Posted in Interviews

Interview – Jack Spirko

Let me first start out by saying if it was not for Jack Spirko there would not be an, I would probably not have three books or have made so many friends around the world that have come from this blog and my writing.   I had one book, Scouts Out, and it was sitting in my computer going against  Issac Asimov’s advice “you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer”.   I had started to listen to The Survival Podcast  mistakenly doing research into teaching Wilderness Survival to my Boy Scouts and was pulled into Jack Spirko’s orbit and was soon  listening every day (Since early 2010). 

2012, mowing my grass in my back yard and Jack was talking about building a website and paying to get your own domain name.  An idea strikes me, since my book is not doing anything else why not put it on a website at least then it would be out there in the world (attempts to get it published failed).   So I put the book out in by chapters and NO ONE reads it.  But now I  like this trying thing.  The reason I put out quotes every Tuesday and Thursday was because of Jack expounding consistency and new content (that and I love quotes, I had been collecting them in several Word Documents for years).

I start researching self publishing and do that as well, I get a minimum amount of sales, but this encourages me just enough to finish a second book, Q Runner, then Disconnect  and eventually, hopefully, soon a 4th. The reason I charged more for my book Disconnect then the first two was because of Jack talking about pricing of products.

By now I am hooked on trying, or taking a chance.    Flash forward to 2017, I have a side hustle (doing freelance travel/history articles) which pays a little bit, which is more than I had before, while doing something I love.   

Thanks Jack.  

Jack answered these questions sometime in the midst of his travels and being the Keynote Speaker at Liberty Forum in New Hampshire.   So I am even more appreciative of the work put into this while he was so busy.   

   French fries- Shoestring, steak, curly, crinkle cut..?   What condiment(s) on them?

             Since I attempt to keep my carb load very low and live on a mostly primal/paleo diet, I don’t eat fries often.  When I do I generally make my own and do a twice fried Japanese Purple Sweet Potato.  These potatoes are actually white fleshed with purple skins.  Twice frying them gets them puffy and crispy.  For a condiment we blend fermented Korean Chili Paste with home made mayo.  If something is going to be a treat you should do it right.

        How long have you been creating  and why?(and I consider being an  entrepreneur a creator) 

    I am most known as the host of The Survival Podcast and we will have our 10th year anniversary in June of 2018.  As to being an entrepreneur and creating anything from content to product, I’d say that goes back to at least my early teens.  As to why, I really believe that some people are just wired with entrepreneurial DNA.  It is not in our nature to conform to societies rules.  IE – “Go to school, get a real job, work hard, save for retirement in a 401K, etc.”  I actually have occasional nightmares where I am working a j-o-b.  I don’t wake up in terror or anything but in the dream I will end up thinking, how the hell did this happen, why am I here?  Fortunately at that point I tend to realize it is a dream and wake up.

     What odor to you is the most pleasant?

            Tomato plants growing with basil, in a garden, on a warm day, when they get hit with the spray of a hose.  In that moment I am 12 year old Jack Spirko in my Grandfather’s Garden for a few seconds.  I am also quite fond of the smell of burnt gun powder on a cold morning in the deer woods. 

      Favorite things to read?  What genre?

     Nonfiction, about whatever my current projects and interests are.  Specialization is for insects.

       A boat you are riding in is about to capsize what did you do to contribute to this?

       I was probably driving.

            What is the best thing about creating?

  Just that, creating itself.  Most people react and consume.  Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a bad thing, we need those folks, if no one consumed and reacted, creators would be bored and have no motivation.  But when I look at a product, a company or a podcast episode that will live past me and impact lives, I realize that creation is a power.  It is a power that can be used like any power for good or evil.  Finding something you can create that does good for the world is truly finding the path you were born to walk.  When you are on such a path your life is exciting, joyful and you feel unstoppable.  Don’t get me wrong there are still challenges, bad days, sad times, etc. you just find yourself more resilient in them, you have less of them and you have mostly great hard charging days.  In fact when I am having a shitty day, the fastest way out of it is to write an article, start recording a podcast, make a video or working on a business plan.  It is like an instant acting drug and it probably is addictive, but it is an addiction, that unlike others we should cultivate. 

    How much ground can a ground hog, hog, if a ground hog could hog ground?

