Sunday, January 31, 2016

Hey, Monkeys! General Giap Sez "Hi!" - UPDATED

For the 0.01% (if that many) of the U.S. paying real attention to this, due to the utter ineptitude of the provocateurs to explain or elucidate any rationale for their actions, I note the following:

The arrest of the ringleader-monkeys at Malheur last week, and the death of one Mr. Finicum during same, seems to have the usual monkeys chattering and flinging poo in record-setting cacophony of rage.

Well, tough.

As the lone video has shown incontrovertibly, Finicum, at the wheel of the truck in question, fled a felony stop, presumably instigated by federal agents.
He did so at high speed, with no plan other than "Cheezit! The cops!" in the best manner of idiot perps in every episode of C.O.P.S., in every country they've visited.
It worked out for him about as you'd expect (the police catch something like 98.xxxx% of those who choose this brilliant ploy).
He came upon a blocking position set up by OSP. Who clearly knew their business, and had deployed their vehicles the real way (fishboned engine-forward) rather than the Hollywood-Smokey and the Bandit way (engines outward, empty trunks at the center pointed away).
The former stops a vehicle; the latter spins cars and makes a great cheeseball getaway for Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise every time. Tough luck for Finicum and Co.
He was either unable to come to a stop on the road, or thought, foolishly, he could plow through the snowbank on the left side, and go around the block. Almost nailing one guy at the roadblock, to within something between inches and a couple of feet, which always makes armed police officers with guns drawn a lot calmer - NOT.
Two or three feet of snow being what it is, this attempt failed as well.
He then, likely (at 10M:1 odds) absent any instructions to do so, elected to leap out of the truck, hands out, and start prancing around outside the vehicle.

To date, we don't know if he stumbled and tried to catch himself, reached for his jacket, or was clutching at the first (unjustified) gunshot. If it was the latter, we'll probably never know.
Based on the chain of unbridled stupidity for 20+ days by this bunch, I'm going with he made a foolish decision on his own. His actions that day alone, to this point, are those of a panicky foolish jacktard, at every opportunity.

For whatever reason, when you have a presumed felon, in flight from arrest, confronted by half a dozen armed officers, guns drawn, who makes a move towards heavy clothing and concealment, you get a hail of lead flying your way in a hurry.

Which he did, right in his carcass.

That the feds and state police did not, at that point, hose down the other occupants of the vehicle a la Bonnie and Clyde in their final moments alive disproves that this was intended to be an assassination. It was, as Hognose phrases it weekly at Weaponsman, simply a case of cops being cops, and crims being crims.

And group-effort Darwin Award, Second Class.

If, at any point at either Stop #1 or Stop #2, he had stopped, turned off the engine, tossed the keys out, and complied with instructions at that point, exactly like the other three folks in the truck, he'd be alive and eating creamed chipped beef on toast in the Portland federal lock-up now, and have a shot at freedom via jury nullification, rather than being on a slab looking forward to a soft padded coffin and a fine headstone.

If that reality crimps razor wire in your underpants, I humbly and sincerely urge you to get over it.

I'd be a sight happier if he was alive, as I suspect his family and friends would be, but some mistakes in life you only get to make one time.

Lessons that should be learned, in no particular rank or order:

1. Hanging around with jackholes who don't know what they're doing, and have no plan for doing it, and no intelligent way to get that message out to the greater public despite 20+ days of time to do so, will get you killed. Avoid those groups and situations, or update your estate planning.

2. When you instigate an armed takeover of nominally federal property, to cause a stink, don't act shocked and surprised when the clean-up crew arrives with both machineguns and handcuffs, and is happy to use either one of them on you, at their discretion, depending on how you behave when they tell you to surrender. This is how it works under Big Boy Rules, and if you really didn't know that, or expected anything else, you're far too stupid to be playing in this arena.

3. Occupying anything, unless you have a tactically sound position, and sufficient personnel and resources, is an Alamo, and you're Col Travis. The Malheur @$$clowns had neither the manpower, the resources, nor any sort of tactically defensible position. Go to Google Earth if you doubt me, and tell me how many men and what resources you'd need to position there to hold it against anything more ferocious than a troop of cub scouts with slingshots. (Frankly, putting a troop of cub scouts with slingshots there to hold it would have been much better guerrilla theatre for the occupiers, and made the feds look like true goons no matter what they did.)

4. Gallivanting around the countryside after the arrival of said feds is asininely stupid beyond words. There is NO excuse whatsoever for it which avails.

5. Having said that, if you're still that stupid, there's no excuse for putting all your command leadership in one vehicle, unaccompanied, and driving through what should be regarded as "enemy territory", without comms, route reconnaissance, a larger transport convoy, and a Quick Reaction Force. Yet again, having NONE of this in place (nor, evidently, even contemplated) shows this to be a bunch of amateur jackasses of the highest order, without any excuse whatsoever. There are only about 200,000 former PFCs and Spec4s with time in the sandbox over the last decade with more convoy common sense than that, some of them with no more education than a GED.

6. The lack of any forethought to what to do in this instance was also glaringly evident. No plan, no procedures, no escape and evasion thoughts, no nothing. WTF. Don't be those guys. Just a bunch of yahoos playing ding dong ditch with grizzly bears.

7. As a self-styled guerrilla, pissing off the entire surrounding community, to the point they boo and catcall you and tell you to GTFO, is probably not going to get you any longevity, no matter WHAT your nominal cause is. Since 40-80% of anyone just wants to be left alone to get on with their lives, you'll just turn up the heat on the kettle you're sitting in, and they'll start agitating for TPTB to take you out, or they'll do it themselves.

8. Having no control or way to vett those who join you is a great way to let the other side in on every level of your operations, introduce spies, agents provocateur, saboteurs, disinformationists, and so on. When they can tell outsiders that you've done something as stupid as #4 and #5 above pretty much insures you'll be needing #6, and ultimately, won't be around long to do much of anything. As the KKK found out when it turned out 2 out of 3 were federal CIs, and they were largely sued out of existence. Hint: There are no shortage of posers in the federal correctional system who'd sell their mothers to get out of prison, or on probation who want to never go back. They will be drawn to you like moths to a flame the minute you go active, and some of the brighter ones will find you far earlier.

9. So it's probably a better idea to a) vet your people before you do anything, and b) gain the support and trust of the or a community before you do anything. Trying to shortcut that leads to 20-50 years in prison, or dead, which is surprising to no one with an IQ above room temperature. Ask Che about that.
Jeebus crispies, the relevant texts and military doctrine for guerrilla warfare - and counter-guerrilla warfare - have been out for nearly a century; don't half-ass this.

10. If a mature appraisal of your chances in light of #1-9 leads you to determine that you can't take over an exposed, isolated, and utterly pointless cluster of Forest Service buildings in BFEgypt, maybe start looking at what you can accomplish.

