Monday, August 31, 2009
We were 1 for 2 on weekend outings this Saturday. The weather has finally broken from the usual August Blast Furnace, and we dashed out Saturday morning to enjoy the change.
Expedition 1 - Win:
We didn't go far, but still had an enjoyable morning walkthough at a local Historical Farm. Its a really small little plot of land in the middle of one of the largests suburbs of Dallas. The cooler weather made it nice to walk around and snap some pictures.
There are old farm buildings, and restored school house, and lots of farm implements ranging from restored tractors to old worn out horse drawn beauties.
They also had a Cane Sorgham Mill, or Press. This was a common tool found throughout the South. A Mule or Horse was hitched to the end of the boom pole. As it walked in a circle around the Mill, gears and rollers turned inside. Cane sorgham, or sugar cane, was fed into the device to be crushed. The juice would flow out and was boiled down into Sorgham Syrup... Yum!
My Grandparents actually ran one of these back in Lousiana when my Father was a boy. Sadly, they had gotten rid of the old Sorgham Mill before I was born. I'd sure like to have it back now, for sentimental reasons. You can still see old Mills like this in action throughout the south, especially during the fall.
Expedition 2 - Kinda Fail...
Our main destination for Saturday was the North Texas State Fair and Rodeo, in Denton, Texas. They have a Rodeo every night for over a week - and Saturday night was scheduled to be a "Bull Blowout" - which consists of a couple of hours of solid Bull Riding. No roping, no barrel racing, no bucking horses - just wild and rough Bull Riding - my favorite, just inches above the Saddle Bronc event.
The problem with that evening's entertainment was that the weather was GORGEOUS, and the event was virtually FREE. You pay to get into the North Texas State Fair and you can just walk into the rodeo for nuthin'.... sound good to you?
It also sounded good to thousands and thousands of other people. We got there 45 minutes before the bull riding was supposed to start and there were almost no seats left. Just the seats right down at the bottom of the stands where people walk by. And walk by they did.... all evening. We were eight bulls into the bull riding and we hadn't actually seen any of the action due to the mass of people aimlessly wandering around in front of us looking for non-existant seats.
Seriously.... A little forethought on crowd management might have been in order, ya know?
Anyway, it was disappointing - especially considering the last all-bull event we tried to attend was a wash out too, due to violent thunderstorms. However, we did manage to kill some time walking around looking at exhibits and vendor booths at the other areas of the Fair. We particularly liked the photography exhibit. It was cool looking at all the ribbon winner's entries.
It was dark as we left. Walking toward the exit gates, we passed by a climbing wall that they had set up. Atop the wall were some flags and two large inflatable Cowboys Football characters. I glanced at it at first and didn't notice anything... then a little voice in my head said, "What the...?"
I pointed it out to my Mrs. and she started laughing immediately. Picture is grainy and odd looking, cuz I had to lighten it up in Photoshop due to the darkness and distance to subject:
The guy in front doesn't look like he's enjoying it as much as the guy in the driver's seat is :)
Sunday, August 30, 2009
I do have a couple of Gas Station related items, though. My favorite is an old Gilbarco Gas Pump that I found in Arkansas. She was a rusty mess when I got her, and heavy as all get out:
She still had the pumping mechanism inside, which is why she was so heavy. After getting her home, I was able to pull all that stuff out and get rid of it. Made the pump much easier to move around.
Here she is in my study, after I fixed her up:
And here she is all lit up:
Saturday, August 29, 2009
This week there was an odd one that I had never seen the likes of before:
Its a 1962 Chevrolet Station Wagon - but it has 8 doors instead of 4! I guess technically it has 9 doors, if you count the rear gate.
I've never seen one like it, and I'm almost positive that Chevy never rolled a stretch station wagon off the assembly line. I'm sure it is someone's project - and man it looks pretty cool to me!
Friday, August 28, 2009
Man made climate change stinks to high heaven, though. And the more "they" say that you must believe in it without question - the more you should suspect that something is amiss. Go there and read the piece:
Bore Patch: Climate Change Data suspect
Ms. Landis appeared in films during the early 1940's, and entertained GI's during World War II.
In one of her films, she stared opposite Victor Mature - as a Prehistoric Cavewoman - in "One Million BC".
Dig those special effects! The film actually won an Academy Award for Special Effects in 1940.
