Posted by: bkivey | 11 May 2022

Herding A Cat

I have been anxious for time and weather to converge so I could drive the Jaguar in the manner desired; and, like any machine and operator, become accustomed to each other. That happy confluence occurred the last couple of days.

Headed up to Bald Peak State Park (1600′) Tuesday, which lies at the top of Bald Peak Rd; known for the grades and curves. The car has a choose-your-own-adventure 5-speed auto with a J-gate manual option. Auto all the way, as I was still feeling out the car. Nothing broke, so a success.

Wednesday I took a trip to the logging town of Vernonia. State Hwy 47 is the primary access, and fun enough. Timber Road, joining Hwy 47 south of Vernonia, and crossing US 26, would be the way home.

I can drive both roads at speed with the Mazda sans brake, but the left leg is feeling it. There is a reducing-radius lefthander on SR 47 that will bite you if you don’t pay attention, but otherwise, not a difficult road. Timber Rd is more challenging.

But, not, apparently, for the Cat. It is fair to say I know both roads, but not to the point of familiarity. I drove Hwy 47 in auto, because I wanted to see how the car responded to a known road. I didn’t use the brake. The car feels planted on the road, and at 3900 pounds, should. The drivetrain and suspension belie the weight, though.

For the drive back on Timber Rd I used the J-gate manual option. The car has a 5-speed automatic, and you can flick the selector left to 4th, and then on down to 2nd. I drove the car like a manual, and it was little different. There is a slight, but significant, pause between gear selections. I suspect for similar reasons for response-lag between piston and turbine aircraft engines. In a turbine, the rotating assembly has to get up to speed, and in an automatic transmission, the fluid has to have the energy. The car works just fine in manual mode, and drives similar to a manual transmission, but with a bit more anticipation on the part of the driver.

And the difference between a sports car and touring car becomes apparent. Cars like the Mazda are all about quick accelerations, as acceleration is what excites people. Throwing gears around and braking and throttling at 45 mph is much more fun than running through a curve at 60 with minimal effort. But that’s what the Jaguar does. On the same roads I’m thrashing the Mazda, the Jag just gets on with it.

Two different approaches. I am becoming a fan of the Jaguar as a good all-rounder, but the Mazda makes me smile.

Posted by: bkivey | 27 April 2022

Coolest Cat in the County

A friend forwarded a Craigslist ad for a couple of key fobs. I’ve been looking for some new keys, and the price was right.

They’re nice fobs: switchblade key and four buttons. The seller threw this in for free:

The other side looks the same

Until about four days ago, I had no idea Jaguar built shooting brakes, but here it is, one of about 1700 sold in the US for the 2005 model year. This car has the 228 hp V6 mated to the five-speed automatic, which is just fine for a daily driver. The car does have a manual shift option, which I haven’t thrown around yet. Have to get it legal.

The previous owner had bought the car at an estate sale, where it had sat for two years. Probably not driven much beforehand, as there are just shy of 100k on the clock. Being a Jaguar, reliability, especially of the electrical variety, comes right to mind. This car was manufactured in the middle of Ford’s ownership, so not the garage queen reputation Jaguar built for decades. In fact, on this car, everything appears to work. Even the heated seats. And the underside is remarkably free of oil.

My primary concern is the transmission, which does not have a good reputation. That is one of the pricier things to fix, with only engine replacement more expensive. Of course, all fluids and filters are to be replaced, and I’ll ask the mechanic about the transmission. It works fine, now.

I like the design, although not such a big fan of the interior, it seems like the quality of the plastic parts is a little cheap, and the interior chrome is, meh. As usual with Jaguar, lots of fake wood around. The upholstery is leather, which goes a ways to off-setting the plastic. Would have preferred the optional black luggage rails, but you don’t get to option someone else’s car. The Leaping Cat on the hood seems a bit ostentatious now, but that’s how the Ought’s rolled. From the car you can only see the top of the head and back.

