Letter Re: Vulnerability of Fish to Asian Avian Flu?

Hello Jim,
We now know that cats and dogs can contract the [Asian] bird flu from ingesting contaminated/infected meat. What about fish in open ponds with infected ducks and geese contaminating the water? I have not heard anything about it, but wonder what might happen. Food for thought? – Mike in Michigan

JWR Replies: Answering that goes far beyond my expertise. Perhaps some of our readers who are doctors (preferably with an epidemiology background) would care to comment.

Letter Re: Folding Fighting/Utility Knife Recommendations?

I have read a couple of the posts regarding folding knives. As my grandmother once told me, “A man is never fully dressed without a pocket knife.” I own several different knives for several different occasions. Depending on my needs and dress, I can carry a variety of knives from the simple folder dress knife to some big mamba jamba tactical folder that would slice an elephant in half. Right now, I have a Benchmade Mel Pardue folder in my pocket and an Emerson LaGriff around my neck. Some of the other brands I own are Cold Steel, Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT), Camillus CUDA, KaBar, Schrade, SOG, Buck, Spyderco and some custom work from Dawson Knives in Colorado and Peter Atwood (www.atwoodknives.com). I don’t know if these have a place in the folder knife category, but I count my Leatherman tools as well.
As I mentioned, each knife serves its own purpose. Whenever I wear a suit, my Buck penknife goes with. My normal carry is either my Atwood Goblin or Emerson LaGriff on the neck and a Spyderco Delica or Mel Pardue in the pocket. I like to carry my CUDA whenever I work at the pistol range (too bad you can’t find them around anymore).
I say all that to say this, I have never been more satisfied with a general pocket folder such as the SPYDERCO brand of knives. I have owned several through the years and currently have about five scattered throughout the house (I’ve never been able to keep knives in one place!). The Endura and Delica models are the most popular, and they have the half-n-half blade, straight edge and full serration available. Most models are all ambidextrous clip and they have a big thumbhole on the blade for easy opening. That hole makes opening a snap with gloves on in cold weather. The handles are mostly high quality plastic, but there are custom handles of stainless steel and even zytel and Micarta. The handles are ergonomic and fit the hand very well. Spyderco is very popular with Military, Law Enforcement, and Fire/Rescue personnel. They hold an edge and take wear and tear very well.
I also recently discovered Peter Atwood’s creations in a gun magazine some time back. Back where they feature new products were a couple of his handmade gadgets. I could not find anything comparable to the tools he made so I bought a few. Needless to say, I am impressed with his craftsmanship, attention to detail, and his friendly personality and warm customer service. He makes a really nifty pocket tool called a PryBaby. It is a sort of Jack-of-all-Trades nail pulling, pry-tool, flathead screwdriver, bottle opener, ear cleaner, whatever all rolled into one. He has other tools in the catalog, too. My other personal favorite is the Bug Out Bar and the Goblin Neck Knife. The B-O-B is a bigger pry tool used for bigger tasks. I recommend checking his web site and drooling over the neat products he carries. These may or may not be the products for you, but if you’re a gadget geek like me, then you will want one, too. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to dig through the seat cushions for a missing knife. Peace, – Matt C.

Odds ‘n Sods:

Today is the U.S. National Day of Prayer.

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There have already been some bids in the auction that just started yesterday for last remaining autographed copy of my novel “Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse” from the inventory at Survival Enterprises. The proceeds of the auction will benefit the SurvivalBlog bandwidth fund. The high bid is currently $50. Please e-mail your bids before May 30th. Thanks to Kurt and Angie Wilson of Survival Enterprises for sponsoring this fund raiser!

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The silver market remains very volatile. Yesterday, there was a huge $1.20 per ounce mid-day swing in spot silver in New York trading.

I think that silver anywhere below $16 per ounce is still a relative bargain. The short squeeze is on, and the spot silver price will likely zoom up near $20 per ounce before the summer trading doldrums set in. Buy on the dips!

