about 23 people, that wouldn’t give away the fact that we’re stocking up. I thought of a pre-1965 dime, but I’m not sure I like that idea. Anything come to mind?

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Winning Day in the HLF Household

Count today as one of the best Mondays in recent history for yours truly. Jill over at The Prairie Homestead recently celebrated her one-year blogoversary with a week of giveaways, and I found out this morning that I won two dozen Tattler Reusable Canning Lids. This is perfect for me since I'm just getting into canning, so I'm excited to try them out.

A few weeks ago I entered a contest to come up with a slogan for the new Magnum Work Pro Ultra WPi CT composite safety toe boots and I won! You can see my winning slogan here. I won a pair of the boots, which I will put to good use with my job.

This is just another example of how cool the blogosphere is. My blog is centered on emergency preparedness as well as (or you could say, particularly) gardening, but I subscribe to a number of blogs about other topics that interest me, such as photography. It was TexWisGirl at The Run*A*Round Ranch Report who blogged about the contest, which turned me on to Brian's photography at HeyBJK Outdoors. I'm so thankful for the opportunity I have to get to know and learn from others with similar interests that the blogosphere provides.

I've won two preparedness-related books, a Sport Berkey water bottle, and now this giveaway and contest. All the things I've won are items I either couldn't or wouldn't have bought for myself. Soon I will have to host a giveaway myself to pay it forward.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Target Practice

The hubster and I (along with my mom, brother-in-law and sister-in-law) were invited to do some shooting on the private property of a friend of a friend this past Saturday. A few other people who I didn't know were invited as well, so there was about ten of us altogether.

We had been to this property once before for some target practice. The man whose property it is, is a gun instructor. He teaches concealed carry as well as some other classes. He has about 20 acres, which he says backs up to someone else's 1200 acres, none of which is developed. He has set up the target area in a cleared back corner of his property. A few yards into the woods behind the clearing is a small cliff, which is convenient for stopping any bullets that make it that far.

He went over a few basic safety instructions with us, and then we got to shooting. There were a lot of different guns. I shot about five of them. One that was new to me was a 20-gauge, double barrel shotgun. I have shot a 20-gauge single barrel a few years ago, but it was my first time shooting a double-barrel shotgun. It was fun, I guess. I only knicked one clay pigeon, and I still have a bruise from the gun's kick. 

I also shot our .357. I like that gun, though I seem to be in the minority for it. Most of the men I've talked to prefer a gun that can hold more rounds. My mom and my SIL both don't like it, I guess because it's so loud and it has a big kick. The noise is a good thing in my opinion--it'll scare any criminals when I fire it, whether I actually hit them or not. And like I said in a previous post, I like that it's ready to shoot--no cocking and no checking to make sure the safety is off. Just aim and fire.   

After the .357 I shot a Glock 22 (.40 calibur). This one is the hubster's favorite. I liked it okay, but I feel more comfortable with the .357. 

My target (large middle) after firing the .357 and the Glock, at about 25 feet.
I also shot a .22 Browning Buckmark that belongs to our friend. I shot this gun the last time we came for target practice at this property. It's easy to shoot and doesn't have any kick to speak of. It's fun. I was probably most accurate with this gun. Unfortunately I wouldn't want this gun for home protection because it might not be powerful enough to stop a zombie's approach.

My target after firing the .22 Browning, 25 feet.
The last gun I shot was a .22 rifle. This was my first time shooting this gun and only the second time I've ever shot a gun with a scope. I shot it while sitting on the ground and leaning on a small table. The target kept dancing around. I always hear people say stuff about timing your breathing, but I haven't learned how to do that yet. I tried just holding my breath but that didn't make the target stop dancing. 

My target after firing the .22 rifle with scope, at about 50 yards.
All in all it was a good experience. Each time I handle our guns, I get a little more comfortable with them and I remember the nuances a little better. There was mention of another target practice in February or March, maybe with a car for shooting up. Hopefully we will be invited.

On Sunday the hubster and I spent a few hours cleaning guns. I would have taken pictures but I was too busy learning. Maybe next time. 

And now for your viewing pleasure...

