Seventy-two hour kits? Are you sure?

A previous entry mentioned the folly of the “seventy-two hour kit”, and warned regarding relying upon it (https://762rifleman.wordpress.com/2009/06/27/nobody-cares/). A portable go-bag is worthy, in concept. Unfortunately, most people do not spend the time or effort to examine it in context. It should have the food and equipment to last about three days, in case you have to get out of your domicile in a hurry, for instance. It should most emphatically not be what you rely upon in a disaster or its aftermath if you can shelter in place, or evacuate by car. What will happen when three days passes and the cavalry have not arrived? That is an easy answer: Murphy will screw you. You will find yourself standing in line at the FEMA or Red Cross shelter, taking what you can get, when they do finally arrive. You and your family will be completely reliant upon them to meet all of your needs. They will tell you what to eat, where to sleep, and when and where you can relieve yourselves. That is not what preparedness and survival is about. You should work to continue your lifestyle as seamlessly as possible, before, during, and after a calamity, not that it is likely. The point echoes Tom Petty: “You see you don’t have to live like a refugee.”

You have two choices, two possibilities to make in the face of any disaster: stay, or leave. Making the correct choice there is a science unto itself, with enough consideration for its own essay and discussion. What is important to know is how the so-called seventy-two hour kit relates to staying or going. Let us clarify. A seventy-two hour kit is not for staying. It is for going. Consider this piece of Pollyanna hack writing http://www.healthsafe.uab.edu/pages/emergencyinformation/build_a_72_hour_kit.pdf. Here is another: http://lds.about.com/od/preparednessfoodstorage/a/72hour_kit.htm

The first says, “Experts recommend that you should be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least three days.” Wrong! You should be self-sufficient for as long as possible, period, unless you like the notion of seeing your own likeness in a Sally Struthers commercial. Then, the piece has some recommendations regarding food that it is “ready to eat or requiring minimal water, such as: canned tuna, canned fruit and vegetables, canned beans, raisins, peanut butter, granola bars, canned milk. For children, include comfort food and other items your family will eat.” For every gem here, there is another turd. How many cans of food can you fit into a pack, and carry off? The odds are it is not three days’ worth.

There are two points to consider when packing a three-day bag, nutrition and weight. Unfortunately, weight and nutrition are often in opposition. Empty calories are light. You do not want to eat junk food in a disaster. When your adrenaline is flowing, and your mind is racing, nutrition becomes more important than when the typical American is in his cubical-dwelling, American Idol-watching state. Someone needs to throttle people that with a straight face and clear conscience recommend granola bars, bullion cubes, hard candy, and ramen noodles for emergency food. People that should know better perpetuate this crap at preparedness expos and fairs all of the time. Stop it, please, before you kill someone. People need more calories, and particularly more fat and protein in an emergency than is usual. When people run out of calories in high stress situations, they “bonk”.

There is a whole science devoted to nutrition in stressful situations. There is not the space for it here, but a little investigation of what endurance athletes eat before and during exertion, and what our fighting men and women consume while deployed will help you decide on what to put in your go-bag. Mountain House freeze-dried foods are light, compact, and are of far greater worth than junk food. Similarly, MREs, whether military or civilian versions (often made by the same companies that make the military’s- read the labels carefully) have the calories and balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrate to keep the body active and mind alert in an emergency. There is no place for a groggy and disoriented individual in a disaster. It only exacerbates the problems. Get some quality food for your bags, people.

Finally, when your five-year-old looks up at you and says, “I’m hungry, mommy” are you going to hand her a package of ramen noodles and a Jolly Rancher and say, “Here you go, honey. That’s all we have.” Is that how you take care of your family, how you provide for their needs? Having a hungry family in a disaster will surely drive one to begging, the FEMA/Red Cross shelter, or crime. Children have no place in a shelter; and based on what came out of New Orleans, neither do adults. Begging is haphazard and undignified. As for crime, folks have a tendency to shoot looters, and shoot the survivors sometimes twice. It is better to have your own food squared away, both for staying, if possible, and for leaving, if necessary. Have food.

