The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods:

SurvivalBlog presents another edition of The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods— a collection of news bits and pieces that are relevant to the modern survivalist and prepper from “HJL”. If you haven’t built a tape measure antenna before, you need to read this article today. It’s a great way to retire those old tape measures.

Jobs and Drugs

Reader H.L. sent in this article on how thousands of jobs in Ohio are going unfilled because potential employees can’t pass a drug test. While the manufacturing industry is expanding right now, the growth is stunted due to lack of a qualified work force (or perhaps lack of a sober workforce). H.L. adds:

“It is not just Ohio. Here in Connecticut, our long time electrician cannot find an apprentice. Either they do not want to learn/work and/or they cannot pass a drug test! Across much of America parents think their children need to go to four year college to learn a “white collar” skill. They often come out with a useless degree and lots of debt. The electricians, plumbers, and various “trades” pay really well and there is always work. Parents would be wise to expose both boys and girls at a young age to mechanical toys, etc. and see if they have interest in working with their minds and their hands. Add exposure to robotics and IT and their young adult might just be able to make a good living.”

Tape Measure Antenna

Reader P.S. reported that at his Ham Radio meeting over the weekend, his club made these $20 antennas out of PVC and sections of a metal tape measure. He was testing it from home and was impressed at how well it worked, even with his cheapest hand-held radio. He plans to make a few more just in case of an emergency. There is also a video.

Baseball Bats and Nail Guns

With the recent article and discussion on gun control on SurvivalBlog in mind, reader DSV sent in this article on how Australian citizens are arming themselves to protect those they love. They are forming citizen militias, but since they can’t arm themselves with firearms, they are using baseball bats, nail guns, paint-ball guns, brass knuckles and steel pipes. It seems a bit like Mad Max, but when you have nothing else, you use what you have. Anything is better than nothing and attitude is one of the most important aspects of self defense.

Waxing Food

Valley Food Storage (one of SurvivalBlog’s advertisers) has a blog article on how to wax food for long term storage. The article covers the selection of foods including jellies, jams and cheeses that work well with the process. Note that not all cheeses work so they will talk about which ones to use and what type of wax. If you’ve thought about using this process but don’t know anything about it, this is a good place to start.

My Worst Fear

In Missouri, a man ran into a Dollar General store to protect his family and about 30 other patrons of the store from an armed robber. He placed himself between the armed robber and the innocent bystanders in the store keeping the robber from targeting the people. When the police arrived just a few minutes later, they couldn’t see the robber, but they could see Mr Becker. Even though he followed all the orders from the police, including putting his firearm down and raising his hands in surrender, a police rifle shooter then shot him in the hip. Thankfully, he survived, though bystanders initially told his daughter that the police had shot and killed him. Thanks to reader D.S. for the tip.

Weatherproofing Electronics

Brandon Smith (of has an interesting video on posted on the Guerrilla Think Tank YouTube channel on weatherproofing some of the less expensive electronics that you might buy for only $18. It’s a simple process, but you will have to disassemble your radio and your warranty will be violated. However, if you compare the cost of this process to a fully weather hardened radio, this makes alot of sense.

Venezuela Blackouts

Caracas has entered the next phase of it’s economic collapse. A power outage hit parts of the Venezuelan capital forcing 10 subway stations to close. traffic signals and phone lines were also affected. It should be noted that infrastructure issues in the state are not uncommon now and are happening more frequently. Thanks to G.P. for the link.

o o o

Please send your news tips to HJL. (Either via e-mail of via our Contact form.) These are often especially relevant, because they come from folks who watch news that is important to them. Due to their diligence and focus, we benefit from fresh “on target” news. We often “get the scoop” on news that is most likely ignored (or reported late) by mainstream American news outlets. Thanks!


  1. Re: jobs and drugs: we’re having the same problem in middle Tennessee. I think the situation at this point may be nationwide. For every applicant we hire, there are at least four who can’t pass a drug test.

      1. The solution I have found is people on probation. But I am selective of those people, I also talk to their POs. Since most of them are required by law not to do drugs I find workers who are willing to put in a hard days work, they do not not do drugs (for if they do they go back to jail), and the honest ones (the ones who realized they are trying to make a better life for themselves) make great workers. I have a few who are raising families now and I do not treat them any different then if they were not criminals. But I am very selective of which ones I hire. Like for instance I will not hire someone who has two separate instant offenses, but if they have one instance offense with multiple charges that is different.

