Ping
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Published Sunday, January 31, 2021 @ 5:23 PM EST
Jan 31 2021

I didn't realize how long it had been since posting here. The problem is the blogging software I use is no longer supported and a post takes over an hour to process and upload. Even in a pandemic, who has that kind of time?

Some good news... after WordPress and its ilk took over the blogging software universe, someone realized that static site generators had some major advantages... the reason I adopted static site software in the first place.

Anyway, I'm tasking myself to adopting new software by the end of this quarter. There doesn't seem to be an easy way to integrate the 30+ years of stuff on this site with a new one, so I'll probably just have a "view legacy site" button that will allow access to this body of work.

In the meantime, you can follow KGB Report on Facebook unless I get put in Facebook Jail again- their AI software isn't very good at recognizing satire.

My wife and I managed to get Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine thanks to my son, who can reload web pages must faster than I can and who has infinitely more patience. Of course, there are all the other aspects of advanced age with which to contend, so I keep my physician and pharmacist on speed dial.

A belated happy new year to yinz all... keep in touch.


Categories: KGB; KGB Blog News


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Norty
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Published Wednesday, June 10, 2020 @ 2:40 PM EDT
Jun 10 2020

I just learned today that Zay N. Smith died on May 11.

Zay (he preferred "Norty") was one of the few people I know who both had and deserved a Wikipedia entry.

I guess it's not that unusual in these Internet days, but I knew him for years and considered him a friend, but we never met in person. I wrote him a fan letter about something that appeared in his QT column in the Chicago Sun-Times that evolved into a correspondence that lasted over a decade. We sent each other holiday and birthday greetings, consoled each other on our losses, and made fun of the world in general. One of my favorites from him:

News Headline: “Scientists come a step closer to invisibility cloak.”
News Headline: “Sarah Palin to write Christmas book.”
In answer to your question:
Palin appears to be about a size 6.

As I wrote here in May 2012:

I stumbled across Zay N. Smith's "Quick Takes" column in the Chicago Sun- Times by accident.

From October 2000 through October 2005, I worked in Chicago and commuted between a mostly-unfurnished studio apartment there and my home in Pittsburgh, spending a not insignificant amount of time riding in assorted cabs, trains, and airplanes.

It was 5 am on a cold, snowy Saturday morning in December. I was on a Blue Line train heading toward O'Hare. I dreaded the inevitable weather delay that awaited me at the airport, and the endless gate reassignments that would keep me shuttling between terminals on the fluorescently illuminated underground moving walkway. (One interesting feature of this conveyance was that it had its own musical accompaniment, an endless loop of music box-like tinkling that achieved the impossible: making Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue" as irritating as "It's A Small World After All." But I digress.)

I'd overslept that morning, and in my rush to catch the train had failed to stuff into my backpack the usual poundage of books and magazines that maintained my compulsive reading addiction. Desperate for material, I spotted an old Sun- Times on the seat across the aisle. It was folded and opened to an inside page. The first thing that caught my eye was a column by Zay N. Smith called "Quick Takes."

I was hooked.

The weather delay, a wi-fi connection and a wall outlet commandeered at great personal risk enabled me to fire up my laptop and read a couple years' worth of QT columns until United finally decided it was safe to venture to Pittsburgh.

Remember when you looked forward to the morning paper so you could read Gary Larson's The Far Side or Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes? Same deal with "QT."

Thanks to the Internet, my return to Pittsburgh in 2005 didn't interrupt my habit. Indeed, Smith's column attained a national and international readership, and was probably one of the Sun-Times' most read features.

Which is why the paper's decision in November, 2008 to drop the column after 13 successful years seemed so patently absurd. Throughout that year the Sun-Times had laid off or bought out dozens of its editorial staff as it tried to reduce its costs in a contracting newspaper market. Many thought Smith- like Sun-Times legend Roger Ebert- was untouchable, given his decades with the paper and QT's international popularity.

Ah, but stupidity knows no limits.

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Zay transitioned to the internet, with his own website and, of course, a Facebook presence.

I began an e-mail correspondence with Zay and spoke with him on the phone a few times. During our last conversation, we regaled each other with old newspaper stories and our current misfortunes. Zay was in a nursing home, having lost a leg to undiagnosed diabetes.

