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3-22-05 - Looking for Water Storage Tanks and Asking Tough Questions of the US Army and Federal Government.

Now that the 5400 gallon water storage tank here is full and feeding the pump, pressure tank, and the Rube Goldbergian array of fittings, valves, adapters, unions, and pipes for the two houses, my sights start to turn toward the task of putting in 16,000 gallons of water storage at the woodland school my angelic younger son, Clay, attends. Right now he's in Spokane with his older brother, Kelly. Clay is 13 and Kelly's 31, and every 11 years their ages will be thus reversed. It's obviously a highly significant numerological confluence though I don't know even inexactly what the significance is. But back to the water storage tanks for the Nonesuch School.

Lynn, the owner and head of the establishment, gave me some phone numbers to call for army surplus in the Sacramento area, but they're always busy. So I'm going to web it then just go to the source and meet the real people in charge. I have fond memories of working with government bureaucracies from my days with the California Conservation Corps and Zen Center. The Army can be especially helpful.

I just went on the web and got some numbers for the Army Corps of Engineers. I've dealt with them a few decades back and they were can-do people. All you need to do is find the right sort of eager beaver who will hunt down what you want and figure out how to get it to you at minimum or even no cost.

I remember Colonel Jim Harrington of the California National Guard, a related outfit. I used to get stuff from him for the CCC when we were first opening centers back in the late seventies. He was deceptively young looking, straight as Mormon, clear-eyed and friendly. I met with him a number of times. I remember that he was proud to be in charge of the Guard's nuclear weapons responsibilities and that he (very white) was in command of a unit of black soldiers during the Watts riots and that they all remained close and professional in carrying out their duty. The fact that I was a draft-dodging leftist anti-nuke peacenik didn't bother him at all.

The best advice he ever gave me I well remember. He told me that when you want something from someone like I wanted all sorts of stuff from him, don't start off the relationship by asking for it, no matter how badly or soon you want it. Instead, do something for them first. Then ask for what you want. He said no matter how much the other did for you after that point that the foundation of the relationship would always be based on its root. But I never did anything for him but go to lunch and schmooze and he was always extremely generous so there must have been some other principle at work there as well - like that he was an unselfish and dedicated public official.

One day I called Jim up and said that the Bolinas Stinson school needed a big bus to use as an art class. A building would be too expensive because of earthquake standards. But a bus got around the codes. He knew my partner Liz, she'd set up the food program for the CCC and he'd helped with procuring food and supplies for that program. Within a week a large bus was delivered to the Bolinas site. Jim said to please not thank him or to mention where it came from. I'm sure this is all beyond the statute of limitations and I don't know where he is now but I remember Jim warmly. I wonder if the bus is still there. I just talked to her this morning but I didn't think to ask.

The whole point of all this is that I had to inform any gentle reader of who got this far of a terrific discovery I made while searching the web for water storage tanks. Below is a sample list used in the government liquidation site in an explanation of how to use their search function. The page was explaining (if pages can do that) that a search could be done through keywords or FSC Category. They gave some examples of FSC Categories. Couldn't copy and past it, have to rewrite. So here it is. These are their actual examples. Check it out.

1005 - Guns, through 30mm
1010 - Guns, Over 3omm Up To 70mm
1015 - Guns, Over 75mm Up To 125mm
1020 - Guns, Over 120mm Up To 150mm
1025 - Guns, Over 150mm Up To 200mm
1040 - Chemical Weapons And Equipment
1045 - Launcher, Torpedo & Depth Charge
1075 - Degaussing And Minesweeping Equipment
1080 - Camouflage And Deception Equipment
1095 - Miscellaneous Weapons

This is a Buddhist archival website and I can't spend all day copying down these military liquidation items. It's just not closely enough related to my work and, as a member in good standing of the Institute of Historical Studies, I have an obligation to uphold their high standards as well as a duty to fulfill the expectations of the readers of and donors to this site. But I'll go a bit more. I'll list some more in a moment, but upon reading that list again, a few serious questions demand answers. After all this is my government and they are doing this IN MY NAME.

First, why couldn't I copy and paste these categories? Are they trying to make it hard for the average citizen?

What does FSC mean? Could it be Federal Stuff Consigned? Or Find Something Collectable? We should demand transparency of our government!

And what does the numbering system mean? Are there four items between  1075 - Degaussing And Minesweeping Equipment and 1080 - Camouflage And Deception Equipment? They don't seem to be counting by 5s because the numbers jump more than five at times such as from 1025 - Guns, Over 150mm Up To 200mm to 1040 - Chemical Weapons And Equipment. When you read these items don't these questions just jump out? What's in between those items? Are they hiding anything?