Success and recognition in Hollywood wasn't enough to bring her happiness, though. Ms. Landis was yet another victim of Depression, and of unrequited love. Upset because the object of her love refused to divorce his current wife to marry her - She took her own life in 1948 by overdosing on Sleeping Pills.
She was 29 years old.
While browsing around online, I actually found a photograph from 1948 of the coroner kneeling beside her body on the floor where she was found in her apartment. It saddened me to see her like that.
That's a hell of a way to be remembered.
I won't post the picture here. I've seen enough dead people. I'd rather remember Carole Landis as she was when she was alive:
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
It's at least a million degrees here today, and no doubt upwards of 90% humidity... so what better way to spend the morning than sweating outside at the range? None that I can think of :)
A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a new toy. It's an FNP9 pistol, made by the fine folks at FN. FN is short for "Fabrique Nationale de Herstal", but who the hell wants to wrestle with THAT mouthful?
She's a great pistol, right out of the box. Polymer frame, and steel slide. Mine is the flat black stainless model. The FNP9 comes with a hard case, interchangeable backstraps (arched and flat), and three 16 round magazines... oh, yeah ! :)
Fit and finish are really good, IMO. I like the fact that she's SA/DA instead of DA only like so many modern pistols are today. I like being able to shoot SA - although I was happy to find that the DA trigger pull on this gun is pretty damned good.
There is NO SAFETY, which I love. There's no point to having a safety on a gun that you can't carry cocked. I've always thought safeties on DA pistols would be right up there with putting a safety on a DA revolver. The decocker on the P9 just safely drops the hammer. I swapped out the grip backstrap to the flat one, 'cuz I have relatively short fingers and the flat one felt better.
I put 100 rounds through her today. The first box was to break us both in. Had a couple of FTFs, but that was probably due to the crappy (yet wonderfully affordable) Brown Bear ammo I was shooting. It took me a bit to warm up to her. I was all over the place with that first box, and it took me most of those 50 rounds to figure out what I was doing wrong.
You see, the gun I've shot the most recently is the P64 that I use for hot weather daily carry. While the P64 is fairly accurate, reliable as hell, and easy to conceal - it quite frankly SUCKS TO SHOOT. I've shot it quite a bit, because its important to be comfortable and capable with whatever weapon you carry - but Man, it ain't a lot of fun. I get hammer bite virtually every 3rd or 4th pull of the trigger, to the point where it will draw blood.
Apparently, my reflexes had grown to expect that discomfort. I found that I was flinching, almost imperceptibly, just as I would break the trigger - causing the gun to jerk. I was anticipating the recoil, and twitching it instead of just letting the happen as I squeezed the trigger. As you all know, it doesn't take much of a twitch at the muzzle of a pistol to translate into several inches at the target.
Anywho... I finally had a DUH! moment and fixed the problem (me). I put up a silhouette target and put 50 rounds of Wolf ammo through her just to get the bad taste of my previous performance out of my mouth:
Not too bad, for me. This is 50 rounds at 7 yards. I was still twitching from time to time, as you can see from the 9 ring shots. However most of my rounds stayed pretty well bunched up in the center. I had zero feed problems after switching from the Brown Bear - even though I was still shooting the inexpensive Wolf Ammo.
I'm digging the FNP9 MUCH! She's a might big for Concealed Carry, but under certain circumstances with the right holster I'll probably carry her this winter. She'll definitely be fun to "run & gun" with along side the WASR, and I'll no doubt take her along as a truck/motorcycle pistol on our road trips this fall.
Oh... and to top it off, I got her for a pretty good deal too. I found her for sale, NIB, on Gunbroker. She was listed by a local gunstore (Dallas), so while I had to pay sales tax, I didn't have to pay shipping or transfer fees. My total price out the door was $487.13.
Not too shabby...
Coyotes are a common sight in the area where I live and work. You would be hard pressed to find a more adaptable wild animal in the United States today. Once limited mostly to the Soutwestern states, the Coyote is now found in all the contiguous states and Alaska. I read somewhere once that there are more Coyotes in the State of Texas today, than there were in North America when Columbus landed.