The most galling point of these lists is that they take a one-size fits all approach. As the “seventy-two hour kits” filled with heavy steel cans, while also recommending dishes, axes, shovels, and bedding. Where are they going, and how are they getting there, by Conestoga wagon? First, prepare to shelter in place. For that, you do not need a sleeping bag, a ground cloth, or an ax. You do need, however, a damn sight more food and water than for seventy-two hours. If you are staying at home, you need a pantry full of the food you already like eat. You need extra toilet paper and paper plates. You need extra feminine hygiene products for the women of the house. You need extra medication, if you have regular prescriptions. Think about everything you normally use in your day-to-day living. You need that, and a lot of it. Start with a single month’s worth, and expand when possible.

Now think. Assess the situation. If you had to go, could you go by automobile? Walking sucks. If you have children, or are infirm, walking is not an option, unless it is to a refugee camp (at which point you have almost lost “survival game”). This is where the two articles above start to make sense. Unfortunately, they are devoid of context, and rely heavily upon the notion that it is not necessary to be self-reliant (one of the oldest lies in the world is “I’m from the government. I’m here to help”). The second article makes this point: “This kit should be put together in a practical manner so that you can carry it with you if you ever need to evacuate your home. It is also important to prepare one for each member of your family who is able to carry one.” Then it lists about two-hundred pounds of gear. Which is it, man-portable, or filling a Winnebago? Build everything up in layers. The military refers to this as “lines” of gear. The first line of gear might fit in your pockets, and include a wallet, keys, cell phone, and knife. The second line of gear might be your go-bag (your real seventy-two hour kit). It needs to be light and handy enough to carry (and try doing that with over twenty-five pounds of water, in addition to extra clothes, and the rest of the superfluous crap on those lists). After that, start loading the car.

If you keep your camping gear together, and add extra food to it, you have the makings of your next line of gear (actually line three/four gear, depending on how you count it). Use Contico-type boxes, the heaviest you can find, and preferably the ones with wheels to load the necessities. Forget cutlery and dishes. Forget heavy bedding. Do remember your wedding pictures and other irreplaceable items. Now, here is the trick. How do you fit your so-called and Pollyanna-recommended kits into your car with the husband, kids, dog and cat? Boxes are bulky. Car trunks are small. Kids may need car seats. Staying at home looks better and better, right? Do not let Murphy screw you. Put together a plan now for staying, going by car, and going by foot. There are quite a few testimonials of hurricane survivors on the web. Contrary to media accounts, folks did drive out of New Orleans before Katrina hit. Even more drove out of Houston before Rita (maybe Texans are smarter). Look to them as examples, for good or ill. Learn from their mistakes. Leave about a day before most of them did. Guard your gas cans against thieves and robbers.

Finally, do not rely upon three-day supply of food as Linus holds to his security blanket. To do that is to live in denial. The food will not last; and the FEMA camp is not worth it. It is better to prepare now, than to explain to the people you love why you did not.

Honduras not a “coup” but an impeachment.

I am a little sick of seeing Hillary Clinton and the Chocolate Messiah bitch and moan about Honduras, and their support for Marxists in Central and South America. This little clip, despite being from Faux News, does a good job of explaining the real situation in Honduras. Their former president is a wannabe tin-hat dictator. The only problem was exiling him, instead of giving him  a fair trial, and a fair dance at the end of a short rope (history teaches that ousted dictators have a way of turning up later, like bad pennies).

Once again, Hillary and Obama, wrong. This s not a coup, but constitutionally-minded people diligently following the  rule of law in Honduras.

Ten Myths About Food Storage (from an LDS perspective)

The best reason, though, is that you’re on your own, and nobody cares.

Ten Myths about Food Storage:

1. “If the Lord’s people are righteous, we won’t really need food storage anyway.”

Tell that to Noah. Besides, doesn’t righteousness imply obedience to the prophets?

2. “My food storage is right here!” pointing to ample spare tire around waist.

Are you going to share that with your children, Brother Donner?

3. “My food storage consists of my AK-47 and my neighbors’ food storage!”

Thou salt not steal. Besides, your neighbors might have two AK-47s, ample training, and a determination to protect his own life, liberty, and property, as well as his family’s.

4. “The government has food storage reserves for the people, so why bother.”

Although it is true that the federal government has The Emergency Food Assistance Program, it may take a while to get it to the people.  Do you remember Hurricane Katrina?  Besides, do you want to go to the Superdome (“Murderdome”)?

5. “Well, I still have the three buckets of wheat that my weird Aunt Eunice gave me as a wedding present in 1977.”

Do you know about food rotation? Have you ever actually cooked anything with wheat? How long will that feed your family of 14?

