Posted by: bkivey | 6 February 2019

The Social Media

I had a couple of children’s electric scooters I’d acquired free with the thought of selling them. Nothing broken or missing, and they were in good shape. They ran, but the batteries needed replacement, which I didn’t bother with as I was selling them anyway. After three years of intermittent selling efforts, they hadn’t moved, so along with some other things I was going to take them to the dump.

But I really don’t like throwing perfectly usable items away, and these scooters sell new for around $250 each. Maybe I could give them away?

Within fifteen minutes of posting the ad, my phone blew up with some three dozen texts and voice mails. I pulled the ad. I had no idea that free scooters would be so popular. Because we live on a dead-end street, there is no casual traffic. I didn’t put the address in the ad, because Craigslist. I’d also expected some manageable number of responses. In order to streamline things, I wheeled the scooters out to the street, gathered the text responses into a group, and sent the address out with the caveat that if the scooters weren’t on the street, someone had them. It’s free stuff on the street: if you want it, come get it. The hope was that when someone picked the scooters up, they’d text the group so no one else would waste their time.

What I’d thought would be a reasonable, efficient way to handle the responses quickly turned in to a social media free-for-all. I was vilified for creating a dystopian melee with people racing and fighting for these scooters for my entertainment (?!). There was talk of damaging the house (which is exactly why they were on the street). We’re not talking food in a starvation situation here, people. I considered calling the police for some extra patrols for a few hours. People complaining that I didn’t take reservations were denounced as ‘babies’. Bear in mind that a half-hour prior none of these people knew the others existed. It was disturbing and a bit frightening. I didn’t respond to any of the texts, because that fire didn’t need to be fueled.

There is no decorum in society. And if the definition of integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking is valid, there’s no integrity, either. Or perspective. There is a hell of a lot of entitlement, though. A large percentage of people seem to believe that if they are behind a device they can act any kind of way. ‘Lord of the Flies’ exists in cyberspace, and people seem to think that’s OK. It’s not, because you’re the same person regardless, even if you hide it in public. A jackass behind a mask is still a jackass.

Someone did get the scooters.

Winter is Here

Well, it’s been here officially for a while, and folks East of the Rockies have been having some real Winter weather, but that’s why I don’t live in Chicago. Winter locally has been rather nice: reasonable temps and most of the rain has had the good grace to fall at night.

Until this week, when the weather went right off the cliff. For the foreseeable future our highs will struggle to reach 40F and lows are below freezing every night. Yeah, I know, but I don’t live where you live. Fortunately, not much precipitation in the forecast, because whatever does fall isn’t going away. Still, only about six weeks of Winter left.

Some Big Game 53

This years Container of the First Water was generally panned as boring because the two teams could only manage a soccer score for three quarters, until a late scoring outburst by the Patriots yielded the final tally. I liked the game. It was interesting to watch the two head coaches make move and counter-move as they adjusted their game plans. And both coaching staffs had good plans to negate the other team’s strengths, although the Rams were seriously hampered when they found out kidnapping Tom Brady wasn’t an option. It wasn’t fun, exactly, but entertaining in the way baseball is. And I suppose soccer.

I was happy to see that the refs for the most part let the players play, and the game moved along. After the respective conference championship refereeing debacles, the refs may have swallowed their whistles a bit.

The only commercial that stood out was the Amazon spot with Harrison Ford. Entertaining enough that I didn’t notice it was an Amazon commercial until the second viewing. And I don’t remember the company, but I do remember they made dog dishes look cool for 30 seconds.

Posted by: bkivey | 31 December 2018

Random End-Of-Year

Miscellaneous things on the last day of 2018.

It was sunny today:

OR TV Hwy looking West 181231


Looking West down TV Highway in Hillsboro toward the Coast Range. The mountains are about 20 miles away.

OR TV Hwy looking East 181231

Looking East. Mt. Hood is about 60 miles distant.

OR Spangrish


OR Hillsboro Jesusmobile

Jesus rolls deep with a Lincoln Navigator.

20 year old Brother printer

I had to replace this printer after 20 years of service. I bought it because every contractor’s office I was in had one, so I figured it would work well. It has. All I’ve ever done is replace the ink. Print quality degraded some the last year, I imagine as the print nozzles wore, but up until last week, all it did was work. The scanner still works, so I’ll keep it for that. Any machine that works this well deserves recognition.

2018 saw the completion of a two-year, $15k project to renovate my mouth. After decades of crappy, painful teeth, my mouth looks and works well, and should for the rest of my life. Worth every minute and every dollar. Thank you, Dr. James A. Miller and staff.

