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, March 05, 2004

Scammed II

Remember the guy who was humiliated at the NBA game when the girl he asked to marry him fled the court?

Ha ha. The NBA says "Conceived in mischief, and executed without flaw, the Washington Wizards Game Operations department pulled off the prank of the year, simultaneously bewildering and wildly entertaining thousands that could not believe their eyes."

Wildly entertaining? Public humiliation is so popular, it's replacing traditional half-time shows?

I think I'm going to move my entire family to a cave and grow mushrooms.

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Remembering our shared experiences.

President Bush's new campaign ad show scenes from the September 11 terrorist attack. They were included, according to a campaign spokesman, as "a reminder of our shared experience as a nation."

As a nation, we certainly do share a lot of experiences. Here are a few:

-the United States Supreme Court perverting the will of the people in giving the 2000 election to the loser.

-the ineffective "all for show" security procedures at airports.

-the extra $30 in my pay from the economy-stimulating Bush tax cuts, which disappeared in less than six months when my health care insurer doubled the cost of its prescription drug plan.

-finally understanding that when the government says the economy is "improving", it means profits are up, not that individuals are working.

-the realization that I'm going to have to work until I'm no longer physically capable of doing so, probably in a series of lesser jobs with lower income and fewer benefits, and when I eventually can't work, the Social Security benefits I receive will be negligible.

And I also think about everything Bush has done since his election. (Thanks to David Browning):

-spent the U.S. surplus and effectively bankrupted the U.S. Treasury.

-shattered the record for the largest annual deficit in U.S. history.

-set an economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12-month period.

-set the all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the U.S. stock market.

-was the first president in U.S. history to enter office with a criminal record.

-set the all-time record for most days on vacation in any one year period of any U.S. president.

-after taking off the entire month of August, 2001, then presided over the worst security failure in U.S. history.

-set the all-time record for most foreclosures in a 12-month period.

-appointed more convicted criminals to my administration than any president in U.S. history.

-set the record for least amount of press conferences than any president since the invention of television.

-signed more laws and executive orders effectively amending or ignoring the Constitution than any president in history.

-presided over the biggest energy crisis in U.S. history and refused to intervene when corruption involving the oil industry was revealed.

-presided over the highest gasoline prices in U.S. history and refused to use national reserves as past presidents have done. And while we actually have troops in the country with the largest oil reserves on the planet, forecasts indicate the price of gasoline on the east coast may top $3 a gallon this summer. And his national security advisor, Condoleeza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her.

-cut health care benefits for war veterans and support a cut in duty benefits for active duty troops and their families- in war time.

-set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously protest against him in public venues (15 million people), shattering the record for protest against any person in the history of mankind.

-dissolved more international treaties than any president in U.S. history.

-made his presidency the most secretive and unaccountable of any in U.S. history.

-the members of his cabinet are the richest of any administration in U.S. history.

-presided over the biggest corporate stock market fraud of any market in any country in history.

-is the first president in U.S. history to order a preemptive attack and the military occupation of a sovereign nation, against the will of the United Nations and the world community and on the basis of, at best, bad intelligence.

-created the largest government bureaucracy in the history of the United States (the Department of Homeland Security).

-set the all-time record for biggest annual budget spending increases, more than any president in history.

-had the United Nations remove the U.S. from the Human Rights Commission and the Elections Monitoring Board.

-removed more checks and balances, and has the least amount of congressional oversight than any presidential administration in U.S. history.

-is the all-time U.S. and world record-holder for receiving the most corporate campaign donations.

-his largest lifetime campaign contributor, and one of his best friends, (Kenneth Lay, former CEO of Enron Corporation) presided over the largest corporate bankruptcy fraud in U.S. history. His political party used Enron private jets and corporate attorneys to assure his success with the U.S. Supreme Court during my election decision.

-changed the U.S. policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.

-set an all-time record for the number of administration appointees who violated U.S. law by not selling their huge personal investments in corporations bidding for U.S. contracts.

