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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KGB, CIA linked

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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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Saturday, March 04, 2006

Memorial quote of the day

Gettin' married's a lot like gettin' into a tub of hot water. After you get used to it, it ain't so hot.
Minnie Pearl (Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon, 10/25/12-3/4/96)

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Quote of the day

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit injustices.
-Voltaire (François Marie Arouet)

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By popular demand...

The official Crystal Methodist t-shirt:

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Friday, March 03, 2006

And, thank God, neither looks like Danny DeVito

Not an urban myth... black and white twins:

Comments: The preceding images, credited in news stories to freelance photographer Gary Roberts, are authentic, as are the subjects, twins Kian and Remee Hodgson of Nottingham, England.

According to a February 21, 2006 article in the London Daily Mail (full story here), Kian, who is dark-skinned and dark-haired, and Remee, who is light-skinned and fair-haired, were born in April 2005 to Kylie and Remi Hodgson, who themselves were born to mixed-race parents.

While very rare, the phenomenon is not unknown, though it does entail a very particular combination of circumstances at the moment of conception. First, both parents must be of mixed race. Second, the twins must be fraternal (each conceived from a separate egg fertilized by separate sperm) as opposed to identical (both conceived from a single egg and sperm). Third, each sperm and egg must carry the genes for a particular skin color (i.e., black/black or white/white).

The odds against it are indeed a million to one.

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Void where prohibited by.... oh, never mind...

E-mail signature line making the rounds, courtesy of Bruce Schneier on Dave Farber's IP list:

"NOTICE: Due to Presidential Executive Orders, the National Security Agency may have read this email without warning, warrant, or notice. They may do this without any judicial or legislative oversight. You have little recourse nor protection except to call for the impeachment of the current President."

And by "call," we suggest you not use the telephone, either.

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Good doggy.

If there are no dogs in heaven, when I die I want to go where they go.
Will Rogers

God will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in heaven, and if it takes my dog being there, I believe he'll be there.
Billy Graham

The dog was created specially for children. He is the god of frolic.
Henry Ward Beecher

The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, he will make a fool of himself too.
Samuel Butler

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.
Roger Caras

That's the whole secret of life. Life is a series of dogs.
George Carlin

Dogs and philosophers do the greatest good and get the fewest rewards.

I think we are drawn to dogs because they are the uninhibited creatures we might be if we weren't certain we knew better.
George Bird Evans

Many years ago when an adored dog died, a great friend, a bishop, said to me, "You must always remember that, as far as the Bible is concerned, God only threw the humans out of Paradise."
Bruce Foyle

He possessed beauty without vanity, strength without insolence; courage without ferocity; and all the virtues of man without his vices.
Lord Byron; epitaph for his dog

Old age means realizing you will never own all the dogs you wanted to.
Joe Gores

All knowledge, the totality of all questions and all answers is contained in the dog.
Franz Kafka

The fidelity of a Dog is a precious gift, demanding no less binding moral responsibilities than the friendship of a Human Being. The bond with a True Dog is as lasting as the ties of this Earth will ever be.
Konrad Lorenz

Histories are more full of examples of the fidelity of dogs than of friends.
Alexander Pope

The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.
Andy Rooney

No matter how little money and how few possesions you own, having a dog makes you rich.
Louis Sabin

A dog is the only thing on this earth that loves you more than he loves himself.
Henry Wheeler Shaw

You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.
Robert Louis Stevenson

If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons.
James Thurber

Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.
Mark Twain

The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's.
Mark Twain

If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.
Woodrow Wilson

Dogs are our link to paradise.
They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent.
To sit with a dog on a hillside
on a glorious afternoon
is to be back in Eden,
where doing nothing was not boring.
It was peace.
Milan Kundera

(Thanks to Leslie for the link. I'd really love to give credit to the photographer. Anyone know who it is?)

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Quote of the day

What I lack in decorum, I make up for with an absence of tact.
Don Williams, Jr.

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An alternative set of Rules...

1. It's important to have a woman who helps at home, who cooks from time to time, who cleans the house and who has a job.

2. It's important to have a woman who can make you laugh.

3. It's important to have a woman who you can trust and who doesn't lie to you.

4. It's important to have a woman who is good in bed and who likes to be with you.

5. It's very, very important that these four women don't know each other.

(Thanks to Ernie Corl)

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Quote of the day

Republicans are as serious about fiscal responsibility as Paris Hilton is about modesty.
-Marshall Wittmann
(via John Bonanno on the alt.quotations Usenet newsgroup)

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Whatever happened to Eric Estrada and Baghdad Bob?