11. Nota bene that doing things a la EarthFirst and fictional characters from Abbey's Monkeywrench Gang may be highly effective in some ways. They are (Duh!) also highly illegal, in a federal penitentiary sort of way, or a dead sort of way, just like they were for the SLA or the Weathermen. In the current environment, they will also get you on a terrorist hot sheet, and if you want to know how that works out, ask Osama bin Laden, or any 43 former AQ deputies who took a Hellfire up the ass. We (or They, if you prefer) have gotten pretty damned good at taking out the trash.

12. Looking at that, a mature appraisal might be that the thing to do now, while it's legal, is to organize, recruit, gather intelligence, train, build up logistics and infrastructure, while swaying more people to a more reasonable and far more constitutional viewpoint and material support of your outlook and efforts (wow, just like a military S-1/S-2/S-3/S-4/S-5 would! Who'd'a thunk??) and avoid direct confrontations until you're either too strong to stop, or desperate and have no other choices.
Option A looks like 1975 in Vietnam, Option B looks like Tet 1968. Choose wisely.

13. If you decide to go off half-assed and half-cocked anyways, despite the above,
"Have fun storming the castle!"

14. The rest of us will at least have the satisfaction of using you as object lessons, and for drawing out and observing the actions of Leviathan in response, because when you're serious and reasonably intelligent, that's what you do. Sorry if the laughter coming from the conference room hurts your pride and rubs salt into your wounds.

I expect one day there's going to be justified provocation, and the feds are going to bump into some serious people with some proficiency and a righteous case of Pissed Off. I'll bet they know that too.

But this wasn't that day.

I live in the Western U.S., and take it as an article of faith that the feds have glommed onto far too effing much of the lands hereabouts going back to statehood, in every state straddling or west of the Rockies. And I am no fan of large, overarching central government in any way, shape, or form. I don't even have much use for the statehouse or even city hall, most days.

That does not mean that every jackass who gives the finger to the feds is automatically my brother, or that I have to join every Children's Crusade of Retards who decides to go throw rocks at the federal bear, nor pledge to lay down my life for such fools.

Ponder that concept, and see if you can grasp it.

And when you ignore that, and the bear bites you or eats you, STFU, instead of BMWing about the injustice afterwards, as though everyone owes unquestioning allegiance to every dipshit with delusions of competence.

If and when I choose to sell my life, my fortune, and my sacred honor, it'll be on my terms, sold dear, and at a considerable profit. Not pissed away on some half-ass escapade manned by a chain of fools.

And BTW, if you want your entire side to all think exactly alike on this, what kind of individual liberty are you preaching?

Anyone, esp. the butthurt monkeys, may rage all you want in comments.
The brighter readers will probably be too busy applying #12, above, as will I.

Apparently, the newest operative story is "Idiot! This was a peaceful non-violent protest!"
And these were a small representative sample, garnered in about 2 minutes on Google.

"Peaceful" protest? Oh please...
I've seen peaceful protests. So when some out there use those words, I'm here to tell you that they do not mean what they think they mean.

So mayhap, the next time someone sets out to do a "peaceful" unarmed protest, leave all the guns, and talk of using same, at home.
(Just from an optics point of view, leaving all the camo/tacticool/military garb wouldn't go amiss either. Try wearing day-glo bright colors, if you're really there all about the peaceful non-violent protesting.)

Protestors (and their apologists) can't have it both ways after this sh*t gets real.
You want a peaceful protest, leave the weaponry home. March around with signs. (Of course, doing it closer to a major media center than 300 miles away might be advisable at that point. Just saying.) And get ready for guys - and it'll be Federal mall cops, not the FBI -with pepper spray, tear gas, batons and handcuffs to come mop you up. Like they will. Like civil rights marchers getting firehosed in the '60s, you'll have made your point, (hopefully on camera where it might at least do some good) and suffered your lumps, and everyone gets to go home eventually.
You might hold the moral high ground, but at least the jail time won't include weapons enhancements at sentencing. And you'll at least have pointed out that such peaceful protests aren't listened to, effective, or worth the trouble. (One that worked on any level would be an object of some wonder.)
One gun comes along, and it's game on, for both sides.
It's a little late to call this a "peaceful" protest once guys toting long arms are walking patrol, and broadcast doing so on national news reports.

The Malheur crowd owns that, whether anyone else think they meant to or not. The medium is the message, and perception is reality.

If this is news anywhere, welcome to How It's Been since time beyond memory.

But congrats to the knuckleheads for enacting, in real time, the dopey sub-plot of country hicks going to war with Canada from an episode of The LeftWestWing. And living up to every expectation of half the country, beyond their wildest dreams, while making both the Feds in this case, and the Ferguson rioters of the recent past, look restrained and sensible, by contrast.


Sunday Bonus Shopping Field Trip: The $20/$40 Budget GTFO of Dodge B.O.B. survival kit

Same trip as yesterday, same store, just to see what kind of a survival kit I could put together for a sawbuck.

My $20 got me:

1 gal. Crystal Geyser water in a jug.
1 qt. btl. of same, with a sippy top
16 oz jug of Clorox standard concentrated bleach
(5 qts. of water gets me a canteen, and water for a day; the bleach gets me water for weeks, as long as I can find liquid to purify. I can also use the SODIS method with the 1qt btl.)
1 standard steak/butcher knife (Pillsbury, about 6" long)
1 utility knife (also Pillsbury, about 4" and skinnier)
1 4'x6' poly tarp (it's blue...great for Smurfland, but green or brown would be preferable)
7 33 gallon hvy duty garbage bags
1 25' roll hvy duty alum foil
1 compact mirror (2@ 3" mirrors, and it comes apart)
1 pr. hvy plastic whistles
2 x 250 ct. kitchen matches
1 3-way can opener
1 bag of 100 cotton balls
1 6 oz tub of petroleum jelly
1 standard rat trap
1 12 oz stainless steel bowl
1 metal garden trowel
30' utility rope (heavier than paracord, but unk. if it has any usable inner core strands.)
1 sun hat
and money back.

If I ever get a YouTube channel going, maybe I'll go over using it all sometime.
So for less than $20, I've got shelter, fire, water, knives, signaling, a cooking/eating pot, and a digging tool nailed down. Guys routinely make it through military survival schools with far less. I'm more concerned with sun and rain hereabouts; if I were somewhere colder, or where snow was any sort of possibility, I'd skew things that direction.

If they'd had it, I would have gotten some wire, for snares.
I'd also add about 4-9 more rat traps. They work just as well on tree rats (squirrels) as they do on the sewer kind of actual rats, and a guy in wooded or chapparal country can catch an awful lot of tree or ground squirrels with almost zero effort, and no harm to their population, with nothing more than some cheese or peanut butter.
Bird seed instead, some string, and an ad hoc drop box, and you can have pigeons by the bushel as well.
I'd happily augment it with $5-10 worth of hooks, fishing line, and sinkers from anywhere. Drugstore clearance areas are full of the stuff in the off-season, and sinkers and fish hooks don't go bad.
They had stainless unpainted coat hangers, and diagonal pliers; the combination will yield about any cooking implement you can think of, limited only by materials and imagination.
I'd have added a washcloth and towel too.

