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...


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Saturday, April 17, 2004

New KGB Report Spokesmodel


Well, ok, I guess in order to be a spokesmodel one should probably possess the power of speech, but she already knows "mama", "dada", "papa", and "dog". At this rate, she'll be as literate as Jessica Simpson by the end of the week.

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The Permanent Record

You remember the Permanent Record. In school, you were constantly being told that if you screwed up, the news would be sent to the principal and placed in your Permanent Record. Nothing more needed to be said.

No one had ever seen a Permanent Record. That didn't matter. We knew it was there. We imagined a steel filing cabinet crammed full of Permanent Records- one for each kid in the school. I think we always assumed that our Permanent Record was sent on to college with us and later to our employer, probably with a duplicate to the U.S. government.

I have a terrible feeling that mine was the last generation to know what a Permanent Record was- and that it has disappeared as a concept in society.

There was a time when people really stopped before they did something they knew was deceitful, immoral or unethical. They didn't stop because they were such holy folks. They stopped because they had a nagging fear that if they did the foul deed, it would end up on their Permanent Record.

At some point in the last few decades, I'm afraid, people wised up to something that amazed them: there is no Permanent Record. They discovered that regardless of how badly you fouled up your life or the lives of others, there was nothing about it on your record. You would always be forgiven, no matter what.

So pretty soon men and women- instead of fearing the Permanent Record- started laughing at it. The things that they used to be ashamed of, that once made them cringe when they thought about them, now became "interesting" aspects of their personalities.

If the details were weird enough, the kinds of things that would have really jazzed up the Permanent Record, people sometimes wrote books confessing them, and the books became best-sellers. They found out that other people- far from scorning them- would line up in bookstores to get their autographs. Talk-show hosts would say, "Thank you for being so honest with us. I'm sure our audience understands how much guts it takes for you to tell us these things." Permanent Records were being opened up for the whole world to see- and the sky did not fall in.

As Americans began to realize that there probably never had been a Permanent Record, they deduced that any kind of behavior was permissible. All you had to do was say, "That was a real crazy period in my life." All would be okay.

And that is where we are today. We have accepted the notion that no one is keeping track. No one is even allowed to keep track. I doubt you could scare a school kid nowadays by telling him that the principal was going to inscribe something on his Permanent Record; the kid would probably file a suit under the Freedom of Information Act and expect to obtain his Permanent Record by recess. Either that, or call it up on his or her computer and delete it.

As for us adults, it has been so long since we believed in the Permanent Record that the very mention of it now brings a nostalgic smile to our faces. We feel naive for ever having believed there was such a thing.

But who really knows? On some distant day when we check out of this earthly world and approach the gates of our new eternal home, our smiles may freeze. We just might be greeted by a heavenly presence sitting there, casually leafing through a dusty, battered volume of our Permanent Record, as we come jauntily into view.

from Cheeseburgers: The Best of Bob Greene (1985)

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Friday, April 16, 2004

So that's where he gets it...

Why should we hear about body bags and deaths and how many, what day it's gonna happen? It's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?
-Barbara Bush, on ABC (US) Good Morning America, March 18, 2003

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What an idjit, II

Get yer fresh Dubya every day right here.

DUBYA: John.

REPORTER: Thank you, Mr. President. Two weeks ago, a former counterterrorism official at the NSC, Richard Clarke, offered an unequivocal apology to the American people for failing them prior to 9/11. Do you believe the American people deserve a similar apology from you, and would you be prepared to give them one?

DUBYA: Look, I can understand why people in my administration anguished over the fact that people lost their life. I feel the same way. I mean, I'm sick when I think about the death that took place on that day. And as I mentioned, I've met with a lot of family members and I do the best I do to console them about the loss of their loved one. As I mentioned, I oftentimes think about what I could have done differently. I can assure the American people that had we had any inkling that this was going to happen, we would have done everything in our power to stop the attack. Here's what I feel about that. The person responsible for the attacks was Osama bin Laden. That's who's responsible for killing Americans. And that's why we will stay on the offense until we bring people to justice.
-I guess we can forget about an apology, Prime Time Press Conference #3, White House, Apr. 13, 2004

REPORTER: In the last campaign, you were asked a question about the biggest mistake you'd made in your life, and you used to like to joke that it was trading Sammy Sosa. You've looked back before 9/11 for what mistakes might have been made. After 9/11, what would your biggest mistake be, would you say, and what lessons have you learned from it?

