Conceived above a saloon, delivered into this world by a masked man identified by his heavily sedated mother as Captain Video, raised by a kindly West Virginian woman, a mild-mannered former reporter with modest delusions of grandeur and no tolerance of idiots and the intellectually dishonest.

network solutions made me a child pornographer!
The sordid details...


Requiem for a fictional Scotsman

Oh my God! They killed Library!! Those bastards!!!

Elegy to a Mostly Maine Coon

It's a Hap-Hap-Happy Day

A Pittsburgher in the Really Big City

Da Burg Annat

I Have Issues

Yeah, yeah, I'm inspired

At least the rivers freeze in Pittsburgh

He knows if yinz is a jagoff

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Saturday, March 01, 2003

Adventures in Consumerism

After three years of being a captive to the supermarket in the apartment complex, I'm going to do something bold and venture across the Expressway to the new Dominick's. I'm sure they have more than the one flavor of Hungry Man Dinner the local market stocks.

And that's the highlight of my weekend. Am I wild man or what?

Current song stuck in my head: "Mamma Mia" by ABBA. Oh jeez, this is a bad one. I'm a sucker for that chord progression in the chorus.

Somebody stop me. Please.

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Friday, February 28, 2003

Next time, just send a card

MANILA (Reuters) - A Filipino man cut off his penis and tossed it through a window to his estranged wife in a bid to prove his fidelity, a Philippine newspaper reported on Thursday. The man wrapped the severed member in a newspaper and threw it through the window of his wife's parents' house in the northwestern town of Malasiqui, the Philippine Star said.

"So you will not suspect I am courting another girl," the Star said the man shouted before he hobbled off into the night.

His shocked wife gave the severed penis to police, who sought the help of an embalmer to preserve it until her husband could be found, the paper said.


Forbes says Oprah is now a billionaire. Can she please stop now?


Happy birthday to our son, Doug, who's 27 today. Doug missed being a leap year baby by 14 minutes, thereby having the same February 29 birthday as Superman.

Current song stuck in my head: "Grazing in the Grass". (The Hugh Masakela version, not the Friends of Distinction version.)

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Thursday, February 27, 2003

There Goes The Neighborhood

Fred Rogers is dead. Second only to ketchup as Pittsburgh's greatest export, the television host was pretty much what you saw on television. I ran into him a few times and had a brief conversation with him at the Carnegie Library in Oakland in the mid-80s, and his in-person persona was identical to his television image.

The conversation was prompted by my inane question, "what do you think about Eddie Murphy's recurring Mister Robinson's Neighborhood sketch on Saturday Night Live?" He smiled broadly, threw back his head and laughed. He said he thought it was hilarious. He said it didn't bother him because it was a parody aimed at adults, and that it wasn't mean-spirited. "Mr. Robinson is friendly and helpful," MisterRogers noted, "and you can tell he really cares about his viewers."

One difference about Mr. Rogers in person... the man had an aura around him, a presence. Despite the gentle face and soft voice, talking with him was an intense experience. His friendly eyes were nonetheless piercing and somewhat intimidating. He was a focused guy, and there was no doubting his integrity.

With Mister Rogers gone and Michael Jackson still around, the balance of things has been thrown seriously out of whack.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2003

That's a load off my mind.

Ashcroft and his guvmint minions, following two "major" investigations, strike a blow for freedom and liberty by closing down a bunch of head shops and drug paraphernalia websites.

Actually, we've learned a valuable lesson we can use in the war on terror. Once Al Qaeda opens stores on main streets, gets the requisite business licenses, puts up websites and starts accepting credit cards, then our Homeland Security people will find you, no matter where you are. And please be stoned, as well. That way we won't have to run after you.

Let's hope the attorney general moves on to eliminate the remaining evil scourge of the American moral fabric: office betting pools.

Yep. I feel a whole lot safer now.

Current song stuck in my head: "Under Your Spell," from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode "Once More With Feeling.".

