Posted by: bkivey | 4 September 2017


Earlier this year I’d blocked off 21 August for the total solar eclipse. I figured no one else would be working, so why not take advantage? Regardless of the hyperbole, I was going to make sure I saw what is arguably Nature’s premier event in my own backyard.

Work ran late Sunday so I didn’t leave home for the 60 mile drive to Salem until later than I wanted. A place to stay fell through but I’d planned for that so after dinner I camped in the back of the wagon.

Monday was a picture-perfect Summer day in western Oregon. Not a cloud to be seen and clear skies. People had remarked how fortunate we were to have the chance to view the eclipse during the time of year when we had a chance of seeing it. The last time a total solar eclipse was visible in these parts happened in February 1979. Not a lot of open sky in February.


Totality occurred at 1017 local. The images above were taken (clockwise from left) at 1000, 1005, and 1010. There may not seem to be any difference, but as the Moon covered the Sun, the quality of light changed, as if looking through polarized glasses. I noticed the Sun dapples through the leaves showed the occultation:

21 August 2017 crescent shadows

The last three minutes before totality the light dimmed very much as if someone was turning down a dimmer switch. It was quite amazing. And it wasn’t linear; more of the natural log curve prevalent in Nature.

21 Aug 2017 1017 Totality

At totality. It’s dark. Not night-time dark, but certainly late dusk in the late morning. Lots of cheering and clapping around. Also fireworks. I first thought this to be an American affectation, then remembered the Chinese method of scaring off the dragon.

I’ve seen a partial solar and several total lunar eclipses, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I was surprised at how large the disk appeared: a blue-white ring of fire in the sky. The detail and motion visible in the corona was unexpected and fascinating. And two-and-a-half short minutes later, it was over. My first thought was ” I want to see another one!”. I stuck around long enough to see if the impromptu tree leaf filters would show the retreating Moon:

21 August 2017 crescent shadows 2

The fireworks were effective: the dragon retreated.

That  . . . that was . . . amazing.

I’d planned my escape from Salem on back roads. I’m a local. Hwy 22 West to 221 North. 221 runs up the west side of the Yamhill river valley between the Coast Range and the Chehelem Mountains; and one of the more scenic drives Oregon offers.  At the end of the valley the road climbs up the hills to about 1100 feet then a drive down the ridgeback with the Willamette valley in view to the East  along with the Cascades and volcanoes. I figured if I was going to see a total solar eclipse I may as well go all in on appreciation of God’s creation.

The roads were pretty clear until a spot in the valley where several state roads converge. An hour to get through that three miles (I’m not the only local), but only a couple of hours to get home. I noticed that many people just pulled off the road into one of the many fields available to watch the spectacle.

Worth it? Totally.



Posted by: bkivey | 23 May 2017

The Highs and Lows of Hillsboro

A couple of weeks ago we had a sunny day. There was still daylight left after work, so I took it into my head to visit Bald Peak State Scenic Viewpoint. I’d passed the road to the viewpoint many times crossing the Chehalam Hills between Hillsboro and Newburg, but never actually been to the park. Bald Peak Road provides interesting driving and scenic views, and is one of my favorite drives in the area. 30 minutes from the house brought me to the overlook at 1600 feet.

Curiously, the only photos on the official website are of an empty parking lot and a picnic table. There are other views:

Looking Northeast just down from the parking area. Mt. Adams on the left and Mt. Hood on the right. St. Helens is just visible to left of the light pole above the shed. On a really clear day Mt. Rainier would be visible between Adams and St. Helens. There’s maybe a couple of days a year when that happens.

The view Southwest looking down the Yamhill valley. There are several trails winding down the hillside with areas to sit and admire the view. Mary’s Peak is just visible to right of the middle-left trees. It’s southwest of Corvallis and about 65 miles away. At 4100 feet it’s the highest point on the Oregon Coast Range, and you can drive to the top.

There are facilities at the park but no running water or camping provisions. It might be a great place to watch the sunset after a winery tour; it’s certainly a nice place to go close to home.

On the way home I passed another roadside attraction I’d seen many times but never looked at: the Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve. Located at the southwest corner of Hillsboro and adjacent to the water company headquarters, the Preserve staff keep hours but the park is open from sun to sun. There’s a waterfowl hunt club located conveniently (ironically?) across the street.