One of the guys had an AR-15 that he bought a bump stock for. If you don't know what that is, don't ask me to explain it because I didn't pay that much attention to how it works. What I think I understand is that after you pull the trigger the first time, the momentum causes you to keep passively pulling the trigger (until you remove your finger), thereby skirting the "only one shot per trigger pull" legality and essentially rapid-firing like an automatic weapon. What surprised everyone about it was how smoothly it worked. This is the property owner, firing it for the first time.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The End of the Garden, Oklahoma Earthquakes, Muslims, the GOP Candidate Debate, Surviving the Balkan Wars, and Veterans Day

Well I haven't posted much lately because I haven't had much to say. Even though I like to blog and enjoy having a place to talk about what's on my mind, I'm actually not the most chatty of persons. Not to mention, even though I've been busy, it's just been the normal day-to-day stuff. Ho-hum.

We had our first freeze of the season last week, and most of my garden is now finished. I have a few lettuce plants, some chard, strawberries, and broccoli/cauliflower/cabbage (not sure what they are--they probably won't amount to much) still hanging on. I picked up a square bale of straw and will mulch the beds over before winter sets in in earnest.

This year was probably not the ideal year to teach myself how to maintain a real garden. Because it was so abnormally hot all summer, I didn't get to see how the plants will normally react. I planted several varieties of tomatoes this year, so I could pick the ones I liked best, but I only got ripe tomatoes off of a few of them.

I did learn a lot, though. I know way more about garden pests than I did a few short months ago, and I even have an idea how to control some of them. I've decided for the last time (something I say every year I plant veggies) that I will not plant any more squash; the plants are too big and I rarely have good production, or else they get diseases. I've kept a notebook of things I think I did well and things to not do again, like don't plant peas and green beans next to cucumbers, because the cucumber leaves will crowd out and shade out the pea and bean plants--not to mention hog the fence. And DO plant sunflowers: they're like huge yellow beacons to the pollinators.

If you haven't heard already, Oklahoma had some large (for us) earthquakes this weekend. I think the largest was a 5.6 on the Richter scale, which breaks the Oklahoma record.  I slept through the first one on Friday night (really early Saturday morning), but was awake for the ones on Saturday and Sunday night--my first earthquakes! The house rattled a little and a lampshade shook. The cat got a little spooked but the dog didn't seem to notice. And that was it. Those three were the only ones that were felt where I live (about an hour's drive from the epicenters), but they say we’ve had 30 more earthquakes that registered a 3.0 or higher in just the last few days. There is much talk in the MSM about fracking being the cause of the earthquakes, but I'm not jumping on that bandwagon yet. There are arguments for and against it. Personally, I haven’t made up my mind.

I was going to write about how disgusted I am about the new All-American Muslim television show that’s starting soon on TLC, but Duke beat me to it. Could they be any more blatant about trying to brainwash us? How unpatriotic. TLC should be ashamed of themselves. 

The hubster and I watched the Republican presidential candidates’ debate last night. The election is only a year away so we figured we’d better start looking at our options. I ruled out a few and made a mental note to keep a closer eye on several more. At this point, I’m not without hope for a new president worth his salt. 

I read this post on Tactical Intelligence yesterday and consequently bookmarked Selco’s blog. If you’re a fan of FerFAL’s, you might check it out. Selco is from Bosnia and weathered the Balkan wars in a town surrounded by the enemy, without water, electricity, fuel or commerce for a year. I’m expecting lots of sage advice from his blog. Interestingly, he differs from FerFAL in that he says living with a small group of close friends or relatives away from the city is better than living in an urban setting. FerFAL was more of the opinion that living in an urban setting is safer than living out in the sticks where no one would be around to help you if trouble came calling, and also better than trying to live in one house or small commune with only a few other people, because you’d never agree on how to run things, you’d get on each other’s nerves, and chaos would ensue. Their situations are a little different from each other, but there’s plenty to learn from both of them. 

Tomorrow is VeteransDay. My heartfelt thank you to all who have served and are serving. Thank you for your sacrifices.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Question for Gardeners

We have had two frosts so far this year and are having a third frost tonight. So far I have covered my plants and they've been fine. That is the plan for tonight as well (for most plants: I went ahead and harvested most of the greens).

But tomorrow night they are forecasting our first freeze. I have plants covered with green tomatoes, poblanos and jalapenos. Will they stand up to a freeze if I just cover them with sheets? Or should I go ahead and harvest everything? I would rather wait if the tomatoes have a chance of ripening, but then again, I'd rather have green tomatoes than no tomatoes. I could make a green tomato relish or some chow chow, which the hubster is fond of.

What are your thoughts?