Wishing everyone a prosperous 2019.

Posted by: bkivey | 26 December 2018

12 Days of Christmas (PC Style)

The 12 Days of Christmas traditionally run from 25 December to 6 January (Old Christmas).

On the 12th day of the Eurocentrically imposed midwinter festival, my potential-acquaintance-rape-survivor gave to me,

TWELVE males reclaiming their inner warrior through ritual drumming.

ELEVEN pipers piping (plus the 18-member pit orchestra made up of members in good standing of the Musicians Equity Union as called for in their union contract even though they will not be asked to play a note…)

TEN melanin-deprived testosterone-poisoned scions of the patriarchal ruling class system leaping,

NINE persons engaged in rhythmic self-expression,

EIGHT economically disadvantaged female persons stealing milk-products from enslaved Bovine-Americans,

SEVEN endangered swans swimming on federally protected wetlands,

SIX enslaved fowl-Americans producing stolen nonhuman animal products,

FIVE golden symbols of culturally sanctioned enforced domestic incarceration,

(NOTE: after member of the Animal Liberation Front threatened to throw red paint at my computer, the calling birds, French hens and partridge have been reintroduced to their native habitat. To avoid further animal-American enslavement, the remaining gift package has been revised.)

FOUR hours of recorded whale songs,

THREE deconstructionist poets,

TWO Sierra Club calendars printed on recycled processed tree carcasses

and a Spotted Owl activist chained to an old-growth pear tree.

Posted by: bkivey | 25 December 2018

In Hoc Anno Domini

Written in 1949 by Vernon Royster and published in The Wall Street Journal annually since.

When Saul of Tarsus set out on his journey to Damascus the whole of the known world lay in bondage. There was one state, and it was Rome. There was one master for it all, and he was Tiberius Caesar.

Everywhere there was civil order, for the arm of the Roman law was long. Everywhere there was stability, in government and in society, for the centurions saw that it was so. But everywhere there was something else, too. There was oppression – for those who were not the friends of Tiberius Caesar. There was the tax gatherer to take the grain from the fields and the flax from the spindle to feed the le­gions or to fill the hungry treasury from which divine Caesar gave largess to the people. There was the impresser to find recruits for the circuses. There were executioners to quiet those whom the emperor proscribed. What was a man for but to serve Caesar?

There was persecution of men who dared think differently, who heard strange voices or read strange manuscripts. There was enslavement of men whose tribes came not from Rome, disdain for those who did not have the familiar visage. And most of all, there was everywhere a contempt for human life. What, to the strong, was one man more or less in a crowded world?

Then, of a sudden, there was a light in the world, and a man from Galilee saying, Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.

And the voice from Galilee, which would defy Caesar, offered a new Kingdom in which each man could walk upright and bow to none but his God. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. And he sent this gospel of the Kingdom of Man into the uttermost ends of the earth.

So the light came into the world and the men who lived in darkness were afraid, and they tried to lower a cur­tain so that man would still believe sal­vation lay with the leaders.

But it came to pass for a while in divers places that the truth did set man free, although the men of dark­ness were offended and they tried to put out the light. The voice said, Haste ye. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you, for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.

Along the road to Damascus the light shone brightly. But afterward Paul of Tarsus, too, was sore afraid. He feared that other Caesars, other prophets, might one day persuade men that man was nothing save a servant unto them, that men might yield up their birthright from God for pottage and walk no more in freedom.

Then might it come to pass that darkness would settle again over the lands and there would be a burning of books and men would think only of what they should eat and what they should wear, and would give heed only to new Caesars and to false prophets. Then might it come to pass that men would not look upward to see even a winter’s star in the East, and once more, there would be no light at all in the darkness.

And so Paul, the apostle of the Son of Man, spoke to his brethren, the Galatians, the words he would have us remember afterward in each of the years of his Lord:

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Posted by: bkivey | 24 December 2018

The Night Before Christmas, Legally Speaking

Whereas, on or about the night prior to Christmas, there did occur at a certain improved piece of real property (hereinafter “the House”) a general lack of stirring by all creatures therein, including, but not limited to a mouse.

A variety of foot apparel, e.g., stocking, socks, etc., had been affixed by and around the chimney in said House in the hope and/or belief that St. Nick AKA/St. Nicholas AKA/Santa Claus (hereinafter “Claus”) would arrive at sometime thereafter.

The minor residents, i.e., the children, of the aforementioned House were located in their individual beds and were engaged in nocturnal hallucinations, i.e., dreams, wherein visions of confectionery treats, including, but not limited to, candies, nuts and/or sugar plums, did dance, cavort and otherwise appear in said dreams.

