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.

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Friday, October 10, 2003

So, Rush goes in for treatment...

...the oxycontin-induced haze is lifted from his brain...

...and, his mind clear for the first time in years... discovers he's really a Democrat.

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Hello? Earth Rotation Service?
Could you speed it up, please?

From Paul Eggert on Dave Farber's Interesting Persons mailing list.

Motorola reports that several GPS receivers in its Oncore line will misdisplay the date on 28 Nov 2003 at midnight UTC. For a one-second window the receivers will mistakenly report the date as 29 Nov instead of 28 Nov.

Here's why. Every couple of years or so for the past three decades, the International Earth Rotation Service has announced a leap-second because the Earth is rotating slightly more slowly than an 86400-second day would suggest. But since 1 Jan 1999, we've had an unusually long dry spell without any leap seconds. The GPS week number in the UTC correction parameter is 8 bits long, which allows for 256 weeks of unambiguous time calculation. Until now this parameter has never rolled over, but because of the dry spell 28 Nov will be exactly 256 weeks after the most recent leap second, and the rollover will contribute to the bug.

Steve Allen writes in that some JDAM smart bombs and other munitions are rumored to contain these receivers. Anyone intending to use those weapons around the magic window might want to reschedule their bombing runs for some other time...

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Thursday, October 09, 2003

A ticking timer could worry other passengers...


WASHINGTON (AP) - Airport screeners hired by the government to check baggage for bombs were given most of the answers to the tests they took to qualify for the job, according to an internal Homeland Security Department investigation.

In addition, job applicants were not required to show they could identify dangerous objects inside luggage, a "critical defect" in the written tests, according to acting department inspector general Clark Kent Ervin.

"It is extremely disturbing that most of the questions were rehearsed before the final examination, that a number of the questions were phrased so as to provide an obvious clue to the correct answer, and other questions appear to be simplistic," Ervin wrote in a letter to Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

During classroom training, screeners were given the questions in open-book quizzes and then the answers. The course ended with a closed-book examination of 25 questions. Nineteen of the questions on the final test were identical or virtually identical and three were similar to those on the quizzes, Ervin said.

One question asked "How do threats get aboard an aircraft?" The possible answers were (a) In carry-on bags; (b) In checked-in bags; (c) In another person's bag; and (d) All of the above. The correct answer is (d).

Another question asked why it's important to screen bags for improvised explosive devices (IEDs). A possible answer: "The ticking timer could worry other passengers." The right answer: "IEDs can cause loss of lives, property and aircraft."

Schumer, who asked for the probe, said the point of federalizing airport security was to improve safety by employing better-trained workers.

"The ludicrousness of this test undercuts everything Congress was trying to do in that regard," Schumer said.

Ervin's letter to Schumer was dated Aug. 29 but was not released until Wednesday. The senator's office said the letter was meant to be distributed sooner, but got lost in the mail due to problems with the Senate mail system that have been occurring since the anthrax scare about two years ago.

The Transportation Security Administration, created by Congress after the Sept. 11 terror attacks and later incorporated into the Homeland Security Department, was charged with a massive task: hiring tens of thousands of government workers in less than a year to replace the poorly trained, poorly paid, privately employed screeners who checked passengers before they boarded airplanes.

About 30,000 of the screeners have been cross-trained to inspect all checked baggage for bombs using newly installed explosive detection systems or wands that detect traces of explosive chemicals. The agency is continuing to cross-train passenger screeners.

TSA spokesman Brian Turmail said the agency has already reviewed and improved its training and may make further improvements. But he also said the inspector general did not look at the entire training program.

He said the one test reviewed by Ervin is part of a broader training program that includes 40 hours of classroom training, 60 hours of on-the-job training and four tests. The tests no longer use the questions cited by the inspector general.

No one becomes a baggage screener unless he demonstrates he can find a bomb in a suitcase using detection machines, Turmail said.

Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House aviation subcommittee, plans to hold a hearing Oct. 16 about the TSA's operations, including training and testing of screeners.

"Anytime you have a government undertake a program of this size and scope, it's going to be fraught with problems," Mica said.

A recently released report by the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, concluded the agency collects little information on screener performance in detecting threat objects and is falling short in making sure the screeners are effectively supervised.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2003

On that California business...

The next time they give you all that civic bullshit about voting, keep in mind that Hitler was elected in a full, free democratic election.
-George Carlin

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Say what?

Ya better listen to the NewsGorilla...

Assert, avow, affirm, aver
Confirm or argue, vow, forswear,
Confess, profess, express, abjure,
Assure, attest, contend, or swear,
Express, contend, protest, exclaim,
Insist, or warrant, put, proclaim,
Asseverate, vow, expostulate, maintain,
Sibilate, enunciate, ejaculate, bait,
Or if unsure, insinuate.
Retract, reverse, repudiate,
If working for Nixon, inoperate,
Or in a pinch, prevaricate,
But if sub judice, stipulate.
Pronounce, announce, denounce, renounce,
Insist, declare, or, in context, flounce.
Bluster, blubber, snivel, cry,
Shout, holler, contraindicate, deny,
Moan, bemoan, intone, emphasize,
Dispute, refute, impugn, advise,
Scream, echo, call, or verbalize,
Phrase, raise, praise, assert,
Comment, muse, reflect or blurt.
Opine, whisper, pant or peal,
Thunder, rumble, boom, reveal,
Murmur, mutter, sputter, squeal,
Hiss, bawl, snap, grunt, keen, appeal.
Patter, chatter, admit, let out,
Yawp, squawk, intonate or spout.
Coo, blat, snort, reflect or chirp,
Warble, cackle, yammer, burp,
Whinny, whicker, nicker, bay,
Interrogate Socratically or bray.
Trumpet, offer, croak, refer,
Raise a hue and cry, clamor.
From birdly crow to scholarish declaim,
The journalistic facts remain:
Of all the speeches mugient,
A simple "said" is what the guy talking meant.

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Monday, October 06, 2003

The Adventures of Cap'n McCain...

Aye, Dubya, ye may own of the House of White this day, but I'll soon see ye banished to the godforsaken wastes o' Texas, ye scurvy dog.


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Jesus Christ homers, Red Sox Win

Via One Hand Clapping, via Spoons Experience, via Leslie's Omnibus:

"It wasn't me swinging that bat. It was the Lord Jesus Christ." That according to BoSox game winner Trot Nixon after his 11th-inning smack into the stands that brought Doug Mirabelli in for the winning run.

What really makes that impressive is that Jesus had gone 0 for his last 6 at bats, and during the season hit only .195 with runners in scoring position.

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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.

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eat wisely

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