6. “If things get bad, the Church will collect all the food storage from the members, and combine it with the Church’s reserves, and re-distribute it to all in need, and it will feed everybody forever like the loaves and fishes, y’know, kind of a perpetual united order ‘miricle’ deal.”

This may very well be true, but if you haven’t done all that you can to provide your own supplies, you don’t have the right to ask for someone else’s. In addition, lack of obedience is a sign of a lack of faith, and I read somewhere that miracles require faith.

7. “I don’t need to buy food storage; I have a credit card just for emergencies.”

Imagine trying to buy your food storage at the same time that everyone else who hasn’t prepared is doing the same thing. Our stores only have a three-day supply on hand at any given time. Moreover, credit card machines require electricity to work these days.

8. “I bought a ‘Food Storage Time Share’, where you pre-pay and they store it for you. I can just go pick it up when I need it.”

A time-share is something that everybody pays for, but they can’t all use it at the same time. Does your supplier actually have enough food on hand at any given time to distribute to everybody who had paid for it, all at once? Will road and transportation conditions allow you to get to it?  FEMA may freeze all large suppliers from distributing their stock in time of emergency (again, as in Katrina), and if they do, your time-share people won’t be able to give it to you whether you’ve paid for it or not.

9. “I don’t have room for food storage.”

If you really believe that, then you haven’t tried! Be creative.  Food can be stored in attics, crawl spaces, under beds, etc. Buy or build a shed. Get rid of your 20-foot wide entertainment center, and free up all that space. We all watch too much TV anyway, and you can’t feed your children your Miami Vice DVD box set.

10. “I can’t afford to buy food storage.”

This is the worst excuse of all. Everybody can afford to do something. Do you really need cable TV? Do you need to eat out?  This is like saying that you cannot afford to pay tithing. The truth is you cannot afford not to.

Cap and trade?

If it sounds like a tax, smells like a tax, and acts like a tax, it must be a carbon offset.

Call your senators. Tell them to flush this turd.

Al Gore should be beaten with a garden hose, tarred, feathered, and left for dead.

Hippies that support this crap should freeze in the dark.

Nobody Cares

There has been some talk among government agencies, from FEMA to local city councils, regarding the possibilities of disaster, the preparations they think you should make, and what you can expect of them during (and in the aftermath of) a disaster. Hurricane Katrina taught us all valuable lessons about preparedness. Many of us also see looming financial disaster on the horizon. The coming Troubles may make Katrina seem mild and temporary in comparison. As our economy continues to implode, we may see it cause, and exacerbate, disasters. Our infrastructure is crumbling. Our power grid especially is in an inadequate and dilapidated state. Further, cities and counties are experiencing a shrinking tax base and depleted coffers. They are cutting their spending or increasing their borrowing, or both, to continue operating. With this, their ability to prepare for, and react to, a disaster is sure to suffer. Response times are sure to lengthen as resources stretch to the limit. Already municipalities are cutting police and EMS budgets. This is not Chicken Little. This is the way it is- reality. There are preparations that you should make now, physically, mentally, and spiritually, to cultivate means for the individual or family to survive, and perhaps comfortably weather, calamity.

First, acknowledge the reality and gravity of the situation. Examine your mindset and face the facts. Do not wait for someone to rescue you. Do not expect help soon in the wake of an emergency. Make appropriate preparations now, and when disaster strikes, act immediately. Do not sit around expecting someone else to feed you, to get you to a safe place, to keep you warm, treat your injuries, and to protect you from evildoers. They who do are naive and self-deceptive, and may not live through the experience. Worse, FEMA, the Red Cross, and most other do-gooders for that matter, are about control. They want to control you; and if you find yourself in a FEMA or Red Cross shelter, their control is what you will experience. They will disarm you and leave you at the mercy of the other “refugees”, for good or ill. Remember the debacle that was the Super Dome (the “murder dome”). Take significant steps to ensure that your family is never within their influence. Seek to be self-reliant, especially during and in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Make sure you and the members of your party have a plan, and the resources necessary to implement it.

