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

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He knows if yinz is a jagoff

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"No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."
Article VI, U.S. Constitution

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Saturday, March 26, 2005

See what I mean?

Chicago has a killer poet. Pittsburgh has hugging thief.

To paraphrase Bette Midler, when it's noon in Chicago, it's 1971 in Pittsburgh.

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The Wrath of Mr. Kibbles

A Fort Lauderdale firefighter is facing theft charges after he told police that he snatched a neighborhood cat and dumped it in the Everglades because it scratched his truck.

The firefighter's 11-year-old neighbor, Maggie Leonard, was celebrating her birthday Feb. 5 when she realized her pet was gone. She started crying when she learned Cristopher Cortes, who has had a months-long spat with her family, got rid of Mr. Kibbles.

Luckily for Maggie, the cat showed up at her front door Feb. 18- apparently on his own.

"It was like a miracle," said Maggie's mother, Nancy Leonard. "Maggie loves this cat like royalty."

Coconut Creek police charged the firefighter, Christopher Cortes, 32, and his fiancee with petty theft and gave them notices to appear in court. Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue says it has opened an internal investigation, but Cortes is still on duty.

Dr. Deborah Niedermiller, a veterinarian who examined the cat Monday, said he was in good health, tired, and "looked like he had traveled a little bit" because of his hardened paws.

No one, except for Mr. Kibbles, knows how he got home, located in the 5900 block of Northwest 47th Way in Coconut Creek. He wasn't wearing ID tags.

(But Mr. Kibbles is back... and he's pissed.)

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Friday, March 25, 2005

Things we'd like to see...

Bye, George

After eliminating Karl Rove,
The Mutant unleashed his
telepathic powers
on a hapless W...

(From Velociworld via the Omnibus.)

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I bet they would have let her alone if they had referred to her as being a fruit instead of a vegetable.

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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Way too much protein

It was bad enough when the rumor was Wendy's made its chili from old hamburger pieces...

Wendy's diner finds human finger in her chili

An unlucky diner bit into a segment of a human finger while digging into a bowl of chili at a Wendy's restaurant in San Jose, Santa Clara County health officials confirmed Wednesday.

The diner, who visited the restaurant Tuesday night, spit out the well- cooked digit, notified restaurant workers and became sick to her stomach, health officials said.

The origin of the finger remains a mystery.

Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Martin Fenstersheib said he was called at home by San Jose police who went to Wendy's and immediately dispatched health inspectors to the restaurant. He said he ordered officers to transport the body part, wrapped in damp gauze, to the medical examiner's office.

The restaurant, at 1405 Monterey Road, was shut for a couple of hours while the batch of chili and stocks of chili ingredients were impounded. The restaurant was allowed to reopen and to cook another batch of chili using newly purchased ingredients.

Wendy's officials said they are eager to find out how their food became contaminated.

“The entire investigation is with the county health department,” said Steve Jay, Wendy's marketing director for Santa Clara County. “We're fully cooperating.”

Jay said the chili came from a master distributor but declined to name the firm. He added that Wendy's has been doing business in the area for more than 25 years and never had a serious problem before.

Fenstersheib said he spoke to the anxious woman several times by phone and had the queasy experience of confirming to her that the object was indisputably human. The woman asked officials not to name or even describe her.

“I had to confirm it to her that she had indeed put a piece of a human finger in her mouth,” Fenstersheib said. “She kind of lost it.”

The woman was “emotionally distraught ... due to the unpleasant sensation of having this (object) in her mouth,” Fenstersheib said

He said the finger had been cooked at a high enough temperature to kill any viruses, including hepatitis or HIV, and that it was very unlikely that she will suffer any health effects from her experience, aside from psychological trauma.

“The potential for health impacts are extremely low for her or anyone else who ate that chili,” Fenstersheib said. He said, however, that he will recommend baseline viral testing for the woman, to allow for comparison should any food-borne illness emerge in the coming months.

A similar strategy might be wise for others who ate the contaminated food, he said. “The risk is low, but nothing in medicine is 100 percent,” Fenstersheib said.

County officials say they have no idea how many other people consumed the contaminated chili, which was cooked at about 2 p.m. Tuesday and was served to customers until the finger turned up at 7:20 p.m. Anyone who may have eaten the contaminated batch is encouraged to call county health officials at (408) 918-3400.

The finger was described by county Medical Examiner Dr. Joseph O'Hara as cooked but not decomposed. The digit was found in two pieces, a 1-inch fingertip complete with the skin whorls used in fingerprinting and a half-inch piece of fingernail. The digit appeared to have been torn off, possibly by manufacturing machinery, rather than cleanly cut.