Whereupon the party of the first part (sometimes hereinafter referred to as “I”), being the joint-owner in fee simple of the House with the parts of the second part (hereinafter “Mamma”), and said Mamma had retired for a sustained period of sleep. (At such time, the parties were clad in various forms of headgear, e.g., kerchief and cap.)

Suddenly, and without prior notice or warning, there did occur upon the unimproved real property adjacent and appurtenant to said House, i.e., the lawn, a certain disruption of unknown nature, cause and/or circumstance. The party of the first part did immediately rush to a window in the House to investigate the cause of such disturbance.

At that time, the party of the first part did observe, with some degree of wonder and/or disbelief, a miniature sleigh (hereinafter “the Vehicle”) being pulled and/or drawn very rapidly through the air by approximately eight (8) reindeer. The driver of the Vehicle appeared to be and in fact was, the previously referenced Claus.

Said Claus was providing specific direction, instruction and guidance to the approximately eight (8) reindeer and specifically identified the animal co-conspirators by name: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen (hereinafter “the Deer”). (Upon information and belief, it is further asserted that an additional coconspirator named “Rudolph” may have been involved.)

The party of the first part witnessed Claus, the Vehicle and the Deer intentionally and willfully trespass upon the roofs of several residences located adjacent to and in the vicinity of the House, and noted that the Vehicle was heavily laden with packages, toys and other items of unknown origin or nature. Suddenly, without prior invitation or permission, either express or implied, the Vehicle arrived at the House, and Claus entered said House via the chimney.

Said Claus was clad in a red fur suit, which was partially covered with residue from the chimney, and he carried a large sack containing a portion of the aforementioned packages, toys, and other unknown items. He was smoking what appeared to be tobacco in a small pipe in blatant violation of local ordinances and health regulations.

Claus did not speak, but immediately began to fill the stocking of the minor children, which hung adjacent to the chimney, with toys and other small gifts. (Said items did not, however, constitute “gifts” to said minors pursuant to the applicable provisions of the US Tax Code.)

Upon completion of such task, Claus touched the side of his nose and flew, rose and/or ascended up the chimney of the House to the roof where the Vehicle and Deer waited and/or served as “lookouts.” Claus immediately departed for an unknown destination.

However, prior to the departure of the Vehicle, Deer and Claus from said House, the party of the first part did hear Claus state and/or exclaim:
“Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!”
Or words to that effect.

Author: Unknown

Posted by: bkivey | 22 December 2018

The Politically Correct Night Before Christmas

The Politically Correct Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas and Santa’s a wreck
How to live in a world that’s politically correct?
His workers no longer would answer to “Elves,”
“Vertically Challenged” they were calling themselves.

And labor conditions at the North Pole
Were alleged by the union to stifle the soul.
Four reindeer had vanished, without much propriety,
Released to the wilds by the Humane Society.

And equal employment had made it quite clear
That Santa had better not use just reindeer.
So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
Were replaced with four pigs!
(and you know that looked stupid!)

The runners had been removed from his sleigh;
The ruts were termed dangerous by the EPA.
And people had started to call for the cops
When they heard sled noises on their rooftops.
Second-hand smoke from his pipe
Had his workers quite frightened.
His fur-trimmed red suit
Was called “unenlightened.”
And to show you the strangeness of life’s ebbs and flows,
Rudolph was suing over unauthorized use of his nose
And had gone on Geraldo, in front of the nation,
Demanding millions in overdue compensation.
So, half of the reindeer were gone; and his wife,
Who suddenly said she’d had enough of this life,
Joined a self-help group, packed and left in a whiz,
Demanding from now on her title was Ms.
And as for the fits, why, he’d ne’er had a notion
That making a choice could cause such a commotion.
Nothing of leather, nothing of fur,
Which meant nothing for him. And nothing for her.

Nothing that might be construed to pollute.
Nothing to aim. Nothing to shoot.
Nothing that clamored or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls. Or just for the boys.
Nothing that claimed to be gender specific.
Nothing that’s warlike or nonpacific.
No candy or sweets … they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish a truth.

And fairy tales, while not yet forbidden,
Were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden.
For they raised the hackles of those psychological
Who claimed the only good gift was one ecological!

No baseball, no football … someone could get hurt;
Besides, playing sports exposed kids to dirt.
Dolls were said to be sexist, and should be passe;
And Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.

So Santa just stood there, disheveled, perplexed;
He could not figure out what to do next.
He tried to be merry, tried to be gay,
But you’ve got to be careful with that word today.

