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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Thursday, April 08, 2004


Go here for the complete transcript. Here are a few gems:

"When the day ends and when we are successful, those who have been helpful have been helpful, and those who have not been helpful have not been helpful, and people have memories. Iraqis have memories."

"Things are- we're trying to explain how things are going, and they are going as they are going. And we're here pointing out what's taking place in the country. Some things are going well and some things obviously are not going well. And you have- you're going to have good days and bad days, as we've said from the outset. And this is a moment in Iraq's path towards a democratic and a free system. And it is one moment, and there will be other moments. And there will be good moments and there will be less good moments."

"I know there's 25 million people in the country. And the estimates I've heard for this fellow are, depending on who you talk to, somewhere between a thousand and six thousand- out of 25 million."

"I wouldn't want people to walk out thinking we said what you said we said."

Of course, the quote for which Rummy will be remembered for all time is:

"As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know we don't know."


"Some people have a way with words, and other people... not have way, I guess."-Steve Martin

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More useless trivia

The venerable outfit which supplied Wile E. Coyote with Road Runner acquisition devices is, as everyone knows, the Acme Company. It's also a brand name for a peg bar, a device for used for positioning animation cels.

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Maybe it's just me...

But I find this photo vaguely troubling.


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Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Oh, well.

I'm doomed.

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Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Class Acts

United Airlines' new television commercials featuring Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue and stylized animation prove blaring rock music and cut-a-second editing aren't necessary to get a message across.

The ads are a stunning combination of rotoscoping and limited animation. The first in the series, "The Interview", appropriately debuted on this year's Academy Awards telecast. Several critics called it the best short film on the show.

"The Light Bulb," the second in the campaign, also tells a complete story and has a marvelous, subtle in-joke.

The commercial uses a light bulb above the characters' heads to represent an idea that is conceived, pitched and nationally marketed in the span of 60 seconds. The last shot shows the protagonist in a crowd, happily stunned as each person in the surrounding throng sports a light bulb over his or her noggin.

The next time you see the ad, look closely at that last scene. In the right foreground there's a dog who, instead of a light bulb, has a bone floating above his head.

Too bad the people who make spots aren't running the airline.

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Monday, April 05, 2004

Always Low Prices. Always, Always, Always.

800,000 Cards Overcharged at Wal-Marts

Apr 4, 11:56 PM (ET)

DENVER (AP) - A computer hardware problem caused more than 800,000 credit and debit card transactions to be double- or triple-billed last week at Wal-Mart stores nationwide, according to officials at First Data Corp. (FDC), which handled the electronic payments.

The excess Visa and Mastercard charges, which occurred Wednesday and were posted on Thursday, have been reversed, First Data spokeswoman Staci Busby said Sunday.

Busby said the problem showed up on reports the company generates for quality control purposes. She said it's unclear how many customers were affected, and that she had no other details about the hardware problem.

"Anyone who conducted a transaction with a Visa or Mastercard on March 31 should check their statements," Busby said.

Danetta Thompson, a spokeswoman for Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart said Sunday the retailer had posted signs about the problem and was informing customers. She said signs in the stores direct customers to First Data's toll-free number, 888-893-0626.

"I feel like they've got their arms around the problem," Thompson said. "Those charges have been reversed."

Busby said some affected customers may not see the reversed charges on their accounts until Tuesday. She said First Data has instituted additional measures as a result of the overbilling.

First Data processes payments for retailers, moving money from consumers' accounts to merchants' bank accounts. The Greenwood Village, Colo.-based company has 30,000 employees and operates in 195 countries and territories.

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Sunday, April 04, 2004

Cherry blossoms and pith

Mom took a bus tour to Washington, DC this past Saturday. What other persons of influence think of the nation's capitol:

Marion S. Barry, Jr.:
Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.
(As Washington, DC mayor)

David Brinkley:
Washington DC is a city filled with people who think they are important.

John Mason Brown:
(H)ow prophetic L'Enfant was when he laid it (Washington, DC) out as a city that goes around in circles.

Ada Louise Huxtable:
Washington is an endless series of mock palaces clearly built for clerks.

Thomas Jefferson:
If we were directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should all want bread.

Andrew Johnson:
Washington, DC is 12 square miles bordered by reality.

John F. Kennedy:
Washington is a city of southern efficiency and northern charm.

Jay Leno:
The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, DC. This wasn't for any religious reasons. They couldn't find three wise men and a virgin.