Then I hit the food aisles:
10 oat bars
1 bag banana chips
1 bag raisins
1 bag cranberries
1 bag cashews
1 bag salted and shelled peanuts
3 squirt bags of Treetop apple sauce
1 can fruit salad
1 can peach halves
1 can pineapple slices
1 small jar peanut butter
3 cans Chicken of the Sea chunk tuna
1 small can ham
1 can of chicken breast chunks
1 can of beef stew
1 can Chef Boyardee beef ravioli
1 can Chef Boyardee spaghetti w/meatballs
1 can Van Kamps pork and beans
1 can sweet potatoes
2 bags hard candies

$25 and tax, and I've got at least three and probably closer to five days' food, small enough to fit in a knapsack. Or a pillowcase, come to it.
All I'd add would be a squirt bottle of mayo for the tuna, a few cups of Minute Rice pre-loaded into single meal portions in zip locks, some crackers, and a camping spice shaker.

I live in SoCal; in 3-5 days even on foot, I can be 100 miles from here.
On a bicycle, I can be in another state.
In a vehicle, I can be as far as gasoline and cash get me.
That's a lot of GTFO in just a daypack, and for about $46. $66 or so if we count yesterday's "luxury" first aid kit. Everything but the food fits into a standard hard briefcase. (James Bond, eat your heart out.)

As you improve this stuff, it also becomes hand-me-downs to less-prepared family, friends, or neighbors. Or a great excuse to hit the road with it for a long weekend, see how you do with the stuff, and get your money's worth out of it before you replace/upgrade it.
Fresh air, sunshine, and a day or three outside are just happy extras.

And if you can't spare $20-$40 for something this simple, you're already just surviving right now.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Gun "Gurus" and Self-Styled Loudmouth Tacticool Geniuses

Combat is not a gunfight, any more than working in surgery or a doctor's office qualifies you to help when someone is bleeding at the side of the road outside a bloody wreck.

Plenty of well-intentioned podiatrists and dermatologists, and even cardiac surgeons, proud med school graduates to a man, are daily cheerfully invited by mere firefighter paramedics to go sit down and call 9-1-1 if they'd like to help, unless they can show some mad pre-hospital trauma skillz. It's a different ballgame when it's just you, without all that help and a cozy hospital helpfully wrapped around you.

It's long since time when someone applied the same sensibilities to the self-styled "tacticool gurus".
Show me a guy (or a woman) who's been through one or two or three shootings, come out on top, and studied the whys and wherefores, then made a deeper study of outside incidents, and draws rational conclusions, and I'm all ears.

But surviving any number of battles, with air support, indirect fire, comms, and 500,000 of your closest friends all shooting alongside you, is not gunfighting experience.  I'd sooner take advice from Call Of Duty champions who played on full realism, and no regeneration - ever.
It'd be a smaller club, and probably equally skilled.

That's why for the most part, even the military elites are sometimes living on second-hand knowledge; and why the sniper cadre in all the services generally differentiates between PIGs (Professionally Instructed Gunmen) and HOGs (Hunters Of Gunmen). The former is a badge or a qual passed, the latter has BTDT downrange.

I had the privilege of listening to a guy who bested 4:1 or 5:1 odds, off-duty, with a backup piece and one spare mag, recount the incident that earned him a medal of valor in depth and detail. Over a decade later, it was clear he'd re-worked the problem in his head a few thousand times (like you do), and critiqued what he'd done right, and wrong. He got shot, but it was relatively a minor injury, and he sent two guys to the morgue, and three to prison for life, and probably saved half a dozen bystanders from taking bullets to the back of the head. He was well-trained before it happened, and he got a couple of lucky breaks on the day. He was damned sure a lot better prepared every day afterwards.

Had the story not been dragged out of him by another officer, I doubt he'd even have mentioned it at all to me or anyone else, given the context of the day's activities, and he was a pretty humble and self-effacing guy about the incident. As are, I suspect, most of the people to whom it's worth listening.

I'm a much bigger fan of people like that, or the guys who made the Mag-Pul videos, who said out front: "Look, we don't know everything, but here's what we do, and this is the reasons why we do it that way; try it and see if it works for you to make you quicker/more accurate. But if you can get from A to B a different way, go on ahead and do it, because there's a lot of different ways to skin that cat."

The guys belittling everyone, because "Fuck you, I'm a martial prowess LEGEND!" strike me as simply pompous assholes, defensive lest someone discover what their volume and braggadoccio conveys: that they don't know what they're talking about, and afraid everyone else will catch on.
Wiser shootists know there ain't a horse that can't be rode, and there ain't a rider who ain't been throwed, and it's true with shooting and being shot at too.

There are also two other tales I lean on:
When some smartass in Hollywood kept egging Audie Murphy into a face-off quickdraw contest to settle who was fastest gun, Murphy finally told him succinctly "Okay. But with real bullets." That was the end of that challenge.
And Pappy Boyington said it best: "Show me a "hero", and I'll show you a bum."

I've had guns pointed at me, and I've pointed guns at other people, but fortunately never had to shoot them, or trade lead close up. So if you have, experientially, you're ahead of me. But unless you've done it a lot, vice getting lucky once, and dedicated a lot of time and study to the problem, and can articulate the details, don't wave your plethora of imaginary ninja qualifications at me, or get all butthurt when other people call you out.

Stay on the internet, and stroke your own ego, and leave other folks alone who aren't buying any of it.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Weekend Shopping Field Trip: The Dollar Store - Budget EDC FAK

No permission slip needed.
Cost: $10-20
Go shopping after your basic first aid class tomorrow.

Mission: Put together a "good enough" every day carry first aid kit, and bring it in cheap.

$10 kit, for me:
6 oz pump bottle isopropyl alcohol-based hand sanitizer
bag of 5 pr. vinyl gloves
18 benzylkonium chloride (BZK) sanitary hand/(wound) wipes
4" generic Ace wrap
3 roller gauze rolls (1",2",3")
8 sterile 2"x2" gauze dressings
1 1/3 oz. tube generic triple antibiotic ointment
6 Tylenol brand Extra Strength (500mg) tabs
40 tab btl. of generic ibuprofen (200mg)
1 roll of 1" waterproof first aid tape

That alone covers an awesome amount of simple first aid needs. The idea is a cheap kit you can keep in your car, or at work, use and replenish as necessary, and not give two hoots if you need to replace it, or items go bad or get used up. You'll be miles ahead of 95% of the population.

$20 "luxury kit", same trip:
The above, plus
1 btl of 175 standard aspirin (325 mg)
2 standard bars Dial antibacterial soap
Craft & sew kit, with seam (clothes) ripper, needles, and small safety scissors (+ thread! - for sewing, NOT suturing!)
7-LED flashlight
AAA batteries for above
Blistex lip balm
6 oz. tube of SPF 30 sunscreen
10' roll of 2" duct tape (woodland camo, dayglo pink, take your pick)
4 prs asstd. tweezers on card
1 J&J 12 item first aid kit, in small plastic case, with
2 more BZK wipes
2 more pairs of 2"x2" gauze
4 5/8" bandaids
2 1" bandaids

For another $6, I could/would have added hydrocortisone cream, generic Benadryl, generic immodium, antacid tablets, bug repellant, and individual eye drops.