Many so-called authorities on the issue, including governments, the Red Cross, and church groups recommend that individuals build  “seventy-two hour” kits, which contain supplies to ostensibly last one about three days. Their argument is that it will take three days at most for government aid to relieve disaster victims. Do not believe it. It is false hope, to assuage the masses. Now, please understand, I am not opposed to having a three-day bag, “go” bag, “bug-out” bag, “Get-out-of-Dodge” bag, or whatever you choose to call it. It is not the bag and its contents that represent the deceit, but its name, the notion that one should assume that help is three days away. The unthinking masses that have had little enough sense to put such bags together may be in for a shock if there is no help by the end of the seventy-third hour. To that end, I recommend that people not refer to these bags by that name. It promotes an improper mindset, and cultivates fertile ground for losing hope at the end of those three days. It is better to conclude now that no one cares. The sooner that one understands that the government or the Red Cross might not come to his rescue, the sooner that he will overcome his denial. Then he can begin making his situation better. A defiantly self-reliant attitude, coupled with a sure knowledge of survival, often separates the people that make it through from they that do not. Get it in your head that you are a survivor.

I am not advocating a “Lone Wolf” approach to preparedness. It is too difficult to go it alone for most people. A fit solitary man, with adequate resources, could probably make a go of surviving a short-term disaster. There were stories of single men walking out of New Orleans and the surrounding areas in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. A man and wife with small children, however, would have obvious complications. Similarly, under conditions in which evacuation is not necessary or required, it is more difficult for one person to secure property, tend gardens, watch for looters, etc. The larger a person’s circle of trust is, the stronger his position. Choose friends carefully, because disasters, like wealth, do not change character, but reveal it. A mutual aid society, built after the structure of a neighborhood watch group would be a great benefit to prepared individuals and families in urban and suburban settings. Be careful regarding whom you reveal your preparations. An unscrupulous individual would certainly work to take advantage of your resources in these times.

One can easily make these preparations without drastically altering his lifestyle. Developing the proper attitude is the first step. Taking a step back and evaluating mindset and friendships is an important step in preparing for disaster, either natural or man-made. Planning and decisive action is often the difference between survival and not. Honestly evaluate your situation, consider ways to prepare independently, without the aid of the government or charitable organizations. Upcoming entries will address assessing risk, formulating and plan, acquiring resources, and cultivating productive relationships with like-minded individuals. With some small effort and prior planning, one can maintain a comfortable life even after many disasters.

Working firearms battery

With regard to the coming Troubles (some are already calling it “the Greatest Depression”), it is more important than ever to develop a simple working battery of firearms. I know that many “Right-Wing extremists” already have more firearms than they can comfortably carry and use, and tend to collect them like Hot Wheels. On every firearms-related message board, there are threads with “show your collection”-type threads (I find them a violation of personal security, but that is another essay, for another time). These pictures tend to reflect the collectors’ tastes and personalities, typically with many hunting and C&R (curio and relic) rifles. There is not anything wrong with collecting. However, with the Troubles looming on the horizon, and, if sales statistics are any indication, and more new firearms owners than any other time in the Republic’s history, I think it appropriate to discuss the civilian gun owner’s self-defense battery. There are many brand-new firearms-owners out there. Some of you may feel overwhelmed at the variety of firearms (if not the availability, considering the mad scramble to acquire firearms despite- or because of- an uncertain future). Further, the butt-crack militia and chairborne rangers that frequent many gun stores tend to complicate the choices. Research and trying as many firearms before making any purchases is always prudent.

This battery of firearms, four in number, and of three or four calibers, has little to do with hunting, or survivalism, in the traditional, Carter-era sense. This battery is about defending life and limb, liberty and property, in times of emergency and lawlessness, and not specifically for taking game. Regardless of the scenario, from a Saturday night out with the wife and kids, to chaos due to epidemic or civil disturbance, these weapons cover all realistic self-defense possibilities. To that end, I recommend every able-bodied individual, male and female, immediately acquire (or work to purchase) one military-pattern semiautomatic rifle, one pump-action or semiautomatic shotgun, one duty-sized handgun, and one deeply concealable handgun. These weapons all represent a compromise between power, ammunition capacity, and size (or effectiveness of concealment).

