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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I Love DCL

no. we're not that kgb.

Cool Spinny Thingy!

KGB, CIA linked

The Carbolic Smoke Ball
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)


Hard to describe.

"a breezy writing style and a cool mix of tidbits"

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

I have to stop listening to '80s oldies channels...

It occurs to me that at some point someone in this administration will abolish the expensive and inefficient trial by jury process and will instead force suspects to perform on So You Think You Can Dance, because guilty feet have got no rhythm.

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Really, really bad joke of the day

A couple go for a meal at a Chinese restaurant and order the "Chicken Surprise." The waiter brings the meal, served in a lidded, cast iron pot.

Just as the wife is about to serve herself, the lid of the pot rises slightly and she briefly sees two beady little eyes looking around before the lid slams back down.

"Good grief, did you see that?" she asks her husband.

He hasn't, so she asks him to look in the pot. He reaches for it and again the lid rises, and he sees two little eyes looking around before it slams down.

Rather perturbed, he calls the waiter over, explains what is happening, and demands an explanation.

"Please sir," says the waiter, "what you order?"

The husband replies, "Chicken Surprise."

"Ah... so sorry," says the waiter, "I bring you Peking Duck."

(Don't blame me, blame Dave Anderson.)

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

I still miss this guy...

If you're old enough to remember staying up late on Sunday nights to watch What's My Line?, then you remember Bennett Cerf, the charming and droll author and founder of Random House.

Cerf was born on this day in 1898; he died in 1971, the year I graduated from high school. I remember being truly saddened by his passing, which might seem odd for a then 16-year-old, but I still fondly recall the intellectual glee I experienced when I actually understood one of his deviously clever puns directed at the What's My Line? host, the equally erudite John Daly.

Cerf is probably best remembered for his quote on the state of publishing in the 1950s, which is still operative today: "There have been too many [books] in which some young man is looking forward, backward or sideways in anger. Or in which some Southern youth is being chased through the magnolia bushes by his aunt. She catches him on page 28 with horrid results."

(Incidentally, Cerf's son, Christopher, was one of the founders of the National Lampoon and contributed to the magazine through its early years.)

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Quote of the day

Vegetarian is an old Indian word meaning "bad hunter."

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Important Online Lesson #241

If you use Tom Lehrer's The Masochism Tango as the background music for your MySpace page, you're going to learn rather quickly that the concept of parody is beyond the grasp of many people, and that- judging from the originating addresses of some of the e-mails I've received- there are a lot of really strange women working on college campuses these days.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Funny Star Trek story of the day

"I don't know if it will be a good thing to do it again or not. ... I am very, very proud of what we did on 'The Next Generation.' And every now and then -- oh, God, it happened the other week, I was so embarrassed. I'll be sitting in a hotel room and I'm looking for something and, hello, there [is an episode of 'TNG' on television], and I've forgotten I've ordered room service and there's a knock on the door. And I let the guy in and he looks at the TV. And he goes back to the kitchen, and I bet he says, 'I've just seen the saddest thing. He's sitting there watching reruns.' ...

-Patrick Stewart, on potentially reprising the role of Jean Luc Picard. See the whole interview here (via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).

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Quote of the day

Actually, you can have a healthy sex life well into your later years. Assuming you can stand the sight of people your age naked.
-Maxine (John Wagner)

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A whole lot of nothing...

I use a program called K9 to filter my e-mail and remove spam before it hits my inbox. The program is freeware, hasn't been updated for over two years, and burps from time to time, but generally does a pretty decent job.

According to my notes, it's been precisely a year since I installed it on my Acer laptop. I opened up the statistics panel of the program and was somewhat alarmed to see just how bad the junk mail problem has become:

Total number of e-mails processed: 256,359 (705/day)
Number of Good e-mails processed: 23,694 (65/day, 9.24%)
Number of Spam e-mails processed: 232,665 (640/day, 90.76%)

Nearly a quarter of a million pieces of junk. The fact that my e-mail address has been around since 1993 probably has something to do with the volume, but still...