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Road Home - A Book Giveaway

Rudy over at Preparing Your Family is hosting a giveaway of a signed copy of the new book, The Road Home by Andrew Baze. It sounds like an interesting read. Head over and sign up for the giveaway, and if you've never browsed Rudy's site, be sure to spend some time looking around. Preparing Your Family was one of the first preparedness blogs I came across and it's packed with good information.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Canning Tomatoes

So I tried my hand at canning this weekend. My mom got me a water bath canner and some canning jars for my last birthday, and she came over yesterday to help me can some tomatoes.

I did some research online about various tomato-based recipes such as salsa and spaghetti sauce, but in the end I decided to stick with the basics: tomato sauce and whole (skinned) tomatoes. This way, I can add spices or other ingredients at the time of cooking, which makes the canned tomatoes and sauce more versatile. Also, the addition of different ingredients can change the canning process, because the acidity of the food changes. So while I'm able to can tomatoes with a water bath canner, I'd have to be careful about adding peppers, onions and spices for a salsa, because if the acidity changes too much then I'd need to use a pressure canner.

The resource I used the most was the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning. This online guide covers everything a beginning canner needs to know for putting up fruits, veggies, meats, pickled products, jams and jellies. There is a whole chapter devoted to tomatoes and tomato products, including some salsa and spaghetti recipes that are acceptable for water bath canning, but I still decided to stick with basic tomatoes for my first attempt.

This is a little over half of the tomatoes I started with.
I had hoped to be able to can some tomatoes from my own garden this year, even if it were just a couple of quarts. But the heat wave stunted production and I'm only now seeing a lot of tomatoes on the vines (and worrying that they won't begin to ripen before the cold sets in). So I had to buy tomatoes. The guide I mentioned gives an approximate weight of tomatoes needed for 7 quarts (a canner load) of tomato sauce and 7 quarts of whole tomatoes, so I made my tomato purchase based on those weights. I planned to put up 5 quarts of tomato sauce and 7 quarts of whole tomatoes (I only had 12 quart jars on hand), so I bought 45 pounds of tomatoes.

First, all the tomatoes had to be washed. I used a small amount of dish detergent in water when washing them, to remove any pesticides. I then rinsed them especially well to remove any residue from the detergent.

Next, the tomatoes were placed in a pot of almost-boiling water for about a minute, until the skins began to split.

We then took them out of the hot water and put them immediately into cold tap water. This makes the tomatoes easy to peel.

When making the tomato sauce, the directions in the guide book said to cook the tomatoes in a pot while mashing them. We tried this at first, but it was unnecessarily labor-intensive. So we began putting the tomatoes in the blender, and then transferring them to the pot for heating.

At the same time, we had another pot on the stove with boiling water in it. Once the tomatoes were ready, we would place a canning jar in the boiling water to heat for a few minutes, then remove it, add two tablespoons of lemon juice (for added acidity), and then fill the jar with tomatoes, leaving a quarter-inch of headspace as the guide directed.

The lids and rings were also soaking in warm (not boiling) water, to warm up the seals on the lids which helps them seal better. Once a jar was filled, we used a bubble remover to release any trapped air, then wiped off the rim and threads of the jar, placed the lid squarely on top, and then finger-tightened the ring over the lid.

The whole tomatoes were handled similarly, just omitting the blender step, and leaving a half-inch of headspace as directed by the guide. 

This is similar to what we used.
I have a ceramic-top stove which, for reasons discussed here, is not acceptable to use for canning. So we used a propane burner outdoors instead. The burner we have is part of a set sold for deep-frying turkeys. (We've never actually used it for that, but it's great for crab boils!) This thing burns like a jet engine, and heated the water in the canner to boiling in minutes. The only disadvantage is that it has a built-in safety feature--a timer that will turn the unit off after 20 minutes. We handled this by keeping a separate timer set for 18 minutes (just in case the timer on the burner wasn't accurate), and reset the burner's timer whenever our timer went off.

Tomato sauce cooling.
The tomatoes I bought filled more jars than the guide said they would. I wound up filling 7 quarts with tomato sauce. These were processed in the canner for 45 minutes. The whole tomatoes processed for 90 minutes. I don't know why the difference in processing times is so large; seems like they would be closer, since it's the exact same food, except one is blended and the other isn't. The whole tomatoes which were supposed to fill only 7 quarts, wound up filling the 5 quarts I had left plus 9 more pints! I double-checked my numbers against the guide, and I did what it said. For whatever reason, I wound up with a lot more jars than the guide said I would. I'm glad I had the pint jars on hand.