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Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Rim Shot

Saddam Hussein has challenged Bush to a debate. The President would be at a decided disadvantage, since it would be in English.

Current song stuck in my head: Somebody's Been Sleeping in My Bed, by 100 Proof (Aged in Soul)

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Monday, February 24, 2003

Those Wacky Wiccans

Sure, they don't hold bingos or spaghetti dinners, but frankly, some of these neopaganists actually seem to have a pretty good perspective on things:

A Letter From GOD

Hello world, this is Me! God here. You know, the individual who is on both sides in every war. The "In God We Trust," "In God's Name" God. The omniscient and omnipresent God. Eternal and parternal. Alert to the sound of every falling bird. The God that is supposed to offer each and every one of you eternal life, no matter the depth of your depravity or cruelty, provided you say you are sorry.

It's probably because I am getting on a bit, but frankly, I'm increasingly irritated with you lot. So, it's about time I told you what I really think of you.

First of all, and I can't emphasize this enough, you are not made in my image. I don't look anything like you. I don't have arms or legs or buttocks or knees or elbows. Let alone genitalia. I'm not a he or a she. Despite murals and the Sistine ceilings to the contrary, I'm shapeless. Insofar as I exist at all, I 'm a very, very big idea. Am I making myself clear? I don't look like you and you certainly don't look like me!

Secondly, I'm not as fond of you mob as you like to think. Nor as focused on your frequently silly and meretricious lives. Look at you all down there! Six billion irritating little creatures. Ants with attitudes. Termites with pretensions. Come to think of it, I prefer termites. They are nothing like as uppity as humans. Termites don't go ooooo and aaaaahhhhh over their own mounds. Yet look at humans. They pile up a few stones and call them cathedrals or skyscrapers. Yet none of them is as big as a decent-sized hill, let alone one of my mountains.

You know one of the things that really pisses me off? The way you waste time. I'm beyond time. Outside time. I've got time to burn. But I've given you lot three score plus ten- if you're lucky- and you waste it looking at telly or hyperventilating at football matches. And having wasted your lives, you expect me to give you eternal life! Ants don't expect it. Nor termites. And they don't waste a minute.

Did I mention coral polyps? I'm passing fond of the polyp. I think of them as termites in technicolor. The Great Wall of China? The Great Pyramid? Forget them. If you want something really great, check out the Great Barrier Reef. Nothing made by humans is as beautiful or as big. And you know who did that? Polyps. And I'll tell you something else about polyps. They don't bother me. They don't pray to me, demanding to win wars or Lotto. And in building their reefs they provide their own afterlife. Whereas humans, having wasted their life span, want nothing short of eternal ecstacy. A sort of endless orgasm. Well they're not going to get it. Stuff them!

Then there is hell. I'm expected to furnish the damned with eternal, infernal accomodations where they'll suffer forever. As if I would. As if I'd bother. But it shows, yet again, what nasty, ghastly little creatures you humans can be. Fancy wanting to condemn each other to eternal torture? And damn you for putting the blame on me. I'm too busy organizing big bangs and parallel universes and worm holes to have time for theological theme parks. (I've got endless life forms to create, amuse, and entertain all over the ever-expanding universe). Squillions of galaxies in this one and just as many in the parallel universes - and there are squillions of those. And I've been juggling this for squillions of light years. Yet humans still think that they are at the center of things. That it's all about them. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, including commonsense.

What were their names? Galileo and Copernicus. You'd have thought their discoveries would have made humans less arrogant by revealing that they weren't the center of the universe, which got on perfectly well without human beings for billions of years. You're just another evanescent life form on a piddling planet in one of my squillions of galaxies. Which, let me tell you, are brimming with more interesting creatures, many far more attractive and at a higher stage of development. Remind me to show you some photos I took on planet Moo, which is run by an advanced civilization of daffodils. Yet I'm supposed to devote myself to humans? To listen to your greedy, grasping little prayers? Please, please God let me win $10 million in Lotto. Or: Please God, let me be promoted to office manager.