I would have liked to find nitrile gloves, or even latex (I'm not allergic to it), and some generic moleskin, but vinyl is better than nothing, and duct tape can be pressed to make serve for blisters. Also as butterfly dressings, using those little scissors. And in a pinch, as a chest seal. They also didn't have single-edge razor blades, which are the shiznit for a host of uses. I can always get the gloves and razor blades at Horror Freight for not much more than a buck.

The entire thing would fit in small lunch sack, or a waist pouch.

Some of it is brand-name stuff, some of it is made-in-China, all of it is serviceable, easily replaced, and one helluva lot better than nothing whatsoever.
You can solve your own and others' minor medical emergencies, and keep others from happening.

It can also be further stripped down, taken out of original packaging (I highly recommend this anyways wherever possible), and put into Ziploc snack and sandwich baggies. For meds, go to a craft store like Michael's or Hobby Lobby, etc., or that aisle of a bigger WalMart, and get a pkg. of 100 crafter's zip bags, which come in sizes like tiny 2"x3" (for pills on blister cards, cut down to individual doses), or 3"x5" and 4"x6" for things like bandaids, gauze dressings, BZK wipes, etc. Now all your stuff is visible, waterproof, and separately accessible, with no bulky cardboard boxes to deal with. They're also good for keeping cards, papers, etc. dry and visible, and for keeping batteries from self-destructing inside things while stored, like they do.

WallyWorld also sells fairly heavy-duty zip pouches about 5"x 10" in camo and earth tones. You can fit your EDC/car/office drawer kit in one. Or, you can buy different colors, and sort supplies by purpose, i.e. red for bleeding, blue for airway items, orange for burns, green for prep/decon items, black for tools & equipment, or whatever. Then put the collection of pouches into a soft tackle box, and you've got a medic bag.

You can always upgrade the stuff later (and should). Baby steps.
Start with that kit, and keep it where you spend most of your time. Some small part should be on you just about always, or where you can get to it in a couple of minutes. You don't need to walk around wearing the Batman Belt 24/7 though. See how much you can get into one of those aluminum wallets (also $1), or into a waist cell phone pouch than won't look too goofy or "tacticool", while still getting the job done.

You can definitely go bigger, better, and more expensive.
But you'll have a tough time getting this much for this little.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Getting Set

Today we'll cover pre-requisites.

As plainly as I can state it: if you haven't taken, or will shortly at your soonest opportunity, at the barest minimum, the Red Cross Basic First Aid, CPR, and AED class, offered at 500 Red Cross chapters about every week from coast to coast - and even online in some cases - which is usually one stupid-easy Saturday or a couple of 4-hour weeknights for about $70-$100, giving you the barest basics on first aid, do not f**king bother me further. Go sit in Slobovia until you get serious.
You're an irredeemable poser until you cross that hurdle, which is about as hard as stepping over a toothpick.


While that's the barest minimum ante to play this game, what you should do is go beyond that.
Take at least the Wilderness and Remote First Aid class, and CPR For The Professional Rescuer.
The latter can also be obtained from the American Heart Association.
Sixteen hours for the first class, and one all-day for the second one.

And ideally, you should aim to find and take whatever your state's basic EMT class is, which is approximately 110 hours of field medical training (plus lab), and usually includes or requires CPR:Pro Rescuer.

I don't care if you take the local state test, or ever work in the field, you should have this class, and be able to demonstrate this level of knowledge and basic care. Period. If I were Emperor for a day, it would be impossible to graduate high school in this country or even get your GED without it, unless you were certified to have an IQ two standard deviations below the mean, went to the zoo a lot on the short bus, and could tell us what the windows on that bus tasted like. Everyone else, do the class, if you haven't already done so. (And if it was 20 years ago, and you don't keep up, get the text below, and bone up!)

Look for it from local community colleges, or extension training for same. It may also be offered privately. Ask around, and get the best course for the least money: they all have to meet basic federal minimum standards and guidelines.

Realistically, with a job and kids, it may be hard to knock out. Do it anyways.
I know active-duty military members who manage, despite multiple frequent deployments. So if they can do it, you can. Assuming you're serious.

If you can knock out paramedic school, nursing school, PA or medical school, or already have, well hot damn. Those are, as a rule, intended for people who plan to actually work in the biz, for money, for some period of time, but there's nothing wrong with the knowledge. I don't expect anyone would undertake them just for preparedness sake.

But I will tell you that starting out with something as basic as an advanced first aid or basic EMT class can lead to an unexpected career change. Ask me how I know.

And if you already had basic first aid in the military, or Boy Scouts, or whatever, or add things like wilderness EMT, ski patroller, lifeguard, dive medic, ad infinitum, good on you. All this stuff piles on, and there's no such thing as knowing too much. And there's no limit how far you can take this. But remember, for most of you, probably 99%, you just want to get as prepared in this area as you can be soon, not become a board-certified cardiac surgeon or emergency physician. EMT is where you want to start.

And for those of you who'll do the minimum to get by, and honestly really and truly can't afford the time, money, etc. to get more learning anytime soon the old-fashioned way, in a class, the acme text for any basic first responder who's aspiring to one day learn more is this one:
Emergency Care & Transportation Of the Sick and Injured, 10th Ed., Amer. Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons

AKA "The Orange Book" unsurprisingly, because it's orange, and even more unsurprisingly, tells you everything you need to know about emergency care and transportation of the sick and injured, and has been the standard best reference in the field for 40 years.
Get the student workbook too.
Brand spanking new for both, about $200. Used, significantly less. Caveat emptor.
Get a hard copy, not just the e-book (because books require only light, not power) and expect to refer to it again and again.

We'll talk about textbooks for your library later on (don't get ahead here), but that's enough for now.
Getting to know the Orange Book inside and out will take you anywhere from a couple of weeks, if you read like I do, to several months, once you add on practical hands-on applications, and you could do nothing further in life for the rest of your life but apply it, and do very well for more than 50% of all medical emergencies.

And as an added bonus, probably never get hopelessly caught stupid in an emergency.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Get Ready

Taking care of people is hard work. Hard mentally, and hard physically. If I was physically disabled, I'd be unemployed, unless I could leverage what I know into making a living. That would take years, assuming under the circumstances it was even an option.

So as people like John Mosby keep telling folks:
Do your daily PT.
Lose excess weight.
Build muscle.
And stamina.
Lift weights.
Do cardio.
Walk, run, and hike.
With loads. And up hills.
Longer and farther each week.
Eat right.
And not too much.
Ditch the junk food.
Get your rest.
Quit smoking.
Cut way the hell back on alcohol.
Take your vitamins.
Get a check-up.
Get your teeth fixed.
Take any prescriptions. Squirrel away a rainy day supply.
Get your eye prescriptions up to date, and get spares.

A day doesn't go by that I'm not moving patients, physically. And mine even come helpfully pre-deposited on a gurney most times. (There are the occasional ones who crumple in the lobby.) Think of the biggest person in your family, friends, group of Like-Minded Individuals, or among your co-workers. Whether you want 'em or not, those are your tribes, if crap happens and it's come as you are.