There have been coyotes in Downtown Chicago, New York's Central Park, and most other urban and suburban cities in the US.This population surge is due to the reduction in the population of wolves, a chief competitor, as well as the spread of mankind. Coyotes have learned that man and his settlements provide much more easily obtainable food than the natural environment does. Efforts to eradicate the coyote from specific areas is almost always a dismal failure. You can destroy a TON of coyotes, and they will just double their reproduction rate. When you combine that fact with the influx of coyotes from surrounding areas to fill up any voids left after thinning - you're right back where you started from, if not worse.
Coyotes don't normally pose a threat to people. When injuries to people do occur from Coyotes, it is almost always directly related to some person doing something stupid - either during or leading up to the incident. Coyotes will, however, prey on domestic pets if they get the chance to.
Opinions vary on whether its a good idea for coyotes to live in such close proximity to man. There are good arguments on both sides. Some say they should be left alone, since they are "a part of nature" - and that's true. Others say that its foolish to put domestic pets at risk, since Coyotes will occasionally become bold enough to jump into fenced yards to snatch up a tasty looking cat or small dog - and that's a valid concern as well.
I stay out of that argument as much as possible. My job is to deal with them when they either become a problem, or when get into trouble themselves. One thing that I am convinced of though, after watching suburban coyotes in this area over 15 years: Living in town may be "easier" for coyotes, but it very seldom has a happy ending for the animal. If you count success of a species strictly by population and reproduction - town coyotes are very successful. If you count success by the longevity and over all health of the individuals - town livin' sucks.
This week, I reponded to a report of a "rabid" coyote in a new residential neighborhood under development. I shot some hatcam footage, although my batteries decided to crap the bed off and on. This guy's fate is similar to many I've seen over the years. Suburban coyotes fall prey to vehicle collisions, diseases from contact with domestic animals, and diseases from elevated contact with other members of their own species.
Here is how he looked when I arrived:
Coyotes will typically curl up like this when they don't feel well. If he were healthy, his head would have been upright. At this point, he's trying to disappear into the grass. I took this shot through my truck window, since they will usually let people approach closer in vehicles than on foot. Once you exit the vehicle, though, they will escape by walking/trotting/running away along one of several pre-determined escape routes. Often the escape route will involve a nearby creekbed. This guy wasn't able to move quickly at all, though, due to his condition.
A word about the video below. I post is because this is the type of stuff I do on a daily basis and some might find it interesting. I'm not an animal "activist". Neither do I think all coyotes should be wiped out. There are people who will get all emotional over a sick coyote and scream that we should take extraordinary measures to try to save each and every one.
Usually those folks aren't around when something actually needs to be done, though.
I live in the real world. I do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I just had to say this, though, in regards to the new "criminal investigations" that the Attorney General of the US is launching against CIA personnel who interrogated terrorists after hundreds of US citizens perished on 9/11.... You remember our Attorney General? He's the same guy that called us a "Nation of Cowards" because we're all racists.
The beef, apparently, is that our boys made the terrorists feel bad - by telling them that we were going to harm or kill their families if they didn't give us info we needed to stop future attacks. Eric Holder and others seem to believe that we shouldn't do such things.
I would remind them that bluffing someone and telling them you're going to kill their family may be unpleasant, but it's very different from ACTUALLY KILLING INNOCENT PEOPLE - which is what these people would have done if we handled them with kid gloves.
Eric Holder and his ilk make me want to vomit.
Gotta go to work. Back to semi-interesting posts later in the week.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
That's something that I really should have given thought to, and will do so in the future.
In an ideal world, of course, it wouldn't matter. I would prepare as best I could for hard times, and my efforts could either be emulated by like minded individuals in the community or not. In the event of a disaster, I would be prepared - and those folks who chose not to take prudent steps to prepare for the worst would suffer as a result of their poor judgement - hopefully surviving to learn from the experience.
We don't live in a perfect world, though.
In reality, making it known that you have piles of nutritious food and safe drinking water in the midst of hungry masses of panicking refugees - would most likely result in big trouble for you at the least. I see two scenarios:
1. If your hungry neighbors find out that you have food and water- some/all of them will eventually decide to take it from you. Its simple survival instinct.
2. If there were any sort of "community organization" still in place, the situation would not be much better. The logical step for community leaders to take in a food/water shortage would be to pool resources from all sources and allocate those resources to the population at large. Either by equal shares, according to "value" of the group member, or some other apportioning method - including pure whim.