There are signs cautioning visitors not to leave trash. Parks and Rec is serious about this: there aren’t any trash receptacles around. There are places to plug in your car:

From the pavilion:

It looks boring but is actually rather peaceful and relaxing. I can’t say what the experience would be like with twenty other people around, but on the day it was nice to look and listen to nature.

About a mile down the road there’s the main administrative/interpretive center. They were closed when I visited, but not a problem. One of the interpretive trails:

I thought the quote on this sign was curious. I wouldn’t have thought a nature preservation organization would condone such behavior. There are also sprinklers, which seemed odd:

We’re coming off one of the coldest, wettest Winter’s in living memory; nothing in this state will burn. And shouldn’t natural areas be, um, natural? It can be very dry here, and the sprinklers all seem to be in the vicinity of the buildings, but it still looks a little strange. Out in the viewing area, there’s something stranger still:

I do not know why there is an eye chart here. No placards, signs, or any other explanation is offered. There are plaques along the rail describing the various birds in the area, and the Preserve is very popular with birders. Perhaps the chart is used to settle disputes among bird watchers. (“I told you you couldn’t see”) There’s a nesting pair of Bald Eagles and some Peregrine Falcons, neither of which I saw. I settled for some robins and nuthatches.

Or as folks who don’t write grant applications call it: a beehive. There was bee activity. I had this image of government providing inducements to displace migrant bees doing jobs native pollinators wouldn’t do.

So that was a fun couple of hours finding interesting places close to home.

Posted by: bkivey | 3 May 2017

Rx: Cash

I’m of an age where personal medical expenses are a budget line-item, and visiting health professionals is a regular occurrence. I take pills. So having a primary care physician is nearly as important as a good barber. I’ve been searching for a physician for a couple of years, and have seen the new American health care landscape.

My medical history is heavily weighted toward severe pain and disfigurement in my 20’s and 30’s; sometimes I had insurance, most of the time not. Everyone got paid. I learned that there are significant advantages to paying for your own medical care. And short of extreme cases like cancer treatment or organ replacement, not unaffordable. My current health coverage provider is Benjamin Franklin.

While looking for a physician, I found there were two types of practices: those that were closed or closing, and those accepting cash patients. Every conversation I had went thusly:

“Hi, my name is Blair Ivey. Are you accepting new patients?”

“That depends on what insurance you have.”


“Yes, we’re accepting cash patients.”

I’d read articles for the last several years about medical practices going to all-cash businesses. My last physician started his practice on that model, and my current physician has oriented his practice toward cash, and is considering ditching insurance patients entirely. America now has a functional two-tier medical system: insurance patients will get care; cash patients will get care on a more convenient schedule.

While I applaud the free market’s emergence in this most regulated of industries, the current situation takes some getting used to. When I was memorizing the route to the ER, insurance was king, and having it got you care noticeably faster. On the other hand, for routine visits cash patients were routinely offered discounts, and significant reductions could be negotiated for large bills. That world is upside-down. Now cash is expected and no discounts are offered. Practices don’t want to know from insurance. The same insurance everyone is required to have by Federal law. God will have His little joke.

For all that, it still feels like being grateful for maintaining something of the status quo, rather than any real gain in services. Prior to ACA, regulatory burdens put downward pressure on cash medical prices. Post-ACA, the regulatory burden is so great that practices are opting out of the government-medical complex and choosing their patients, with the attendant upward pressure on prices. Practices can choose their patients because ACA is a hassle for the individual, too. Even if you’re not philosophically opposed to the law, you still have to deal with the paperwork and the monthly insurance premium. And while it may be nice to have medical insurance, now you have fewer places to use it.

Around Town

Run out of B’s?

One of the many recent apartment/condo developments in Portland. Broadway Bridge in the background. It will probably look better in 20 years when the trees grow in, but right now it’s all glass and steel and concrete and not particularly inviting. The towers block the sun, which is not ideal most of the year.

Bang & Olufson’s Portland outpost.

Rain and hail. We’ve seen far too much of both this year.

A Spotted Owl in the back yard. We didn’t tell anyone lest we be ‘relocated’.

Posted by: bkivey | 10 April 2017

Where’s My Cultural Appropriation?

Although I live near one of the hotbeds of American Progressivism, I don’t live in it. Where I live it’s pretty much Life in America: folks minding their business and making a living. Folks will also talk about current events, and as my news intake is nearly non-existent, those aren’t conversations I excel at. I understand there’s some crisis in Syria, and we’ve launched some missiles.