I was watching one of White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's absurd performances the other day, and it vaguely reminded me of something. I had to think for a few minutes, then it struck me... the last time I saw a group of reporters confronted with someone as reality challenged as Scotty was when good ol' Comical Ali, Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, announced to reporters that American troops were being soundly thrashed- as a US tank with a freckle-faced kid yelling "Hi, Ma!" cruised through the background.

al-Sahhaf, also known as Baghdad Bob, turned himself in to the US military shortly after the invasion. He was questioned and released, and is now living in the United Arab Emirates... where, one assumes, he is now in charge of PR for Dubai Ports.

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Yet another Comcastrophe

I'm taking off work tomorrow to deal with a number of personal matters, so my idea was to make certain I had everything covered by starting my day at 1 a.m. this morning. I know it sounds ludicrous, but it works well for me. I can accomplish a great deal in the middle of the night, when it's quiet and there are no interruptions. So I took a couple naps Tuesday evening and stumbled downstairs to get a giant leg up on Wednesday.

Things were going well until about 1:20 a.m. or so, when the cable went out in the middle of Conan O'Brien. Then a few minutes later the broadband internet connection died as well.

I called Comcast, went through about three minutes of touch tone bingo, and finally spoke to a very personable support person who said that yes, indeed, they were aware of the problem, and that they were actually conducting scheduled maintenance.

Funny term, that: scheduled maintenance. It implies strategic planning, making certain all affected parties are informed and aware. Obviously, this planning doesn't include notifying subscribers.

Look, I'm a practical guy. I realize that complex systems require periodic service and maintenance, and that 1:20 to 6 am is probably the time that will affect the least number of subscribers.

But we live in a 24/7 world. My job is software support, and I have to talk with customers from California to New Zealand. Customers who can't reach me, because I can't connect with my system at the office, and because the IP phone which connects me to my company's telephone switch is now a useless hunk of plastic, complaining on its state of the art LCD screen that Chicago no longer exists.

Hey, Comcast. You know that stupid message service on my cable box, the one that glares its annoying LED at me when you want to remind me of upcoming pay-for-view insipidity? Why not use it to tell me that you're going to be interrupting my service for planned maintenance? That way I won't have to spend the overnight writing nasty blog entries about you.

At least Comcast Pittsburgh has well-trained, locally-based customer support people. When I had an apartment in Chicago and used Comcast out there, I swear they redirected their support calls to a call center located in a minimum security prison. Talking to a bitter, corrupt commodities broker serving a nickel for interstate wire fraud was not a pleasant experience, especially when his advice was to unplug the cable box and wait for a half hour, when my problem would become the responsibility of the embezzler who worked the night shift.

The local Comcast customer support person, to his credit, was direct in answering my questions and sincerely apologized for the outage. He was very sympathetic; in fact, he was the one who wondered aloud why Comcast doesn't use its cable boxes to message customers of pending service interruptions.

He also said he'd credit me with a free day of service. It's a nice gesture, but that four buck refund isn't much help, especially when my company can bill my time at over $150 an hour.

I asked him to pass along my request to be notified of scheduled maintenance to his superiors. He said he would, and I believe him... but really, what motivation would Comcast have to do that?

I'm certain that buried in their tariffs somewhere are provisions that permit them to interrupt service to perform maintenance, and those rules state they don't have to reimburse customers when they take their system down for that reason. But it's a hassle to do that, and a potential PR problem, so they made a business decision to just keep things quiet and give a day of free service to the few that complain.

I have another suggestion. If you have friends or relatives who live in the South Park area, ask them to call Comcast this morning and complain that their cable and broadband went out about 1:20 a.m. If they have Comcast phone service, that's even better- they can say they couldn't even call to report the outage.

Make certain you ask that you be credited for the lost service.

Perhaps if Comcast has to make several hundred refunds, they'll be more amenable to the idea.

In the meantime, I guess I'll defrag my hard drive and catch a few z's on the couch with the dog.

(If you want to make God [or Comcast] laugh, plan something.-Unattributed)

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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Quote of the day

You know when you're young, you think your dad's Superman. Then you grow up and you realize he's just a regular guy who wears a cape.
-Dave Atell

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Mutant blondes eat more meat

For those who are still considering the debate on whether men prefer blondes, a study may have provided proof in favour of the flaxen-haired, if only because they appeal to the "caveman" within.