Now imagine moving that person when all the walk has gone out of them. A human body absent functional control is, on average, 100-300 pounds of hamburger, with the rigidity of Jell-O. Ask me how I know this. And if you're not up to the task, you can add a knot on their head or broken bones to their list of problems, when you drop them. You're supposed to be able to help them, and move them safely. Even if that means "assisting them to the floor" slowly and gently, versus doing an Ole' Catch, and watching them hit the deck. And bounce.

You won't be able to do that if you don't do the things on the "do" list above.
If you can't see because you need better glasses, or lost yours and don't have a spare pair, what good are you?
How well will you be able to help if you've got a splitting headache because you're more afraid of the dentist than you are of an abscessed tooth?

The work to learn medical care is hard, and the work of medical care is hard. And when you're dragging ass, beat down, and short on sleep, it's a special bonus of no fun.
Half-day shifts for those of us in the biz are the norm. Imagine how long you'll be on call after a tornado/hurricane/earthquake/etc. Physical stamina gives you an edge nothing else can provide. You can literally leverage health into better mental performance.
Not least of which because healthy people survive better in the first place, all things being equal.

And as studies have shown, if you're tired, you lose IQ points. And basic co-ordination sharpness and fine motor skills. Don't be the shaky stupid clodhopper trying to treat people. Military units, esp. combat units, do everything they can to baby the doc. It's basic common sense. Doc gets a little extra sleep, enough chow, and so on, he might have just that little bit extra reserve to pull your butt to safety when you're broken.

So figure out all the ways you're screwing that up, and get on fixing them.
(And don't kid yourself: you're screwing a lot of them up, probably pretty regularly.)
Make a list of what you should do, and keep doing, and do that.

You're no good to anyone if you can't function.

If you're in rough shape, or infirm, do any and everything in consultation with your doctor and their recommendations. You don't have to pass the Navy Seal Indoc PT test or any such. But you need a basic level of fitness.

You're either fit, or fat. There's no gray area. Nor levels of acceptable fluffiness.
This is your daily assignment for the rest of your life.
There will be a practical exam.
You don't know when that will be.

Weekly/Monthly/Annual quiz (self-graded):

What do you weigh?
What's your percentage of body fat?
What's your resting pulse rate?
What's your resting BP?
What's your Target Heart Rate during exercise, based on your age? (Hint: Look it up.)
How fast can you walk a mile?
How fast can you run a mile?
With a ruck/B.O.B.?
How much can you deadlift?
Can you drag a given load over rough ground?
How far?
How fast?
Can you do it with a notional human-sized 150# load, minimum?
Can you carry a 150# load for any distance at all?
If so, how far?
If not, how much can you carry?
How far?
Can you function afterwards for any of the above rather than becoming a casualty yourself?
How much have you improved/worsened since the last time you took this quiz?
What are you prepared to do about that?
Get on it.

Bonus Link: Heads up on how to go about it from Ryan: GMTA.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Aesop's College Of Medical Knowledge

I just finished over a year doing registry work all over SoCal. Last year was my 25th year in medical arts on purpose, my 20th year as an RN, and my 15th year in the ED. And despite that, I'm probably going to be forced by circumstances to continue my medical education.
And I finally have some free time for this, and for that.
So if I'm going to be tortured with more formal schooling, I'm dragging anyone listening along for the ride, not least of which because the best way to learn something is to teach it.

And blog boredom has overtaken me, so along with the other topics, it's probably time to download some of a fair lifetime-sized chunk of medical wisdom and experience.
I have a nagging feeling some of you out there are going to need it, and sooner rather than later. This isn't the first time I've done this here, and it won't be the last.
As a few dozen prior missives here would document.

So let's start with the Welcome To New Students.

For whatever reason, boredom, necessity, local or regional disaster, zombie apocalypse, fascination with the idea, or simply being the only one not all f**ked up by present circumstances, you're embarking on the care of others.

1) Thanks, from your patients and their significant others, if you do it right.
2) Woe unto you, from same, and their lawyers, if you don't.
3) Are you sure you're up to the task? Really sure??
4) Attendance at these lectures conveys no license to practice.
4a) Nota bene: Protestations contrary to #4 from anyone will be greeted with derision, and mocked mercilessly, including if called to testify in open court.
5) Actual attendance at certified institutions and passing actual examinations does.
6) Do 5, with all due haste and diligence.
7) You really sure you want to do this stuff?
8) Those of us in the field are not necessarily impressed, but we'll see how you do, and if you're still here after s**t gets real for you, we'll be much more impressed, and actually inclined to share and help you out. Pinky swear.
9) Nothing you've ever seen, anywhere, in any movie or TV, is probably anything like how it really is.
10) Your first homework assignment is to write #9 above in your head, 100 times, until you can repeat it from memory.
11) Sometimes, accidentally, it can come close. But by the time you can tell, you don't need anyone else to tell you when they're getting it right.

My intention is not to tell you everything. I don't know everything. There's neither the time, nor the room in my head, for all that. But what I do know, I know pretty damn well. I've been a first responder, EMT, registered nurse, medical instructor and educator, for pretty much half my life. That and five bucks gets me a large cup of whatever at Starbucks. I've worked with some pretty stellar physician assistants, physicians, and surgeons, and a whole lot of awesomely incredible nurses and medical techs. I have fought and bled to save people's lives, and gotten to the point that other people I respect think I know WTF I'm doing, most days and times. And that's worth more than 25 feet of diplomas and certificates. (I have those too. Big whoop.)
I am not a trauma surgeon, or a former 18D. But I promise you I've had my arms up to the elbows in more open chests of other people than you probably have, and curiously, at that point, no one usually asks you for your license and certifications.

Before we start, you may wish to reconsider bothering. Feel free to bypass these little features if you decide you don't need them, or simply don't care.
You would also do well to take a peek back in time and look up my prior offerings.
They are not graven on stone, but I think they'll help most reasonably intelligent people.
I am not infallible, and I have a far dimmer opinion of myself and my skills, based on actual experience, than anything you can pass along here, so if you think I have it all wrong, or I'm being too harsh about anything, I sincerely and humbly urge you to get over it.

That's all for now.
Get a good rest.
Lectures will be most every day, and weekly at minimum, because otherwise my procrastination-fu will probably keep me from ever getting this going, or continuing it.
Class starts tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Current College Grads = Functional Morons

It's far worse than you thought:
Nearly 10% of college graduates surveyed in a poll believe Judith Sheindlin, aka "Judge Judy," serves on the Supreme Court.
It also found that almost 60% of college graduates couldn't correctly identify a requirement for ratifying a constitutional amendment and 40% of college graduates didn't know that Congress has the power to declare war.
Additionally, the poll revealed that less than 50% of college graduates surveyed know that presidential impeachments are tried before the U.S. Senate.
         CNN link

Proof, if you needed it, that over 50% of college students shouldn't even be there, and that far more than 50% of college faculty (probably upwards of 80% outside the hard sciences) are incapable of educating anyone on anything, being functional morons themselves, albeit with advanced degrees.