But apparently not just any missiles. These are racist missiles. Because as sure as the Sun rises in the East, the ignorant have to pull a Lucy Van Pelt*. People are upset because the missile is named after a First Nations weapon: the tomahawk, proving again what a patriarchal, Anglo-dominant, cis-enabling society we are. Ho. Hum. You can read what I have to say about that here.

I was curious if the US military, largely run and staffed by White people, had appropriated any European culture in naming weapons systems. Depending on your sensibilities, it might be cool to have a cultural icon smiting the enemies of freedom.

How disappointing the results are.

There is the Claymore anti-personnel mine. Been in production a long time and very effective at it’s job. It’s a front-line weapon, so that’s good. If there’s some Scots in you your culture has been sufficiently appropriated.

Things improve with the C-130 Hercules. The Greeks get in on the game with their mythology, and the C-130 is a very capable aircraft. If you’re going to be appropriated, this is about as good as it gets.

The C-27J Spartan is a medium transport airplane we bought from the Italians. I don’t know if the Greeks would be too happy about appending the Spartan legacy to a cargo plane, and I’m sure most people wouldn’t want their cultural icon represented by a system that appears to have been an expensive bust.

That’s pretty much it for Euro-oriented weapons systems. The Navy has the E-2C Hawkeye, but the name probably refers more to visual acuity than Cooper’s protagonist or a super-human archer. There have been other Euro-centric monikers given to former weapons systems, but for the US military to have only two active system with a White connection is shameful. In the Age of Grievance, it seems everyone’s culture is getting stolen but mine.

* From a Peanuts comic where Lucy says “If you can’t be right, be wrong at the top of your lungs!”



Posted by: bkivey | 28 March 2017

Kung-Fu Theater

Last August I mentioned my first experience with classic kung-fu movies, and I’ve since become a regular at Kung-Fu Theater. It’s a bit of an event.

Chinese and Hong Kong kung-fu movies from the 70’s are a local couples passion, and they’ve acquired over 100 of them. They show their favorites the second Tuesday of most months at Portland’s Hollywood Theater to full houses. There’s a t-shirt and everything, and I’ve learned that there are clubs organized around the event.Having been to about half a dozen showings, I’ve found attendance ranges between ‘full’ and ‘sold-out’ in an average-size movie theater. The crowd is a total Portland cross-section, and the LGBT demographic are out in nearly the numbers of a Thorns game. The curator does an intro before the film explaining why he likes it and talks bit about the director, choreographer, actors of note, and recently, Trump jabs. There’s a raffle (when you buy the shirt you get a ticket) with prizes like original movie posters and lobby cards.

And everything.


This IS your father’s kung-fu, and it’s a blast. The better movies are actual movies, with plot, story, character arc, acting, and other things not found in Micheal Bay films. No CGI, although some clumsy editing can be seen, and very little wire-fu. It’s skilled martial artists demonstrating their ability. Some choreography is better than others, but the boss fights tend to be minutes of non-stop fighting action.

I’ve seen enough of these films to appreciate some directors and actors. Director Lau Kar-Leung is especially good at showcasing various fighting styles and his movies are complete to the point where the films are a bit of a cultural excursion. The movies tend to feature at least one strong female character, who can not only hold their own but show the boys a few things, all ‘as fast as lightning’.

If you’re in town the second Tuesday of the month you may want see what all the excitement’s about. Seeing these movies with a crowd is a lot of fun, and a more ‘Portland’ experience than Voodoo Donuts.

The Trailers

At the beginning of each film there’s a trailer for another movie, and they’re good warm-ups, as well as previewing films you may want to see (or not). The Five Element Ninjas (maybe), Sister Street Fighter (no). The most recent film featured a trailer for a film whose name I do not recall, but there were a lot of guys getting the fake blood beat out of them. The voice-over boomed without hint of irony “Fun For The Whole Family!”. It must be a cultural thing.

Smart Parking

Seen in Hillsboro:



Posted by: bkivey | 21 March 2017

Presumption of Guilt

The core concept of Western jurisprudence is that the individual is presumed innocent when accused of a social transgression by the State. It matters little to the accused whether the power of the State is given or coerced when they are faced with the weight of society. The idea that the individual is sovereign and it is society that bears the burden of proof arguably gives the accused an advantage. And as the severity of the accusation increases, the burden of proof is usually more rigorous, until for capital crimes the proof must usually be rigorous and narrow. The legal concept of individual sovereignity is the very basis of individual liberty and freedom.