I am wanting to get a vanity plate: NOGHST

So I have done the thing I’ve been warned against, bought a used foreign car not made in Japan. And a British car; a country not renowned for reliable road machines. On the other hand, it is a Jaguar. Like the Mazda, this is a car I didn’t know existed, or wanted, or could buy, until someone else told me about it. And like the Mazda, I felt like this was a car that shouldn’t get away. The Mazda has repaid my gamble in spades, and I’m hoping for the same here. James Bond can have his Aston Martins; I’ll take this.

Posted by: bkivey | 12 April 2022

NCAA Men’s Basketball

Of which the championship game took place 4 April. Having forsworn sports the last couple of years (masks); I followed this years tournament. And there was Mike Krzyzewski, the legend-in-his-own-time head coach for Duke University. Coach K became the Duke men’s basketball head coach when I was attending high school in North Carolina(!?), and I remember a press conference where he joked with reporters: “Before I leave here, you’ll know how to spell my name.” No problems there, Coach.

Coach Krzyzewski had said this was his last season. If the Blue Devils didn’t make the post-season, that was it. The first loss, or winning the championship, would be his last game. So while I was an NC State fan in high school (2022 record: missed everything post-season), I was rooting for the Blue Devils this year. No pressure, guys. Just that the next game lost will end a legend’s career. You had your Cinderella in St. Josephs, but the real nail-biter was, would Duke survive another game?

And they did. Right up until the Final Four game against the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (my middle sister’s school). University of Kansas awaited the winner in the final game, but the focus was entirely on this nationally-famous rivalry. Duke – UNC is known. I went to high school in central North Carolina, and while perhaps biased, an argument can be made that the best college basketball is in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and the heart of that is Tobacco Road between Raleigh (NC State), Durham (Duke), and Chapel Hill (UNC). Kentucky who?

The phrase “Throw out the record book” truly applies to these games. Duke was a 1 seed in the tournament, while UNC was seeded 8. Anyone familiar with ACC basketball knows that did not matter in the least.

As the game proved. One of those occasions where the event outdid the hype. The refs called a moderate game, but let players play most of the time. A telling indicator of the quality of the game came about halfway through the first half, when radio commenters PJ Carlissimo and Clark Kellog pretty much stopped calling the game, and started coaching it. As Clark Kellog observed “No one is going to lose this game, but one team is going to score more points.”

‘Instant Classic’ gets thrown around, but this game was. And I’m feeling good, because the entire country got to experience what folks in North Carolina get to see every season: ACC basketball.

Posted by: bkivey | 22 March 2022

Spring Has Sprung

The last couple of weeks the weather has taken a turn for the warmer, we had the first rain last week that smelled of earth, rather than ice. To this point, Winter has been mild and didn’t stick around long. No complaints. Well, I have heard fans of the sliding sports complain that there wasn’t enough activity to warrant a season pass.

The woodpeckers and songbirds have been moving in, including the robin family that seems to be a staple the last several years. Robins only live about two years in the wild, but it seems the group living near the house are more tolerant and curious than before. Some wrens; some hummingbirds.

Haven’t seen the ducks yet, but have heard them. They may be setting up camp further upstream this year. There is an owl about. Owls are year-round residents, but from the call, it sounds like a new sheriff in town.

There are a couple of weeks in mid-March, or so, when the weather becomes unsettled. Cool air from the ocean meets warming air from the desert, and you will have hail, intense rain, and possibly snow, in about 30 minutes. The disturbances are localized, but intense, convective cells. Afterwards, we’ll have generally warmer rain until the end of June.

Great Moments in Journalism

From an article on the Senate’s vote to eliminate Federal masking rules, and Sen. Rand Paul:

“Paul has refused to get vaccines and remains opposed to any government action to fight the pandemic, despite his opposite stance on the Ebola virus in 2014.”

Truly, that sentence must stand on it’s own.

Posted by: bkivey | 12 March 2022

Maskipation Day

And it came to pass, on the 12th day of the 3rd month, in the Year of Our Lord 2022, that the people were freed.