    You will have to ask the ground hog, I don’t speak for others, man nor beast.  What I can say about ground hogs is they are actually quite tasty and the best round to hunt them with is the 22-250 Remington.

      What is the worst thing about being a creative personality?

   Your friends list is going to be small.  Not the people you would consider loose friends, but the people you actually want to hang out with for a full day or go off on some adventure with for a few days.  The people who not only have your cell number but know they can pick up the phone and call you at any time. That even though you are the guy that NEVER answers his phone; you will answer for them and be there for what ever they need.  This in of itself isn’t bad, I think more people should have shorter friends lists, or do a better job of defining the word at least.  However, what I mean is, you are not going to fit in well with non-creative types, like not at all.

Again I am not putting anyone down but the average person constantly uses what I call a “language of limitation”.  Can’t, won’t and if are their favorite words, with phrases like “someday may be”, “it would be great” and “I just wish I could” linking them together.  To listen to this when you are creator is like a small torture.  Look, again I am NOT putting anyone down, the problem isn’t that you have to hear it, it is that in general you feel for these people but until they are ready to make a shift in life instead of excuses you can’t help them. 

It is simply that as creators we use phrases like, “how can I get this to happen” or “what if we try  ________” and we use them constantly.  If you think this way you are only going to be happy spending time with people in general that do the same.  When you find such people though there is an instant kindredship and brother/sisterhood that is hard to explain.  As you talk to such people you inevitably find out your pasts are so similar it is kind of spooky.  Recently for example I found that one such of my friends actually lived less than a mile from me many years ago, and it is quite likely that when working as a bouncer, I may have thrown him out of a local bar, perhaps even more than once.  We have been close friends now for a few years but just discovered this.

So you are going to struggle to fit in at times.  You are going to be in groups and just feel like a doctor surrounded by cancer patients while you are holding a bottle of pills that can instantly cure cancer but no one will take one from you!  I am absolutely serious about that, but the solid relationships you do build more than make up for it.

    If you could force one famous person to consume your podcast who would you force, and how much would you force them to consume?

  Well first, I don’t use force in any way other than in self-defense or the direct defense of others.  So I’d never force anyone to listen to anything.  However if I could convince one person to listen to my message it would be whoever is the current sitting President of the United States at the time.  I am anti political, so the answer would never change, don’t care if it is Obama or Trump or whoever is next.  The U.S. President has so much power to use force on so many people in the world and it is that ear, no matters who’s head it is attached to that I wish would hear more voices, any voices of those who crave a world where voluntary association is prized above all other things.

     How far do you hope pod-casting takes you?  A million subscribers?   

  Where ever it leads I will follow and be grateful.  When I had 10,000 subscribers I was often advised to “build a bigger tent” by people who didn’t podcast by the way.  To be broader with my message and philosophy so I could be “more successful”.  At that time I said, “I would rather have 10,000 people that love my message for its honesty and actually act on it than have 1 million that just listen”.  Since that time my audience has grown 15 fold, but I still feel the same way.  I don’t really care how far what I am doing takes me, and I am serious about that.

I could lose everything tomorrow and could do something as simple as start a pool cleaning business and make six figures doing it with say one part time helper.  So I am going to be okay and I know that.  So what I really care about is how far what I am doing pushes others.  I have to make money, we all do, it is how the economy works.  But my big pay days are always the emails from listeners telling me about the business they built, the debt they eliminated, the homesteads they have established.  Or say their political walks to agorism, libertarianism and voluntarism.  Every day I get such an email is a really good day, and I would say I get one a few times a week.  

So if I get to a point where I get one such email a day, I would have to put that in the win column!  At that point, barring personal tragedy, every day is going to be a really good day.  How many people can honestly say they have that to look forward to?  So if there is any metric, that I gauge my success by it is how many people I influence to find more liberty in their lives though personal action.

These are probably the longest answers I have ever received to my questions and my favorite was about being addicted to creating (which is the way I feel about writing now).  

I would also like to say that Jack has been kind to me before, reading one of my stories on his podcast, America’s Big Game and then allowing me reading my own story, We Need a Monster on his podcast.  