Unless you live in the Western world, where the accusation is now the proof; a practice that extends even to the courts. Let someone be accused of crime think and it is the accused who must provide the evidence, in essence required to prove a negative, and an exercise with a very high degree of difficulty. In this world the individual is subordinate to the State. Unable to ‘prove’ their innocence on the shifting sands of rule-of-man, the individual must stay silent or be punished.

The Left has used this as a control strategy for decades. Charge someone with being an ‘-ist’ and they are instantly immobilized as they try to extricate themselves from the horrible accusation. It’s not even necessary to believe that someone actually is an ‘-ist’; the stigma is all that’s required. It’s a case of a wholesale transfer of power from a group of people to their detriment. And it’s a voluntary transfer. Wanting to appear to be good people, the accused dare not challenge the accuser, lest additional punishment be warranted.

Control strategies are effective as long as there’s a compatible environment, and the ‘-ist’ strategy is effective as long as those attitudes are prevalent. The world has changed the last half-century and Progressivism hasn’t. A lot of people are really tired of being told how bad they are when they know differently. I’d say that a good part of why the Left lost in 2016 wasn’t just because of their message, but because large parts of their message are no longer relevant.

So if someone calls you an ‘-ist’, just say ‘Prove it’. Then shut up and let them squirm for a change.

The Beat Rolls On

The beating of Duke basketball teams, that is. A day after the men’s team was defeated by South Carolina (7), the Duke (9) women’s team was ousted by Oregon. Unranked Oregon. That’s gonna leave a mark in Durham.


Posted by: bkivey | 20 March 2017

Nowhere To Go but Down

After sweeping defeats in the 2014 elections the Democratic Party decided that the time was ripe to mobilize the Army of the Disaffected. Eighty years in the making through the Progressive Balkanization of American society, the Democratic feudal lords leadership launched a massive media offensive mainstreaming the marginal. The interval between the mid-terms and the Presidential election often felt like society was being sucked into a black hole of irrationality. This wasn’t really an illusion, as the self-proclaimed Party of Anyone But Straight White Males used the Ministry of Truth mass media to pound home the message that America was fundamentally flawed and the whole thing needed to go.

As the election neared the Left threw all their cards on the table. No more pretending to love or even like the country: it was full-on hate and if you didn’t agree you were an ‘-ist’. Dissenters would at least be intimidated into silence. It is a Progressive axiom that politics is personal so any dissension is an attack on the person. Thought crime is hate crime.

When you throw down, people can see what you have, and while the Democrats told everyone they held four aces everyone else saw a queen-high flush. People asked themselves after six years of Democratic power and fundamental changes in the way Americans lived; why was it that society was more fractious than any time since the early 70’s?  Why after decades of Progressive media and academic control were people so unhappy? A President had been elected on a promise of inclusiveness and it had been nothing but divide, divide, divide since. For many people there was a growing divide between propaganda and reality and on Election Day they voted accordingly. The US has not yet reached the societal Stage III cancer of entrenched Socialism.

The Democrats and their Coalition of Victims had their Wile E. Coyote off-the-cliff moment as the sure thing became no thing. The resulting power vacuum imploded the Democratic Party with the sound of failed aspirations; carried live as they happened.

Progressives in the United States have some serious problems. They failed to take, and likely entrench, power at the height of their influence in US history. Much more damaging is the fact that they went all in, to the extent that their Presidential candidate called more than half the populace ‘deplorables’ in a campaign speech. Now many eyes have opened to the fact the Left is about power and control. It’s fitting that the people claiming to speak for the marginal have marginalized themselves.

NCAA Basketball

I enjoy ‘March Madness’. Mostly as a sports fan, because the men’s cagers at schools I went to don’t know from post-season. I watched South Carolina beat Duke in what’s probably the biggest upset thus far. They’ll be talking about that game in Columbia for years: beating Duke in the NCAA Tournament is how programs are made. I do wonder how it is the Gamecocks get to wear ‘Carolina’ on their jerseys. There’s only one Carolina, and it’s not in the Palmetto State.

More Basketball

I mentioned the lack of post-season appearances by my alma maters men’s teams. I give you: the Oregon State (2) women’s basketball team. They’ve been good for a while now: going to four straight Tournaments, two Sweet 16’s, and making the Final Four last year. They lost to UConn, but you have to be wearing ‘Tennessee’ on your jersey to play in that league. Gill Coliseum is less than two hours away, so I’ve seen some regular season and playoff games. Coach Scott Rueck and his staff have a team that’s disciplined and very good at exploiting defenses. They’re fun to watch, and I hope to watch for a while longer.