Once all the jars were finished, it was difficult to tell the difference between the whole tomatoes and the tomato sauce by just looking at them. So after they cooled down, I dated them and wrote on the lids what the contents were. Then before storing them, I removed the rings so I would have them for the next canning session.

Overall it was a good experience. I'm glad my mom was there to help me, because she's done it before. I got a little stressy a couple of times, but mostly I enjoyed the process. It took us most of the day to put up 12 quarts and 9 pints, but almost 4 hours was spent waiting for stuff to process in the canner. Maybe someone with more experience could do it more quickly, but I'm still proud of us.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Book Review: Nineteen Eighty-Four

Nineteen Eighty-Four is one of those classics that’s been on my reading list for a while. I finally read it, and currently the book is about two weeks overdue at the library because I’m only now finding time to write my review. C’est la vie

In Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell tells the story of Winston Smith, a sheeple in a futuristic totalitarian society. The government in this society is known simply as “The Party,” whose moniker is Big Brother, and posters bearing a stern, mustached face with the words “Big Brother is watching you” are omnipresent. Winston, at first by himself and later with Julia, a second protagonist, attempt to join a resistance movement rumored to exist. I will refrain from describing how events unfold in case you haven’t yet read it for yourself. 

The Party has gained such control over its subjects that they are afraid of their thoughts being found out: indeed, there is an entity called the Thought Police, whose job it is to persecute those who have disagreeable feelings about The Party. 

So in control is The Party that they have a whole government division dedicated to rewriting history to conform to the present as they wish it to be. It is no problem for The Party to change the outcome of a war or write an individual right out of history, as if they never existed. Winston is employed in this “ministry,” as it is called, and spends his days “bringing up to date” past newspaper articles as instructed by unseen supervisors.

Edmond O'Brien as Winston Smith in the movie.
The Party’s goal appears to be total and complete domination of its subjects, including mental control. Personal relationships among citizens are discouraged; marriages must be approved by The Party and are only necessary to propagate children so that The Party may continue to have subjects. Children are schooled in a way that brings to mind the Nazi Youth, and are encouraged to tattle on their parents (or anyone else) whom they observe saying or doing anything anti-Party.

Love is not acceptable, except when one expresses love for The Party. Accordingly, hate is encouraged toward the enemies of The Party. Something called “Two Minutes Hate” is employed, whereby all citizens are to stop what they are doing and come together near a “telescreen,” where they are subjected to images of the enemy and other disturbing phenomena, and are expected to work themselves into a frenzy of anger and hatred for two minutes. 

A slogan of The Party.
Most disturbing to me (because it seems totally plausible) was the plan to dumb down the language. A new language called newspeak is gradually being implemented. This impoverished language reduces ideas to simple contrasts, minimizing the ability to express complicated thoughts or feelings. Negative words are eliminated under the guise of being “redundant.” Thus, “bad” becomes “ungood,” etc. Similarly, superlative words are erased and replaced with prefixes or suffixes attached to root words, so that “great” becomes “plusgood,” and “excellent” becomes “doubleplusgood.” Words and ideas are abbreviated into simplified one- or two-syllable new words, such as “upsub” (to get approval from a superior) and “oldspeak” (standard English). By limiting the number of words available, and keeping the available words as simple as possible, the ability and desire to express thoughts or ideas other than what is spoonfed to the sheeple by The Party would depreciate with each new generation. The ultimate goal of newspeak appears to be to reduce all thoughts to an assenting of some sort, training the citizens into obedience.  

Scary stuff. 

About his own work, Orwell says, “I do not believe that the kind of society I describe necessarily WILL arrive, but I believe…that something resembling it COULD arrive. I believe also that totalitarian ideas have taken root in the minds of intellectuals everywhere.”

Nineteen Eighty-Four was written during the Cold War, when anti-communism was at its height. But even if communism was Orwell’s muse, so to speak, the concepts depicted can be applied to much of what is commonplace in today’s societies. For example, excessive power has been handed to governments and to the main stream media, and both entities are using said power to attempt to control the masses to their benefit. Nineteen Eighty-Four should serve as a warning to us all about the ability of power to corrupt, and how impossible it can be to take back that power once corruption has gained control.  

Thursday, October 13, 2011