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

"The last duty of a central banker is to tell the public the truth." – Alan Blinder, Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve, on the PBS Nightly Business Report, in 1994

Note From JWR

Note From JWR: During the month of May, we are auctioning the last remaining new autographed copy of my novel “Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse” from the inventory at Survival Enterprises. The proceeds of the auction will benefit the SurvivalBlog bandwidth fund. The names of the bidders (including the winning bidder) will be kept anonymous. The opening is bid is just $5. Please e-mail your bids, in $1 increments. The current bidding will be mentioned in our “Odd’s ‘n Sods” entries. Our special thanks to Kurt and Angie Wilson of Survival Enterprises for sponsoring this contest. BTW, be sure to visit their web site to see their great line of competitively priced food storage and health supplement products.

Two Letters Re: Folding Fighting/Utility Knife Recommendations?

I cannot speak higher praise than for the Benchmade line of folding knives, specifically those with the Axis Lock mechanism.
$100 may seem steep to some for a folding pocket knife, but its one of two tools I use every single day, and potentially might have to trust my life to some day. The only folding blade I’ve found with a lock I trust that much is the axis.
The two specific models I favor are the Ares and the AFCK. I have done things with these knives one should probably never attempt with a folder, but they continue to go strong. As always, thank you for the insight and information you offer through SurvivalBlog. – Pat R.


I’ve been making and selling knives for 25 years, and you’re spot on with folders. They’re easy to keep on the person, convenient, generally not seen as weapons, and sturdy enough with modern materials to be quite useful. CRKT is one of the best values for the money. Cold Steel is a little pricier. Benchmade and Emerson are top of the line, since the CUDA line was largely discontinued by Camillus.
I wouldn’t rule out all the imports. Even some of the Chinese ones are decent. However, that’s the catch–some of them (I’m not thrilled at supporting the Chinese, but price speaks to so many people. I stock them to pay the bills). It takes a moderate amount of experience to know a good one. Check for smooth function. Easy isn’t necessarily good if it doesn’t lock open or closed with authority, and fit and finish should be near perfect. Look at how the blade is ground and the balance, and
compare to known quality. For people on a budget, there are knives in the $10-30 range that are near as good as name brand. But I’d check with a knowledgeable person to be sure (I’ll always answer questions, even in regards to stuff I don’t sell, BTW). But if in doubt, save up and go with the name brand. Your life is too important for second rate tools.
On fixed blades, Ontario Spec Plus are US made, no-nonsense (no saw teeth, hollow handles, gimmicks or gadgets. Just honest carbon steel with a solid handle) and very reasonable–most are available under $50 from dealers, no more than $80 on the largest. They have both a Crash Axe which is standard on most aircraft, and exceptional for breaking
through wreckage (on cars, too), and a survival machete with a chisel tip. I like the 14 inch tanto and the “fighting knife” (though I’ve never fought with one, it’s an excellent utility blade) that they offer.
On larger folders or fixed blades, I would avoid stainless steel. Few of the commercially used stainless steels are tough enough to withstand chopping or prying. AUS 8 and ATS 34 hold up decently, and while not completely stainless, are certainly enough so to reduce maintenance. Avoid 440 and 420 stainless steels in anything longer than 4 inches. They were not originally intended for cutlery, and are quite brittle in long sections. (440 C is a marine bearing steel. It can take outrageous
amounts of saltwater and holds a good edge, but will not flex under stress. It shatters.) – Michael Z. Williamson

Letter Re: Untapped North American Oil Reserves are Providential

Regarding US dependence on oil, and all of our concerns about it, I have done a little research on it.  My conclusion is that the liberals inadvertently saved us some reserves by blocking the removal of oil in some of our largest reserves; the US also has 77 percent of the world’s oil shale reserve.  This along with the reserves in Canada (the second largest oil reserve in the world) should put the US in good field position for years to come. See:  
If there is a collapse it won’t be based on the lack of this natural resource.  I think the Good Lord has provided us His providence in this area. 2 Timothy 2:15 – John Z.