It’s Spring!

Yay! It’s been a cold, wet Winter this year, and happy to see the trees leafing out. It’ll rain for a few more months, but we’ve likely seen the last freezing day until next Fall.

Dr. Johnny Fever’s Rx:

Had a bad day at the office?

When you get home, cue up Montrose’ Space Station No. 5 on the stereo. You can not use crappy-ass encrypted ‘files’. They’re worse than generic drugs: they sort of sound the same but aren’t nearly as effective. And fie upon you if you’re a rock fan and do not own this album.

Raise volume as high as neighbors/ears/structure can stand.

Let that frustration out with some sweet air guitar licks while Sammy belts it.



Posted by: bkivey | 8 February 2017

2 Timothy 3


While catching up on my reading I went through a couple issues of the local alternative weeklies published shortly after the election. Both papers were wall-to-wall anti-Trump, as if overnight we went from an incipient Worker’s Paradise to a totalitarian State. You’d think the Left would be OK with a repressive, controlling government, but apparently it’s not OK if it’s not their brand of oppression. Dissent is patriotic again.

From the articles and pictures of protesters with their mouths taped over, the casual observer might think that the oppressed people of Amerika were struggling to break free of a tyrant and their oppressive government apparatus. Women and minorities hardest hit, of course.  And the media drumbeat is incessant: Dark Ages the next four years.

Every day I’m continually flabbergasted that the threats these folks are reacting to are a complete fabrication. A whole lot of highly schooled people have created a self-consistent world to which they are reacting logically, if emotionally, and which has no basis in reality. Donald Trump said things with which they disagree, and his actions to date are consistent with his campaign, but as far as coercion of American citizens, I haven’t seen it. Indeed, President Trump has maintained Executive protections for the queer community, and going Obama one better by extending considerations to historically Black universities.

But the Left has set Trump up as the Evil One, and when his actions or lack thereof belie The Narrative, they are stuck. They are invested in their position to the point that to save face they must invent responses to conditions that they have created. It’s insular, self-referential, and not reflective of actual conditions. The Bubble indeed.

We’ve seen this before. After 9/11 Congress passed new lows laws creating oppressive bureaucracies and regulations: chief among them TSA and the ill-named and begotten PATRIOT Act, as well as vastly expanded surveillance powers on citizens. These were areas of legitimate concern to reasonable people, but the Left went completely off the rails. Muslims and Mexicans were going to be rounded up and prison camps for everyone. The government was going to tap your phone and if you were the least bit suspect you’d be ‘disappeared’.

The Left whipped itself to such a frenzy that public calls for the assassination of President Bush were commonplace. After the initial shock of the attacks subsided, the Left looked around and saw that things weren’t anywhere near as bad as they’d sworn they’d be. So for the next several years there was a lot of “Hey, look at me! Look at how I’m standing up to oppression and risking arrest for speaking my mind!”. And we’re seeing that now. These folks aren’t risking anything, and some of them are even aware of that. But virtue-signaling is far more important than sanity. People on the Left aren’t stupid, but they seem to spend their time investing in things that have little to do with maintaining a society, much less advancing it.

Election Protests

As of this writing there are still violent protests against the President. My response probably mirrors that of many other Americans and expressed by Malcolm Reynolds:

“Why are you arguing what’s already been decided?”

Malcolm Reynolds



Super Bowl LI

I thought the NFL was going to stop using Roman numerals.

I wasn’t particularly interested in this game. I didn’t have a rooting interest in either team, and Super Bowls tend to be one-sided affairs. The spread prior to the game slightly favored the Patriots. I was a bit surprised, because Atlanta plays in one of the worst divisions in the league, and the Patriots are, well, the Patriots. I’d seen the Falcons play a few times during the season, and during the playoffs they looked like a complete team. On the other hand, New England had torn up the schedule on the ‘Tom Brady Revenge Tour’.

The first half was all Atlanta. Patriots receivers seemed to be football-adverse: perhaps they weren’t used to catching properly inflated balls. The Falcons defense kept the Patriots offense off the field, while the Atlanta offense was effective. By the end of the third quarter, Atlanta was up by 19 points and it looked like the game was over. I and many others bailed on the bar.