Both scenarios seem pretty plausible to me. Even if your situation makes it possible, and you have the firepower necessary, to protect your stash - would you really need any more of a headache on top of just trying to survive?
I sure wouldn't.
In the very good fictional book "One Second After", by William Forstchen - that's one of the first steps that the community leaders took when it became clear that help wasn't coming any time soon. Food stores, operation vehicles, and any other items that were deemed useful were commandeered by the "government", to be distributed as deemed appropriate.
In my situation, in regards to operational security, we aren't that bad off - I think.
My Mrs and I don't discuss our disaster preps with most folks. Some people are aware that I always seem to have a tool/flashlight/first aid item when someone needs it - but almost no one "in real life" knows the extent of our preparations. In fact, there's only one person who knows me in the real world that also reads this blog (Hi, Cwn!), and he doesn't live in the same community that I do.
This secrecy isn't by conscious effort so much as it is by simple context. Disaster preps just never seem to come up. I have friends that I talk guns with, and I have friends that I talk motorcycles/cars with. My Mrs. has friends she gets together with every week to Scrapbook, or shop, or whatever it is that Hens do when the Rooster isn't around :).... and prepping for the shit hitting the fan never seems to naturally come up their conversations either.
Which I suppose is a good thing, now that I think about it.
So... how many people within walking distance of your home know about any preps that you've made?
Saturday, August 22, 2009
I try... I really do.
If you only knew how often I've wanted to post pictures of my Grandbaby multiple times during the day, every day of the week....
But I don't. I resist. I stay strong.
But I'm only human, Damn it!!
Remember when you got this excited over a balloon?
I feel better now.
Friday, August 21, 2009
I'm surprised how few people these days recognize Gene Tierney. She was a pretty popular actress back in the day. She was probably at the top of her game during the 1940's - appearing in films such as The Razor's Edge and Laura. Most folks who do recognize her, usually remember seeing her in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, where she starred in the title role along side Rex Harrison.
p>Ms. Tierney continued to make moves up through the 1960s.
Just because you're beautiful and successful, though, doesn't make you immune from life's problems.
In 1943, Gene appeared at an autograph signing event in Hollywood and was exposed by a fan to the disease Rubella. She was pregnant with her first child at the time, and the disease caused her to give birth prematurely. Her daughter suffered major physical problems due to the illness, that included being severely retarded. It is thought that this traumatic event brought on years of depression and may have contributed to Ms. Tierney suffering from Bi-Polar Disorder.
Her mental condition continued to deteriorate until, on the advice of then co-star Humphrey Bogart, she checked herself into an institution in 1955. While there, she was administered 27 shock therapy treatments... She even tried to escape at one point, but was returned to the hospital. After her release, she became an outspoken advocate against shock therapy.
Ms. Tierney eventually found happiness with her second husband. She passed away in Texas in 1991.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
The Railroad used to pass through the town where I live. In fact, like many towns in the US my town wouldn't even exist if the railroad hadn't needed a stop here. Towns sprouted up along the railroad line, giving Farmers a way to both get supplies and ship out their crops.
The trains don't run on the tracks through my town anymore. To our south, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit organization operates communter trains on the old railroad right of way between Dallas and her closer suburbs.
My town, though, hasn't shown any interest in becoming a part of that system. So, the old rail line crumbles away to rust and dust....
I'm drawn to lonely, decaying places like this. When I stand there and close my eyes, I can almost see and hear the world of the past. All the lives that were lived here. All the things they thought were so important. They lived, and loved, and for a brief moment they felt like they were the center of the universe.
Just like we do.
In many places, the old rail line has been removed completely. But if you know where to look, you can still find traces of the old girl still around.
I think, sometimes, about the peole who will come after I'm gone. Will someone stand where I stood, and think about me?
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
The summer heat continues and my list of workshop projects on hold grows. Relief isn't too far away, though (I hope). Soon I'll be back out in my workshop happily toiling away until it gets too cold this winter.
For now, though, here's another glimpse of the weird stuff I have laying about the Paladin household. This week: Antique Kitchen Appliances.
At one time I had a sickness. Friends, I fell into the clutches of a compulsion that most folks have never heard of.