What is the The Survival Podcast about?  It is about preparedness for when things go wrong, and let’s face it something will go wrong it your life, the loss of a job, the death of a significant person in your life and local natural disasters.  The Survival Podcast is also about eating good food, and taking care of yourself and others,  the state of the world today thru a non violent libertarian view point, raising livestock (bees, chickens, ducks…), and building things into your life to give you peace of mind.   What The Survival Podcast is not about, giving into fear and anxiety, it is not about black helicopters and tin foil hats, and it is not about political parties (except when discussing how the try and divide people and keep us fighting each other). Here is a great example of his show.  

Just to prove how big and influence Jack has been on me, his name is listed on Influenced By  and I used his first name as the name of a character in The Genie and the Libertarian.

If you know have listened to The Survival Podcast for any length of time then you know who Steven Harris is,  he was interviewed about a week before Jack, his interview is here.

Next week Gavin Aung Thung, the New York Times Best Selling Cartoonist and creator of Zen Pencils.

Posted in Ameica's Big Game, My Views On The Real World



Everyone, her friends, her parents even people on the street were all taking about why their car was better than someone else’s.  Betty decided it was time to go shopping so she did what everyone else did and went to the dealership.  They sold the two major brands ,the brand her parents always drove and brand that her friends wanted.

“I could tell by the way you came in here you want to make or keep this country great am I right?”

“I just came in here to look.” Betty said.  The salesman looked perfect, blue suit, flawless hair,  red tie knotted precisely and a smile that matched his perfect white shirt.

“Very wise but you want a car that is great like this country, dependable but bold, tough and smart. Do you want to buy or lease?”

“Well I don’t want to be tied to something forever so just a lease, maybe like four years.”

The salesman continued smiling. “Of course, but with the option to renew for another four years. Once you commit to four years it will be hard to change.”

Betty looked around the showroom. “How come the only cars here are either red or blue?”

Smiling he showed those sparkling teeth. “Red and blue are the most popular colors and we give America what America wants.”

“Do you sell other colors, maybe green or yellow?”

“Of course we could but we really suggest either red or blue, it is much easier to get body work done and other colors are more likely to get stolen. I am sure you have heard the phrase ‘the tallest nail gets hammered first’  well by selling only red or blue cars we are protecting our customers.”

“I guess that makes sense.”  She strolled between two cars which were  both on elevated platforms with the salesman at her elbow.  “I can’t really get a good look at the cars from down here.”

“But you can see their great profiles while looking up at them, let me show you the brochures, which one do you want to look at first, blue or red.”

Betty shrugged.  “Red I guess.”

“Great choice a very impressive model this year.”  Pulling out a glossy brochure he handed it to her.

Looking over the brochure she asked.  “Does this car really get a hundred miles to the gallon?”

“It depends on your driving habits if you are a lead foot in the city then you mileage may vary, but look at this,” he said flipping the page to a picture of the the trunk.  “isn’t that impressive, you could probably get seven suitcases in there.”

Betty nodded it was a huge trunk.  Glancing at the remaining pages she turned to the last page and as if on cue the salesman asked. “So what do you think can you see yourself showing this off to all your friends?”

“Well maybe, but I should shop around, what are the features on the blue car.”

“An awesome selection it is a very impressive model this year.”  The brochure was produced and at the same time he relieved her of the first, flipping to a page seemingly at random he pointed out a feature.  “This car’s interior is made with sustainably produced fabrics that have a zero percent emissions rating in the shipment to the market.”

Betty looked at the stats but not knowing what he meant.  Although the cars looked different and  were different brands it seemed to her that the cars were basically the same. “Can I see the brochure for the red car again?”

The salesman continued smiling and deftly produced the brochure again, but this time he presented it to her open which forced her give the blue one back to him.

The facts seemed clear but not quite.  “Can I look at both of the brochures together?”

His smile faltered slightly. “Sure.”

Betty held both and flipped thru them together.  “It says the blue car has 30 cubic feet interior space but the red car has 17 cubic feet in the front and 13 cubic feet in the rear. Isn’t that the same amount of space?  They are both four door sedans after all.”

The salesman answered as if he got asked this question all the time. “You are very observant.” Then he winked. “Yes they are both sedans, with the same basic layout but   with key differences. One has 30 cubic feet overall that is in total space and the other has 13 cubic feet in the passenger area but  4 more cubic feet in the front seating area.”  Still smiling.  “I can see you are very astute. Are you interested in a leather interior?”