This is stuff that a junior or senior in high school would have been expected to rattle off less than a generation ago, and information not unknown to any number of brighter middle school students.

Apparently, out of pity, they didn't administer the survey in question to actual tenured college faculty, at least not knowingly.

A college diploma has become the ultimate Participation Trophy in the educational Olympics. It got this way because for at least two generations, parents, students, alleged educators, and government busybodies have learned entirely the wrong lesson from the Scarecrow's tale in L. Frank Baum's beloved Wizard Of Oz.

The cost and benefit inflation that's invaded post-secondary education via Big Government has undeniably reached the point where the bubble has to burst; letting government pay for college has merely caused tuition to rise at orders of magnitude faster than outside inflation, saddling students with debt they'll never pay off in most cases, thus legalizing indentured servitude, and provided full employment for a generation of retarded hippies at thousands of unneeded and essentially worthless institutions of non-learning. And the difference between pay-for-play diploma mills and Harvard or Stanford is not really measurable with existing instrumentation. If you or anyone you know is college-bound despite these facts, at least plead with them to get their credits cut-rate, at the local community junior college "13th Grade", rather than buying them retail for upwards of $40K/year. There's no sense whatsoever in buying your BS gold-plated, at full mark-up.

Clearly, sheepskins from anywhere would be more valuable these days if they were printed on actual sheepskin. And the current ones, even from top colleges, would be more useful if they were printed on perforated sheets of Charmin.

But with these results, it's doubtful a plurality of college graduates know what to do with a roll of toilet paper if you handed it to them.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Revenant

After yesterday's thoroughly enjoyable flick experience, I was hoping to write another one today for this pic.
I was also hoping to win the Powerball and become a billionaire.
Both hopes turned out about the same.

Despite this being Leonardo DiCaprio, I hoped that he'd finally settled down to start making the movies I think he's probably capable of doing, with some years and seasoning under his belt. Evidently, he thinks he does his best work when near freezing to death.
He is mistaken, as was I.

Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's would-be epic tale of survival in the frozen frontier of early 1800's America (and after all, who better to helm such a story than someone from the frozen wilderness of...Mexico? WTF??) is Leo, and a thoroughly unmemorable cast of redshirts, who mainly die off in droves to add some sense of urgency to this Hollywoodized tale of life and brutality in the wilderness.

The villain, some forgettable piece of porkchop who in both the real life 1800s, and five minutes into the movie, would have been picking his teeth off of someone's rifle butt, plays his role as an unredeemable douchebag to the hilt, which is also how he finally goes out, albeit 2 hours too late to suit me. Surprising me not a whit, he has no notion of wound care lore from no harder to find mention than the biblical parable of the Good Samaritan, some 1800 years prior, but he does manage to drag God into his excuse for every shitty and villainous act he performs in the flick. Why the studio didn't just make him a child-molesting Catholic priest or a huckstering Protestant con man, and get it over with, is beyond me, but I'll bet someone in Tinseltown is kicking himself right this minute for not going there.

In fact, I've made no secret of the fact that in the utterly shitworthy flick Gravity, by 10 minutes into the movie at most, I was rooting for the debris to kill the entire cast. This movie is Gravity set in the Rockies in the early 1800s.

In true Hollywood fashion, the white men are all worthless, land-raping, Indian-hating, baby killers, while the native tribespeople are all just humble misunderstood noble savages, practicing sustainable living and low-impact low-carbon-footprint subsistence living in harmony with Mother Earth and Father Sky.

The token couple of decent white people are inept, while the Indians are ninja masters of stealth and Chris Kyle-esque archers, and the slob trappers only capable of laying around getting drunk, raping Indians and the wilderness, but bereft of such wilderness rudiments as map-reading, wayfinding, hunting for food, or basic care for injuries.

If he wasn't Leonardo DiCaprio, the Glass character would certainly have died from the collection of dogshit, buffalo chips, mud, piss, and other concoctions slathered on his wounds, sustained by a notable CGI-palooza of a grizzly bear attack, which underlines the salient point that .50BMG is not too much gun for such an encounter. Fortunately, when he's too weak to carry on, burning with fever from infected grizzly wounds after his mauling, and liable to die, his companions helpfully bump, bang, and clatter him all over hell and gone with naught but the bear's skinned hide to protect him from freezing temperatures. No one feeds him or gives him drink (they even leave a gaping hole in his throat to make such care impossible until he thoughtfully adds gunpowder wounds to the hole in his throat (because charred flesh always heals better than a clean cut, right?), but even after being abandoned by his companions (including the Villain - who could ever have seen that clever plot twist coming from Minute 5 of the movie? Okay, every swinging Richard in the theatre, we'll grant you... But Suspension of Disbelief, right? Right??) he helpfully crawls some miles on his belly, navigates down a 500 ft cliff, and then is helpfully revived by bouncing over rapids and rocks after a hasty immersion in 33-degree snowmelt to escape the avenging Indians.

Then he builds a wicked-clever textbook rock fishtrap, but has to resort to catching them with his hands instead of say, using a sharp pointy stick amidst lush forests, and eats them raw rather than slog the 10 feet to his campfire to cook them, because, fuck, I dunno...Gollum...??

Then, fat on trout or salmon, let alone motion picture craft service, he is forced to drag his raw-fish-eating ass to beg for food from a helpfully provided friendly Indian feasting on a convenient wolf-killed buffalo. Which same ravenous wolves somehow managed not to notice Leo's sleeping and injured ass 20 yards away. Evidently Leo didn't smell as bad in the wilderness as the writing does in this steaming pile.

Not to worry though, because after being the only effing one in the entire Great White North to know how to build a brush shelter during a blizzard, the friendly Indian gets whacked by more eeeeeeeeevil white men, the same ones who've kidnapped the Indian girl to serially rape for entertainment while trading with the Indians who killed the American white men because they were looking for the ones who stole the Indian woman who...oh, sweet suffering shit, White Men Bad, Red Men Noble, I get it! Quit beating the audience over the fucking head with that club in every scene, for fuck's sake!

Mind you, you can't take your eyes off the scenes. Because the director and the director of photography are co-conspirators in shoving the camera lens so far up the actor's asses you can see the lens fog when they fart. Apparently they only had 2 lenses, one a wide angle used to get panoramic shots of whereverinhell they shot the wilderness scenes, and one a 2000mm telephoto so they could show you the paramecium crawling on Leo's nose hairs in half the movie, during which he utters no actual dialogue more substantial than grunts of impotent and infirm rage and pain as he struggles to survive to the next page of script, while the audience struggles to find a reason for living.

By the end of this movie, the audience still awake has survived an ordeal far more grueling than anything seen on screen, and the entire cast is so one-dimensional and uninvolving you just want the Yellowstone Caldera to erupt and engulf them all in a well-deserved flaming apocalyptic conflagration.
Then the movie ends, and you wish the same fate would befall the entire chain of jackholes who inflicted this gargantuan pile of offal on the screen, as just punishment. And you envy the bear for being dead, and missing most of the whole saga.