I collected and restored antique kitchen mixers. There's even a collector's group known as WACEM (We Actually Collect Electric Mixers). It can be an interesting hobby, and a lot of people take it VERY SERIOUSLY. Back several years ago, when I was at the height of my tinkering with the stuff, I stumbled upon a rare old mixer in the dusty corner of an antique store. I cleaned it up and listed it for sale via ebay. My $50 rusty junker turned into an $800 sale.
I crap you negative.
Thankfully, I've since kicked the habit and sold or otherwise gotten rid of most of my collection. These things can be cool .... but Man they take up a lot of room once you get more than a couple of them. All the stuff I've had was very beat up and trashed out when I got it. Most of it would have ended up in the landfill if I hadn't taken it in.
Here's some shots of the handful of pieces that I restored and still have around the house. All these are from the 1930's, and everything works as it should:
Hamilton Beach model B mixer with Juicer attachment:
Hamiton Beach Model C mixer, attached to a power transfer unit and shredder attachment:
Waring "Rocketship" Blendor, with promotional lid advertising Ron Rico Rum:
Kitchenaid A-9 Coffee Grinder. They make reproductions of this now, but mines the real thing:
I also have a couple of milkshake mixers but I don't include them here cuz they're more "soda fountain" than "kitchen"... I'll have a whole seperate post on soda fountain stuff :)
While we're on the topic of antique kitchen stuff... here's a short video of one wall in my kitchen. I shot this a while back while testing a new camera.
In the vid you see and hear a Truetone tube radio, tuned tuned to an oldies station here in Dallas. This is one of several old tube radios that I have (another post?). I don't do restoration on the "guts", or chasis, of the radios at this point. I try to find old radios that still work, but have beat up, or broken, cases to restore. I listen to this radio every morning while I drink my coffee and become a human once again.
You also see some hand crank kitchen shredders, an old apple peeler, and an Arcade crank coffee grinder. The telephone is an Automatic Electric Monophone "Jukebox" wall phone. She's hooked up to a phone line and still works, but we dropped our land line a couple of years ago. I miss hearing her ring - she rings loudly enough to hear outside the house - and I've actually considered getting a land line again just so I can use this old phone again :)
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Today, I found this picture - Its circa 1936, deep in the Great Depression.
The picture doesn't look like much, until you read the caption listed in the Library of Congress Archive:
I had to deal with a man at work the other day, who was out of work. His dog had bitten a little 2 year old girl in the face, and he was trying his best to avoid having to pay to have his (unvaccinated) dog quarantined for rabies observation - as required by state law. We went around, and around about his options.
1. Quarantine at a Veterinarian's Office - at his expense.
2. Quarantine at our Shelter Facility, assuming we had space available, at a reduced rate.
3. Pay a Vet to Humanely Euthanize the animal and submit a specimen for testing at the State Laboratory.
He was baffled by the fact that, even though he "didn't have no money"... I was still insisting that he comply with the law. I tried to make him understand that rabies is fatal 99.9999999% of the time in humans, and that the law is very specific about the requirement for quarantine. It didn't have much effect.
I'm ashamed for him.
Monday, August 17, 2009
The move is intended to bring the Blue Dog Democrats into the fold, and possibly appeal to Republicans as well. Some Liberal Dems, though, say they would find it hard to support a bill without a public option.
Will they actually remove the public option? Or will they just toe in some sort of substitute under another name... like "compassionate option" or "people's option", or will they just shift from offering a public option to regulating the insurance industry to the point where it might as well be offered by the government - since they'll be running it anyway.
If they do remove the public option, I'd like to see a new breakdown of costs by the CBO. One would assume that taking that part out would result in a SERIOUS reduction in taxpayer cost, wouldn't you?
Should be interesting days comin'.....
For prolonged situations where you and your family are on your own, you'll be thankful if you have a more substantial supply of medical supplies. In a disaster situation, there won't necessarily be someone coming to help you when you need it. What you have at the moment "it" happens, may be all you've got to work with for a long, long time. The purpose of this kit is to help get you through those times, and to act as a source for restocking your smaller field kits. This kit will contain a wider variety of items, and an increased quantity of items, than is practical with kits small enough to carry around. Should it become necessary for you to evacuate, or bug out, this pack could go along with you assuming you were able to leave in a vehicle. The size and weight of the supplies would make it unlikely that you would be able take it along on a long hike.