DUBYA: I wish you would have given me this written question ahead of time, so I could plan for it. John, I'm sure historians will look back and say, gosh, he could have done it better this way, or that way. You know, I just- I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with an answer, but it hadn't yet.
-I guess we can forget about introspection, too, Prime Time Press Conference #3, White House, Apr. 13, 2004

REPORTER: With public support for your policies in Iraq falling off the way they have- quite significantly over the past couple of months- I guess I'd like to know if you feel in any way that you've failed as a communicator on this topic? Because-

DUBYA: Gosh, I don't know. I mean-

REPORTER: Well, you deliver a lot of speeches and a lot of them contain similar phrases, and they vary very little from one to the next. And they often include a pretty upbeat assessment of how things are going ...I guess I just wonder if you feel that you have failed in any way? You don't have many of these press conferences, where you engage in this kind of exchange. Have you failed in any way to really make the case to the American public?

DUBYA: I guess if you put it into a political context, that's the kind of thing the voters will decide next November. That's what elections are about. They'll take a look at me and my opponent and say, let's see, which one of them can better win the war on terror? Who best can see to it that Iraq emerges as a free society? Don, if I tried to fine-tune my messages based upon polls, I think I'd be pretty ineffective. I know I would be disappointed in myself. I hope today you've got a sense of my conviction about what we're doing. If you don't, maybe I need to learn to communicate better.

-I guess we'll have to settle for this, Prime Time Press Conference #3, White House, Apr. 13, 2004

Secretary of State Powell and Secretary of State Rumsfeld, and a number of NATO defense and foreign ministers are exploring a more formal role for NATO.

-Oops. Prime Time Press Conference #3, White House, Apr. 13, 2004

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Here comes the big one, 'lizabeth...

UCLA Geophysicist Warns 6.4 Quake To Hit LA By Sept 5

Los Angeles - Apr 15, 2004

A US geophysicist has set the scientific world ablaze by claiming to have cracked a holy grail: accurate earthquake prediction, and warning that a big one will hit southern California by Sept 5.

Russian-born University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) professor Vladimir Keilis-Borok says he can foresee major quakes by tracking minor temblors and historical patterns in seismic hotspots that could indicate more violent shaking is on the way.

And he has made a chilling prediction that a quake measuring at least 6.4 magnitude on the Richter scale will hit a 31,200-square-kilometre area of southern California by September 5.

The team at UCLA's Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics accurately predicted a 6.5-magnitude quake in central California last December as well as an 8.1-magnitude temblor that struck the Japanese island of Hokkaido in September.

"Earthquake prediction is called the Holy Grail of earthquake science, and has been considered impossible by many scientists," said Keilis-Borok, 82.

"It is not impossible.

"We have made a major breakthrough, discovering the possibility of making predictions months ahead of time, instead of years, as in previously known methods."

If accurate, the prediction method would be critical in an area like California, which is criss-crossed by fault lines that have spawned devastating quakes over the years including ones which ravaged San Francisco in 1989 and Los Angeles in 1994.

That has given credence to his research, which was endorsed by a state panel, the California Earthquake Prediction Evaluation Council, earlier this month.

"Even two years back it was practically a dirty word to say earthquake prediction," said Nancy Sauer, an organiser of the annual conference of the Seismological Society of America which began yesterday in Palm Springs.

The UCLA team - made up of US, Japanese, Canadian, European and Russian experts in pattern recognition, geodynamics, seismology, chaos theory, statistical physics and public safety - says it has developed algorithms to detect earthquake patterns.

The experts predicted in June an earthquake measuring 6.4 or higher would strike within nine months in a 496-kilometre region of central California, including San Simeon, where a 6.5-magnitude temblor struck December 22, killing two people.

In July, they said they predicted a magnitude 7.0 or higher quake in a region that included Hokkaido by December 28. The September 25 quake fell within that period.

Now they predict a major quake will hit an area that stretches across desert regions to the east of Los Angeles, home to around nine million people, including the Mojave desert and the resort town of Palm Springs, which lies near the notorious San Andreas fault.

That is where experts began gathering for the Seismological Society of America conference that looks sure to be dominated by passionate discussion of Keilis-Borok's prediction method.