Odds ‘n Sods:

SurvivalBlog reader R.V. mentioned that Hollywood’s anxiety piece on the Asian Avian Flu will air on May 9th. Any guesses on its impact on food storage vendors? Hmmmm… If you’ve been procrastinating, then you’d better get your orders in soon.

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I just noticed that a gent with whom I’ve corresponded for several years (and also a SurvivalBlog reader) currently has a few nifty items for sale on eBay.

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There is an interesting thread on the FAL Files about heavy duty 20 liter gas cans made by Briggs and Stratton, and stabilizing gas for storage.

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The petroleum supply situation was already bad enough with Columbian and Nigerian instability. Now Bolivia is threatening to nationalize foreign-owned oil operations if they don’t sign new contracts within six months. Bolivian president Evo Morales just ordered Bolivian Army units to occupy these natural gas production facilities.

Note From JWR:

We just returned from a weekend trip down to Salt Lake City, where I had a couple or tables at the Crossroads of the West gun show. Meanwhile, the Memsahib and our kids availed themselves of the outstanding LDS Family History Library, just west of Temple Square.

It was great pleasure meeting so many SurvivalBlog readers face to face at the gun show. Thanks for your kind words of encouragement for the blog’s success. One thing that struck me was that 2/3s of the people who said that they had read my novel “Patriots”also said that they hadn’t yet heard about SurvivalBlog. Please spread the word about SurvivalBlog to everyone you know who has read my novel.

Letter Re: Advice of Shotgun Shells and Shot Sizes

Dear Mr. Rawles,
I look forward to reading your blog every day.
One of the nice things about a shotgun is the wide variety of ammo available for them, but that does bring up a question: what type of shells should one stock up on? I currently keep about an even mix of 00 buckshot (primarily for defense)
and #8-bird-shot (for practice, pest control & small-game hunting). I also have a small quantity of slugs, but not many; I figure that a situation that would best be served with a slug would be even better served with a rifle. Do you think my mix is alright? I would appreciate any input you and/or my fellow blog readers would wish to add. Best Wishes, – James K.

JWR Replies: The ratio of shells with various shot sizes will depend on what sort of hunting you plan to do, and whether your shotgun will be your primary defensive long gun.

For two legged predators, I generally prefer #4 buckshot. (Not to be confused with the more commonly available #4 bird shot which is much smaller.) Why? With most commercial 00 buckshot loads, each 2-3/4″ shell only contains 9 pellets of roughly .33 caliber. With #4 buck you get around 27 pellets of .24 caliber. Thus, your chances of getting multiple vital organ hits are much better with #4 buckshot.

BTW, the foregoing advice does not apply if you live in bear or wolf country. For large predators, you’ll want the better penetration provided by 00 buckshot, 000 buckshot, or slugs.

Letter from “RBS” Re: Supporting SurvivalBlog and Developing a Second Stream of Income

For those of you that have come to find SurvivalBlog.Com a daily read and would also find the Internet just not as fun a place without it, might I suggest an easy way to generate the requested donation of $36 per year (or just 10 cents a day) to keep it going strong.
Sell something on eBay or other commerce site (there are plenty!) [and take $36.50 of the proceeds] and send it to JWR. It’s an easy and effective way of killing several “birds” with one stone. First, you will be supporting your favorite web site. Second, the money you send in will not have to come out of your pocket directly. As an example, let’s say you have an older laptop that is just gathering dust and end up selling it for $100.00. You can take a portion of the proceeds minus the listing and selling fees (which are reasonable for the most part) and make the contribution. In this way, it will not cause a major financial disruption if you are following a tight budget. It’s a way of generating funds without having to feel it come out of your monthly paycheck. You will have the satisfaction of supporting what you value–SurvivalBlog.com.
We all have extra “stuff” lying around our homes and garages, that are just taking up space. Its a great way to clean up the place and get some money out of it at the same time. Another advantage to this is that if you have never sold anything on eBay before it will give you the much needed incentive to do so. EBay is an easy and always growing worldwide market for anything you can imagine that can be bought or sold. For millions of people its the perfect home based business that is easy to start and requires but a few things which as a computer user and reader of this site, you probably already have like a PC and a digital camera, etc.
There are dozens of books and other media that can help you get started and avoid making major mistakes etc doing e-commerce, and without really knowing it, you have just started on your way to creating a way of having a second income. I have recently started back on eBay after an absence. I plan to do this full time as soon as I can get up and running as my “full-time” yet close to minimum wage job is probably now marked for a “downsizing” thanks to the economy and a host of other changes which I have absolutely no control over. Additionally, my education and experience are apparently not in demand. With that in mind, I have decided to start being proactive in the matter.
Although I have a background in communications, advertising and technology, it does not require this kind of knowledge to use the Internet to your advantage. All that is really needed are the THREE “D”‘s: DESIRE to change your current situation, DETERMINATION to learn new skills and develop new talents, and DEDICATION to stick with it and learn what is needed. Oh, and there is a fourth “D” that comes in handy as well, The desire to eliminate DEBT!
As readers of this site, I would advise considering doing something like this now so that you can be up and running with an alternative cash flow should a sudden shock come to our economy. Regardless, its time to start supporting this blog. Sincerely, – RBS

