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

At least the rivers freeze in Pittsburgh

He knows if yinz is a jagoff

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Superb satire, and based in Pittsburgh!

Americans United for Separation of Church and State

"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

Geek of the Week, 7/16/2000

Geek of the Week

Cruel Site of the Day, 7/15/2000

Cruel Site of the Day (7/15/2000)


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(July 2000 and earlier)

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Rules

A brief refresher:

1. The female makes the rules.

2. The rules are subject to change by the female at any time without prior notification.

3. No male can possibly know all the rules. Attempts to document the rules are not permitted.

4. If the female suspects that the male may know some or all of the rules, she must immediately change some or all of the rules.

5. The female is never wrong.

6. If the female is wrong, it is because of an egregious misunderstanding which was the direct result of something the male did, said, did not do, or did not say.

7. If rule 6 is invoked, the male must apologize immediately for having been the cause of the misunderstanding without any clues from the female as to what he did to have caused the misunderstanding. See rule 13.

8. The female may change her mind at any time for any reason or no reason at all.

9. The male is never permitted to change his mind under any circumstances without the express written consent of the female, which is given only in cases where the female wanted him to change his mind but gave no indication of that wish. See rules 6, 7, 12, and 13.

10. The female has the right to be angry or upset for any reason, real or imagined, at any time and under any circumstance which in her sole judgment she deems appropriate. The male is not to be given any sign of the root cause of the female's being angry or upset. The female may, however, give false or misleading reasons to see if the male is paying attention. See rule 13.

11. The male must remain calm at all times, unless the female wants him to be angry or upset.

12. Under no circumstances may the female give the male any clue or indication whether or why she wants him to be angry or upset.

13. The male is expected to read the mind of the female at all times. Failure to do so will result in punishments and penalties imposed at the sole discretion of the female.

14. The female may, at any time and for any reason, resurrect any past incident without regard to temporal or spatial distance, and modify, enlarge, embellish, or wholly reconstruct it in order to demonstrate to the male that he is now or has in the past been wrong, insensitive, pig-headed, dense, deceitful, and/or oafish.

15. The female may use her interpretation of any past occurrence to illustrate the ways in which the male has failed to accord her the consideration, respect, devotion, or material possessions, he has bestowed on other women, domestic pets or barnyard animals, sports teams, automobiles, motorcycles, boats, aircraft, or co-workers. Such illustrations are non-rebuttable.

16. If the female is experiencing PMS, post-PMS, or pre-PMS, then she is permitted to exhibit any manner of behavior she wishes without regard to logical consistency or accepted norms of human behavior.

17. Any act, deed, word, expression, statement, utterance, thought, opinion, or belief by the male is subject to the sole, subjective interpretation of the female, other external factors notwithstanding. Alibis, excuses, explanations, defenses, reasons, extenuations, or rationalizations will not be entertained. Abject pleas for mercy and forgiveness are acceptable under some circumstances, especially when accompanied by tangible evidence of contrition.

(All over the web, including here.)

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Friday, February 10, 2006

What ringtone did George Washington use?

"President Washington, President Lincoln, President Wilson, President Roosevelt have all authorized electronic surveillance on a far broader scale."
U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, testifying before Congress

Actually, wiretapping of telegraph lines by both sides was common during the Civil War, so the Lincoln reference isn't that outrageous. But Washington? The telegraph didn't debut until 1843, 44 years after Washington's death.

The best line in the pointless hearing (Arlen Specter refused to place Gonzales under oath) was from Senator Pat Leahy (D-Vermont), who responded to one of Gonzales' non-answers with: "Of course-I'm sorry, Mister Attorney General. I forgot you can't answer any questions that might be relevant to this."

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Quote of the day

Apparently, there's concern that our [elderly] owner may frown on our quarterback slugging tequila with bar whores while brandishing the face of a Don Martin cartoon.
-Anonymous Pittsburgh reporter commenting on management decision not to run these photos of Big Ben.

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Einstein rhyme of the day

I feel ill at ease with that little word "We."
No man is at one with another, you see.
Behind all agreement lies something amiss.
All seeming accord cloaks a lurking abyss.
--Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
in The New Yorker, June 20, 1994, p.93

(Thanks to "bobgnome" on the alt.quotations Usenet newsgroup.)

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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Topical quote of the day

It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.
-Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

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Quote of the day

I just can't help thinking that what Katherine Hepburn said about Midnight Cowboy, another over-hyped movie that neither of us liked, she might well have said about Brokeback Mountain: "If the movie had been about a boy and a girl, instead of two boys, everybody would have realized it was a stinker!"
-Burt Prelutsky, "Reviewing movies I haven't seen"
(via David C. Kifer on the Usenet alt.quotations newsgroup)

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Question of the day

When people from Pittsburgh die and see the light at the end of the tunnel, do they slow down?

(Thanks to Marc McCune)

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

9 out of 10 doctors say, "Have it your way". Really.

A couple posts below I said that chocolate donuts were the perfect breakfast food. Turns out that maybe it's not a joke.

(New York Times) The largest study ever to ask whether a low-fat diet reduces the risk of getting cancer or heart disease has found that the diet has no effect.

The $415 million federal study involved nearly 49,000 women ages 50 to 79 who were followed for eight years. In the end, those assigned to a low-fat diet had the same rates of breast cancer, colon cancer, heart attacks and strokes as those who ate whatever they pleased, researchers are reporting today.