His sack was quite empty, limp to the ground;
Nothing fully acceptable was to be found.
Something special was needed, a gift that he might
Give to all without angering the left or the right.

A gift that would satisfy, with no indecision.
Each group of people, every religion;
Every ethnicity, every hue,
Everyone, everywhere, yes… even you!

So here is that gift, its price beyond worth …
“May you and your loved ones enjoy Peace on Earth.”

This poem is copyrighted 1996 by Harvey Ehrlich.
It is free to distribute, without changes, as long as this notice remains intact.

Posted by: bkivey | 21 December 2018

Rudolph the Red-Taped Reindeer

Rudolph the Red Taped Reindeer


IT’S a good thing Santa Claus lives and works at the North Pole rather than in the U.S. If he had his shop in this country, Santa would have to function under so many laws and regulations that the federal government would likely close him down, leaving millions of boys and girls disappointed on Christmas morning.

Just consider some of the government agencies that could threaten Santa’s work:

The Fish and Wildlife Service. Santa’s sleigh is pulled by reindeer. But while reindeer are not an endangered species, flying reindeer are quite rare, and there is only one red-nosed reindeer known to exist. So under the Endangered Species Act, Dancer and Prancer might be allowed to continue working, but Rudolph would have to be placed in a safe habitat.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It is not at all clear that Santa’s workshop would pass federal OSHA standards for workplace safety. Does Santa have too many elves packed into a small room? Are there an adequate number of fire extinguishers and fire escapes?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It is clear that Santa hires a large number of vertically challenged people–elves. But all of these elves appear to be white males, which leaves the suspicion that Santa is in violation of the Civil Rights Act.

The Federal Aviation Administration. Santa’s flying sleigh would need to be equipped with seat belts to be used on takeoffs and landings. Since he flies over water, his sleigh would need a life preserver. The sleigh would also need the proper lighting–a real problem since Rudolph’s nose is red, which would normally indicate the rear of the flying object rather than the front.

The Commerce Department. Santa is involved in the transport of consumable goods, which means he would be subject to certain weight restrictions and proper placarding of his sleigh if any hazardous materials were on board. Furthermore, regulations limit the number of hours a person can operate a vehicle transporting goods. After 10 hours behind the reins, Santa would probably have to take an eight-hour break, impeding his ability to finish his world-wide job on Christmas Eve.

The National Labor Relations Board. Is Santa using cheap elf labor, or is he paying his elves at least minimum wage? Is he giving them a lunch break? Paying overtime? Providing elf health insurance? A retirement plan?

All of these issues are important, yet Santa is avoiding them by doing business at the North Pole. Which raises another vital concern: By “dumping” toys in the U.S. at below-market prices (to wit, free), Santa is subjecting U.S. toy manufacturers and dealers to unfair competition and putting countless Americans out of work.

There’s only one solution: Washington should impose stiff tariffs on goods imported from the North Pole, lifting them only when Santa ends his unfair trade practices and brings his operation up to American health and safety standards.

Posted by: bkivey | 21 December 2018

A Merry Rapping Christmas

Like most people I enjoy the holiday season running from Thanksgiving through New Years Day. And also like most people I dread the barrage of Christmas music emanating from speakers at the stroke of midnight Thanksgiving. If one works in a retail or service establishment the temptation to puncture one’s eardrums can be overwhelming. The problem is not so much the music per se but the fact that there’s only about a score of ‘traditional’ songs. In recent years there have been other Christmas songs in the rotation by contemporary artists, but there’s only so much that can be done with the material.

It has long been desire of mine to set traditional Christmas songs to a rap beat and use updated, but still PG-rated, lyrics. Take, for instance, Deck The HallsIn it’s traditional form it sounds like it should be sung on crack. But if you strip out the fa la la’s and set it to a heavy East Coast beat, you might get something like this:

Deckin’ the halls with boughs of holly
Trippin’ the season to be jolly
Steppin’ out with stone fly threads
Season’s tunes rollin’ through our heads
Check the blazing Yule before us
Sling an ax and join the chorus
Kickin’ it hard with an open 40
Tryin’ to make time talkin’ up a shorty
Check it yo the old year passes
Celebrate the new and raise your glasses
Homies singin’ all together
We ain’t studyin’ the wind and weather

Now, suppose Santa lived in a more urban environment instead of the North Pole, we might get a grittier type of Christmas song (based on It’s A Heat-Up by King Sun 1989):