#1 Son’s Qoute of the Day:

"For want of a nail, the shoe was lost;
For want of the shoe, the horse was lost;
For want of the horse, the rider was lost;
For want of the rider, the battle was lost;
For want of the battle, the kingdom was lost;
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail." – Benjamin Franklin

Thoughts On Disaster Survival, by Mel in Texas

I live in Texas so this is on my mind. But could be relative to anything…

Thoughts On Disaster Survival
1. Have a bug-out kit ready at all times.
2. Renew supplies in your bug-out kit on a regular basis.
3. Plan on needing a LOT more supplies than you think.
4. In a real emergency, forget about last-minute purchases.
5. Make sure your vehicle will carry your essential supplies.
6. A big bug-out vehicle can be a handicap.
7. Make sure you have a bug-out place handy.
8. Provide entertainment for younger children.
9. Pack essentials first, then luxuries.
10. Don’t plan on fuel being available en route.
11. Have enough money with you for at least two weeks.
12. Don’t be sure that a disaster will be short-term.
13. Don’t rely on government-run shelters if at all possible.
14. Warn your friends not to bring others with them!!!
15. Have account numbers, contact addresses and telephone numbers for all important persons and institutions.
16. Have portable weapons and ammo ready (close at hand.)

Update 1
1. Route selection is very, very important.
2. The social implications of a disaster situation. (not ‘politically correct’, but dismiss at your peril)
3. Implications for security.
4. “Too many chiefs, not enough Indians” in New Orleans.
5. Long-term vision.
6. Personal emergency planning.
7. The “bank problem.” If yours is a local bank and all are under water, for example, checks are unverifiable (read: worthless)
8. Helping one’s friends is likely to prove expensive.

Update 2
1. People who were prepared were frequently mobbed/threatened by those who weren’t.
2. When help gets there, you may get it whether you like it or not.
3. There seems to be a cumulative psychological effect upon survivors.
4. There is widespread frustration over the lack of communication and empathy by rescuers and local/State government.
5. Expect rescuers (including law enforcement) to enforce a distinctly un-Constitutional authority in a disaster situation.
6. Don’t believe that rescuers are all knights in shining armor who will respect your property.

Update 3
1. If you choose to help, you may be sucked into a bureaucratic and legal nightmare.
2. Law enforcement problems will often be “glossed over” and/or ignored by authorities.
3. Your personal and/or corporate supplies and facilities may be commandeered without warning, receipt or compensation.
4. If you look like you know what you’re doing, you may be a target of those less prepared. (*IMPORTANT!*)
5. Those who thought themselves safe from the disaster were often not safe from refugees.
6. Self-reliance seems to draw suspicion upon you from the authorities.
7. Relief workers from other regions and States often don’t know local laws.
8. Relief organizations have their own bureaucratic requirements that may conflict with your needs.