How long do you think people would tolerate receiving 640 pieces of junk in their US Postal Service mailbox every day- half of it with phony return addresses, much of it sexually explicit- before demanding something be done?

It also demonstrates how computers and the Internet have eroded our free time. Of those 65 e-mails a day, about half require responses. Remember the dark ages of the 70s, 80s and early 90s? Did you ever write 30 to 40 letters a day back then?

As for the claim the Internet has revived the tradition of written communication... yeah, right. And Jerry Springer has revived reasoned discourse and open debate.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Amusing, self-deprecating hubris of the day

"Justin is an adjunct instructor in philosophy, humanities and religious studies. In addition he is a gentleman and purveyor of good advice. His use of the English language makes William Safire look like a great big not good user of words."
Justin Has Way Too Many Blogs

(via The Sanity Inspector on the alt.quotations Usenet newsgroup.)

Related auxiliary quote of the day:

"Some people have a way with words, and other people... not have way, I guess."
-Steve Martin

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Technology breakthrough..

A British company has developed computer chips that play music from women's breast implants.

This is a major breakthrough, in that it eliminates women's complaints about men staring at their breasts instead of listening to them.

(via 'Shrooms gourmand, the incomparable Jocelyn.)

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Monday, May 22, 2006

T-shirt of the day

Et tu, Dufus?

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Gee, if you put it that way...

From today's QT column by Zay Smith in the Chicago Sun-Times:

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) explaining why parts of the Bill of Rights might have to be set aside while we fight the terrorists:

"You have no civil liberties if you are dead."

A shame he wasn't around to talk some sense into Patrick Henry.

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There's no accounting for taste...

Stephen Colbert received a lot of negative press and criticism for his performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner a few weeks ago. Too harsh, not funny- but guess what's the top album at iTunes?

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Regarding the previous joke of the day, Lindsay Marshall of the UK says:

"Not like that at all!!!!

"The man wakes up in hospital and the nurse says "here's your breakfast" and hands him some chappit neeps and tatties (mashed turnip & potatoe), he thinks it's odd but says nothing. Same again for lunch. At dinner he speaks up, and she says "Oh, didn't you realise you were in the burns unit."

"This has the advantage of not telegraphing the punchline."

True, but we Yanks are a slow lot and Burns is not exactly a household name here. The three poem reference in the Yankee version has the advantage of potentially triggering vague memories of a long-forgotten literature class. Rather than telegraphing the punchline, the Burns unit bit is actually a pleasant surprise of sorts. I know the Scottish setup and dense dialect had me thinking, "hmm... who was that Scottish guy who wrote Auld Lang Syne?" and when I hit the Burns reference, there was the dual enjoyment of recalling Burns and the gawdawful pun.

But maybe that's just me.

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Obscure Scottish joke of the day...

Tony Blair is visiting an Edinburgh hospital.

He enters a ward full of patients with no obvious sign of injury or illness and greets one.

The patient replies:

"Fair fa your honest sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin race,
Aboon them a ye take yer place,
Painch, tripe or thairm,
As langs my airm."

Blair is confused, so he just grins and moves on to the next patient. The patient responds:

"Some hae meat an canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat an we can eat,
So let the Lord be thankit."

Even more confused, and his grin now sickly, the PM moves on to the next patient, who immediately begins to chant:

"Wee sleekit, cowerin, timrous beasty,
O the panic in thy breasty,
Tho! u needna start awa sae hastie,
Wi bickering brattle."

Now seriously troubled, Blair turns to the accompanying doctor and asks, "Is this a psychiatric ward?"

"No," replies the doctor, "this is the Serious Burns unit."

(via Graham Weeks, apparently adapted from here.)

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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

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Eff the Ineffable, Scrute the Inscrutable

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