-removed more freedoms and civil liberties for Americans than any president in U.S. history.

Yes, indeed. Thanks for the reminder. And also for adding another experience I've never had before: a political candidate exploiting the grief of the nation to advance his ambitions.

You can be certain I'll remember that.

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Thursday, March 04, 2004

Headline of the Week

Oh, those wacky guys at the Chicago Sun-Times. (Thanks to Tom Heald).

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I've grown irritated at my minor math errors on my Federal income tax returns these past few years, so this time around I figured I'd give TurboTax software a spin.

TurboTax is an Intuit product, the same folks who do Quicken and Quickbooks. I've been using Quickbooks for what seems to have been the past decade, so I didn't feel like I was taking much of a chance with TurboTax. True, Intuit had a lot of bad press last year for using a rather invasive and clandestine copy protection scheme, but they had issued the appropriate mea culpas and appeared to have mended their ways.

So I picked up a copy of TurboTax Deluxe at the Dominicks on Broadway last Sunday and settled in for what should have been a painless installation.


First, the installation complained that it couldn't find an Internet connection. Then it complained that it couldn't install because another installation was in progress. Finally, it upchucked and died with a dreaded access violation.

I went to the TurboTax support site and found myself in a chat window with a robot that burped out alternating messages: a.) A support representative will be with you shortly and b.) No representatives are available; please wait.

After about 20 minutes, someone appeared and I provided them with all the messages that the program generated during the alleged installation process. After a five minute wait, the rep told me I would receive instructions via email within 24 hours.

On Monday, I received an email that stated:

"As of this time we are continuing to research your issue. Thank you for your patience as we work to resolve this issue. As soon as we develop a satisfactory answer to your question, we will email it to you."

I heard nothing on Tuesday or Wednesday. Today, I received another email:

"As of this time we are continuing to research your issue. Thank you for your patience as we work to resolve this issue. As soon as we develop a satisfactory answer to your question, we will email it to you."

Four days, and they can't tell me how to install their software on a new computer with the latest version of Windows XP? And they're selling these things in the check-out aisles of supermarkets?

Sort of makes me wonder how well this marvelous piece of code is going to calculate my taxes.

It also reinforces the old adage about no good deed going unpunished. I typically file for an automatic four month extension and then wait until about 1 am on August 15 to start filling out the form. This year, I thought I'd actually file ahead of the April 15 deadline. Hah.

Stay tuned.

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It appears if you put any piece of paper into a microwave oven, it will generate a scorch mark in the center. With the new twenties, the center is right around the location of Andrew Jackson's right eye.

Someone on Dave Farber's interesting persons list also noted that some of the scorched twenties which appeared in the photo in the entry below were old style twenties. The rfid tag is just a red herring.

In my defense, I did search Snopes and several other Internet-based urban legend sites and found nothing refuting their claims. I'm sure they'll start appearing soon.

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Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Talk about marked bills...

According to these guys, the new U.S. twenty dollar bill has, embedded in Andrew Jackson's right eye, a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag.

The nifty thing is that if you put a new twenty in a microwave oven, the tag will explode. The link above has photos of blasted bills with ol' Andy looking like Yosemite Sam after an encounter with Bugs Bunny.

Thanks to Ernie Corl for pointing this out, although no one in the office is willing to test the report with one of their own twenties.

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Well, if you're gonna follow The Book...

In Defense of Biblical Marriage
by Cindy Scott

The Presidential Prayer Team is currently urging us to: "Pray for the President as he seeks wisdom on how to legally codify the definition of marriage. Pray that it will be according to Biblical principles. With many forces insisting on variant definitions of marriage, pray that God's Word and His standards will be honored by our government."

Any good religious person believes prayer should be balanced by action. So here, in support of the Prayer Team's admirable goals, is a proposed Constitutional Amendment codifying marriage entirely on biblical principles:

A. Marriage in the United States shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women. (Gen 29:17-28; II Sam 3:2-5.)