  2. I work for a small family owned business, it is not just drugs, many now have criminal records, and although we can’t “hold” that against the applicant, our insurance will not cover their actions if they do something illegal, then they have to interact with customers in a fairly technical manner, many do not read and write well nor do they a large enough vocabulary to do so, have tattoos, personal appearance, or clothing issues that don’t interact well with our rather conservative customer base, and some don’t “play well in the sandbox” in their interaction with other employees. These problems arise even before the question of work ethic, attendance, finishing the jobs that they are assigned or being willing to expand their knowledge base of the job on their own time. The boss is 74, I am 80, and our part timer is 91, so it looks like the problem will not be fixed in the short run at our shop.

  3. We’ve replaced being of good moral character with drug tests and FICO scores. In the former case, the cheap tests yield lots of false positives. Never eat a poppy seed bagel. Or if you are on pain medication.
    We don’t care if someone is in the ozone because of their allergy or prescription medication, and is an accident waiting to happen because they passed the test, while someone of clear mind who might have used marijuana two weekends ago fails the test.
    We’ve outsourced our judgment to machines.
    So, if Marijuana becomes legal next year, will it still be tested for?
    Personally, I’ve never used drugs and avoid even antibiotics. But I know people that do and they aren’t wild-eyed crazed maniacs. Alcohol is worse, but that is legal, and there’s also tobacco.
    How are we judging people? On the right or wrong criteria?

  4. I work as HR for a small construction company. There is truth to the “can’t pass a drug test”, but what the article doesn’t indicate what substance is causing the majority failures. Its marijuana. And its due to the test. The test only shows exposure within the last thirty days. Marijuana takes 30 days to clear your system, Meth (and most hard drugs) is clear upon cessation of use in 3 days to a week max. A meth user can clean up and pass in a couple of days and then return thier abuse. If they would stop testing for marijuana (which usage is on par with beer) there would be no drought of qualified applicants. As an employer I want sober people on the job, what they do during thier off time is none of my business unless it effects performance and safety on the job. I’ve never had a guy call off or under perform all day due to marijuana but I’ve had continuous call offs due to alcohol abuse. Society needs to come to grips with the reality of marijuana use and its prevalency. We are excluding employable candidates over the equivalent of drinking beer. Imagine drinking a beer and not being able to pass a sobriety test for 30 days.

    1. Almost all the weed smokers I’ve known start first thing in the day,
      Most beer drinkers wait until the end of the work day.
      I’ve hired and fired scores of both over the years, and would never hire a pot smoker again.
      They’re lazy, unfocused and possess no ambition, drive or enthusiasm for the job.
      Drinkers get the “Monday morning sickness” on occasion, but usually don’t work while they’re drunk.
      Smoking dope is in no way similar to drinking beer. They affect the brain in very different ways. This is scientific fact. Ask anyone who has used both in the past.

      1. I agree with Ned2. I was an honor roll student until high school when I began riding to school with my older cousins. They smoked on the way to school and initiated me into the practice. I began sleeping in class, not paying attention and just lost the drive to do well. I made my first C that year and declined even more afterwards. It also made me very paranoid and disassociated. As an adult I never wanted anything else to do with it. Everyone I knew that used pot did so on a daily basis. While I will indulge in alcohol socially, I’ve never drank on my way to work.

      2. Ned2, you are bang on. I really don’t know how cannabis has come to be seen as harmless. It is far from. Back in the day when I worked in construction, a lot of the guys would show up already stoned and would sneak puffs out of a small pipe throughout the day. Needless to say, mistakes were made and production suffered. I don’t advocate for beer mind you,it is just as bad if not worse, but in a different way. Given the choice, I’ll hire the beer drinker every time.

    2. Teetee
      “As an employer I want sober people on the job, what they do during thier off time is none of my business unless it effects performance and safety on the job”.

      So those employee’s using ICE you have no problem with in their after hours ?, as a past employer, NO drug user ( recreational or otherwise ) will be employed by me if I aware of it. So, what employee’s do in their spare time does effect my business greatly !. It is in a direct way my business. So why are you so ok about it ? [ what they do ].

  5. I can remember the kids who smoked marijuana back in the 60s. It is NOT harmless. Their short-term memory was about gone, thoughts confused, speech slow, attitude odd and driving terrible, school work sloppy. Safe? NOT.

  6. I would like to comment on HJL’s opening statement on the Boy Scouts of America, if I may. I am nearly 7o years old and was awarded the Eagle Scout in the 60’s. It was and still remains one of the proudest days of my life. Not mention some of the best times of my youth. It also breaks my heart to see what the BSA has become. It is so sad.

