Haiti, before the earthquake, was a Third World toilet and even after the outpouring of aid will continue to be a Third World toilet. Truly, if the world is so moved by the plight of the Haitian people why weren’t they as concerned when they were suffering before the earthquake? Why? Because, at the moment ‘The earthquake in Haiti’ will be the trendy thing to be concerned over. Remember the whole ‘We Are The World’ nonsense back in the 80’s?
I’m more interested, naturally, in what happens in terms of social dynamics and infrastructure. What sort of problems arise, how are various problems overcome, etc, etc. And, of course, it makes one think of how they’d fare in such a situation.
Montana isn’t the most geologically stable place on the map. Sure, we’re not built on terrestrial Jello like California, but we’ve been known to shimmy a bit from time to time. Just recently there was a quake around 4.1 not all that far from here. The Californians among us will chuckle and say that they don’t get out of bed for anything less than a 5. I think a 7.3 is probably about the worst we’ve had since folks started keeping track of this stuff here. Montana, being fairly sparse in terms of population, didn’t suffer too much…a road was closed, a new lake was formed, and 28 people died, including a few campers when a boulder landed on their tent. But, as people like to point out, once the superubermegadeluxevolcano in Yellowstone goes all of Montana will be deposited into the atmosphere and we’re all doomed. I don’t believe that, but that’s what the doomists say.
Montana, being 14 times bigger than Haiti and about 1/10th the population would probably fare just fine. Rather than deal with bad water, unsanitary conditions, lack of food, no power and that sort of thing, some of us would simply get in our trucks and drive a couple hours out of the affected area. After all, the number one rule of surviving a disaster is….dont be there. If we did have to stay for a few days for the roads to get cleared, or if we just decided to stay because we’re contrary bastards, we’d do pretty well, assuming we had access to our gear and supplies. Even in midwinter we’d still be able to provide heat, light and cooking for at least a week or two. Plenty of drinking water and the filtration to make more. More food than we could possibly need for such an emergency. Plenty of first aid gear. Bedding, blankets, tents and clothes. And personal protection on an absurd level.
Come to think of it, I think we have enough gear, ammo, guns, food and water to, were we there, effectively become the new government.
Speaking of not starving to death, in the immortal words of Leeroy Jenkins “at least I have chicken.” Remember that case of chicken I was oohing and ahhing over at CostCo? Yeah. That thing is sitting in the deep freeze as we speak. A total of 54 sealed packages of chicken, two chicken breasts per pack. Total weight, approx. 63#. That should last us a nice while. Into the summer most likely. Its not like we have chicken every day. But we’ll be in a position now that, should things get a little tight or bizarre, we’ve got yummy animal protein just a few footsteps away from the stove.
Gotta pick up an equal amount of pork and beef and then, by Crom, I’ll be a happy little camper. At least, until the power goes out and I have to can all of that but even then it still beats starving like the Haitians.
Hey, speaking of food, here’s some weirdness. The missus and I were in WallyWorld getting some groceries and there was a curiosity in the dairy case. Grabbing a quart of milk, the expiration date (or ‘best by’ date if you prefer) is around Jan. 27. About two weeks. Okay, that makes sense. Look over at the Darigold milk. Same thing – one quart, whole milk. Expiration? March something or other. WTF? First thought was that it was a mistake on their part in the dating process. But, no, it was consistent across the board. Why was the Darigold milk clocking in at over a month longer shelf life than the other brands?
A quick trip to Google provides. It seems that if one looks closely, you’ll see the Darigold is labeled as ‘super-pasteurized’ or somesuch. Essentially, they use the UHT process of pasteurization. Whats that mean? Go look it up on wiki. The practical upshot is that the unopened container will keep for a lot longer than a similar container of the regularly pasteurized stuff. However, and this is a big caveat, once the container is opened the milk goes bad at the same rate as the regular stuff. So, it’ll keep unopened in the fridge for quite a while but once you crack it open you gotta use it up as fast as you would regular milk.
Wheres the advantage? Well, for me, I only use milk on cornflakes and a little bit in cooking. So its entirely possible I can buy a quart of milk but not use it for a couple weeks. For me, this is a good choice. If you’ve got three kids and go through a couple gallons a day, no real benefit.
The more savvy of you out there will recognize this as the claim to fame of the Parmalat milk products and indeed UHT is the process that is used by Parm. I’ll be contacting Darigold Monday to ask them some more questions about this.