"There is something going on," Sauer told the Desert Sun newspaper in Palm Springs. "People are at least willing to entertain the idea. It is not seen so much as junk science now."

Another seismic expert, University of Oregon professor Ray Weldon, was scheduled to present findings to the conference that appear to support Keilis-Borok's research by saying the San Andreas fault is about to enter a new and violent period of shaking.

The data, according to the Desert Sun, was gathered over 18 years around the famed fault, showing it is under high levels of stress.

"You could consider that support (for Keilis-Borok's research)," Weldon was quoted as saying. "But I dont lend any insight or support to a window of time."

But researchers still point to the fact that the science of earthquake prediction has been notoriously inaccurate and the geographic area targeted by the UCLA team for an imminent quake is very large.

"It is not specific," said Susan Hough, a seismologist for the US Geological Survey based in Pasadena, near Los Angeles. "They've made three predictions and two of them have been borne out."

Keilis-Borok himself acknowledged the caution expressed by some of his colleagues. "Application of non-linear dynamics and chaos theory is often counter-intuitive, so acceptance by some research teams will take time."

But if his latest prediction that the earth will move in the area around Los Angeles within the next five months proves accurate, his research could end up saving lives and transforming seismology.

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Thursday, April 15, 2004

Tax Day

Donald C. Alexander
(The IRS) may take some solace in the fact that Matthew was a tax collector before he became a saint.

Robert Bakker
I want to find a voracious, small-minded predator and name it after the IRS.
(Mr. Bakker is a paleontologist)

Dave Barry
I bet that if you actually read the entire vastness of the U.S. Tax Code, you'd find at least one sex scene.

Dave Barry
It's income tax time again, Americans: time to gather up those receipts, get out those tax forms, sharpen up that pencil, and stab yourself in the aorta.

Anke Bodzin
There's no problem so large it can't be solved by killing the user off, deleting their files, closing their account and reporting their real earnings to the IRS.

Peg Bracken
Why does a slight tax increase cost you $200 and a substantial tax cut save you 30 cents?

Art Buchwald
Tax reform is taking the taxes off things that have been taxed in the past and putting taxes on things that haven't been taxed before.

George W. Bush
A tax cut is really one of the anecdotes to coming out of an economic illness.

Mortimer Caplan
There is one difference between a tax collector and a taxidermist-the taxidermist leaves the hide.

Nonnee Coan
My uncle claims that if he files his income tax wrong he'll go to jail, and if he files it right he'll go to the poor house.

Jeff Daiell
To steal from one person is theft. To steal from many is taxation.

Juan de Mariana
The only civilized country is one in which no man is afraid of the tax collector.

Fred Drasner
The First Rule of Practicing Tax Law: If someone has to go to jail, make sure it's the client.

Hoffman F. Fuller
A society which turns so many of its best and brightest into tax lawyers may be doing something wrong.

Dick Gregory
I wouldn't mind paying taxes if I knew they were going to a friendly country.

John Grisham
It's a game. We (tax lawyers) teach the rich how to play it so they can stay rich- and the IRS keeps changing the rules so we can keep getting rich teaching them.

E.W. Howe
The government is mainly an expensive organization to regulate evildoers and tax those who behave.

Ethel Jacobson
Behind every man who achieves success,
Stands a mother, a wife and the IRS.

John Maynard Keynes
The avoidance of taxes is the only pursuit that still carries any reward.

Kirk Kirkpatrick
If the Lord had meant us to pay income taxes, he'd have made us smart enough to prepare the return.

Fran Lebowitz
A dog who thinks he is a man's best friend is a dog who obviously has never met a tax lawyer.

Tom Lehrer
On my income tax 1040 it says "Check this box if you are blind." I wanted to put a check mark about three inches away.

Sue Murphy
I owed the government $3,400 in taxes. So I sent them two hammers and a toilet seat.

Paula Poundstone
The wages of sin are death, but after taxes are taken out, it's just a tired feeling.

Will Rogers
The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets.

Will Rogers
When everybody has got money they cut taxes, and when they're broke they raise 'em. That's statesmanship of the highest order.

If Patrick Henry thought taxation without representation was bad, he should see how bad it is with representation.
(from The Farmer's Almanac)

There is untold wealth in America, especially at tax time.
(Cartoon caption in The Wall Street Journal)

This year I'm going to deduct last year's taxes as a bad investment.