However, this was still New England with Tom effing Brady at the helm. I listened to the remainder of the game on the radio, and as a football fan was pleased and a bit stunned as the Patriots found their offense and reeled off 19 unanswered.

I expected overtime to be played under regular season rules, where each team gets a possession. For this game the league reverted to sudden death, and it was for Atlanta.

From my perspective Atlanta started playing not to lose in the fourth quarter, rather than play to win. This was understandable: the defense had been on the field for much of the game and been very effective, but by the fourth quarter they were tired. Defensive coordinator Coach Richard Smith likely took this into account in calling a more conservative defense. There was also a loss of focus on the part of Atlanta’s offense, when a key series of penalties in the fourth quarter put them out of range of a field goal that would have iced the game. Still, very entertaining from the stands.

Halftime Show

I didn’t watch the halftime show live. I’m not a huge fan of modern musical productions, and I knew nearly nothing about Lady GaGa other than I couldn’t identify any of her songs and she wore a meat dress once. I wasn’t even sure what she looked like.

People I talked to said I should watch the show, so I looked it up.


Lady GaGa is a talented, gifted performer with a flair for showmanship who completely crushed that show. I enjoyed her performance from beginning to end. Heck, I even liked the music. I could have done without the entourage of dancers: any entertainer worth their salt should be able to carry a performance on their own, and she can do that with room to spare. Well done, ma’am.

Super Bowl Commercials

Well, really only one commercial. The halftime video had three embedded commercials, which were annoying because they interrupted the flow of the show, but in this case I didn’t mind so much because Super Bowl commercials are usually worth watching.

Until the Audi commercial.

I don’t know when the spot aired during the game, but in the video it comes during the final song. It’s a solid minute of whining about how unfair society is to women, implicitly citing statistics that have been shown to be inaccurate. I’m sure the folks at Audi thought they were being progressive and forward-thinking, but what they actually did was perpetuate the Leftist Narrative. Of all the ways to portray women in society, Audi chose one of the most negative. The commercial is a complete downer, and coming as it did during the rousing final number, took me right out of the show. Not even Lady GaGa could effect that recovery. If I’ve ever considered buying an Audi, I certainly wouldn’t now.


Posted by: bkivey | 25 January 2017

Grass and Cash

A couple of months ago The Oregonian published an article on Federal and state marijuana eradication efforts. Or more precisely, government efforts to eliminate illegal marijuana grows. As might be expected in a state where dope has been legal for over a year, law enforcement efforts against marijuana have dramatically declined, in no small part because the Feds have been reducing funding since Oregon legalized the drug. At the state level the federal program is overseen by the Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association, and they don’t want it, to the point where there’s speculation the anti-dope effort may not be run in 2017.

The DEA allocated $200,000 to Oregon for marijuana mitigation: not even a rounding error in the Federal budget, and some folks think there won’t be any Federal funds for 2017. One may reasonably ask why there should be any government money spent on eradicating a legal product, and that’s the interesting part of the story.

What anti-pot efforts there are in Oregon are now focused on protecting legal grows. The shift is from all marijuana is bad to only that grown by non-licensed operations. There is some concern that drug cartels will take business away from legal growers. As one person points out, this doesn’t really make sense. Why would a cartel try to compete illegally in a legal industry? Drug cartels are all about profit, and there’s a lot more of it to be made selling unregulated drugs like meth and heroin than selling something on the street anyone can walk into a store and buy. It’s amusing to me to see law enforcement in the position of protecting people they were looking to bust a year ago.

My opinion is that marijuana should be at least as legal as alcohol. While alcohol can make people act in unpredictable ways, the effects of dope are predictable: it makes people lazy and dumb. No one was ever moved to violence because they smoked some weed. The fact that marijuana remains a Federal Schedule I (readily abused and no medicinal benefits) drug is ridiculous. It was put there by the Nixon Administration in the early 1970’s because they didn’t know what else to do with it, and dope was seen as the ‘gateway’ drug to a short life of shooting up in alleys. The fact that use was more prevalent among racial minorities and the hated hippies didn’t help its case. Some 45 years later and legal in eight states, the fears expressed by Senator James Eastland D-Miss in 1974, that

“If the cannabis epidemic continues to spread at the rate of the post-Berkeley period, we may find ourselves saddled with a large population of semi-zombies – of young people acutely afflicted by the amotivational syndrome.”

have not materialized. Hey Senator, if you really want to afflict young people with amotivational syndrome, get them hooked on government benefits. Oh, wait . . .