The order in which I recommend acquiring these weapons may spark some controversy; and it causes much deep thought. One can always carry a handgun, but the rifle is the ultimate symbol of personal liberty. To that end, I usually name the rifle as first in order of importance, despite its increased cost over the handgun. This is not about hardware, specifically; there is no need for an “AK vs. AR” or “M1A vs. FAL vs. HK91” debate. Read Boston’s Gun Bible for the details on selecting a rifle. Consider your needs; and plan accordingly. Definitely get a military-pattern semiautomatic rifle. They are more robust and reliable than hunting rifles. Lever-action rifles tend to bind when fired rapidly, increased heat and the expansion of metal parts due to increased tolerances reduces their reliability. Hunting bolt-actions also have tolerances that are too tight for our application. Military-pattern rifles, and especially ones with many real-deal military contract parts, run hot and dirty without malfunction, and are less prone to parts failure than strictly civilian rifles. Bulk ammunition is generally not available in civilian calibers, so get a rifle in 5.45x39mm, 7.62x39mm, 5.56x45mm, or 7.62x51mm. That is also generally the order in terms of availability and price. The 7.62x51mm has the most punch; but it comes at cost and weight. The 5.45x39mm Soviet round is still available in the form of inexpensive surplus, for now. Forewarned is forearmed. The government can cut off supplies of foreign ammunition at customs with the stroke of a pen. If you do opt for a rifle in a foreign chambering, consider purchasing a lifetime supply of ammunition and parts.

Despite Left-wing threats and increasing demand, these rifles are still readily available in most jurisdictions and localities. Acquire ammunition and spare parts in quantity, because the Left has placed them on the chopping block, demonizing them as “assault weapons” (a political term with no military or industrial meaning). Get as much training with said rifle as is fiscally prudent. Such training is politically incorrect in many circles. It is noisy, expensive, and fun; so get it while you can. Get two cases of ammunition (2000 rounds). Use the first case to learn your rifle. Store the other for that Rainy Decade, and for further training. Replace what you use, to keep those thousand rounds on hand for when the ammunition really gets scarce (and you think thing are bad now…)

This battery includes two handguns. Why do you need two sidearms? One should be a duty-sized weapon (of the size police and military typically carry), the other something much smaller, for secondary carry or non-permissive environments. Larger sized handguns make for a more pleasant training session, as the recoil is more manageable. They have a greater capacity, which means more shots between reloads. Their longer sight radius (the distance between the front and rear sights) and barrel makes them easier to achieve accurate shots. Larger weapons are more reliable and sturdy than smaller weapons, and therefore fail less, as a rule. They are somewhat more difficult to conceal than smaller sidearms; but continued practice carrying the weapon in a proper holster will mitigate the likelihood of others discovering your concealed handgun. Again, also purchase an adequate supply of spare parts, magazines, and ammunition. Any of the major brands will suffice in any caliber 9mm or larger (9x19mm, .40 S&W, .45 acp being the most popular and available). Ensure that everyone in your party can handle the recoil of the weapon, and fire it effectively. It does little good to acquire a he-man GLOCK 20, chambered in 10mm auto, if the woman of the house cannot fire it effectively. It makes better sense to get a 9mm that everyone can use, if the need arises.

Some may argue the revolver over the pistol here. For the primary sidearms, a pistol requires less maintenance (especially at the gunsmith/armorer level), has a greater capacity, and is easier to “keep in the fight” than a revolver. Save the revolver for hunting or for your secondary weapon (where it makes some sense).

Your second handgun should be small and quite concealable. This is your secondary or backup gun, and for deep-concealment carry in non-permissive environments. That is, it is what you carry when you cannot carry. You may choose a second caliber here; or you may use the same caliber as your primary carry. Some pistols on the larger side of the backup range even use the same size magazines as their duty-sized equivalents. Choose carefully, because this weapon should be as powerful as you can shoot comfortably but much smaller than your primary. If another caliber is within your budget, a small revolver in .38 Special or .357 Magnum will easily fit in an ankle or pocket holster. Generally, owners carry these weapons often, but fire them very little, usually due to their greater recoil.

A quality defensive shotgun rounds out the practical firearms battery. Again, ensure that everyone in your party can effectively manipulate and fire it. A Remington 870 or Mossberg 500 in twelve or twenty gauge will likely meet your defensive needs. An eighteen-inch barrel is a wise consideration. Three-inch magnum shells are generally no more effective than two-and-three-quarter inch shells, in buckshot loads. Shotguns are niche weapons; but they fill that role very well. At typical inside-the-house ranges, they are devastating. Do not use the myth of spreading buckshot as a talisman, and an excuse to not train. A good rule of thumb is that shot will spread one inch per yard of range. That means that shooting across a typical room, the spread will still be smaller than a man’s fist, leaving plenty of opportunity to miss. If you are your party have difficulty manipulating a pump-action shotgun, consider a semiautomatic. Although more expensive, they offer an advantage in that the user cannot generally “short-stroke” them as a pump (causing a malfunction). They are also faster on the follow-up shot. The downside is increased maintenance, especially with gas-operated guns. Additionally, they can be ammunition sensitive, particularly the recoil-operated models. If you do choose a semiautomatic, pay close attention to the preventative maintenance schedule, and thoroughly test any ammunition on which you intend to use for self-defense.

