Blackout Survival Tips

Thanks to global warming, increasingly inefficient air conditioners and the ineptitude of the power company, you can bet that every summer heat wave will bring you a fresh bout of blackouts, brownouts and the oft misunderstood white out. Be prepared and follow these tips the next time Consolidated Edison sends you on a trip back to the Stone Age.

1. You’ll need light, so be sure to have candles on hand. The best type are ones that come in a glass jar and have a picture of Pope John Paul II on them. Not only will they light your way, but John Paul’s smile will brighten your day.

2. Make sure to have some entertainment; board games are excellent for blackouts, because only then will you realize the folly of purchasing Operation or electronic Battleship.

3. A blackout can be a good opportunity to actually get to know your neighbors. Make sure that a lot of your neighbors are hot Eastern European girls.

4. Get a battery powered radio so you can listen to the latest news. If you don’t have a battery powered radio, now might be a good time to break out that Crystal Radio kit that’s been sitting in your closet since last Christmas.

5. If you do decide to loot, remember to loot a generator before you start stealing TV sets.

6. A flaming torch can often be more useful than a flashlight. Especially if you encounter creatures.

7. Five words; self warming, water-based lubricant. And plenty of it.

8. If you want to keep your beer cool, fill up the bathtub with that cold water you can’t shower in and put the beer in there. Did we mention you should find somewhere to get beer first?

9. Many people are nuts who don’t carry cash. Make sure you keep some extra bills around the house because those card swipers don’t work without power.

10. Work longer hours at your job in the part of town not affected by the power outage. They have air conditioning and internet and you’ll look like a really hard worker.

11. Whatever you do, don’t get angry! Be a quiet lamb who never complains about anything. This will help the non-responsive energy company get the job done at its own pace without your interruption.

12. If you live in an area affected by blackout, please remember to limit your power usage to only essentials such as thinking and nerve impulse transmission.

Please do not use the above tips in case of Apocalypse. Apocalypse is a rather different situation, though power problems may proceed the collapse of civilization. You will be able to tell the difference between an energy crisis and the Apocalypse by a 37% increase in death and disease, as well as the crowning of a three-legged koala with a diadem of nickel in the city between two hills in the week after two cousins marry a sea serpent with eyes made of very poisonous cherries.

Katie Stalin: Coast to Coast, Part VII

Katie Stalin

Tuscaloosa, AL – Okay, so it’s a college town and it’s all about football. The portrait of legendary coach Bear Bryant hangs everywhere, even in churches. Strange though, because I didn’t come to Tuscaloosa to see college football. I didn’t even come to see the fabulous coal barges of the Black Warrior River. There was only one reason I came here: to view the ancient, pre-Columbian Indian Mounds, the only monuments left of the once great Mississippi Delta civilization.

When I first got to town, I was really hungry. I had gotten a ride from this punk band The Desplicables, who had played an awesome show in Macon. Being a punk band though, they didn’t have any money or food, so I was forced to fend for myself. Luckily I found a Chippy’s Corn Dog Hut right near where The Desplicables had bidden me farewell.

So, I ordered a corndog with a side of curly fries and a grape soda . Right, pretty simple? Instead, this jerk behind the counter gives me these weird seasoned fries that aren’t curly or anything. And when I tell him I want curly fries, this jack off tells me that they’re “out of curly fries.” Then the manager comes over.

In the end, the manager apparently needed six stitches from where I hit him with the bottle. And the counter jerk said his dad is going to sue me to cover his medical bills or something. Some people are so uptight. Like the police for instance.

They told me not to leave town for a while, but c’mon guys, I have a whole country to explore and I’ve got to head out. See ya’ll next time.

Katie Stalin: Coast to Coast, Part VI

Katie Stalin

Mobile, AL – Fenster McDougherty was born with fifty percent more brain matter than the average human. That was good enough to make me come calling. On the bus I tried to do some research on his condition, but got lost in the Reader’s Digest joke section. Can’t believe that’s not more popular. I also found that buses now have those little air conditioning nozzles like airplanes, but the graffiti in the bathrooms is still violently racist.

In Mobile it wasn’t too hard to find Fenster because his mother, Frances McDougherty works at the bus station. I introduced myself and the lovely woman asked me to wait an hour until she got off her shift handing out religious tracts to passersby. I helped out by taking a handful of Buddha Kind of Likes You and another handful of Shooting Skeet the Middle Way and giving them away.

When Mrs. McDougherty bundled me into her car, I was so excited to meet Fenster. I imagined he must love his hometown so much to stay here when someone who must be so smart could be off studying loop quantum gravity at Harvard. He must, I thought, be helping to improve Mobile in so many ways.

Frances, as she asked me to call her, showed me into their back yard, some cool lemonade in hand. And there he was: drool pouring out of his mouth, his feet twitching and occasionally repeating something about Marmaduke. Frances told me later that the extra brain matter caused damage to his normal functioning. He shows no savant tendencies, though he loves the Buddha so much that he occasionally makes up his own koans, such as this one:

Disobedient, Marmaduke obeys Mr. Winslow.

Winding my way north today. Toodles!