B. Marriage shall not impede a man's right to take concubines in addition to his wife or wives. (II Sam 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chronicles 11:21)

C. A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed. (Deut 22:13-21)

D. Marriage of a believer and a non-believer shall be forbidden. (Gen 24:3; Num 25:1-9; Ezra 9:12; Neh. 10:30)

E. Since marriage is for life, neither this Constitution nor the constitution of any State, nor any state or federal law, shall be construed to permit divorce. (Deut 22:19; Mark 10:9)

F. If a married man dies without children, his brother shall marry the widow. If he refuses to marry his brother's widow or deliberately does not give her children, he shall pay a fine of one shoe and be otherwise punished in a manner to be determined by law. (Gen. 38:6-10; Deut 25:5-10)

G. In lieu of marriage, if there are no acceptable men in your town, it is required that you get your dad drunk and have sex with him (even if he had previously offered you up as a sex toy to men young and old), tag-teaming with any sisters you may have. Of course, this rule applies only if you are female. (Gen 19:31-36)

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Monday, March 01, 2004

Oooo, that's gotta hurt...

So much for the dream proposal. And on television, too.

At a recent Indiana Pacers-Washington Wizards game, a woman's reaction to a man's marriage proposal stuns an expectant crowd.

The apparent proposal came at the end of a halftime contest on the Wizards home court Saturday night.

The woman was blindfolded, sent out on the court, and told if she could find a local bank's mascot, she would win free Wizards tickets.

As the crowd yelled "hot" and "cold," the woman roamed the court for about 10 seconds.

Then, as she found and touched the bank mascot, she was told she won the contest.

However, the public address announcer said there was a surprise.

The man appeared from the bank mascot's costume, grabbed a microphone and then got down on one knee.

As he began to speak to the woman, she paused and grabbed her face in shock.

Then, as the crowd expected the man to pop question, the woman turned away from the man, and sprinted full speed across the basketball court.

After running up a tunnel, she was stopped by a security guard.

There was no indication on the broadcast whether the proposal was legitimate or not.

But the stunt surprised the groaning crowd as a message saying, "She said No!" appeared on the arena's scoreboard.

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On Gays and the Constitution

Just some random quotes pulled from the KGB Quotes database:

Gays are the only people left who want to get married.-Bill Maher

Homosexuality is God's way of insuring that the truly gifted aren't burdened with children.-Sam Austin

I can't think of anything grimmer than being an aging actress. God! It's worse than being an aging homosexual.-Candice Bergen

My cousin is an agoraphobic homosexual, which makes it kind of hard for him to come out of the closet.-Bill Kelly

Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.-Samuel Adams

The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision.-Lynn Lavner

What we need is a constitutional amendment requiring school children to pray for a balanced budget.-Walter Dellinger

If you removed all of the homosexuals and homosexual influence from what is generally regarded as American culture, you would pretty much be left with Let's Make a Deal.-Fran Lebowitz

The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it. Only if every single citizen feels duty bound to do his share in this defense are the Constitutional rights secure.-Albert Einstein

Monks, nuns, long-term spinsters and bachelors and permanent homosexuals are all, in a reproductive sense, aberrant. Society has bred them, but they have failed to return the compliment.-Desmond Morris

The right to be let alone is the underlying principle of the Constitution's Bill of Rights.-Erwin N. Griswold

Our safety, our liberty, depends upon preserving the Constitution of the United States as our fathers made it inviolate. The people of the United States are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts - not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.-Abraham Lincoln

If homosexuality is a disease, let's all call in sick to work. "Hello, can't work today. Still queer."-Robin Taylor

Our Constitution protects aliens, drunks, and U.S. Senators.-Will Rogers

If you really want to hurt your parents and you don't have the nerve to be a homosexual, the least you can do is go into the arts.-Kurt Vonnegut

A citizen's constitutional rights can hardly be infringed simply because a majority of the people choose that it be.-Earl Warren

The love that dare not speak its name has become the love that won't shut up.-Robertson Davies

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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.

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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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