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 30, 2005

Quote of the day

"I mean to live my life an obedient man, but obedient to God, subservient to the wisdom of my ancestors; never to the authority of political truths arrived at yesterday at the voting booth."
-William F. Buckley, Jr.

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This one came to me in a vision...

Well, ok, it came to me while driving past an Assembly of God congregation near my son's place in Houston, PA.

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Thursday, December 29, 2005


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2005: Top Ten Stupid Bush Quotes


10. "It's totally wiped out. ... It's devastating, it's got to be doubly devastating on the ground." --turning to his aides while surveying Hurricane Katrina flood damage from Air Force One, Aug. 31, 2005

9. "I'm occasionally reading, I want you to know, in the second term." --Washington, D.C., March 16, 2005

8. "This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. And having said that, all options are on the table." --Brussels, Belgium, Feb. 22, 2005

7. "I'm going to spend a lot of time on Social Security. I enjoy it. I enjoy taking on the issue. I guess, it's the mother in me." --Washington D.C., April 14, 2005

6. "Because the - all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be - or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled." --explaining his plan to save Social Security, Tampa, Fla., Feb. 4, 2005

5. "I think I may need a bathroom break. Is this possible?" --in a note to to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a U.N. Security Council meeting, September 14, 2005

4. "We've got a lot of rebuilding to do. First, we're going to save lives and stabilize the situation. And then we're going to help these communities rebuild. The good news is -and it's hard for some to see it now- that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -he's lost his entire house- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch." (Laughter) --touring hurricane damage, Mobile, Ala., Sept. 2, 2005

3. "See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." --Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005

2. "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job." --to FEMA director Michael Brown, who resigned 10 days later amid criticism over his handling of the Hurricane Katrina debacle, Mobile, Ala., Sept. 2, 2005

1. "You work three jobs? Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that." --to a divorced mother of three, Omaha, Nebraska, Feb. 4, 2005

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The White House web site is bugged.

Why is this not a surprise? (From Dave Farber's Interesting Persons mailing list)

From: "Richard M. Smith"
Date: December 27, 2005 11:43:49 AM EST
Subject: [EPIC_IDOF] The Whitehouse Web site is bugged


The Web site is bugged! Apparently the Webmaster for the site has hired Webtrends to track visitors around the site using Web bugs and permanent cookies. Here's the Web bug that I found on the home page of the Web site:

〈SCRIPT src="/js/stat.js" language="javascript"
SRC=" njs.gif?

Similar Web bugs can be found on other Web pages at the Whitehouse Web site.

Before 9/11, the Clinton administration said this kind of Web tracking is a no-no for U.S. government Web sites:

Because of the unique laws and traditions about government access to citizens' personal information, the presumption should be that "cookies" will not be used at Federal web sites. Under this new Federal policy, "cookies" should not be used at Federal web sites, or by contractors when operating web sites on behalf of agencies, unless, in addition to clear and conspicuous notice, the following conditions are met: a compelling need to gather the data on the site;

Richard M. Smith

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We'll slip in the dip and roll the ball along...

The missus and I had finished watching two one-hour specials on the antichrist on the History Channel. It's Armageddon Week... kinda like Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, but here the experts are frightening. I dozed off on the couch and suddenly awoke with a song stuck in my head.

About 40 summers ago I attended Camp Lutherlyn, a church camp run by the Lutherans. Normally I would have attended Camp Crestview since I was, at the time, a nascent Presbyterian, but somehow I got denominationally shifted that July. My aunt and cousins were Lutherans, and periodically I would end up in their regulation-sized Lutheran church or in the small Lutheran parish that was stuck at the end of the Presbyterian Church's parking lot. This was around the time of Vatican II, and I think the local Protestant churches were promoting visits by members of other congregations because we weren't going to let those damned Catholics monopolize the joys of ecumenicism.

Now these were the pre-Garrison Keillor Lutherans, and were kind of scary to me. In my mind, at that age, I had developed an informal ranking of Christian churches based on scariness.

At one end of the scale were the Roman Catholics, who were downright terrifying. Well, the Catholics themselves weren't, but the priests were. Plus their services were highly structured, with ringing bells and flung incense and elaborate costumes. Everything in the service was foreign to me, and I was horrified that there was some kind of reciprocity agreement with the Protestants, so that if I screwed up at the Catholic service it would subtract points from my Presbyterian scorecard. They had to do things like go to confession and say Hail Marys and play bingo and eat fish on Friday. They had all kind of statues and a crucifix that had Jesus hanging on it.

On the other end of the spectrum were the Baptists and the A.M.E. (African Methodist Episcopal) churches. Their ministers wore rather pedestrian robes and generally didn't wear clerical collars. They had good music, everyone seemed happy, and you could understand what everyone was saying. In fact, it was the black A.M.E. preacher who explained to me that Protestants didn't have Jesus on their crosses because they celebrate the fact that He was resurrected, and St. Mary's had the best fried fish, but you had to get there before four.

Pretty close to the middle were the regular Methodists. They were a little bit odd, because their services depended upon the make-up of their congregations and the attitude of their ministers. Some Methodists were as much fun as the Baptists. Others weren't.

The Presbyterian church I attended was, in my mind, smack in the middle of Christianity. The worship service was rigidly structured, but it was sedate and we had a great pipe organ. The Presbyterians also had a lot of youth-oriented activities and a softball team (the Presby Saints) on which my Dad played. When I think of the Presbyterians, I'm reminded of the old Emo Phillips line, "I think of my body as a temple... or at least as a relatively well-run Presbyterian youth center."

I considered the Lutherans to be stricter than the Presbyterians but less scary than the Episcopalians, which was pure speculation on my part, based on the fact they had priests, like the Catholics, and the one at the local church always yelled at us for playing on the church steps.

Anyway... so I'm at Camp Lutherlyn, which is like Camp Crestview with show tunes and vespers. Twice a day we'd gather and sing songs I had never heard before, but which became seared into my memory. To wit: "Green Grow The Rushes-Oh".

I have no idea why a nap after two hours of speculation on the potentially imminent arrival of the antichrist dragged this out of my subconscious, but I stumbled downstairs, grabbed the guitar and remembered:

I'll sing you twelve-oh,
Green grow the rushes-oh!
What is your twelve-oh?
Twelve for the twelve Apostles
Eleven for the eleven who went to Heaven and
Ten for the Ten Commandments
Nine for the nine bright shiners
Eight for the April rainers
Seven for the seven stars in the sky and
Six for the six proud walkers
Five for the symbols at your door and
Four for the Gospel makers
Three, three, the rivals
Two, two, the lily-white boys, cloth-ed all in green-oh
One is one and all alone and ever more shall be so.

Thank goodness that's out of my system. Now all I have to deal with is:

On the hills of
We'll slip in the dip and roll the ball along...

It's going to be a long night.

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Monday, December 26, 2005

Observation of the day

If they're going to play Christmas songs after December 25, they should at least be in Russian and Greek.

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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...


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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.
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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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Eff the ineffable, scrute the inscrutable.

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