Betty shook her head realizing what he had said did not make any sense. She closed the brochures  and noticed a logo on both brochures. “Are both these car manufactured by Omni Consumer Products?”

The salesman winked again at her. “No they are manufactured by different companies, both with different but similar manufacturing processes.”  Then he pointed towards the blue car.  “This design team spent hundreds of hours on the greatest luxury car of all time,”  he shifted his body to now block the blue car while pointing towards the red car. “Their design team polled countless people to determine what people want and created the most supreme luxury car of all time.”

Betty nodded and then stepped around the salesman and began to walk around both cars.  “What if I wanted something totally different from these two cars?”

“I know what you want.” Snapping his fingers. “A convertible, well we have a crimson model and a sapphire one right on the other side of showroom, you are going to love one of them.”

Betty shook her head.  “I don’t think you understood me what if I did not want a car made by Omni Consumer Products?”

“These are the best the country has to offer.”  He said smiling.

Betty folded her arms “But in the end Omni Consumer Products makes money no matter how the car performs; good or bad.”

He still smiled but anxiously. “So what color convertible would you like?  The sparkling sapphire would match your eyes perfectly or maybe the crimson one, it is a real racy number.”

Betty turned her back an looked out the window and noticed something across the street a much smaller dealership, this one had yellow, green and even purple cars. “What about those cars?”

“Them.”  He waved disdainfully. “A bunch of nuts.”

Betty regarded him and he chuckled. “They can’t advertise as much because they don’t have our budget.  Secondarily our maintenance department  promises everything you could ever want. We take care of everything from start to finish. All they do is give you manual and make suggestions.”

“What is wrong with that?”

“Our machines are complex, checking the air pressure in a tire is a multiple step procedure, steps most Americans don’t want to do, let alone understand.”  Stepping in front of the window he blocked  the view. “What do I have to do to put you in a  convertible?”

Betty shook her head  moved towards the door but he casually slid in front of her again. “Do you know anyone that has ever driven one of their cars?  Everyone you know drives one of ours.”

Betty stepped around him and started walking.  She heard him yell as she left the showroom. “These are the best our country has to offer.”


Also in the political areana We Need a Monster and  America’s Big Game.  

Here is the my reading of the story which will be sent into The Survival Podcast. 

Posted in Ameica's Big Game, My Views On The Real World

We Need a Monster


“We need our own monster.”

The older man nodded thoughtfully. 

“But just a monster that protects the perimeter of our farm, and he should be restrained at all times.” 

The older man just nodded thoughtfully and rocked in his chair. 

“So it is agreed we get our own monster, but with strong chains, and we don’t feed him much so he won’t get very big and we keep him along the edge of the property.”

Several weeks later they had their monster.   The younger man claimed this was a brand new type of monster, not like one all their neighbors had, this one was more obedient,  would only go after the pests and nuisances that the monster was instructed too.

One evening while sitting on the porch the old man watched the monster chase a pest all the way up to the barn, he pointed out that the monster was off his chain.

“Yeah I know the chain slowed him down too much, but look he went right back to where he needed to be, I don’t think we need the chain on him all the time, maybe just when we go to bed at night. “

Several weeks later the older man mentioned that the monster was getting a little bigger. 

“Well he was a little slow just on what he could forage and those pests on the western side of the garden were keeping the crops from growing, so I upped his food,  now instead of him foraging all the time he can deal with those annoyances.”

The older man squinted his eyes and looked at the western edge of the property straining to see the problem.  Sure there were problems out there but with the proper fencing and such it would sort itself out he thought.  But the younger fellow seemed so eager to have get a handle it he let him use the monster the way he saw fit.

The harvest season came and the homestead was blessed with an abundance.  The old man came out in the morning and saw that the younger man had the monster harnessed to the wagon as if to pull it to town.  

“I figured that the monster could take the wagon into town, everyone would see how big and scary he is and he would not just be out here lurking around doing one thing.” 

The older man reminded him that the horses  had always done just fine pulling the the wagon before.

“Oh they could use the day off besides the monster can pull just as much as them. “

The old man watched his young partner go off into town and slowly shook his head. 

Winter came and one bitterly cold morning the old man walked into the barn and found the young man feeding the monster in the barn well the old man frowned and pointed for the monster to leave which the monster did but he did not go too far away, not all the way to the edge of the property as he had been trained to do. 