Considering the nail's slightly longer length and neat grooming, O'Hara speculated that it may have belonged to a woman, though “it's hard to tell.”

Since all of the workers at the restaurant were found to be in possession “of all 10 of their fingers,” health inspectors assume the finger likely entered the food chain as a result of the manufacturing process, according to county Environmental Resources Director Ben Gale.

Health inspectors said the restaurant appeared to be generally clean and well-maintained, with only one minor violation having to do with a leaky vent.

Gale said it could take weeks to track each of the numerous ingredients to their places of manufacture, which will be in different states or possibly even different countries. Since the law requires that industrial accidents result in a stoppage of the assembly line and be reported to authorities, it may be possible to pinpoint the site of the original accident.

In addition, authorities may be able to obtain a fingerprint and DNA from the finger to identify the person.

The restaurant was open Wednesday, and business was brisk despite the finger incident.

Elizabeth Adcock, who visits that Wendy's frequently and was having a bowl of chili Wednesday at around 3 p.m., said she had heard television reports about the finger, but thought it might be an urban legend.

Another woman who was eating chili at the restaurant, San Jose State student Andria Mendoza, said she had overheard workers discussing a finger in Spanish, so she proceeded carefully.

“I actually did check -- with my spoon,” she said.

Customer Gary Grant of San Jose expressed disappointment that it was business-as-usual at the restaurant.

“We come here all the time,” Grant said. “We just ate here today, and nobody said a thing. There were no signs up.

“How can you trust somebody like that? You're still serving food. Which basically means you don't care.”

Customer Fernando Anaya was in a lighter mood.

“Where's the finger at?” he joked as he ordered a salad.

Anaya said he worked at a cannery many years ago, so the incident with the finger doesn't shock him. He said he plans to keep eating at his local Wendy's.

“I don't eat chili anymore,” he said. “I used to, but the cholesterol is too high.”

(Thanks to Dennis Brumm of the ABC World News Now mailing list.)

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Chicago's a really tough town...

You'd never see a headline like this in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Killer poet caught on West Side

If their poets are killers, you can imagine what their librarians must be like.

Speaking of differences between the two cities, it's impossible to find a good fried fish sandwich here, at least in my neighborhood on the far north side of Chicago. This is inexcusable, especially during Lent.

I'm looking forward to getting back to South Park on Friday, where in a two-mile radius of my house I can choose from more than a dozen churches, firehalls and restaurants that serve a foot long piece of fried cod on a woefully undersized bun.

And don't get me started on the lack of chipped ham.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Headline of the day

This isn't that surprising. The marsupials have pretty much accepted it, though.

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Hello Dere!

Pittsburgh native Marty Allen is 83 today. I wonder how many people under the age of 40 remember Allen and his parter, Steve Rossi? I remember watching them on Sullivan in the 60s and seeing Martin as a solo act at the old Holiday House in Monroeville in the early 70s.

Oh. And the Dixie Cup is 93.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Happy Birthday, Bill.

William Shatner is 74 today.

His hairpiece is 41.

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Monday, March 21, 2005

In a way, it makes sense.

Perhaps it's not inappropriate for Congress to intervene in a matter involving brain death, given its considerable experience with the condition.

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'Tis the season

There was a touch of spring in the air, a poisonous, malefic spring that seemed to burst from the manholes.
Henry Miller

Every year back comes Spring, with nasty little birds, yapping their fool heads off and the ground all mucked up with plants.
Dorothy Parker

The first day of spring was once the time for taking the young virgins into the fields, there in dalliance to set an example in fertility for Nature to follow. Now we just set the clock an hour ahead and change the oil in the crankcase.
E.B. White

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I need me some shakubuku...

I'm 50 years old, it's 1 am, and I'm working on a brute force HTML parser/post-processor that's syntactically straightforward but a semantic nightmare.

And on top of that, I can't get this out of my mind.

Sigh. And to think I was going to be a rocket scientist.

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Sunday, March 20, 2005

Quote of the week...

From our buddy, the The Covert Comic:

“Those who cannot remember the past are invited to come over to my place.”

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If you can...

If you can start the day without caffeine or pep pills,
If you can be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food everyday and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when loved ones are too busy to give you time,
If you can overlook when people take things out on you when,
through no fault of yours, something goes wrong,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
If you can do all these things,
Then you are probably the family dog.

(Thanks to The Sanity Inspector on 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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