And don't think you can come sucking up to me with your hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of religions. Frankly, they are an insult. They show the applications of tiny minds to the immensity of my imaginings. And the people that run them? The archbishops and the mullahs and the rest of them? There are times when I'd sack the bloody lot of them. I was going to thump you mob with a giant asteroid for Christmas. Wipe you out. Just like the dinosaurs. And you bloody well deserve it. Look at the way you're wiping out millions of species that I had to think up and create and evolve. I suppose you think that is easy. Well, it bloody isn't! Ask George Lucas how hard it is to think up new creatures for Star Wars. And as fast as I think them up, humans erase them! So I was going to clobber you. But why bother when you are killing yourselves off anyway?

The Ten Commandments? You'd be better off looking at my most important law, the second law of thermodynamics. That's when everything, everywhere goes quiet and dark forever. I'm looking forward to it. Give me the chance for a bit of a rest. Mind you, you'll be long gone by then. You'll have done yourselves in and left the planet to the termites. I can only hope they don't start designating some of their mounds as cathedrals.

You know the humans that most irritate me? The people that say I talk to them. In person. The ones that say they speak on my behalf. You must have noticed that among their number are some of the most boring, self-important, fanatical and hypocritical people on Earth.

Apart from the Hindus, who've got millions of gods, most of you mob have only one. Namely me. But you can't agree on me. So you kill each other over me. Hundreds of millions of you have died because others said they were on a mission from God. It's about to happen again, at any moment. With George, Tony, Osama, John and the rest of them droning on about God's will, God's work.

God help us.

Yours truly,

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Oh, Jeez...

BYRON BAY, Australia (AP) - About 250 men took off their clothes Sunday and lay down to spell out the words "Peace Man" on a rugby field to protest the Australian government's strong support for Washington's hardline stance against Iraq.

Protest organizer Cameron Sparkes-Carroll said the protesters bared themselves to send the peace message to the Australian government, which has sent 2,000 troops to join U.S. forces preparing for a possible war in the Persian Gulf.

"Men of all shapes and sizes laid down their weapons and overcame fears of exposure to make the protest," Sparkes-Carroll said.

(Laid down their weapons? At least this guy has a sense of humor.)

The protest follows a similar demonstration two weeks ago when about 750 women shed their clothes in protest on a hillside near the same coastal resort town of Byron Bay, 435 miles north of Sydney.

The women disrobed and lay end-to-end on a grassy knoll to form a heart shape around the words "No War" for an aerial photograph.

Current song stuck in my head: "Hallelujah" by Rufus Wainwright.

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Sunday, February 23, 2003

Sunday Musings

At least in the 70s when I woke up and didn't know where I was, the odds were I had a good time the night before. If it's Sunday, this must be Chicago...

So, what's new?

• Sometimes things just work out. My television sort of exploded before I left town earlier this week, and, like most under-$200 consumer products, it's just not worth trying to get it repaired. Since I don't have a car here in Chicago, major purchases are rather problematic. Fortunately, it's near the end of the month; I stopped in the apartment laundry after work, checked the bulletin board, and found someone one floor down who was moving out and needed to dispose of his tv quickly. A quick phone call and $60 later, I have a new set.

• For the past two years I've done stand-up at the annual apartment talent show, but I was dodging snowdrifts in Princeton and missed the Thursday night event. On my way to the MAC machine to get the cash for the aforementioned television, a couple stopped me and said they were sorry I wasn't there. "Some other guy did stand-up; a real asshole," they said. "A lot worse than you." Thanks. I think.

• I wish to hell the "experts" on the cable news shows would learn a little responsibility. Yeah, a drop of nerve gas can kill a thousand people. A teaspoon of semen could impregnate every woman in North America, too. The hard part is the distribution.