The younger men pled his case.  “It is silly for our monster to be out in the cold, all our livestock are in the barn for the winter if the monster is outside and they are in here he might as well be in here too protecting them. 

The old man was adamant that the proper place for the monster was along the perimeter watching over things and if he was in the barn he would start eating the food of their livestock instead of foraging for himself as he was supposed to, the old man was adamant and enforced the rule as much as he could but he often found tracks were the monster had come into the barn. 

Then the older man broke his leg just as they were beginning the spring planting and was confined to his bed for several weeks.  The older man now got around much slower on crutches and that is when he discovered the monster had grown considerably.  He also realized the young man had gotten rid of the horses and was using the monster for all the chores around the farm.   

The summer passed and the old man noted that the farm was running efficiently but the monster seemed to be growing more and more.  He also  took stock of the fields and it looked like their harvest was not going to be as good as last year because something was eating the plants in their early stages, he pointed this out to the younger man. 

“Well you see when I started having the monster doing all those extra chores he would get hungrier and now I have feed him but he just seems to be hungry all the time now.”  The young man said nervously.

The old man glared at the young man but inwardly he was angry with himself too. 

Early the next day the old man spoke.   “We needed a monster.  We still need a monster.”   “But we” he motioned to the young man and himself. “We grew lax.  We came to depend on it for too much.  The steps toward this problem were both slow and gradual but with each concession to the rules the monster grew.  Now in order to reign it in it is going to be both difficult and dangerous.  Difficult because we have gotten lazy letting the monster do things that we should have been doing.  Dangerous because it has grown so big and now it is used to doing whatever it want when it wants.” 

The younger man nodded thoughtfully rolled up his sleeves and they went out together to deal with the monster. 


Artwork at the top of the page is from Mr. Arthur Adams a great artist.

This article was written for Libertarians and Pacifistic Anarchists to share with people to make them think.  Just please give me credit or a link back to my site. 

Here is me reading it.  

If you liked this you might want to read Americas Big Game (good for any election cycle).  Or Salesmanship

If you like my reading voice check out my audio book Scouts Out the Podcast or if you want to investigate the Outfitters Universe here is a short story set in the Outfitters Universe, That Was Then This Is Now.

This story was broadcast on The Survival Podcast on 7/7/2016 at about the 1:08:30 mark.  I am quite honored that the host, Jack Spirko, played it on the same day he played clips from the movie John Adams from HBO, both John Adams words  urging the vote for Treason/Rebellion/Independence and the reading of the Declaration of Independence. 



Posted in My Views On The Real World

Path to a Podcast

I found the podcast medium sometime around 2009, originally I listened to Glenn Beck’s show because I could not hear it during his normal broadcast time.  But then he started charging, and after a little while I started looking around the podcast world for free things and stopped paying for Glenn Beck’s show (my agreement with most of his views changed too).

Probably the first free thing I found was Stuff You Should Know, a show trying to explain everything in the world, everything from Tupperware, particle physics, to the Muppets and earwax.   I highly recommend this show if you like amassing knowledge about the entire world, it’s sister podcast Stuff You Missed In History is equally stimulating.

I subscribe to a variety of podcasts from Jack Spirko’s The Survival Podcast, Penn’s Sunday School, numerous NPR productions, and a variety of shows about writing and science fiction.  But probably the premier podcast that inspires my creativity is Kevin Smith’s Fatman on Batman.   Kevin interviews people that have created and brought to life Batman through the animated series, comic books,  video games, movies and even the 1960’s television show.   These people tell stories about creativity, their processes and sometimes failures. fatman on batman

What really made me think about turning my story Scouts Out into a podcast was Space Casey, which is a great humorous story about a space faring con woman, named Casey.   The creator is Christiana Ellis who has also written a follow up story to Space Casey and Nina Kimberly the Merciless a comic fantasy.

I don’t know if Space Casey has increased the sales of her books, but I know I enjoy the stories and look forward to her stuff.

It was Kevin Smith during one of his shows who discussed the fact that there are no gatekeepers in the new media, no one keeping anyone from putting their stories and ideas out into the big wide world.   No one saying “No” we will not publish your book, or let your show be broadcast.   At the same time no one saying “hey bud, you story kinda sucks, maybe you should work on it more.”  The Internet is truly a free market that lets  producers meet at a unrestricted marketplace with consumers.