Academic researchers have discovered that women in northern Europe evolved with light hair and blue eyes at the end of the Ice Age to stand out from the crowd and lure men away from the far more common brunette.

Blond hair originated through genetic necessity at a time when there was a shortage of both food and males, leading to a high ratio of women competing for smaller numbers of potential partners, according to the study published this week in the academic journal, Evolution and Human Behaviour.

Until these shortages about 10,000 to 11,000 years ago, humans had uniformly dark hair and eyes.

The physical ardour required with hunting bison, reindeer and mammoths in some regions meant many male hunters died and left women with a shrinking pool of breeders.

Flaxen-haired women arose out of a rare mutation but increased in numbers because their chances of breeding turned out to be better. Dr Frost concluded that the lighter shades of blond hair evolved as a response to food shortages in areas where women could not collect food for themselves and were utterly reliant on the male hunters, as they were in some parts of northern Europe.

Arifa Akbar, How women evolved blond hair to win cavemen's hearts. The Independent [27 February 2006]

(Link and headline from "Icebabe" on the alt.quotations Usenet newsgroup.)

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Interesting folk born on February 28...

Ben Hect (1894), Linus Pauling (1901), Vincente Minnelli (1903), Bugsy Siegel (1906), Billie Bird (1908), Zero Mostel (1915), Charles Durning (1923), Tommy Tune (1939), Mario Andretti (1940), Frank Bonner (1942), Bernadette Peters (1948), Gilbert Gottfried (1955), and Douglas Earle Barkes (1976).

My son Doug was a leap year baby; had he delayed his entrance by just a few minutes, he would have had the same birthday as Dinah Shore, Alex Rocco and (sigh) Superman.

Happy 30th birthday, Doug. You can't help but love a kid who actually appreciates getting a copy of Howard the Duck as a birthday present.

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Monday, February 27, 2006

He's baaaack

> From: mohammad reza rahmati []
> Sent: Monday, February 27, 2006 10:57 AM
> To:
> Subject: read
> dear sir
> this is mr mohammad reza rahmati . i wrote you before to help
> me in money and you remembered a flower telepathy .
> i want to ask once more for any help to me in iran or by any
> other way you have .
Iran's recent decision to reactivate its nuclear program has, as a side effect, created a polyphasic multidimensional anomaly that renders floral telepathy ineffective.
Sorry, skippy. You're on your own.

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An apology to my readers...

It just occurred to me that I haven't not made a blog entry in quite a while.

In fact, the last day I didn't not write something here was December 31. To make matters worse, on many days I actually didn't not write something three or four times.

I really have no defense. Since January 1, the last date on which I didn't not post an entry, I've become more active in church, had several doctor appointments, suffered through a number of minor ailments and, most recently, just returned from a week-long business trip to San Diego. Each of these events could have provided me with a valid reason to not write, but, alas, I haven't not written for almost two months now.

All I can do is say I'll try to not write more in the future.

But I can't promise anything. Hey, there are lots of things I don't not have to do.

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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Good thing, too; chickens are lousy epidemiologists

Turkey Conducts Bird Flu Investigation

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Overheard in San Diego

(It was about 54 degrees and there was a light drizzle that afternoon in San Diego. The morning I departed, it had been a balmy 3°F at Greater Pitt.)

Native San Diegan: It's so cold... and now it's starting to rain. This weather is miserable.

Me: You're talking to someone who spends most of his time in cities where frozen precipitation is frequently measured in feet. Just shut up.

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LOS ANGELES (AP)- Darren McGavin, the husky, tough-talking actor who starred in several TV series, played a grouchy dad in the holiday classic "A Christmas Story" and had other strong roles in such films as "The Man with the Golden Arm" and "The Natural," died Saturday. He was 83.

McGavin died of natural causes at a Los Angeles-area hospital with his family at his side, said his son Bogart McGavin.

McGavin made his film debut in 1945 when he switched from painter of movie sets to bit actor in "A Song to Remember." After a decade of learning his craft in New York, he returned to Hollywood and became one of the busiest actors in television and films.

He starred in five series, including "Mike Hammer" and cult favorite "Kolchak: The Night Stalker," and became a prolific actor in TV movies. Among his memorable portrayals was Gen. George Patton in the 1979 TV biography "Ike."

