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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Saturday, July 16, 2005

Ouch.

While searching Google for hotels in Munich, Germany for an upcoming business trip, I stumbled across this news item about a recent outbreak of streaking at soccer games there.

German law has no penalty for persons who run onto the field during the game, unclothed or otherwise. Exposing one's self in public should be sufficient grounds for incarceration, but this is post 9-11, so we have to play the terrorist card:

"You can't assume these so-called streakers will always have peaceful intent," Wolfgang Niersbach, vice president of the organizing committee, said Friday. "We don't want to imagine, for example, what would happen if one had a knife."

And we especially don't want to imagine where one would conceal it.

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Friday, July 15, 2005

Blog originator on the skids

Not every Internet innovator has hit the big time. Consider Jorn Barger, who invented the word "weblog" and whose Robot Wisdom blog is a daily must-read.

According to Wired, Barger is "a bum in a Google cap"- homeless and broke, a 53-year-old whose existence depends on the kindness of strangers who respond to his hand-lettered panhandler sign: "Coined the term 'weblog,' never made a dime."

For those of you who think you have it rough.

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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Zombie Dogs in Pittsburgh!

Somehow it's appropriate that it's happening here, home of George Romero and the Night of the Living Dead...

Boffins create zombie dogs
By Nick Buchan of NEWS.com.au
June 27, 2005

SCIENTISTS have created eerie zombie dogs, reanimating the canines after several hours of clinical death in attempts to develop suspended animation for humans.

US scientists have succeeded in reviving the dogs after three hours of clinical death, paving the way for trials on humans within years.

Pittsburgh's Safar Centre for Resuscitation Research has developed a technique in which subject's veins are drained of blood and filled with an ice-cold salt solution.

The animals are considered scientifically dead, as they stop breathing and have no heartbeat or brain activity.

But three hours later, their blood is replaced and the zombie dogs are brought back to life with an electric shock.

Plans to test the technique on humans should be realised within a year, according to the Safar Centre.

However rather than sending people to sleep for years, then bringing them back to life to benefit from medical advances, the boffins would be happy to keep people in this state for just a few hours.

But even this should be enough to save lives such as battlefield casualties and victims of stabbings or gunshot wounds, who have suffered huge blood loss.

During the procedure blood is replaced with saline solution at a few degrees above zero. The dogs' body temperature drops to only 7C, compared with the usual 37C, inducing a state of hypothermia before death.

Although the animals are clinically dead, their tissues and organs are perfectly preserved.

Damaged blood vessels and tissues can then be repaired via surgery. The dogs are brought back to life by returning the blood to their bodies, giving them 100 per cent oxygen and applying electric shocks to restart their hearts.

Tests show they are perfectly normal, with no brain damage.

"The results are stunning. I think in 10 years we will be able to prevent death in a certain segment of those using this technology," said one US battlefield doctor.

(In case you're wondering, "boffin" is British slang for a scientist engaged in military research. The etymology is unknown.)

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Scribblings from the notebook...

Thought of the day: "How long do you want to wait until you start enjoying life? When you're sixty-five you get Social Security, not girls."-Neil Simon, from Come Blow Your Horn.

*****

Alerting transit authorities to unusual situations on Chicago subway trains apparently doesn't include reporting a car without a homeless person and/or a strong urine smell.

*****

Television network stupidity isn't a new phenomenon. In an old interview with Bill Scott, one of the creators of Rocky and Bullwinkle, the writer and voice talent said executives complained about a story in which the intrepid cartoon characters were captured by jungle natives and thrown into a large cooking pot. "No, no, no!" objected the censors, Scott reported. "You can't have cannibalism on a children's cartoon show!" To which the show's producers replied, "Is it really cannibalism to cook a moose and a squirrel?"

*****

Martha Stewart saves a few grand of her own money, hurts no one, and gets five months in the slammer. Bernie Ebbers defrauds his shareholders of $11 billion, financially destroys thousands, and gets 25 years. I guess justice doesn't scale.

*****

Happy birthday to former President Gerald R. Ford, who's 92 today. Back then we laughed at WIN ("whip inflation now") buttons and the government telling us to get swine flu shots for an epidemic that never happened. Today the government tells us duct tape and plastic sheeting can protect us from chemical and biological attacks. Unlike justice, lunacy does scale.

