Curious About Off-Grid Living

Off Grid Living Bible Book Cover

The book by, Bradley Stone, covers the basics of some important considerations when deciding to venture into off-grid living. The levels, types, or progressions of off-grid living are presented, from the most complete, roughing it, to the least, staying somewhat connected on some level to the grid. Showing that there is some place off-grid for everyone.

The basic aspects of deciding how far off the grid you want to be and where is the best place to be for the new life you want is the basic premise for the work. Which states rank best for different aspects of off-grid living, from types of building restrictions, such as what size of residences are required, to different water access rights, can you use the water on your land, are listed in Top 10 lists. Did you even know that there are certain locations across the US that actually legally demand how large your residence has to be? Or that most locations have some form of restrictions and or limitations on rain water catchment on private property? As well as some states, such as Florida, have newer laws in place that require that ALL residences be connected to the grid. 

Photo by cottonbro on

One of the short-falls in the book is that while the author details what he considers the pros and cons of different renewable energy sources, he does not truly explain the cons of ALL trending renewable energy sources. The idea of living in balance with nature is touted in the chapters on water and energy, yet the author is completely silent on the environmental damage to procure the resources to make solar panels and windmills, nor does he discuss their life expectancy or the fact that they are not recyclable, so what becomes of them when they no longer function? 

If you are truly interested in how in out of balance our current renewable energy sector is check out our article reviewing Bright Green Lies.

That being said, this book while not a true Bible, in the sense of being comprehensive and in-depth, is a good starting point for someone interested in knowing more about the whats, hows, and wheres of off-grid living. After reading this book, truly interested readers should absolutely do much more research including seeking out homesteading and prepping groups and forums, even to just to lurk in them and see what those in the know are actually doing, experiencing, and how they are getting on. One suggestion from the author that I think is a really good one, especially if you have no experience of “roughing it” at all, is to seek out places where you can AirBnB or lodge or rent different levels of off-grid holidays for at least a week. It’s really easy to make sure that you take care of all the things you might miss over a weekend; additionally, most people can have a ‘new and different’ life for a weekend and ‘do fine’. But going without internet, or indoor plumbing or electricity, or having to harvest your whole meal, before each meal can get really old really fast. So spending at least a week, will give you a more balanced idea of just how rough you like it. 

*Book Cover ScreenShot via BookSirens.

** Copy Received for honest review.

*** Featured Image: Chickens In The Yard by Dejan Arnautović

Sadistic Pleasures is Grim Reminder

Don’t be afraid of fear. Yours or anyone else’s. Fear like any other negative aspect of life is not something to avoid and ignore. Without fear you cannot know courage, bravery, or security. In order to truly know all the desired positive aspects of life you have to know the negatives; for both are subjective and relative to each other, and each are, in fact, dependent on the other. 

Knowing and learning the stories of our worst times and events is paramount to our history, our growth, and our evolution as people, societies, and civilization. 

Did you know that at least 52 countries are experiencing armed conflict right now as you are reading this? And that 18 of those are wars, whether major or minor. And five have been on-going, in some form or another since the late 1940s. 

Most of us will never be POWs or civilians caught in the midst of war, thus, hearing and learning from the experience of those subjected to such experiences is even more important. And that is where Sadistic Pleasures by Ashken Arakelyan comes in.

The armed conflict that Sadistic Pleasures exposes is the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, both former states of the Soviet Union, that has been on-going on some level since 1984. However, Armenia has had conflict with its neighbors pretty much constantly since the Turks expanded from their western China central Asian origins as far west as they could militarily occupy, which included into the Balkan region of Europe. Armenia has been a historic entity since ancient times, additionally, it has been Christian for centuries as well. Both of these characteristics have caused friction with the influx of Turk Muslims. 

Ashken Arakelyan, a journalist grad student, studying in Germany returned to Armenia in 2021 to interview several POWs and detainees from the most recent escalation of the conflict, in late 2020. Some of their stories are brutally raw and all of them are substantive in showing how little people have changed since WWII or ever, if you prefer. 

The interviewees are volunteer soldiers, nurses, civilians, both men and women. Some are young, some married, and some are even elderly. That is the brutal truth of war, No One is safe. There is not one right/good side and one wrong/bad side, it becomes a never ending cycle of violence that rarely ever settles anything and certainly never brings true peace. 

This book should remind us that just because it doesn’t impact us directly doesn’t mean that we should ignore it. When we choose to ignore all tragedy that isn’t on our front step, then we are allowing worse tragedy to feel welcome on our own front step. No, we do not have to jump up and go pick a side in every conflict around the world, nor do we need to insist that our governments pick a side either, what we decide to engage in with each conflict should be based on the conflict itself. 