It’s a Cheer-Up

Santa Claus

St. Nick is here now you can relax
If you need gifts; I’ve got stacks
Old and new jacks are tryin’ to prove that
They can be good, but I’ll remove
Your name from my list if your behavior is heinous
I see it all my omniscience is famous
Your only security is the purity
Of your heart ‘cause your words are heard
Throughout the atmosphere
When it’s time to review it I do it there
Where the names are trapped until the moment they’re tapped
From the master list for presents in my sack

I roam the globe traveling far and near
No major competition, my mission is to spread cheer
Anyone who can’t explain my speed
Don’t worry ‘bout it; ‘splainin’s not what you need
I’m a master of space and time
Drivin’ the rendeer or bustin’ a rhyme
Makin’ use of the theory of strings
To bring everyone presents and shiny things

Boys and girls all have the same thought
Am I real? Look at the presents I brought
I live forever: dyin’ would be never
Just accept the fact and don’t try to be clever
Gift giving is under my control
And any bad actor gets a lump of coal
Unplug your ears so you can hear
My name is Kris Kringle and I speak the truth
You can cry and send a false alarm
Or accept the Spirit and just get warm

It’s a Cheer-Up

Now go to sleep it’s time to get started
Pull out the big red sleigh with the presents
Hook up the reindeer make sure they’re ready
Kiss Mrs. Claus then it’s time to roll
Presents to good girls and boys my only goal
Ready set time to rock the clock
Flyin’ city to city workin’ block to block
The whole world in twenty four hours
Not missing a house: you can check it
It’s correct, but what do you expect
My gifting capabilities are too high-tech
And now to break out another old sound
While I’m doin my work all through the night
Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!

Throw a few Christmas songs like this into the mix and you might even lower the rate of SAD and bah humbug moments.

Posted by: bkivey | 17 December 2018

115 Years Ago Today

The plan



Doing the research

Testing the Glider at Kitty Hawk, 10 October 1903:

Image result for wright brothers first flight

Making it real

Powered, controlled, heavier-than-air flight, 17 December 1903:


And today

A Boeing 787-9 takes off in a manner usually reserved for something with guns:


Bikes Fly Free Day

I maintain that airlines, or at least American ones, should allow bicycles to fly free every 17 December.





Posted by: bkivey | 5 December 2018

Night On Disco Mountain

I recently watched Saturday Night Fever for the nth time, because it’s a great movie, and I’ll watch it every 2 – 3 years. There’s another movie released that year I regularly re-watch, and the name will come to me in a minute. SNF scores a solid 85% on Rotten Tomatoes, but only 68% in IMDB, making me think it stands for I’M DumB.

I’ve never seen the movie in theater: I was too young (R-rating) when it came out. Hollywood Theater in Portland does offer occasional showings, but our schedules haven’t meshed as yet. I didn’t see the movie until it came out on tape, so probably about ten years after release. I’ve owned a copy since.

Long before seeing the movie, though, I’ve had the soundtrack. Actually, my brother and I went in together, because I believe the double-album was something like $10 at the PX. Gotta mow some lawns for that kind of money. I got the better of the deal, though, because I have the album.

The film stands very much on it’s own, but the sound track threatens to overshadow it. It is killer. And unlike many (most?) movies recently, the the great majority of tracks are original to the movie. Wikipedia claims it is the best-selling movie sound track of all time, and it has won many awards. If you watch the movie on a ‘device’, you’re missing half the film.

And like many good movies, one can learn from SNF. For instance, in the opening scene we learn that John Travolta exudes more sex appeal walking down the street with a can of paint than most people will. Ever. We also learn that he has a disturbing interest in bridge suicides. But if you’ve seen the movie, you know there is knowledge to be gleaned. Time for a quiz!

1977 wasn’t a great year in America. It started with the Winter of ’76 – ’77 and kind of went downhill from there. Yet, people were trying to understand:

  • if George Lucas has an Empire plan.
  • the New York Times effect on man.
  • how long disco will make a stand.


Compare and contrast the following with modern earthquake detection:

“Listen to the ground
There is movement all around
There is something goin’ down
And I can feel it”


A chain reaction may produce:

  • Heat
  • Light
  • Satisfaction


When heat is on, it:

  • doesn’t stop.
  • rises to the top.
  • doesn’t stop ’till it gets enough.


A Fifth of Beethoven and the Star Wars theme may have been the two most overplayed tunes of 1978. Discuss.


Or not. My oldest sister visited and remarked I hadn’t posted in a while. Which is true. Hardly at all, this year, for reasons I may or may not get into. But I have missed it.

I have been spending time on my craft project, because it’s more rewarding than watching the best-educated populations in human history govern themselves through episodes of mass hysteria. But that’s just me.


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