Truer Words

The National Football League Players Association held an essay contest asking current and former players to write about what they wished they’d known prior to starting their career, and former player Caleb Campbell had the winning entry. I was struck by the last few paragraphs:

More specifically, I wish I knew that excuses kill more dreams than the lack of talent ever will.

It’s easy to stand afar looking at every reason why your life is not the way you had once envisioned as a child. Whether your coach isn’t giving you a chance, you don’t have enough money in the bank, or your father abandoned you as a child, pointing the finger and making an excuse is the real impediment to your life not moving forward.

Unless you’re willing to silence the ego and come to the place of taking full responsibility for your life, in a world of endless galaxies and unchartered waters, excuses will be your ceiling.

But, I get it.

Deep down you won’t want to confront that the problem might be with you. That the fear of never measuring up to the expectation of others is actually the locked door keeping you out. Or, that the unforgiveness you’ve harbored for the things that happened to you as a child is actually what’s sabotaging your life.

But, it’s in that place of responsibility where true victory awaits.

A victory that destroys limitations and gives you a fighting chance to live out your full purpose for this life.

Australian Open

I tried for several years as a child to learn to play tennis. Mostly on clay and asphalt, because those were the court surfaces available on Army bases. It was about this time between tennis and baseball I discovered that I lacked the fine motor control and coordination necessary for a successful athletic career. Stamina and strength weren’t the issues: I could trade ground strokes all day long. Putting the ball where I wanted was more challenging. Tennis is a sport where you have to be good to play badly, and I was never good.

I watched Serena Williams vs Johanna Konta in the women’s singles, and it was an education in using experience to overcome adversity.

Williams won the first set 6 -2, but started to struggle mightily in the second set. It seemed she couldn’t put a ball on target. Konta went up 3 -1 in the set, and you could see the frustration from Williams. But there aren’t time-outs in tennis. You can’t stop play and talk to your coach or take a breather to collect yourself. Adjustments have to be made in the moment. I figured that Williams would draw on her long experience with championship tennis, and that’s what she did.

Williams used her ground game to get Konta out of position and along with some blistering serves, Konta wouldn’t win another game: she had roused the bear. The penultimate serve in the match was a wicked ace in the corner of the service box that I don’t think Williams opponent even saw. Another ace for triple match point followed.

It’s always a pleasure to watch something done exceptionally well, and seeing an experienced, talented professional make the adjustments necessary to put down a worthy adversary was enjoyable indeed.



Posted by: bkivey | 3 January 2017

The Red Scare

In a story I could not believe was treated seriously, the Democrats apparently lost the election because Vladimir Putin told his State security apparatus to throw the election to Donald Trump by exposing damning emails from within the Democratic Party. This was such a desperate and transparent attempt to spin a disastrous election result I expected the story to die of laughter.

But it didn’t. The Democratic Party’s Ministry of Public Information decided this was a legitimate news story. Based on less evidence than is required for face time with an assistant district attorney, we were supposed to believe those dastardly Russians had worked to put someone in office more hostile to them than the Beloved Candidate. We knew that Progressive social policy is informed by the 1930’s: it seems they’ve advanced their foreign policy to the 1950’s. Progress!

What hasn’t changed is the Progressive thirst for power, and when the Russian angle didn’t work out entirely as hoped in that there wasn’t a massive outcry to ‘re-examine’ the election results, the Left started going after the other red menace, Republican Federal electors.

For Presidential elections there are two Constitutionally – mandated elections: the popular vote, and the Electoral College. Electors are apportioned according to each state’s Congressional delegation. Electors traditionally vote in accordance with their state’s popular vote, but they aren’t required to, and their election takes place some six weeks after the popular vote.

The purpose of the Electoral College is to mitigate vote fraud, and so act as a check on political machines. The delay between elections allows state elections to be certified and for Electors to see if, say, Delaware has 30 million votes for a candidate. It’s a useful institution with real value and relevance.

Unless you’re a Liberal on the losing side. Then a system you’ve lived with your entire life is suddenly ‘outdated’, ‘archaic’, and a ‘relic’. Now the election we were told by finger-wagging Progressives had to ‘be respected’ is suddenly suspect because the ‘right’ person didn’t win. Frankly, I’ll take the Russians. At least they’re consistent, and as one wag at said, if they did influence the election, then the Russians will have ironically saved us from socialism.


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