While peace should be encouraged, sometimes war has to be fought and some wars have to reach a military conclusion. However, it needs to be fought with honor and integrity. There needs to be certain respect shown by all sides about what is acceptable and what is not. And that can best happen when every time there is violent conflict the combatants know the whole world is watching and judging. 

Sadistic Pleasures reminds us what happens when we turn a blind eye. 

War brings out the best in a few and the worst in quite a few more. 

*I received an advance reader copy for free. No compensation for review.

Map credit: By Futuretrillionaire, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Time Not Travel Stopped

I received Time Travel: To The Edge Of History as an ARC. I requested this book as I thought the concept was a really good one. Imagine a father taking their early teen-aged daughter on a 30-day globe trotting adventure exploring the history of us, before history. I have made it to somewhere in Chapter 5, about 3 or so days into their actual journey and I currently cannot finish it. I do hope to get motivated to pick it up again in the future and give it another go, but for now, it will become a DNF.

Part of my issues with the work follows:

First, it’s a completely unbalanced organized work. It apparently has only 11 chapters. I have read 4 and ‘a half’ of the chapters and I am only 16% through the book. Being 41% finished by chapter math, but only 16% by reader math, well it messes with my psyche while reading. I believe that there should be more overall balance between chapters or the book should have been divided into parts. For example, part one of the book could have been “The Plan” or “The Idea” of the trip and part two could have been “The Journey” or “The Adventure” telling about the trip itself. In that way the chapters would feel more balanced, where the chapters of the planning part are short and quick and apparently, the travel chapters are much much longer. Another idea could have been that from Chapter 5 on-wards each day could have been a chapter, that would have made it easier to follow as I am not truly sure if I stopped 3 or 4 days into the trip.

Second, thus far, I also find the story-line part of the book to feel lacking and not genuine. I just really struggle with feeling like I am part of this father-daughter trip to explore human history. I don’t buy it. I do not connect with the characters. They feel shallow and forced. Their awe and emotion lack the verbage needed to give the reader something to feel. It seems fake. It seems like the author really is just literally making up a story as he goes along, instead of telling a story. Some details feel weird cause they are unnecessary and other details are completely missing that would add the needed depth to the story. The author maybe a great conversationalist whom is knowledgeable. But, storyteller he is not.

Third, I find the structure of the dialogue and the narration of the book to be somewhat stilted for a native reader. I do not know if this is done intentionally or if it is poor English translating. Either way it makes for a very disjointed read. There are certain phrases that sound strange to the ear. Additionally, there are misuses of words and phrases that have the reader tripping and or falling and stopping to reread and grasp and understand. This prevents the reader from just tagging along for the ride with this father and daughter.

I really wanted to like this book. I believe that we as a people need to be more curious about ourselves and our history. I believe that curiosity should be nurtured and encouraged and the author stated his desire to help inspire the curiosity to reignite within readers. In this we are both proponents, but unfortunately for me, I found myself more bored than inspired. I do hope that others do better with the book than I have. More importantly, I hope that no one loses their curious spark by struggling with the same issues that challenged me with this work.

An American Phoenix?

Cover Image

Most of us are feeling the eternity of the pandemic. Wondering if the scars and damage will ever heal or if things will ever go back to some form of normal. A lot of people have either suffered harshly financially or have lived in constant stress and fear about their financial stability and survivability. In addition, many Americans are seeing the pandemic as shining the red-hot spotlight on American waning as the Economic Powerhouse of the World. And from watching the news and TV pundits and reading the business and economic articles all the experts agree with the common man.

But what if one ‘expert’, who makes his money from his own words, said The Rise Of America is something to come and not memories of the past…..

What if this ‘expert’ defies all the naysayers and points out what is really going on in the area of natural resources and exploitation of said resources…..

What if he explains the ins and outs of what is really going on with economies of the world, especially here in America….

Marin Katusa does exactly that in his work The Rise Of America Remaking The World Order. And it makes for a very interesting read. Most of us might think that economics and investing are truly beyond our understanding, as Katusa points out some of it is beyond the understanding of those in the middle of the wheeling and dealing as well. Thus, while you may not completely understand all the content of this work, you should understand enough to make you sit up and take notice of what you see and read in the news in a different light.

I have long held the belief that taking ANY currency off of the traditional gold-standard was a bad and destabilizing idea. I still hold that belief. But, unfortunately without a complete collapse of society on a global scale there is no hope of the gold-standard being returned and honestly, it would destroy economies to attempt to do so. My basis for supporting a gold-standard economy is the natural contraction that gold as a tangible and finite collateral placed on the economy. An economy could only grow to its limit of gold reserves, then it had to acquire more, plateau or rid itself of ‘dead weight’ and create new ideas, industries, and technology to fill those freed up areas, thus evolving and moving forward. Additionally, as a natural constrictor of the currency, gold-standard economies have a built in value feature that more modern economies lack. Those modern economic theories are the ones that Katusa focuses on in The Rise Of America and they are what we are stuck with for the foreseeable future, so we need to understand them and their impacts.