The edicts of the Governor Kate Brown had been many, and oppressive, and of uncertain provenance. The Governor Kate Brown did not wear her Mask, even as the People suffered.

But, then a light came into diverse lands, where the People did not have to wear Masks, until such time as the Land of Oregon stood nearly alone. Still, the Governor Kate Brown would not relent.

“Oh, Lord!” the People would cry. “Why hast thou blinded the Governor’s eyes, that she cannot see the suffering? Why hast thou stopped her ears with beeswax, that she cannot hear the People’s cries?”

And, verily, an Election Year came to pass. The Governor’s Party did not wish to have the People long remember the Party failures.

So, the Masks of Virtue Signaling were torn from the People’s faces, and the People rejoiced.

Posted by: bkivey | 23 February 2022


Deuces wild, eh? I believe that is a palindromic date. A little surprised a bigger deal wasn’t made.

This Just In: Russia Invades Ukraine. Maybe Putin has a numerologist.

On the day, I did not invade a country; I took the Mazda for a spin. Up Bald Peak Rd to the eponymous state park at the top of the Chehelam Range. Snow and ice on the road above 1000′, and the parking lot looked like a car club meet-up. At the 1600′ elevation, it was sunny, but cold; about 30F at the park with a wind, a short walk gave a view of the Nehelem River valley to the West. Everyone had brought their toys. Four hot hatches, a C8 Corvette, and a couple of motos. Rolling by a couple on a motorcycle, I yelled “You win!” Bald Peak Road is locally popular, for the views and the road, but riding a motorcycle in the conditions is hard core.

The views come into play on the downhill drive, and on the the day there were some clouds, but nice enough. 90 minutes of fun and relaxation; right here at home.

Posted by: bkivey | 17 February 2022

Willful Incompetence

In December of last year, the City of Portland announced a $12M program to put portable cooling units in low-income resident housing. Not just City-supplied housing; anyone could apply. The action was spurred by the unprecedented heat wave last Summer that saw 116F. That’s hot, even if you are from Arizona. And a solid 8F higher than I’ve seen in this part of the Northwest. The thing about heat, is that it’s hot.

So, the Portland City Council got it into their heads that buying and installing up to 15,000 portable cooling units (PCU) would be a great use of taxpayer money. To accomplish this, the Council, through the Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Fund, farmed the job out to non-profit Diversifying Energy. And you thought shadow companies were only for the private sector.

That’s the set-up. My first question is why are we doing this in the first place? I would bet this week’s paycheck that question never occurred to anyone involved. Because the answer appears to be self-evident: high temperatures kill people; cooling prevents that. And all true.

Except, we’re not talking about helpless children, here. These are grown-ass adults. Or, would probably like to think of themselves as such. Is it such a big ask to expect adults to take care of themselves, to the point of basic health?

Taking care of one’s basic needs, like, staying alive, is fundamental to living competence. Are we beset with idiot children, who cannot take care of themselves? No. We are plagued with idiot busybodies, who infantilize people for power. Yeah, I hear what you’re saying, but I see what you’re doing.

Posted by: bkivey | 13 February 2022

This Just In (V2202.12)

Let’s Talk About Trump, Because Biden is Terrible

Polls suggest that President Biden has a 41% approval rating.

From the article:

“(Sidebar: Another indicator of how strongly opposed many are to Biden? In the CNN poll, 56% of those who disapprove of him said they couldn’t name a single thing he had done as President of which they approve.)”

And, on the same day, we are informed that Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State, and long-time Presidential candidate, has issue with Donald Trump’s security habits. Ms. Clinton has had hats made that ask “What About Her Emails?” No one has ever accused Hillary Clinton of good taste, and to draw attention to what everyone, except the FBI, can see, is a slap in the face, But, that’s on form. Remember ‘deplorables’? Remember successfully blowing off Federal charges as unimportant? In the Progressive world, the Law is for losers. That’s you and me, in case you were wondering.

I have noticed that in a remarkably short time, ‘Biden/Harris’ stickers have just about disappeared from local roads. Bernie and Obama stickers outnumber the current Administration’s. Where the heck are the 80 million Biden supporters?