I had hopes that this would be a worthy successor to iconic masterpiece movies like The Big Sky, Jeremiah Johnson, The Outlaw Josey Wales, or Dances With Wolves.
Alas, it is instead kin with movies like Barry Lyndon, Heaven's Gate, Ishtar, and Waterworld.
Maybe they should have just gone with it, and named it Plan 9 From Outer Montana.

Don't see this in the theatre. Don't watch it on cable. Don't even wait for the DVD/BD, or even catch it on Netflix. Buy it bootleg from China for 50 cents, or better yet, wait for it to be on sale in the bargain bin at BigLots! or the 99 Cent Store, and use the discs to make shiny hanging bird-scaring devices for your wife's herb garden.

I won't even go into everything wrong with this beyond that, save this brief catalog of howlers:

No one builds any fire not large enough to roast half a buffalo in; even the Schmohawk Indians here build monstrous huge White Man fires.

Savvy trappers mount no watch. Ever. And can't hunt or fish to save their lives.

Keep showing the map, but keep repeating that only Leo knows how to get us back home. Then, inexplicably, get back without his help.

No one has the slightest clue how to treat wounds, despite such lore, miles from the glories of 19th century medicine, being rather acutely needful on a daily basis.

Indian arrows fly flat and straight, and punch through flesh like crossbow bolts, hitting targets from beyond human sight.

There's no need, camping and trapping among savages, to do anything important like watch a perimeter, pre-load your gear, or do much besides laze around 5-ft tall campfires wondering where room service is.

No one, white or indian, can track even Leo's wounded dragging ass as he crawls along the ground for miles and days, but the indians can miraculously find the evil White Men time after time, apparently by trusting The Force, or using Indian GPS, or some other magical plot device, because Screenwriters.

The Indians will track down an encampment of fifty white men with guns in the middle of nowhere, but when just twenty white men set out to find Leo, the Indians are nowhere around, because Magic Torches.

Indian Strategy: If we just kill enough White men, we'll find the Missing Indian Maiden.

Leo Strategy: if I make it through 37 Unbelievable Ways To Die, I find the Indian Maiden (by accident, because Foreshadowing) and Help, and The Villain, because Screenwriting x Top Billing = Had To Happen, Given 2 1/2 Hours.

When you can't write anything believable, have your star gurgle and sputter and drool, because Method Acting. For Two Solid Hours.

White Man Bad, Red Man Noble. 100 times on the blackboard, lest ye forget. Despite the fact that at the time of Beethoven, railroads, and steamboats, the equivalent Indian civilization "deserved" the land, having successfully slaughtered, raped, and enslaved each other in an endless Stone Age cultural gang-bang going back to the first pre-Eskimoes to navigate across the Bering Sea in prehistory, unencumberd by anything closer than 10,000 years to equivalent Western culture. Because hysterical Historical Revisionism.

My rating: This movie left me totally cold.

And don't bitch to me about spoilers.
This POS was spoiled when it came out of the package.
All I did was give it a sniff.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

13 Hours

This is a damned good flick.

The last time you saw something done this well was Blackhawk Down by Ridley Scott (funny how most American military misadventures always seem to have a Clinton's sticky fingerprints somewhere around the body count).

Michael Bay avoids going completely over the top with effects, and restrains himself with making what is simply an outstanding men-under-fire study. Shot in Malta, which provides a great stand-in for Libya without any of the ISIS problems, it feels right and looks right. And former Seal/associate producer Harry Humphries kept things from going too Hollywood.

Bay doesn't pull any punches, but he also didn't trot out and club you to death with shots of HopeyDopey nodding off during his intel briefing, or Shrillary saying "F--- 'em!" in the WH Sit Room as our guys died, but he doesn't have to: characters noting that the Pentagon had the same video they had in real time, JSOC ninjas sitting on the ground in Italy, and American F-16s sitting idle on the ramp told a thousand words of that story with single pictures.

You won't see this one up for any Oscars next year, because it damns all the wrong sorts of people, and upholds all the right virtues.
But this 2 hours and 20 minutes of cinema will do as much to put the final nail into Shrillary's presidential aspirations as the multi-count indictments will.

Even aside from that, you should go see this movie for its own sake, because it's that good, and not just to rub Hollywood's nose in what it should have been doing onscreen for the last 20 years, by supporting movies that set liberal jackholes' teeth on edge. That'll just be icing on the cake.
Buying a ticket to see this one is like getting a coupon for one free hippie punch.

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Farce Awakens - Spoilerpalooza

I tried not to write this review, but there isn't enough Zofran in the world to contain the nausea this disasterpiece engenders.

1) I can be as geeky as the next ubergeeky person over the Star Wars franchise given sufficient provocation; at the tender age of (mumblemumble) I stood with my baby brother in a line that stretched around the entire theatre and down the block to see it when it opened, at the then-unheard of luxurious two-screen movie theatre in the 'burbs of Los Angeles. (It's a Crate & Barrel now). I probably saw it five times that spring/summer alone. It was pure unequalled iconic big-screen magic. I had the soundtrack album. Blah blah blah. My geek flag is at full mast, and my bona fides secure.
2) They had TEN EFFING YEARS to write and make this sequel; they had ONE job...
I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced. I feel something terrible has happened. 
My Review: It's an irredeemable piece of shit.
Pray, let me elucidate.

It has ample effects, two generations more advanced that the humble matte painting and rotoscoping of the original in 1977.
It is digitized and sound-rich beyond even George Lucas THX-fueled imagination.

But that's icing. And not nearly enough to save this mega-whale of craptacity, this hippopotamus of horseshit, this sub-continent of putrescence.

Because the original was a scrappy indie-feeling movie of gifted nobodies and solid professionals that captured lightning in a bottle, where story, craft, music, effects, locations, dialogue, and the Campbell-esque Journey Of The Hero combined to give the entire world a brand new widescreen epic story we'd known all our lives.

This outing looks like a herd of buffalo ate the original film, shat it out their ample haunches, trampled and pissed upon it, and then J.J. Abrams scraped it together and spliced it into something so horrible, the like hasn't been seen since, oops, actually since Star Trek: Into Dorkness circled the bowl a couple of short years ago.

This movie didn't pay homage to the original Star Wars, it aped it, except badly, classlessly, and with less talent everywhere on the call sheet.