So... you've decided to stock up on medical supplies. I'm not going to cover in detail what I have in my home base kit right now - opinions will vary as to what is a good idea. To each his own. What I plan to cover here is not what to include in your medical supplies, but instead where are you gonna keep them?
I started out with this:
It's a canvas mechanics tool bag. Extremely sturdy, and pretty roomy. It has side pockets, although they aren't too big. No shoulder straps, but it's not really intended to be trucked too far on foot. Again, this is a "home base" medical pack. The biggest problem with this choice for medic pack?
What a mess.
It holds pretty much everything that I want it to, but I'll be damned if I can find anything when I need it. Impossible to organize and difficult to see exactly what you have, or even find it when you know its in there somewhere. The solution? A dedicated medic pack.
Have you ever looked at Medic Backpacks? Freaking unbelievably expensive. You can find a regular backpack, marked as a "Medic backpack" for $60 or so - but it will be pretty small and be basically just a backpack. No dividers or organizers at all inside. I'd have the same problem that I had with the mechanics bag - only I would have paid 4 times as much money for it. You can find actual Medic Packs online, with great organizers inside, but they can run as much as $300 - even with out any first aid supplies included.
Way out of my price range.
My solution? I decided to make my own. I found this Jeep rolling luggage piece at Walmart - about $40.
It has extreme sturdy, heavy duty wheels, and an extending handle just like regular luggage. So, if I did have to evacuate on foot I'd stand a much better chance of being able to take this large pack with me (as opposed to a pack that I would have to carry). The body of the pack is made like a backpack, though, which allows me to be creative in setting it up as a medic pack. Here's what it looks like inside:
There's a big storage area that zips all the way open. There's also another large storage area that zips open in front:
To turn this into a Medic Pack that will allow me to organize and see what I've got - I found these:
This is a jewelry organizer that I found at the Container Store. This is how they look:
They are double sided, but at this point I'm only using one side. I bought three of them to go inside my Medic Pack. I had to cut the organizers down a bit, so they would fit. There are still plenty of pockets to separate my first aid supplies. Best of all, the pockets are clear so they don't hide my stuff from view. I put one organizer in the back of the pack:
When I attached the organizer, it was heavy and tended to make the lining inside sag down. I fixed this by drilling three small holes near the top, and riveting the lining securely to the body of the pack - so it couldn't pull away. I used simple two part rivets that I have for use in leatherwork. Alternatively, I could have just stiched it in place using heavy thread.
The zippered section on the facing flap I decided to leave pretty much as-is. I'm going to stitch in some velcro loops for securing my stethoscope and a blood pressure cuff. I'll also have some medical/first aid reference books in here.
The outside storage compartment recieved two organizers. I had to cut these down a bit more, but they still hold a lot of gear. I had these temporarily attached with double sided tape in this picture, to test the fit. This is holding ok for now, but I'm going to stitch or rivet them in permanently.
Even though the pack is much more organized now and holds even more medical supplies - there are still times where you don't want to waste even the few minutes it takes to get inside the pack. With a severe injury involving rapid blood loss - every second counts.
That's what the smaller bag on the outside of the pack is for. This is the 6x6 trauma pack that I have on my tac vest. I have it attached for demonstration purposes via molle straps to the webbing on the face of the Medic Pack. I'll be getting another one for the medic pack permanently - except that I'll be attaching it with a large piece of heavy velcro. I want a small pack that stays secure on the larger medic pack - until I rip it off for immediate use in an emergency. I thing this will work well for that. There are "Rip Away EMT Pouches" that are made specifically for this purpose, so I may just go with one of those since there wouldn't be much difference in price.
Here's what's currently inside:
Basically some Quik Clot, lots of absorbent gauze pads, tape, gloves, etc - basically what you'd need to immediately treat someone for serious bleeding. I'll also be including a tourniquet, once I decide which one I'm going with.
Along the same "Immediate Access" line of thought, there are several points on the outside of the Large Medic Pack where I can attach stuff like CPR masks , or other items that you really don't want to have to look around for if you're in a jam.
By far, the best item to include in any Medical or First Aid supply is your own knowledge. Learn what to do BEFORE you're faced with an emergency medical situation. And make sure everyone in your group/family knows what to do as well. If you're the only one with the knowledge to handle medical emergencies - and then you become a medical emergency - it's gonna suck for everyone involved.