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, December 09, 2005

Into the fray...

Well, it's off to Chicago Midway on a Southwest 737.

What could go wrong?

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Thursday, December 08, 2005

We're Pre-Disastered!

Now, you might think I'd be upset about the Southwest Airlines jet that just slid off the runway and into a highway intersection at Midway Airport in Chicago. Especially since I'm supposed to get on a Southwest Airlines jet and fly into Chicago Midway tomorrow morning.

On the contrary, I'm supremely confident. Do you have any idea what the odds are against two accidents occurring at Midway in one 14-hour period? And I doubt even the world's most advanced supercomputer could calculate the probability of two Southwest jets having accidents at the same airport in less than a day.

No siree, Bob. Not a worry in the world here.

Anyway, I suspect the condition of the Parkway West and the bald-tired tractor trailers and overcaffeinated SUV jockeys will nail me before I even get close to Greater Pitt.

If you need me, I'll be in a fetal position under my desk.

(Seriously, Midway is a scary airport when the weather is bad. Runway 13C/31C is Midway's longest, but it's only about 6,500 feet. A 737 is chewing up about 200 feet per second at touchdown, and there's not a lot of margin for error, even in good weather. As a comparison, Greater Pitt's longest runway is 11,500 feet.)

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No need for cannibalism, folks...

We might make it to Chicago tomorrow after all. The teevee weathercritters, having recovered from the mind-boggling realization that it might actually snow in a northern temperate zone in December, have been downsizing their accumulation estimates throughout the day.

Handy reference note: the Severe Action Maelstrom Eyewitness Stormy Badness Official Precipitation Adjective Index is, in descending order:








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Too obscure?

The folks at Overhead in Pittsburgh think this is a bit obscure. What, don't you people watch the Discovery Channel?

At the Best Buy in Bethel Park:

Woman: So this is one of those pyroclastic ovens?
Stunned salesperson: (Pause) Yeah. Pyroclastic. No chipping lava on this baby.

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Some things never change.

The missus and I are supposed to fly to Chicago tomorrow morning for my company's Christmas party, so- of course- the first major snowstorm of the winter is heading this way from the south, and is set to dump up to a half-foot of snow. The precipitation is optimally planned to begin at midnight and end right about the time our flight is scheduled to depart.

You'd think I'd have learned from past winter air commutes to always fly into Chicago the night before I actually have to be there. In December 2000, I was on a Vanguard flight that was diverted to Kanasas City thanks to a record snowstorm that hit Chicgo during a Monday morning rush hour. What was supposed to be a one-hour flight turned into a 41-hour arctic misadventure of epic proportions and resulted in an unproduced musical (I'm stuck in Kansas City/ Kansas City, it's no fair/ They got some crazy little women there/ Who all work for Vanguard Air...) In 2003, the planes were flying on time, but I couldn't get out of my driveway in South Park because the roads near my home were drifted shut. This was due to the new policy of not plowing until the snow stops completely. I got to Chicago in mid-April.

This excursion is an exquisitely-timed operation of near military precision: a 10:15 a.m. flight out of Pittsburgh, arrive in Chicago at 10:55 a.m. local time, a straight shot to The Loop on the Orange Line, attend the Christmas party, take the Red Line to have dinner and visit George and Peggy and the gang at Gino's North, back into downtown for a luxurious night at the Parker House Hilton, a Saturday morning promenade on Michigan Avenue, then the Blue Line to O'Hare for a United flight with reserved seats back home.

There's only about three hours of leeway in the schedule. If the flight doesn't leave Pittsburgh before 1 pm, the whole thing goes down the tubes. While Chicago is lovely at Christmastime, and I really miss Peggy's cooking, I'm not going to fly 800 miles round-trip for a pizza and a night of exhausted unconciousness in a four-star hotel where the room service breakfast is going to set me back more than the cost of the room itself.

If we have to cancel, it won't be a complete loss. I can use the two one-way Southwest tickets again. But the Priceline-booked hotel is a write-off, and the $200 United will charge for an itinerary change nearly exceeds their actual airfare.

While projections indicate Pittsburgh will be right in the middle of the path of this storm, Lord knows the forecasters have been wrong before. I'm going to be optimistic and proceed like everything will be fine.

Look how well that strategy has worked for our President.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Quote of the week

Jeez. Why must politicians always get the last word? Kerry was doing fine on Face The Nation with Bob Schieffer last Sunday until his last observation. (Emphasis added):

KERRY: And there is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking sort of the customs of the -of -the historical customs, religious customs. Whether you like it or not...


KERRY: Iraqis should be doing that.

The whole transcript is here.

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Who would Jesus pummel insensate?

Beating people into submission is an odd way to win converts to the concept of intelligent design but, what the hell, it is Kansas:

Professor beaten; attackers cite KU creationism class

LAWRENCE (AP) - A professor whose planned course on creationism and intelligent design was canceled after he sent e-mails deriding Christian conservatives was hospitalized Monday after what appeared to be a roadside beating.

University of Kansas religious studies professor Paul Mirecki said that the two men who beat him made references to the class that was to be offered for the first time this spring.

Originally called "Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies," the course was canceled last week at Mirecki's request.

See the link above for the full story. Via Jonathan Larsen's always excellent Petty Larseny.

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Baby, it's really cold outside

Yoiks. The National Temperature Index for today is a frosty 361°F, the lowest it's been since KGB Report took over the NTI from ABC World News Now in January of 2003.

I dunno about this global warming stuff, but it's been an extreme year in many respects: a record-breaking hurricane season, killer tornadoes in November. And in less than six months, we've experienced the lowest National Temperature Index on record as well as the highest, 937°F on July 22, breaking the previous record of 935°F set just three days earlier.

I really don't like the looks of this. I don't put a great deal of faith in scientists and climatologists and their ilk, but the National Temperature Index doesn't lie.

I don't bother to pack winter and/or summer clothes away any more. I think Mother Nature is alternating between the chills and hot flashes.

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Quote of the day

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

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Happy Belated Birthday, Calvin Trillin

(born December 5, 1935, in Kansas City, Missouri)

Americans drive across the country as if someone's chasing them.

Health food makes me sick.

I don't care where I sit, as long as I get fed.

Marriage is part of a sort of 50s revival package that's back in vogue along with neckties and naked ambition.

Not as bad as you might have expected.
(his suggested state motto for New Jersey)

The price of purity is purists.

The remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served us nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.

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Monday, December 05, 2005

Yeah, but if it had been nail clippers or a lighter, we would have nailed them...

Pilot Reports "Missile" Fired at Jetliner Near LAX

FBI agents and Homeland Security officials spent the weekend investigating the report of a possible missile fired at an American Airlines plane taking off from Los Angeles International Airport.

Sources tell ABC News the pilot of American Airlines Flight 621, en route to Chicago, radioed air traffic controllers after takeoff from LAX. He told them a missile had been fired at the aircraft and missed.

The plane was over water when the pilot said he saw a smoke trail pass by the cockpit.

FBI agents believe it was a flare or a bottle rocket, but say they may never know if that's what it actually was.

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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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