Here's another compelling question. Who's in charge of the capitalization of this list? Note that the word "through" in the first item, 1005 - Guns, through 30mm, is not capitalized. Every other word I have so far noticed (and I haven't gone over the whole list carefully - after all, I'm looking for water storage tanks) is. For instance all the "Ands" are capitalized just like that one. And why the use of the one ampersand in 1045 - Launcher, Torpedo & Depth Charge.

The government has a bad enough reputation for screwing things up without a list like this one being printed before being carefully proofread. There's a total lack of explanation on  1010 - Guns, Over 3omm Up To 70mm. What are 3 omms? OMM is the Omi Corporation but there's only one of them and that's capitalized. But if the writer just goofed and forgot to capitalize, could it stand for three organizations with OMM being the acronym that represents them (such as the Online Macromolecular Museum)? There's also the Omm Hotel. Google listed 2,120,000 different results when it searched  (in .18 seconds) for "omm." It's simply too hard to figure out without explanation. Also, note the glaring error of not separating the number 3 and the letter "o."  If it was the number 3 and the number 0 then it would make sense not to separate them because that's how the number thirty would be written. But that's not the case here.

I'd better stop questioning and critiquing that list here though for fear of, if I go much further, falling into petty bickering about minutia. But if I and some of my disgruntled friends want to buy some chemical weapons or other items on the government liquidation site, we would appreciate it if the government would present the available items more clearly.

But I should be grateful for the government making these unneeded things available for any of us to grab up. Looking down the list, I can think of a lot of people in Anger Management Classes who'd want say, 1280 - Aircraft Bombing Fire Control Components or the simple and straightforward 1325 - Bombs.

The only arrest of a terrorist with weapons in America in the last few years, as far as I know, was a fanatical Christian fundamentalist couple in Texas. Let me search for it with Google. Yes, here's a mention, from

In May 2003 federal agents arrested a white racist couple dealing in weapons of mass destruction in a small town near Tyler, Texas. The feds seized a cyanide bomb capable of unleashing a deadly poison cloud, chemicals and components for additional WMDs, gas masks, 100 conventional bombs, an arsenal of automatic weapons, silencers and half a million rounds of ammunition.

I guess the media and politicians (such as Ashcroft) who had international press conferences when they arrested a Muslim for something that didn't pan out, didn't play that up out of consideration for the families. I wouldn't want to sell this stuff to foreigners or heathens or minorities, but these folks are God-fearing White Christians. They might be interested in 1370 - Pyrotechnics.

There are so many potentially useful tools of your trade whoever you are that I haven't mentioned: 1810 - Space Vehicles, and without bothering to put in the numbers there are actually listed Nuclear Reactors, Rockets, Rocket Fuel, all sorts of Guided Missile stuff, Airplanes, Drones, Combat Ships and Landing Vessels.

This isn't a list confined to weapons either. There's Buoys and Rail Cars, Tires, Engines, Bearing, Woodworking Tools, Manual Presses, Laundry and Dry Cleaning Equipment, Shoe Repairing Equipment, Food Products Machinery. Whatever you want, look for it there.

The ending of this list of FSC Categories does indeed take us beyond the mundane.

Fourth from the end is 9920 -  Smokers Articles and Matches. Again, a question is begged. Why no apostrophe after "Smokers?" Also, what are they smoking?

Third from the end is 9925 - Ecclesiastical Equipment, Furnishings and Supplies. Possibly this is to allow people to properly make confession to an ordained priest after having used the earlier items, many of which could have killed large numbers of people, thus breaking the commandments and precepts of the various religions that need equipment, furnishings, and supplies in order to forgive people of their sins and erring ways.

The penultimate category is highly thoughtful and shows how these people work unceasingly to cover all the bases. 9930 - Memorials; Cemeterial & Mortuary Equipment and Supplies. Now it's time to bury those whom you've killed or to be buried yourself if you've perished in the sorts of dangerous activities that the items listed previously incur.

I do think it was transcendently thorough of them to have ended the list with # 9999 - Miscellaneous Items (Cannot Conceivably Be Classified Elsewhere). The order indicates that categories ending in numbers other than 0 and 5 do exist, I do wonder what's on that list. That's quite a statement: "Cannot Conceivably Be Classified Elsewhere." I can conceive of quite a bit, but the US Army has a list of things that they are confident that I cannot conceive of as being on any other list. That's one for the Abhidharma, if you're into ancient Buddhist categorization of everything conceivable and inconceivable.

But I diverge from the task at hand, finding surplus water storage tanks. If you have any ideas, please let me know.

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