Despite his busy career in television, McGavin was awarded only one Emmy: in 1990 for an appearance as Candice Bergen's opinionated father in an episode of "Murphy Brown."

He may be best recognized for his role as the hot-tempered father of a boy yearning for the gift of a BB gun in the 1983 comedy "A Christmas Story." The film has become a holiday-season staple on TV.

McGavin lacked the prominence in films he enjoyed in television, but he registered strongly in featured roles such as the young artist in Venice in "Summertime," David Lean's 1955 film with Katharine Hepburn and Rosanno Brazzi; Frank Sinatra's crafty drug supplier in "The Man with the Golden Arm" (1955); and Jerry Lewis's parole officer in "The Delicate Delinquent."

McGavin's other films include "The Court-martial of Billy Mitchell," "Airport '77," and "Billy Madison." He starred alongside Don Knotts, who died Friday night, in the 1976 family comedy "No Deposit, No Return."

Throughout his television career, McGavin gained a reputation as a curmudgeon willing to bad-mouth his series and combat studio bosses.

McGavin starred in the private eye series "Mike Hammer" in the 1950s. In 1968 he told a reporter: "Hammer was a dummy. I made 72 of those shows, and I thought it was a comedy. In fact, I played it camp. He was the kind of guy who would've waved the flag for George Wallace."

McGavin also disparaged "Riverboat," an 1840s adventure that ran from 1959-61 and costarred Burt Reynolds.

When "Riverboat" was in danger of being canceled by NBC, McGavin rented a room in St. Louis, interviewed riverboat captains and searched old files about Mississippi traffic. He presented the network with a detailed plan for improving the series.

"NBC used none of my ideas, went fumbling ahead, and 'Riverboat' sank," he said.

McGavin's other series included "Crime Photographer," "The Outsider," and the short-lived "Kolchak: The Night Stalker," in which he played a reporter who investigates supernatural occurrences in Chicago. Last fall, ABC began airing a remake of the 1974 occult fave, but that too was soon canceled.

(Producer/creator Chris Carter credited McGavin's "Night Stalker" series as the inspiration for his hit show, "The X-Files." David Chase, the creator of "The Sopranos," wrote eight of the original 1974 "Kolchak" episodes. Director Robert Zemeckis (and writing partner Bob Gale), whose hits include "Forrest Gump," "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," and the "Back to the Future" trilogy, sold his first script to "Night Stalker." ABC's attempt to revive the show last year failed miserably, sabotaged by a low budget, inept writing and an unsympathetic and uncharismatic Kolchak character. McGavin's Kolchak was always entertaining, regardless of the cheap sets and half-baked plots that often surrounded him. The curmudgeonly asides he'd lithely toss during his voice-over narration made it worth sitting through the dross:

"Captain Leo Winwood and I had a relationship that was long and bloody, like the Crusades, only without the chivalry."

"You should meet my boss. He'd turn Buddha into a chain smoker."

"Buck Finemann, seventy two years old. Cantankerous old geezer. No-one liked him much, but they allowed him to play poker with them once a week because he was a terrible card player and had been known to lose as much as seventy five cents in a single evening."

Appropriately, the 1974 series premiered on Friday, September 13.- KGB)

Born in Spokane, Wash., McGavin was sketchy in interviews about his childhood. He told TV Guide in 1973 that he was a constant runaway at 10 and 11, and as a teen lived in warehouses in Tacoma, Wash., and dodged the police and welfare workers. His parents disappeared, he said.

He spent a year at College of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., taking part in dramatics, then landed in Los Angeles. He washed dishes and was hired to paint sets at Columbia studio. He was working on "A Song to Remember" when an agent told him of an opening for a small role.

"I climbed off a painter's ladder and washed up at a nearby gas station," McGavin said. "I returned through Columbia's front gate with the agent." The director, Charles Vidor, hired him. No one recognized him but the paint foreman, who said, "You're fired."

McGavin studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse and the Actors Studio and began working in live TV drama and on Broadway. He appeared with Charlton Heston in "Macbeth" on TV and played Happy in "Death of a Salesman" in New York and on the road.

He is survived by his four children York, Megan, Bridget and Bogart.

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Overheard at Chicago O'Hare

Chicago police officer: Lady, we don't have your suitcase.

Lady: I left it outside the restroom, and when I came out it was gone. That announcement they play over and over says that unattended bags are confiscated by the Chicago Police Department.

Chicago police officer: Not if someone steals it first.

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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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