Richard Maybury:
Washington is not America. It has become an alien city-state that rules America, and much of the rest of the world, in the way that Rome ruled the Roman Empire.

Dennis Miller:
Washington, DC is to lying what Wisconsin is to cheese.

P.J. O'Rourke:
It takes a village to raise a child. The village is Washington. You are the child.

James Thurber:
Sometimes the news from Washington forces me to the conclusion that your mother and your brother Ed are in charge.
(cartoon caption)

Harry S Truman:
If you want a friend in Washington, buy a dog.

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The Passion of Alfalfa

ABC is airing The Ten Commandments tonight, and while rummaging around the net looking for info on the film, I was stunned to learn that Carl Switzer, better known as The Little Rascals' Alfalfa, actually had a small speaking role in the film. For details, go to this marvelous fan site for a complete description of the legend in action.

I have to confess that I'm a big Ten Commandments fan. I remember seeing it at a drive-in theater when I was six years old, having the crap scared out of me by the Angel of Death scene, and experiencing awe for the first time during the Academy Award winning parting of the Red Sea sequence.

Today the film is considered somewhat campish and the touchstone upon which all biblical movie parodies are based. This is unfortunate. Cecil B. DeMille really delivered the goods in this spectacular: an all-star cast, huge pre-cgi locations with thousands of pre-cgi extras, and special effects which were state of the art in their day. They're so impressive you can almost ignore the traveling matte fissures and cell animation.

Hollywood just doesn't make them like this any more.

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Politics 101

A little boy goes to his dad and asks, "What are Politics?"

Dad says, "Well son, let me try to explain it this way:

#1. I'm the head of the family, so call me The President.

#2 Your mother is the administrator of the money, so we call her the Government.

#3 We're here to take care of your needs, so we'll call you the People.

#4 The nanny, we'll consider her the Working Class.

#5 And your baby brother, we'll call him the Future.

Now think about that and see if it makes sense."

So the little boy goes off to bed thinking about what dad has said. Later that night, he hears his baby brother crying, so he gets up to check on him. He finds that the baby has severely soiled his diaper. So the little boy goes to his parent's room and finds his mother sound asleep.

Not wanting to wake her, he goes to the nanny's room. Finding the door locked, he peeks through the keyhole and finds his father in bed with the nanny. He gives up and goes back to bed.

The next morning, the little boy says to his father, "Dad, I think I understand the concept of politics now." The father says, "Good, son, tell me in your own words what you think politics is all about."

The little boy replies, "The President is screwing the Working Class, while the Government is sound asleep. The People are being ignored and the Future is in deep shit."

(Via my old buddy Joe Lawrence.)

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Some things never change.

Newsgroups: sci.archaeology
Subject: Cuneiform tablet survey
From: Joe Jefferson
Date: Thu, 01 Apr 2004 23:06:03 GMT

After much painstaking work, I have finally completed a survey of over 31,254 clay tablets from Ninevah. Although I did not do complete translations, I was nevertheless able to determine the general contents of 28,442 (91%) of the tablets, revealing that the ancient Assyrians were not as different from us today as had often been assumed. The results of the study (which should be appearing in the April 1st issue of the Journal of Oriental Kingdoms and Empires) were as follows:

311 tablets (1% of the total) were property inventories.

313 (1%) were deeds.

625 (2%) wills.

934 (3%) records of lawsuits.

1,255 (4%) requests from a dying boy who wanted to receive a clay tablet from everybody in the empire.

2,814 (9%) appeals from various former officials of Urartu, seeking help in moving large amounts of gold out of that country.

3,750 (12%) educational programs offering certification for scribes without requiring any tests or attendance at class.

5,312 (17%) explanations of a way to make money by sending 2 shekels to each of the six people listed on the bottom of the tablet.

5,939 (19%) advertisements for engravings of several well known women, nude.

and the final 7,189 (23%) announced the discovery of an amazing potion that increases penis size.

Needless to say, I expect that this study will greatly enhance our understanding of ancient Assyrian culture.

(Thanks to Andy Green. Of all the Andy Greens in the world, he's the Andy Greenest.)

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Can't sing, but still have a burning desire to stand before a rowdy group of alcohol-addled cretins and make a total ass of yourself?

Technology comes to the rescue... movioke, an intriguing concept.

And none too soon. The only karaoke numbers I can do are two old Motown songs. But movioke! Finally, an outlet for my extensive brain-numbing collection of movie dialogue!

I just pictured my son and I doing the Black Knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

I hope the woman who conceived this concept makes a fortune.

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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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