So I decided to create a podcast of my first book, Scouts Out, how hard could it be.

Oh if had only known.

Reading up on how to do it seemed simple enough, get a microphone, some software, a headset, then you recorded your stuff, put it on the web and then transfer it to ITunes and see what happens.

Reading about podcasting has been the easiest part of this process.  When I finally decided to do this I got some unexpected but wonderful allies, my very good friends Dawn and Gary.  They invited me down to their home; after Dawn gave me some fantastic input and great editing she read the introduction and closing, and then they  created the theme music.  After all the work they put into it I could not give up on this project if I wanted, to throw away their wonderful work would be disrespectful to my friends.

After traveling back home I wrestled with putting the theme music and introduction together and starting the first episodes. That was a struggle. It was then I learned just how hard it is to read out loud perfectly, or even relatively well.  (I also began to understand more of the flaws in my writing.)

It was at this point I reached out to Jack Spirko at the Survival Podcast about some possible helpful hints about podcasting.  I was maybe a little sensitive about his response (I will let you be the judge, by reading for yourself).  Although I did get some helpful responses from some other people on the forum.

One thing I did not share was with Mr. Spirko was my lack of funds for a new cover art for the book and the podcast.  Honestly the first cover art for the book stunk, it was boring (see the bottom of the article for a side by side comparison).  Not through any fault of the artist, Graham Kennedy, he did exactly what I asked, his subsequent work for me has gotten better and better by giving him more free reign once I give him a direction.  I have had to save up my funds slowly, meanwhile other things kept popping up that did not allow me to throw more funds toward the new cover art.   Then I found out I had to upgrade my website to allow posting of the podcast to the site and eventually to ITunes.  The cost is not substantial but it was not anticipated.

Once I started recording and putting episodes together (upon it’s release I have 11 ready to go)  I did a little research on professional audio book productions.  Statements from professional voice actors give the time input into a book as about three hours to get one usable hour of material, of course that is working in a full professional setting with a sound engineer.  My ratio has been a little steeper than that, I am guessing that to create a 30 minute episode it takes me about six to seven hours.  This includes, reading my story a few times,  recording my reading then editing it (it has made me very immune to the awful feeling most people get when hearing their own voice)  for mispronunciations, coughs, flubs, stutters and stammers, then putting in the theme music and the music breaks between chapters.

My original intent was to create ten episodes giving myself a cushion, I did this before I took into account how much money I had to save in order to redo the cover art and upgrading my website.  I created the episodes while building funds and as soon as I got enough money paid for the cover art, then upgraded the website, and ta da a podcast is created.


What I have learned:

Like most Do It Yourself Projects it has taken longer than anticipated and cost more than I thought.  (I originally told Dawn and Gary I thought I would have it out by the end of February, that is so funny now.)

A lot goes into the podcasts that I love. Jack Spirko of the Survival Podcast makes it look easy, as far as I can figure he works alone and does all his own engineering and puts out an episode five days a week, including interviews of people not co-located with him. He speaks off the top of his head with maybe a rough outline of the subject, I would say his delivery is as good as any nationally syndicated talk show host with less support.  Jack Spirko was also a major influence in getting me off my duff and getting my books out into the world first with my blog, then self publishing at Smashwords.

thesurvival podcast

My podcast is more like an audio book than most of the other podcasts I have mentioned, even Space Casey is more of an audio drama with multiple voices and sound effects.   Most similar to my efforts is Escape Pod which has different short science fiction stories being read by talented people, although I think a Master Storyteller is Stephen Toblosky (The Tobolosky Files)  who tells stories about his life, his loves and his experiences in the film and television industry.

My intent with the podcast is expose my stories to a wider audience, to hopefully sell more books. I hope you try my podcast, if you like it subscribe, if you enjoy it write a review, if you want to know about the rest of the stories in the Outfitters Universe buy the books.  I plan on having another book in the Outfitters Universe out this winter, with the crew of the Long Range Recon Ship the Arrogant Lion playing a major part in the intergalactic war.

A.A. Forringer


The Old Cover to Scouts Out (Most people agree, pretty boring)

Scouts Out- New
The New Cover to Scouts Out, much better.