Freedom is Inconvenient: Let’s Just Be Fat, Dumb, and Compliant

The Canadian Freedom protests are gaining traction, as major news outlets can no longer ignore them. Similar protests have erupted in France (go figure), The Netherlands, and New Zealand. You know where protests haven’t occurred?


The idea of taking control of one’s destiny, and not brooking BS from Government, started here. Here. The Canadians are handing us our butt in the Liberty department; you’d have a hard time finding that many American flags in one place.

Reports suggest that the Canadian demonstration doesn’t have wide public support because it’s hard to buy stuff. And, any similar demonstration in the US would be met by the same decadence. I have seen an increasing number of signs in local businesses that people should wear masks or the business will shut down. People are selling their birthright for a low-level job. Do you even think about what you are doing? The rest of your life, and generations to come, will be influenced by decision you make today.

Masking Going Away (Sort Of)

The State of Oregon has announced, much to the pleasure of the peasants, that indoor masking is going away no later than 31 March. The astute will note that unlike Nevada, Oregon still feels the need for citizens to inconvenience and restrain themselves for another six weeks. COVID-19 is somehow more virulent in the Northwest? Or, maybe people need to be treated more like children here, than anywhere else?

Some context here, and the Oregon situation here. The Oregon link is really worth an entire post. Not condescending much, are we?

The disturbing portion is that Oregon will allow businesses to set their own mask requirements. This is a 55-gallon can of worms. I cannot believe that the police (you know, the ones you want to defund) are going to be in a real big hurry to respond. Enforcement is going to be a problem, if anyone cares to push the boundaries, even a little bit. You won’t ring up the purchase? Fine. I’ll just walk out with it. You had the opportunity.

But, it is of piece. Government want’s compliance without question. They know better. People, a free people, know different.

Portland Government Admits Failure

In a story that was actually reported, a top aid to Mayor Ted Wheeler, former Mayor Sam Adams, suggested that Portland’s homeless be rounded up into three large camps with a capacity of up to 1,000 people nightly.

And the ‘pull quote’ from Mr. Adams:

“Our work so far, mine included, has failed to produce the sought-after results.”

One might say.

Another article worth a post.

Allowing ice fishing just a slippery slope to ice shanty prostitution, Ohio mayor claims

I could not resist.

Posted by: bkivey | 2 February 2022

Portland Walkabout

An unscheduled day off on the 28th allowed an opportunity to take a walk around downtown Portland. I often have work in Portland, but haven’t spent leisure time there in three years, and that used to rank high on day-off activities. It hasn’t rained for a few days, and we’ve enjoyed clear skies, albeit cold temperatures. Sunny days in the Winter around here lead to feelings of guilt if one stays indoors; perhaps related to the need to generate some Vitamin D. It’s generally a good idea to take D-3 supplements here in the Winter, because there aren’t a lot of natural opportunities.

I took the Mazda, in case driving opportunities presented, and, why not? Popped the moonroof, because, Sun, although the Sun hadn’t had much chance to work on the moonroof:

It’s January

Parking in a garage near Pioneer Square, I had a look around. Pioneer Square is sometimes called ‘Portland’s Living Room’, and on this day a woman was set up in front of the Courthouse with a microphone, at a surprisingly loud volume, and started reading a self-authored book. I wasn’t paying more attention than the volume demanded, and that was a fair amount, but it seems she had some beef with the City of Portland, had written a book (actually bound with a dust jacket), and was going to read it in it’s entirety. “I’m going to read the whole book. We’re going to be here a while.” There was a male companion standing behind her chair, and both were dressed for the low 40’s temps, and enough wind to bring an edge. Given the past three years, that’s small beer for Portland protests. They weren’t burning down the Apple store [actual event].

Looking at the photo, I’m impressed the fire was able to defeat suppression systems. That’s a fire.

I will caution Northwest residents, that for the rest of the post, the sky will seem an odd color. That is ‘blue’, and the shadows are caused by the ‘Sun’.