  7. Some here have tried to absolve pot or to make that famous comparison with alcohol. Pot is bad for you and it is bad for your employer too. You may think it is on par with alcohol but it is not. I would not trust or work with a pot smoker. I have worked with alcoholics and when they have been drinking they can be worthless to not so bad. Alcoholism is bad, make no mistake it is bad but drug use is worse. Also for whatever reason there are indeed many people who take a drink now and then who are not alcoholic and are not addicted. There are no pot users who are not addicted. They all seem to think they aren’t addicted but they need it and will do whatever it takes to get it. You as their employer is way down on their list and pot or other drugs is way up on their list. You can never trust a drug user.

  8. Re: Baseball Bats and Nail Guns: Did you ever wonder why the villagers went after Frankenstein’s monster with farm tools? It was because this was all they had!

    Today’s monsters; they have GUNS. So must we…

  9. Anyone who thinks Mary Jane is a “harmless drug” is probably smoking the stuff as well. People who smoke pot (or eat it, or whatever) are easy to spot; they’re the ones who look like adults, but act like adolescents. They’re also the ones who end every sentence with that telltale “Uh-huh-huh-huh-huh” addict laugh. I, for one, want nothing to do with one of these people in the workplace. They’re a liability; period.

  10. The difference between a drug user and alcohol user is that if you have a decent sense of smell you pretty well know if someone’s shown up to work after drinking. Not so with drugs.

    1. KB
      You are only partly correct. There is a reason why one of the slang terms for Cannabis is “Skunk” – it stinks!
      Once you get to know this smell, it is easy to spot…

  11. Part of the problem with the drug testing is that it doesn’t give any indication if the person is actually “high” or not. Most of these folks are users of cannabis. With current testing methods, use, or even the proximity to use, stays in the system for up to a month. If alcohol tests were that inaccurate no one would ever get hired. Worse still, if you happen to be in the same room or even in the same house with someone who partakes of cannabis you too might test positive even though you haven’t been a user yourself. This makes a large part of the problem the inaccuracy of the testing method rather than the reality of drug use.

    Just because you occasionally use a substance does not make you some kind of addict, anymore than weekend alcohol use makes one an alcoholic.

    I have never advocated the use of any drug, however, one of these days, reality will sink in and the insane, immoral, unjust, and unconstitutional war on those who smoke something, inject something, or snort something that is not politically correct will finally end.

      1. I once knew a guy,who knew a guy.
        Prejudice backed by extremely limited experience is poor validation. You have probably met many and don’t know it because they could surmise your prejudice.

  12. Re: My worse fear.

    So the cop shot an unarmed man. The cop will probably get a medal instead of being fired, as he should be. The shooting of Mr. Becker was gratuitous. If this is how our modern gestapo is being trained, maybe it’s time for private policing where there is some liability for really poor decision making, instead of the glorification of poor decision making by the government police as we have today

    1. Not fired,he should go to jail(general population) for attempted murder,aggrevated assault with a firearm,use of a firearm in the commission of a felony,30+counts of reckless endangerment or a ccw should of shot him as a clear danger to the public. Time for private prosecutions of police as the police,courts and judges have been proven to cover up after these criminal psychos.

  13. They say “Once a marine always a marine.” As a former Boy Scout I say “Once a boy scout always a Boy Scout.” I’m of retirement age but I still to this day use skills that I learned in the Boy Scouts back in the Sixties.

  14. The ” no fear gang ” have made quite a few grave mistakes…

    1. Shown their faces on national TV.

    2. Cross bows are ILLEGAL in the state shown.

    3. I assure you the cops will know who they are ( it is only one street after all, not that big. )

    4. The criminals also can indentify them.

    5. The press are left wing morons and idiots. ( yes WE know that, but still… )

    What type of person will put their face on prime time TV for publicity ? it look’s more like the misapplied show ” preppers “. Why give the authorities any reason to do a 2am raid on your place and cart yourself off to the big house and play ” don’t pick up the soap ” ?.

    Two things are readily apparent, Australia never had a ” give me liberty or give me death moment “, [ we acutally SHOULD have had one ] we had a Eureka stockade which fizzled out and of course the red coats won by slaughtering the Irish minors again.

    besides I am deeply suspicious of the “story “.
    I wonder if the loonie Stalinist indcoctrinated journos have ever dealt with hoodlums doing a home invasion at 3am?.

  15. One of the best things about the drug tests is that they DO get many people to stop using. Just about any accident that happens now requires a piss test, which will get you suspended until you go through counciling if positive. None of us can afford a 6 month suspension.

    Although, it was funny when all the enlisted men failed the piss test at my Guard unit the day they served poppy seed cake for lunch.

  16. I grew up in the 70’s, smoked a lot of Pot. Now I’m almost 60 yrs. old and I raised good kids, had a great career. Never had any other drug problems, never became an alcoholic.Every thing was put on this Earth for Humankind to use for their benefit, We just have to figure out how to use it.

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