"As Dr. Seuss wisely advised us," Zay told me, "Don't cry that it's over. Smile that it happened."

Goodbye, Zay. And thanks for the smiles.

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His obituary in the Chicago Sun-Times.


Categories: Zay N. Smith - Quick Takes


The web edition of KGB Report is published at least once a day, except on holidays. Follow KGB Report and my personal account on Facebook for frequent daily updates. Unless I get placed in Facebook jail because their stupid AI post scanner doesn't grasp the concept of satire.


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It's getting weird out there...
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Published Saturday, June 06, 2020 @ 10:44 AM EDT
Jun 06 2020

Signs of the Apocalypse, #912: I'm not a believer in conspiracy theories or biblical prophecies, but I have to admit this caught my attention:

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Oregon Police Caught On Video Collaborating With Armed White Extremists

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Washington, DC Mayor Mayor Muriel E. Bowser renamed a street in front of the White House “Black Lives Matter Plaza” and had the slogan painted on the asphalt in massive yellow letters, a pointed salvo in her escalating dispute with President Trump over control of D.C. streets.

So Trump now lives at 1600 Black Lives Matter Plaza (that's the White House on the far right).

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Colbert scores again. (Video)


Categories: Black Lives Matter; Dolly Parton; Muriel E. Bowser; Revelations; Signs of the Apocalypse; Stephen Colbert; Twitter; Video; Washington, DC; YouTube


The web edition of KGB Report is published at least once a day, except on holidays. Follow KGB Report and my personal account on Facebook for frequent daily updates. Unless I get placed in Facebook jail because their stupid AI post scanner doesn't grasp the concept of satire.


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Bad Apple, Bad Metaphor
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Published Friday, June 05, 2020 @ 7:45 AM EDT
Jun 05 2020

Why does no one point out that this "bad apple" metaphor used on what seems an hourly basis is exactly the opposite of its original meaning?

Today it's wielded to defend organizations from the misdeeds of its members, suggesting that an entire organization shouldn't be condemned because of the actions of a few scoundrels. Every group has one or two "bad apples," right?

The full adage is "One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch," quite different from its current use. A century or so ago, in the age preceding refrigeration and modern food handling, the maxim wasn't a metaphor for undesirable human behavior. It was a simple statement of fact.

Apples emit the gaseous plant hormone ethylene, and an overripe apple produces a great deal of it. In a confined space-like a bushel basket- the gas accelerates the ripening of the other fruit in the container. I remember this as a science experiment at summer camp. Put three slightly underripe apples in a bag with one overripe one. A couple days later: four bad apples.

"One bad apple…" was also used metaphorically around the beginning of the twentieth century, but in a manner closer to its literal meaning: that if a group had one or two "bad apples," then the entire organization was probably suspect.

So, how was the meaning of the saying inverted?

Around 1970, the Jackson 5 recorded their hit "ABC", passing on a tune that songwriter George Jackson had written for them. Instead, Jackson gave it to The Osmonds. In 2011, NPR contributor Geoff Nunberg posited the popularity of the song- it was #1 for five weeks and was the group's first #1 hit- somehow got stuck in the national consciousness, where it's been ever since. Whether Jackson had misheard the aphorism, or was deliberately distorting it, is unknown. Jackson died in 2013 without ever explaining his reasoning for the song "One Bad Apple (Don't Spoil The Whole Bunch)."


Categories: Bad apples; Ethylene; George Jackson; One Bad Apple (Don't Spoil the Whole Bunch); The Jackson Five; The Osmonds


The web edition of KGB Report is published at least once a day, except on holidays. Follow KGB Report and my personal account on Facebook for frequent daily updates. Unless I get placed in Facebook jail because their stupid AI post scanner doesn't grasp the concept of satire.


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A brief pause...
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Published Thursday, May 28, 2020 @ 2:16 PM EDT
May 28 2020

We need to suspend publication for a few days. See you next week.


Categories:


The web edition of KGB Report is published at least once a day, except on holidays. Follow KGB Report and my personal account on Facebook for frequent daily updates. Unless I get placed in Facebook jail because their stupid AI post scanner doesn't grasp the concept of satire.


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