This working firearms battery meets the general requirements of the individual defensively minded gun owner. These are not hobbyists’ weapons, but tools to defend life, liberty, and property. As time and money permit, one can work on duplicating this battery, for backup or arming other members of his family or party. Many gun owners already have much more weapons than this, but usually a great diversity. This approach, in contrast, is to pare down diversity, and to concentrate on what works, what meets the individual’s needs, and what he can easily duplicate.

We are on the precipice of what the Chinese used to call “interesting times”. How “interesting” the times will be is conjecture. Preparedness is key regardless. It is better to have what one needs, now, than to wish later that he had. Carefully consider these options. Choose your rifle, handguns, and shotgun based on need, physical ability, and finances. Train as often as possible; and ensure that everyone in your family or party does the same. Training and preparation will help you and your family be ready for the uncertain times in which we live; and if life continues as normal, you will still have the skills an tools to meet threats to your families life, and to survive violent encounters.

Cheesesteaks in the Salt Lake Valley

Moochies versus the Downtown Philly.

There are two cheesesteak shops in town, both claiming to represent authentic Philadelphia fare, Moochies (http://www.moochiesmeatballs.com) and Downtown Philly http://www.thedowntownphilly.com/). I’ve been a Moochies fan for years; but I have never been to Philadelphia, so my opinion is less than informed, as far as my Philadelphia friends are concerned (Brandon and Parker). No matter how many times I told them that Joanna is a Philly transplant, and that she has Tasty Kakes shipped in from home (http://www.tastykake.com). It didn’t matter that if I went in and ordered “a six inch, without” they knew exactly what I wanted. I am not from Philadelphia, or even Pennsylvania. I haven’t even been there; so I have no basis for comparison.

That’s where the Downtown Philly comes into the picture. A recent addition to the Salt Lake Valley scene, the Downtown Philly (which is really no where close to downtown- Moochies is, however), the Downtown Philly boasts that it is “Utah’s only place for authentic cheesesteaks”. “That’s a bold statement,” I told my wife, a confirmed and unapologetic Moochies fan. She agreed, and we made the long haul to South Jordan (or, “the sticks”).

We went at about lunchtime on a Wednesday. The line was to the door- always a good sign. We made our way to the counter, where I ordered a “six inch, without” and a “Twelve inch, with mushrooms, peppers and jalapenos” (can’t have a cheesesteak without hot peppers). To the uninitiated, a cheesesteak is thinly sliced beef with onions on a soft roll, with (usually) Cheese Whiz (http://brands.kraftfoods.com/cheezwhiz/). If one wants onions, he says “with”, if he doesn’t, “without”. I understand the locals in Philly actually shorten the “with” to just “wi-“. I don’t partake of Tasty Kakes or Birch Beer, which the Downtown Philly has. I just want the sandwich. I also ordered a grilled ham and cheese for Wyatt. They got the order perfect, and we sat down to eat.

Now, again, not knowing what a “real” cheesesteak is supposed to taste like, despite eating at Moochies for years, this is where the fun begins. The sandwiches were remarkably similar. The rolls were soft. The beef was thin and tender. Downtown Philly’s beef is a little spicier. I suspect that is pepper in the marinade. It didn’t make their sandwich better than Moochies, just different. There is plenty of meat on both of them. Downtown Philly loses points for charging extra for hot peppers, and for offering provolone on their sandwiches (if you recall, the Philadelphia press ripped John Kerry when they overheard him ask for it). From what I have read, chewy cheeses are less authentic than the aforementioned Whiz. Moochies, then, would lose points for not offering Pennsylvania Dutch birch beer (http://daretogodutch.com/) or Herr’s chips (http://www.herrs.com/). I don’t count those as negatives, though, because I only came for the sandwich.

Comparing them, they are enough alike that if one of them is authentic, I would wager that both of them are. My wife and I still give the slight edge to Moochies; but that would not stop me from eating at the Downtown Philly again, if I found myself in South Jordan (again, “the sticks” or “the boonies”). I would rather make the drive to Moochies.

Maybe I could convince my friends from Philly to try them and see.