While America was the longest hold out of the major economies on the gold-standard; it was that coupled with their strong economic position after the war that made the dollar the economic franca lingua. This played into America’s ability to gain the dollar’s place as currency of trade for crude oil, even without a gold-standard. This is better explained in the pages of Katusa’s work. What we currently have is a fiscal-monetary coordination (FMC), which put too simply is the government agrees to provide certain “investments” whether they are tangible or not for the money supply that they are requesting. This is what I call a debt based system — all the currency is based on the future interest of current debt, or that a printed dollar today will be two dollars in 50 years; however, there is nothing backing today’s dollar other than the speculation of tomorrow’s profit and citizens’ ignorantly blind faith in it.

So what happens when this FMC theory becomes a near disaster? Well, that is when Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) can step in and be the (in my opinion) fake hero, saving the day. If it saves the day, how can it be a fake hero? In the same way that gloriously winning a losing battle does not win the war!

We have all used the phrase “money out of thin air,” which is at the very simplest level just what MMT is. The government or Wall Street needs money, just print it. The problem with that is two-fold; first, MMT is very dependent on the faith of the citizens of the currency, and second, there is no longer any real economic valuation for anything. Another words it really will not matter if a loaf of bread costs $1 or $100 cause the government will always have the ability to print the money that it needs for the loaf of bread. What will happen, more significantly than now, is how all this money, and make no mistake about it, there is way too much money in the system now, flows in the world of the economy.

All the economic theory aside, this book does focus on industrial needs and development and where and how America may or may not fair moving forward. And that should be of interest to all , American or not. Additionally, this book is a great companion read to Bright Green Lies, which covers some of the same topics as Rise Of America, from the opposite side of the debate.

*Copy Received For Review.

Book Review – Thinking Like a Geographer By Rebecca M. Burley

Thinking Like A Geographer Cover BurleyWell, this work was not at all what I was expecting or hoping for. What was I expecting/hoping for? More of a conceptual methodology of the thinking skills that are needed or are useful in the study of Geography that can be applied not just within lessons focused on geography, but also other areas to increase the students analysis skills and critical thinking.

What this book is … basically it is a complete package lesson plan for geography/social studies for the elementary level. While the book states Grade 2, I would say that it could be applied up to Grade 5 depending on the social and academic level of the students. I also feel that some of the exercises would not be emotionally and thus in turn not intellectually relevant to 7/8YOs and might be better suited for older students.

As a complete lesson plan package, the book is sufficient to provide basically a whole geography component of the class curriculum for the year. The teacher is provided with the worksheets, project assignments and lecture content. Included are even examples of appropriate ‘right answers’ from the students to questions presented within the lectures.

*Copy Received For Review.

Review of Nachmanides by Israel Drazin

Nachmanides CoverI believe that a disclaimer is in order first.
That is, I am not Jewish, nor am I an accomplished student of Judaism, Kabbalah, Talmud, or the Torah, as a religious or spiritual pursuit. My knowledge of the aforementioned is pretty random and chaotic, as it has been dictated by my research and interest in other historic stories and studies, and thus limited to the understanding or knowledge required to accomplish those pursuits. That being said, I was very interested in the chance to read Nachmanides for several reasons.
Overall, I did find the work both interesting and illuminating. The layout was not quite what I was expecting, however, that is not a critique of the writer’s successful attempt to present his research in an organized and deliberate way. While, I do feel that not being better versed in rabbinic teachings or subjects did mean that certain explanations made me feel a little in over my head, I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone with any interest in the Books ascribed to Moses whether it is for religious or historic or cultural exploration.
The primary focus of the work is on 3 things; first, Nachmanides, a 13th century Jewish scholar, second, the information, both historic and instructive, of the Torah (or The Books of the Old Testament ascribed to Moses), and last, the Targum Onkelos, as an authoritative reference and resource used by the first in his commentary on the second.
The result was a very informative, comprehensive overview of Nachmanides as a scholar and an in-depth analysis of his commentary on selected verses of the Torah that were considered questionable or unreasonable by the author. While, the author’s focus was on reviewing Nachmanides’ explanations, I found that I gained a lot of knowledge about the inheritance of Moses’ teachings and the preservation methods of those teachings and the stories of the Jewish peoples, thus, making this work of value to anyone that is seeking more information or understanding about Biblical topics.

*Copy Received For Review.

Are “Illuminati” Conspiracy Theorists Crazy Wrong?

