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The Hippy Survival Guide to Y2K.

The Hippy Survival Guide to Y2K, by Mike Oehler; Keokee Co. Publishing, 1999; 279 pp; $14.95 + $3 s&h; available from Homestead Books, Star Route, Moyie Springs ID 83845; 1-888-267-7079

Hippies? What do they know about Y2K? And besides, didn't they all get jobs, put on suits, and move to the suburbs?

Well, Mike Oehler is still with us. He doesn't have a "normal" job or wear a suit. Although he did upgrade his house tenfold, it's the same $50 underground one, greatly expanded -- with $450 worth of improvements. (He is also the author of The $50 & Up Underground House Book.)

And he does know a bit about Y2K, and a lot of other things.

However, don't read this to learn about Y2K unless you know virtually nothing about it. Although the first 152 pages are devoted to explaining the computer problem, you can learn more, faster, from the computer experts such as the Yourdons' Time Bomb 2000 and others.

But they won't be as entertaining as this one, and they don't cover the other areas this one does.

Mike Oehler takes us along on his path of Y2K awareness from April 2, 1998, (638 days left), through Dec. 31 (366 days left). Along the way we hear a great deal about Y2K, in chronological order, as the countdown continues, but most people who have been studying the problem at all won't find many new revelations here.

Instead, they will follow the author as he learns more about Y2K, tries to convince the county commissioners to prepare for refugees from the cities, and talks about the I Ching, his dog, A Course in Miracles, his friends, fasting, his neighbors, politics, food storage, buying another wood stove, frogs in his house ... and hippies and hippydom.

"... tie-dyes and pot smoking do not a hippy make. Neither does living on a commune. What makes a hippy is the fundamental philosophical/spiritual change that occurred in each of us, the change that impelled us on a different course in life."

I was never a hippy. By the time the kids were saying "never trust anyone over 30," I was over 30 -- with a wife, family, homestead, business, and mortgage. Very unhippy-like. And yet, reading this book makes me wonder if a hippy isn't just a homesteader of a, perhaps, slightly different shade.

Consider this three-sentence paragraph:

"What can the federal government best do to promote family life, improve education, cut common crime and juvenile delinquency, eliminate most white collar crime, wipe out urban slums, ease the financial plight of the elderly, promote mental health, cut cancer and heart fatalities, provide better for the health and well-being of the people, eliminate most of the welfare burden, eliminate unemployment, cut energy consumption, conserve other resources, eliminate toxic dumping, clean up the water and air, stop producing nuclear waste, promote soil conservation, halt species extinction, solve the farm problem, stave off national and international economic collapse, stem inflation, cut taxes, balance the budget, eliminate the international trade deficit, promote freedom at home and abroad, and aid the foreign (and American) poor? What can the federal government best do to improve every aspect of these social, environmental, economic and international problems? In four words it can promote homesteading."

Oehler discusses each of these in a section titled "Silver Bullet Solutions."

There is a brief section -- about 50 pages -- on "survival strategies," and three appendices including "The First Law of Industrialization" (including information on underground shelters), making this already eclectic book even more unusual.

The title might or might not be a good choice. The "hippy" reference might turn away some people who are interested in homesteading ... or it might attract some who would be turned off by a reference to homesteading. The "Y2K" might draw readers who wouldn't otherwise be interested in either hippies or homesteaders, but it might also date the book and send it to an undeservedly early obsolescence.

Because this book isn't really about hippies or Y2K. It is partly a very interesting and enjoyable first-person story, but even more, a lucid and compelling explanation and expansion of the homestead philosophy.
COPYRIGHT 1999 Countryside Publications Ltd.
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Review
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 1999
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