Looking across the Square toward the Courthouse, and the one-woman protest:

Just behind me is the sculpture ‘Allow Me’



The food cart is new, and he gained some bling

Just down the street is the sculpture ‘Animals In Pools’. Representations of native wildlife on both sides of the block. There are beavers, otters, bears, and other native fauna. The pools are filled in Summer:



In the same area is this structure:

There are several of these scattered around downtown, this one is adjacent to the Courthouse, looking for all the world like subway entrances. But Portland doesn’t have a subway. I’d thought they might be for the Shanghai Tunnels, but that operation was underground in every sense. Perhaps utility access?

Around the block, and a heading North, is ‘Cat in Repose’:



The Cat has had some days, apparently.

Along the way there is more ‘art’:

Used to be a Rite Aid
On another closed business

Further on is ‘Interlocking Forms’:



From the other side, but you can see the graffiti

There is the sculpture ‘Car Wash’, and in the Summer, water comes out of the structure into the pool:

The homeless camp is new, though

And, here is where things got gnarly in downtown Portland. See that dude with the bike in the left background? Shortly after I took this photo, and was walking up the street, he rolled alongside, and demanded

“What’s your name?”

“What do you want?”

“I want that phone in your pocket. It could be worth your life.”

Barked laugh and “I don’t think so. You need to ride on, dude.”

And he did. What I should have done is punched him off the bike. You’re going to roll up on me, minding my own business, and threaten me? That’s a hell of sense of privilige. Portland, you have a real problem. This is why I don’t go downtown anymore, and no one else does, either.

There is a fountain officially titled ‘Untitled’:

Don’t think the graffiti is original to the art
And more tents. No combative homeless here, though.

Walking back up to Pioneer Square, I took a stroll down the South Park Blocks. Since 2011, this has been Ground Zero for much of Portland’s protests and occupations.

The South Park Blocks are rich in public art, or used to be. Honest Abe in 2018:


Teddy Roosevelt 2018


Some art survives. ‘In The Shadow of the Elm’

The South Park Blocks are where most of Portland’s museums are clustered, and home to Portland State University.

Looking North from South Park Blocks

And have to get the enviro message in:

A Mixed Message

I like Portland. Of the cities I’ve lived in, it’s the most accessible. Easy to walk around, and transit is fairly good. For whatever reason, I like downtown Portland. But.

I chose a wide format for most of the photos to give an idea of the city today. Eighteen months ago, it was overrun with barbarians. I have not had much kind to say about Portland city government (like they care; I don’t live there), but the City has made serious effort to clean up the damage of the last several years. Damage the unkind might note is largely self-inflicted, but effort nonetheless. I look forward to future visits.

Posted by: bkivey | 16 January 2022

A Curious Ad

The tax season is upon us; businesses have to file certain forms by the end of the month, and various states require various filings up to, and through, Tax Day. And so companies in the tax prep business have started advertising. Like the Holiday Season, but not as fun. Sammy the Tax Man instead of Frosty the Snowman. One company, TaxPayer (a psuedonym), has run some disturbing radio spots.

The spot opens with a Tax Refund Tree growing in the back yard. We know this, because the Tree announces that it is the Tax Refund Tree, thereby establishing consciousness, if not sentience. Someone, presumably the narrator, fires up a chainsaw and cuts off limbs. The Tree is anguished at the loss of limbs, but doesn’t seem to be in pain. Maybe cutting tree limbs is like cutting hair? This doesn’t seem likely. Not content with dismembering the Tree, the limbs are fed into a wood chipper (?!), and the perpetrator ‘enjoys the rain of tax refund!’. This is a commercial for a tax preparation company.

What the actual, here? It would seem that a Tax Refund Tree would perhaps bear fruit that the person could pick, or at least pick up off the ground. I might imagine the Tax Refund Tree’s leaves might be Franklins, and that the Tree sheds in the Spring rather than Fall. There are some alternative creative directions here, besides a scene from ‘Fargo‘.

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