Alex Jones Tinfoil Hat
Alex Jones of InfoWars

Most of us laugh at the ‘crazies’ that are convinced that there is some secret group, usually the Illuminati, that really controls the world and not us or even our ‘democratically elected’ governments have any real power to do anything about it or to change how things are.

Now I am not one that believes in the Illuminati theory, however, I very much believe that corporations and those that run them, the CEOs and board members, do what they must and can do with whomever they need to to get what they want, usually more profit for the shareholders! I also think it is extremely naive to think that any national or international corporation cares about the consumer as a person or individual. The masses are nothing more than numbers on spreadsheets that are to be manipulated to decrease overhead and increase profits!

The paradox is that I am also an incredibly hopeful and optimistic and overly idealistic personality, usually much to the irritation of those closest to me. I am always wanting to make things better for everyone. I am always questioning everything. I am always concerned about the world in general and humanity in particular. So I would love to wake up one day and find out that Capitalism is a great economic model…..but that will never happen.

Capitalism is to communism as liberals are to conservatives! They are only different sides of the same coins! The difference between capitalism and communism can best be illustrated by comparing the power wielded by Wall Street, in the US and the Kremlin, in the Soviet Union. And socialism seems to most often end up being the worst of the two combined!

Deals That Made The World CoverI was recently sent an early release copy of a new book by Jacques Peretti titled The Deals That Made The Worldin which Peretti, lays out how greed and ambition carried out and negotiated in secret meetings and backroom deals has impacted our everyday lives and not for the better. At least not for the better of the regular guy just trying to get by or get ahead.

Peretti lays out the fake data, and fake science that corporate behemoths have used to decrease overhead and or increase profit, by selling a load of crap in fancy marketing! The opening volley exposes the Phoebus cartel’s two-pronged approach to increasing profits and maintaining their power and control. Not, only do they (the member corporations from the light bulb industry) agree to limit the life-span of their individual products, they also agree to work together to destroy any upstart business that would try to sell longer lasting light bulbs!

Before you go all, “I am a savvy consumer and only do business with ‘good business companies’,” keep in mind this book includes deals by Apple and Elon Musk. Not much surprise to most, I hope, is that the biggest players of “screwing over the public for profit” are the food and pharmaceutical companies! In addition, the reader is exposed to such maneuvers as the leveraging of political risk to produce profit in uncertainty to the tactics of how to take advantage of the widening inequality gap by Tobias Levkovich and Citibank.

This book was an unfortunate substantiation to some of my previous suppositions concerning corporate capitalism. The information put forward by Peretti furthers my belief that “too big to fail” is fiction, and most of them should be allowed to when they mismanage themselves into failure for the sake of higher profits. Peretti’s disclosures also further solidified my belief that the best economy for the masses is free markets with very limited regulations and no government rewards or benefits.

Regardless of your economic bent or your political disposition, this book is a must read for understanding the current wielding of power in the world and insight about where the world is headed if nothing changes.

*Copy Received For Review.

Have you met Mrs. Sherlock Holmes

Mrs Sherlock Holmes Cover Ricca
via Amazon

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes, you say? As in the wife of?
Oh, no! As in the female American counterpart….
No, I have never heard of such.
Well, you are not alone. Let me give you a little introduction…

There was a lady in black that quietly but diligently made her presence a powerful force to reckon with in the streets and prisons and courtrooms of New York, not to mention the Halls of Power in D.C. She was a lady of some substance, whom preferred to be a judicial voice of the people. Those desperate, down-trodden, deprived masses whom mostly struggled to reach the base of Lady Liberty full of hope and dreams, thus finding the reality of the American Dream more elusive within her lands than had seemed from distant shores.

If you are interested in the gritty reality of NYC in the early part of the 20th Century, this might just meet your needs. Ricca’s research and writing combine to provide a compelling insight into the colliding worlds and cultures of turn of the century America. His writing style is encompassing narration of such a wholeness in presentation that when he reaches the end of the research queries you are left feeling somewhat let down. Thus, including the reader in the same dismay that must have burdened the lives of those souls in need of true justice from a system already bogged down with bias and corruption.

I must confess that while I personally, had no idea of the stories presented in the pages of Mrs. Sherlock Holmes, and being drawn into the lives of bygone injustices, I am not sure how I feel about the main character in the end. The story takes the reader on trips not just across time, but also from the belly of the city beast to the muddy bottoms of the southern swamp lands to the isolated confines of Missouri cotton plantations. The fingers of crime and injustice don’t just stop there, you are exposed to their reach to and from the Old World extending even to exotic locales of South America.

One detail that I did find soothing to that injury, was his inclusion of ‘end notes’ for most of the persons of interest presented in the body. So while, you are left asking yourself….wait, where’s the rest, is that all, but what about and so what happened then… at least know how the who(s) bowed out.