"These studies are revolutionary," said Dr. Jules Hirsch, physician in chief emeritus at Rockefeller University in New York City, who has spent a lifetime studying the effects of diets on weight and health. "They should put a stop to this era of thinking that we have all the information we need to change the whole national diet and make everybody healthy."

The study, published in today's issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, was not just an ordinary study, said Dr. Michael Thun, who directs epidemiological research for the American Cancer Society. It was so large and so expensive, Dr. Thun said, that it was "the Rolls-Royce of studies." As such, he added, it is likely to be the final word.

My personal physician for the past 34 years, Dr. Larry, Doctor to the Congenitally Cranky, told me a long time ago, "If you want a good guess at how long you're going to live, add your parents' ages together, divide by two, and add five years for better health care. If you don't abuse yourself any worse than they did, and avoid getting hit by a truck or shot by a jealous husband, that's roughly your life span."

There's a self-destruct timer encoded in your genes, and once the clock begins ticking, that's it. There are no time-outs, no points for good behavior. Once the sands in the genetic hourglass run out, it's game over, man. Medical science may keep your heart beating past your sell-by date, but it's the equivalent of tapping the grains of sand that are sticking to the sides of the glass.

Turns out our grandparents were right: Everything in moderation.

Including, one assumes, believing medical studies.

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Daughters never stop saying cute things...

28 year old daughter: Make sure you watch the parade, Dad. You'll see me and Brian and the baby on TV.

Me: Okay sweetie, I'll be looking for you.

(Note: She's the cute one in the white Steelers ball cap, holding my beautiful three-year-old granddaughter.)

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette photo by John Beale.

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KGB's thought of the day

In defending the NSA's warrantless wiretapping activities, supporters refer to egregious acts committed by previous administrations, as if the scale of justice can be manipulated by using the finger of history on one side of the balance. This approach is transparently ineffective. The lesser of two evils is still evil.

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Global Warming? Just wait.

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- A Russian astronomer has predicted that Earth will experience a "mini Ice Age" in the middle of this century, caused by low solar activity.

Khabibullo Abdusamatov of the Pulkovo Astronomic Observatory in St. Petersburg said Monday that temperatures will begin falling six or seven years from now, when global warming caused by increased solar activity in the 20th century reaches its peak, RIA Novosti reported.

The coldest period will occur 15 to 20 years after a major solar output decline between 2035 and 2045, Abdusamatov said.

Dramatic changes in the earth's surface temperatures are an ordinary phenomenon, not an anomaly, he said, and result from variations in the sun's energy output and ultraviolet radiation.

The Northern Hemisphere's most recent cool-down period occurred between 1645 and 1705. The resulting period, known as the Little Ice Age, left canals in the Netherlands frozen solid and forced people in Greenland to abandon their houses to glaciers, the scientist said.

(In related news, scientists also annouced that beer and little chocolate donuts are the ideal breakfast menu, that cholesterol is an effective, natural treatment for erectile dysfunction, and that coffee enemas have no prophylactic value but really put a spring in your step in the morning.)

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Thought of the day

You're basically killing each other to see who's got the better imaginary friend.
Richard Jeni (on religion-based conflicts)

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Headline of the Day

Tops Terrorism, Global Warming in University of Minnesota Survey

A new survey commissioned by the University of Minnesota reveals that a majority of Americans now name talk show host Oprah Winfrey as their number one fear, eclipsing such other concerns as unemployment, terrorism, and global warming.

(From The Borowitz Report)

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Like being a Dane in Iran...

Are you a fellow apostate with absolutely no interest at all in professional sports, which makes you about as popular as a Dane in Iran? Have no interest in enduring the tediousness of watching sweaty, millionaire mercenaries engaging in a pointless activity just so you can watch the commercials? Good news: you can see them all here on Google: 30 ads in 20 minutes.

And congratulations to the real winners in Sunday's annual exercise in mindless excess: the t-shirt and hat vendors.

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Badly manipulated image/copyright violation of the day

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Monday, February 06, 2006

The In-Your-Faceness to Feel-Your-Pain Gradient

The Danish-Muslim controversy illuminates one of the less understood dynamics in the modern world, which I call the In-Your-Faceness to Feel-Your-Pain Gradient.

All over the world, peoples differ in terms of how in-your-face they tend to be. The ultra-polite Japanese, for example, who might be the most sensitive people on earth to other people's emotional discomfort, are deeply distressed by the kind of brusque assertiveness that's common in South China.

But the particular gradient that's most relevant to us is the one that runs between the Middle East and Northwestern Europe. Northwestern Europe and its overseas offshoots are probably second only to Japan as being Feel-Your-Pain cultures where people don't like social friction and don't like to see others upset. In contrast, the Middle East is perhaps the most in-your-face place on Earth... (the rest of the story, at Steve Sailer:

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Quote of the day

In this week in 1933, Adolph Hitler was named Chancellor of Germany, thus creating the History Channel.
-Jay Leno

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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Getting ready for the Big Bowl

All you need to know is here.

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They should have run them up the flagpole and saw who snickered...

One would have hoped the company's IT department, the web designer, or someone would have taken a close look at the domain name before registering it and putting it out there in front of God and everybody:

1) Who Represents?, a database for agencies to the rich and famous:

2) Experts Exchange, a knowledge base where programmers can exchange advice and views:

3) Looking for a pen? Look no further than Pen Island:

4) Need a therapist?

5) Mole Station Native Nursery, based in New South Wales:

6) Gas central heating anyone?

7) New to Milan and you need electric light? Why not sign up on-line with Power-Gen?

(From /spadassin/) via SupportAlert)

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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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