*****

William C. Waterhouse, a contributor to the alt.quotations Usenet newsgroup, notes that mules are half-assed, which is probably the only technically correct use of that term.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Wexford 15090

According to Money magazine, Wexford, PA is the 28th best town in which to live in the United States.

Of course, the problem here is that there is no Wexford. It's just a post office, not a municipality.

But it must be one hell of a facility. The U.S. Postal Service should be proud.

Not only is the Wexford PO a great place to live, it's made significant contributions to the nation's culture. In her biography, Pittsburgh's own pop tart, Christina Aguilera, lists Wexford as her hometown. Two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank may have lived in her car in her initial struggle to become an actress, but that's nothing compared to the effort needed to develop perfect pitch amid the horrific acoustics of a post office lobby.

At least Wexford still exists, albeit only as a quasi-governmental entity. My hometown, poor Library, PA was done in by governmental stupidity. We never even had a shot at the Money rating.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

T-Shirt of the day...

Now available on our Commentwear site:

What happens in Gitmo, Stays in Gitmo t-shirt

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Monday, July 11, 2005

Scribblings from the notebook...

I actually cut the grass back in Pittsburgh yesterday. More accurately, I cut down the dandelions and weeds; the grass has gone dormant due to the high temperature and lack of precipitation. Of course, it does this while I'm there for two weeks. Now that I'm back in Chicago for a fortnight, it will reassume its rain forest proclivities and when I return, I'll have to bring a guide and a flame thrower.

*****

The flight from Pittsburgh to Chicago was delayed for an hour because of the US Air Force Thunderbirds' performance at Greater Pittsburgh Airport yesterday. Why do they have this at Greater Pitt? There are scores of smaller airports in the area. Chicago's air show is at the lakefront, not at O'Hare or Midway. Oh, well. Never argue with an outfit that has aircraft capable of exceeding the speed of sound as well as access to tactical nuclear weapons.

The flight would have been delayed anyway, since we had to wait for the arrival of the requisite screaming baby which is de rigueur for all Southwest Airlines flights.

*****

Had dinner with the missus at the Bethel Park Eat N Park Saturday night. The multi-punctured, spiked-hair waiter gave us the dessert menu and said, "We also have Boston cream pie available for a limited time." Limited time? You mean I should order right away, before that human vacuum in the next booth sucks it all down?

*****

Spent four hours walking around the Pittsburgh Zoo on Saturday with the grandbaby and her entourage. That, coupled with Sunday's grass cutting expedition, means I should regain feeling in my lower body by this evening.

*****

Is it just me, or did it seem the media was disappointed that Hurricane Dennis' intensity dropped before it walloped Pensacola yesterday?

*****

From Zay Smith's Quick Takes in today's Chicago Sun Times:

News Item: House resolution introduced to repeal the 22nd Amendment, which limits presidents to two terms.

Think of it.

That would open the way for George W. Bush vs. Bill Clinton in 2008.

Show this to a friend whose day needs brightening.

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So there.  
The kgb@kgb.com e-mail address is now something other than kgb@kgb.com saga.
kgbreport.com used to be kgb.com until December, 2007 when the domain name broker Trout Zimmer made an offer I couldn't refuse. Giving up kgb.com and adopting kgbreport.com created a significant problem, however. I had acquired the kgb.com domain name in 1993, and had since that time used kgb@kgb.com as my sole e-mail address. How to let people know that kgb@kgb.com was no longer kgb@kgb.com but rather kgbarkes@gmail.com which is longer than kgb@kgb.com and more letters to type than kgb@kgb.com and somehow less aesthetically pleasing than kgb@kgb.com but actually just as functional as kgb@kgb.com? I sent e-mails from the kgb@kgb.com address to just about everybody I knew who had used kgb@kgb.com in the past decade and a half but noticed that some people just didn't seem to get the word about the kgb@kgb.com change. So it occurred to me that if I were generate some literate, valid text in which kgb@kgb.com was repeated numerous times and posted it on a bunch of different pages- say, a blog indexed by Google- that someone looking for kgb@kgb.com would notice this paragraph repeated in hundreds of locations, would read it, and figure out that kgb@kgb.com no longer is the kgb@kgb.com they thought it was. That's the theory, anyway. kgb@kgb.com. Ok, I'm done. Move along. Nothing to see here...

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Laugh while you can, monkey-boy


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(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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