• Ed Garcia, one of my bosses at work and a guru in all things Microsoft, reports that a soon-to-be-released version of Windows Server will support file versioning. If you don't what that means, never mind. If you do; gee, it only took Microsoft 25 years to come up with something that was in VMS in 1978.

• Speaking of Windows, the place to get your questions answered is

• Thinking of posting your resume on the net? Look here first.

• Whenever I get depressed by the lack of good morning radio, I listen to my O'Brien and Garry CD. Here's a sample. Support the guys and buy it. They have a ton of stuff they'll consider releasing if sales are good. Believe me, the "Kaufmann's Dental Spot," which displays Larry's complete on-air disintegration, is alone worth the price.

• An observation:
There are two kinds of fires. The Bad Fire and the Good Fire. And the paradox is that the Good Fire is made of bad things, of things that we do not want; but the Bad Fire is made of good things, of things that we do want.-Gilbert K. Chesterton

• Current song stuck in my head: Annie Lennox's "Walking on Broken Glass."

• The Nigerian email scam has resulted in the death of one of that nation's diplomats. It was only a matter of time.

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A (Phony) Letter From Home

Dear Dad,

A funny thing happened to me yesterday at Camp Bondsteel (Bosnia):

A French army officer walked up to me in the PX, and told me he thought we (Americans) were a bunch of cowboys and were going to provoke a war in Iraq.

He said if such a thing happens, we wouldn't be able to count on the support of France.

I told him that it didn't surprise me. Since we had come to France's rescue in World War I, World War II, Vietnam, and the Cold War -- their ingratitude and jealousy was due to surface, again, at some point in the near future anyway.

I also told him that is why France is a third-rate military power with a socialist economy and a bunch of faggots for soldiers.

I additionally told him that America, being a nation of deeds and action, not words, would do whatever it had to do, and France's support, if it ever came, was only for show anyway.

Just like in ALL NATO exercises, the US would shoulder 85% of the burden . . . and provide 85% of the support . . . as evidenced by the fact that this French officer was shopping in the American PX . . . and not the other way around.

He began to get belligerent at that point, and I told him if he would like to, I would meet him outside in front of the Burger King and whip his ass in front of the entire Multi-National Brigade East . . . thus demonstrating that even the smallest American had more fight in him than the average Frenchman.

He called me a barbarian cowboy and walked away in a huff.

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Dad, tell mom I love her,

Your loving daughter,
Lt. Col. Mary Beth Johnson USMC

(It may be apocryphal, but what the hey. I like it. Thanks to Sam Hobbs in alt.quotations)

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Copyright © 1987-2024 by Kevin G. Barkes
All rights reserved.
Violators will be prosecuted.
So there.  
The e-mail address is now something other than saga. used to be until December, 2007 when the domain name broker Trout Zimmer made an offer I couldn't refuse. Giving up and adopting created a significant problem, however. I had acquired the domain name in 1993, and had since that time used as my sole e-mail address. How to let people know that was no longer but rather which is longer than and more letters to type than and somehow less aesthetically pleasing than but actually just as functional as I sent e-mails from the address to just about everybody I knew who had used in the past decade and a half but noticed that some people just didn't seem to get the word about the change. So it occurred to me that if I were generate some literate, valid text in which was repeated numerous times and posted it on a bunch of different pages- say, a blog indexed by Google- that someone looking for would notice this paragraph repeated in hundreds of locations, would read it, and figure out that no longer is the they thought it was. That's the theory, anyway. Ok, I'm done. Move along. Nothing to see here...


Crystal Methodist

Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

I am a professional. Do not try this at home.

I canna change the laws of physics

As a matter of fact, I *am* the boss of you.
(as a matter of fact, i AM the boss of you.)

Truly great madness cannot be achieved without signficant intelligence

I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Left wing liberal nut job

Flies spread disease. Keep yours zipped.

Eff the ineffable, scrute the inscrutable.

If my answers frighten you then you should cease asking scary questions.

If evolution is just a theory, why am I surrounded by monkeys?

Nutrition makes me puke

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eat wisely

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