Being audited by the IRS is like having an autopsy without the benefit of dying.

Passive activity income does not include the following: Income from an activity that is not a passive activity.
(Instructions to IRS Form 8582, Passive Activity Loss Limitations)

Mae West
When it comes to finances, remember that there are no withholding taxes on the wages of sin.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2004

What an idjit.

What a moron. What an incoherent, illiterate, inappropriately grinning boob.

I turned off the television during Bush's press conference to prevent me from hurling something at the screen.

Yeah, we're here to make the world a better place. We want to spread freedom. Especially to countries with large oil reserves.

I can't wait for the transcript of this pageant to hit the web. There are some real winners in there- malaprops for the ages- but right now I'm so filled with blind rage that I can't find the humor in them.

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Monday, April 12, 2004

Hail to the Chief

Music by John McCutcheon
Words (entirely) by George W. Bush
© 2001 John McCutcheon/Appalsongs (ASCAP)
(Legally download the recording here.)


Well I was born in West Texas,
Pretty near California
Far away from Dad's home in D.C.
When I'm talkin' 'bout myself and
They're talking 'bout myself
All of us are talkin' about me.
Now some may retort to personal attacks,
Take the high horse then claim the low road.
But I'm not a revengeful person,
No, I'll simply respond with this ode:

When I delivered the State of the Budget Address,
I offered up a question or two.
How can a man still put food on his family?
Will the tollbooth to the middle class become more few?
No, it's time to make the pie higher!
This idea's sure to resignate.
This is no time to be subliminable.
No, it's time we must unificate.

'Cause you see, when there's more trade,
There's more commerce.
And we'll bring this solution to an end.
Even if your business is Hispanically owned,
Whether you speak French or Mexican.
We're working for a hopefuller country,
No longer vulcanized.
Where humans and fish can coexist,
And each act civilized.

I think we can agree that the past is over.
Still, we're held hostile everywhere.
These days we don't know who "they" are,
But we certainly know that they're there.
No longer inoculated from the mistakes of the past,
With a foreign-handed foreign policy.
We'll keep good relations with Kosovoans and Grecians,
And avoid emotionality.

Now we know reading is the basics of learning,
And learning... well, I forget the rest.
But teach a child to read and he or her
Will pass a literacy test.
So I ask you, "Is our children learning?"
Will we tolerate failed subsidation?
Or will this be where wings finally take dream,
And not a cufflink of federalization?

So if you're tired of the politics of polls
And of principles,
It's time that you join this campaign.
We're looking for women who will serve this country,
And never the house will they stain.
With faith as the basics of our belief,
Where a troop can house his family.
We'll find power to power the power of the power plants.
No, you'd best not misunderestimate me.


With every word and every breath
Our language dies a slow, sad death
Hail to the Chief, let's give him hail
Part Yogi Berra
Part Dan Quayle

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by Elayne Boosler

from the Showtime Special: Elayne Boosler - Live Nude Girls
© 1991 Brooklyn Productions

I like (my mother in law) Mrs. Viking. I called Mrs. Viking up and I said "Happy Easter." "Happy Easter to you, oh it's not your holiday." I said " Yes it is, I embrace any holiday based on candy. It is my holiday."

How long ago was Easter? I'm still going through Peeps withdrawal. Peeps, peeps. Marshmallow chickies and bunnies. Pink sugar, yellow sugar.

Oh, I love them so much I can taste the difference between the pink sugar and the yellow sugar.

I can taste the eye, and it's only painted on.

You don't love Peeps? Maybe you haven't had them properly aged yet. They're only good stale. You buy them. You slit open the package. You go away for a few days. Come back, when you can knock on the counter you got some Peeps there.

Oh, Peeps are good. They're seasonal. We can't just go get them now. We probably want them now. Gotta wait. Peeps molt in spring like soft-shell crab.

Then they come out and they're 49 cents a box, not too bad. Day after Easter- ten cents a box!!!

Eat em 'til you faint. Think- "I'll never want these things again." A week later, you're looking for drug dealers. "Hey, Hey, I got $100, you got Peeps?"

(Thanks to Tom Heald on the World News Now discussion list.)

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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

Feral Geek

eat wisely

Dyslexics have more fnu!

It's here!

Eff and Scrute

440 pages, over 11,000 quotations!

Eff the Ineffable, Scrute the Inscrutable

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