We open with a silhouette of a giant Imperial cruiser swooping down on a helpless desert planet. (Those of you who remember the first Star Wars before they started numbering the crawls, stop me if you've seen this somewhere before...)
Then, we have the epitome of evil evilly slaughtering innocents in an epic evil mismatch. (Again, stop me if you've seen this somewhere before.)
Then Ultimate Evil Bad Guy storms onto the scene, looking for a droid carrying the Empire's secret plans for an All New, Even Bigger Death Star being smuggled to the rebellion.
(Stop me if you've seen this somewhere before.)
Then His Cosmic Badness throttles some petty redshirt bit player, and takes a captive aboard his ship to question. (I'll simply abbreviate this to "SMIYSTSB..." from here on out.)
Then we cut to said droid bopping along alone on said desert planet. SMIYSTSB.
It happenstantially blunders into a plucky but Force-strong bumpkin on said desert planet. SMIYSTSB.
Then, in a blinding leap to a new idea Denzel Washington Will Smith Chris Rock Martin Lawrence (oops, forgot Billie Dee Williams) Sumdoodyou'veneverfrickingheardofbefore decides to bail out of Whitey's Gestapo, because puppies, unicorns, and reasons, because ticking off plot points, and as luck would have it, needs the greatest starship pilot evah to escape the Imperial clutches. SMIYSTSB.
And then tens of thousands of trained troops armed to the teeth, and a starship the size of Florida are no match for their plucky escape from His Evil Badness. SMIYSTSB.
And they escape to the desert planet. While His Evil Badness vows to swoop down and reclaim his prey, and save the Empire from rebel scum. SMIYSTSB.
After bowing to Big Giant Head, deformed with the scars that only come from being the Evil Genius of the Dark Side. SMIYSTSB.

I could go on, endlessly (like the movie) stumbling from every exact scene stolen from the first three movies, and every script idea and plot point from the first three movies, and all done with less panache, originality, or necessity than the first three movies, but - exactly like this movie - to what end?

Then, inevitably, there are the gazillion "Everything Wrong With This Movie" stumbles, bumbles, and outright fuckups.

1) WTF? Doesn't anybody in the Empire First Order have a copy of where Darth and Palpatine went off the rails on a shelf somewhere?
2) The whole thing that made Darth Evil Incarnate was the black skull mask, which he only pulled off five seconds before he died, after a lead-in of THREE FUCKING MOVIES. This guy can't last 2 hours before whipping his off. Imagine seeing the entire shark in Jaws in every scene for an hour, rather than halfway through the movie. Or giving Anthony Perkins away in the opening shot of Psycho. Blistering fuck, someone send J.J. a screenwriting book or something.
3) While we're at it, the original took the imposing size of Anthony Prowse and the Ultimate Voice Of All Time to personify Vader. The guy in this flick looks like someone so goofy looking and unimposingly dorkish that Peter Jackson couldn't even find a part for him in Lord Of The Rings or The Hobbit. But if Andy Sirkis and Jerry Seinfeld ever had a gay test tube love child, this guy is it. Like the PC ersatz Blofeld in the last retchworthy Bond flick, this guy is out-eviled in the looks department by Mini-Me.
4) Luke and Leia wiped out the Emperor, reclaimed Darth, and wiped the Empire off the map. So WTF is it doing back, bigger and badder than ever?
5) HTF does Junior Vader have the ability to stop blaster energy bolts in midair and suspend people in the air with a wave of his Sith hand? Even Palpatine couldn't do that shit, and Vader had to resort to physically cracking necks from time to time. The only explanation that works is that the new Sith are 'roided up on synthetic mitichlorions or something.
6) It took Luke three movies, and training by Obi Wan and Yoda to become a full Jedi, but Plucky Orphan Chick can pull that shit off in less than half a movie? Calling BS there too.
7) The Empire stand-in just happens to build a convenient weak point into the New Mega-Death Ball? SMIYSTSB
That requires  ships to fly into it and blow up the core? SMIYSTSB
While a small rebel force infiltrates the shield generator on the surface? SMIYSTSB
Fuck me for noticing, but the only way to telegraph this from farther back than 1977 would have been if the entire crew of the damned thing was made up of Oompa Loompahs.
8) Seeing Karen Allen in the last Indiana Jones And The Temple Of What The Fuck is enough to make any male fan of the original movie turn gay, after one look at her in her senior-citizen prime. Merciful heavens, she was cute enough in the original movie, and Animal House, and Starman, to never ruin that by showing her to us trying to be an ingénue in Depends.
So what effing genius thought torturing Carrie Fisher into dropping 30 pounds just to drag her ancient ass onto the screen in this one was worth the effort?? I almost barfed out an entire bag of pocorn with that reveal in this flick. I remember where I saw Fisher looking like this: she was one of the mummies in the first Indiana Jones.
Shades of Cryptkeeper.
9) Harrison Ford clearly paid big bucks to get shanked like such a bitch in this flick. We haven't seen this monumental a betrayal of a character since Samuel Jackson took it in the pants in the prequels. But to get him out of any more of these outings, it was either this, or like Alec Guiness and Denholm Eliot, actually die to avoid the sequels.
Even at 70, Han still would've shot first, you effing pussy screenwriting wannabes.
Where is the real Captain Solo, and what have they done with him?

I'll stop there, with the prediction that the YouTube version of Everything Wrong With The Force Awakens In Five Minutes will be retitled Everything Wrong With The Force Awakens In One Hundred Thirty Six Minutes, and simply provide a link to the complete film online.

Abrams proved, with the reboot of Star Trek, that he could pull this kind of thing off, with a little magic, and a whole lot of lens flare.
With Star Trek: Into Dorkness and this festering pile of hog dung, he also proved that was a one-time fluke. There is no cinematic immunity for this level of crimes against humanity.
(And I'm 98% certain at this point that J.J. stands for Jar Jar.)

Please, someone, yank this franchise away from him, before he Sam Mendes' in his pants, and all over the entire franchise, and pay any price, bear any burden, to get the only guy in Hollywood to master sequels well enough to ace three tentpole franchise movies in a row: Peter Jackson. (Something that even Coppola couldn't do with Godfather movies.)

Or go get Joss Wheedon to do it, since we're never going to get anything more of Firefly out of him, and cross the streams of geekness between Browncoats and Star Wars groupies (like they aren't mostly the exact same people anyway). Hell, let him have fun with it: Mal, Zoe, Wash, Jayne, Kaylee, and the gang couldn't possibly have made any bigger hash of things than this POS did. And Ron Glass would make one hell of an updated Jedi Master.

The worst thing is that if you've never seen the earlier movies, you can't watch this movie.
And if you have seen the earlier movies, you can't watch this movie. Without screaming.

But now that they've made their pile off of us hopelessly gullibly optimistic fans, if you haven't seen it yet, don't. Proving that Disney's check for $6 B-b-b-b-billion has cleared, even Himself, George Lucas, creator of the whole shebang, and who knows raping his own franchise when he does it himself sees it, has called this thing out for the monumental douchiness it brings to life in living color. When Shakespeare tells you that your version of Hamlet sucks, it sucks.

There is one bright silver lining in this entire fiasco:
Seth Green and the wonderful folks at Robot Chicken will be able to make a living ripping the guts out of this one in Claymation genius for decades, just off this one atrocious misadventure.
Given the comedy gold of their prior work, that is no small consolation.

Like many of you, I'll still hope they somehow pull their heads out for the last two, but after seeing this one, I will hope that with about as much likelihood as I have of ever having James Cameron feature Sigourney Weaver and Michael Biehn awake from the hypersleep of Aliens, and say "Damn, I had the worst nightmares...!" and then pretend everything cinematically before then never happened.

Which was how I felt after I walked out of the theatre for this one.