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

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)


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Saturday, July 22, 2006

End of story

Ok, this is it. With the able assistance of Grace McGarvie of the alt.quotations newsgroup, here are all the relevant, pithy and notable quotations dealing with divorce that struck my fancy. And since this pretty much covers it all, it's a now a dead topic here. Who wants to be, in the words of Woody Allen, a necrophilic hippophile?

I swear, if you existed I'd divorce you.
-Edward Albee

When I was born my mother was terribly disappointed. Not that she wanted a girl- she wanted a divorce.
-Woody Allen

For a while we pondered whether to take a vacation or get a divorce. We decided that a trip to Bermuda is over in two weeks, but a divorce is something you always have.
-Woody Allen

You never realize how short a month is until you pay alimony.
-John Barrymore

The only solid and lasting peace between a man and his wife is, doubtless, a separation.
-Philip Dormer Shanhope, Lord Chesterfield

There is no fury like an ex-wife searching for a new lover.
-Cyril Connolly

Better a tooth out than always aching.
-Thomas Fuller

Getting divorced just because you don't love a man is almost as silly as getting married just because you do.
-Zsa Zsa Gabor

Just another of our many disagreements. He wanted a no-fault divorce, whereas I would prefer to have the bastard crucified.
-J. B. Handelsman

It's a sad fact that fifty percent of marriages in this country end in divorce. But hey, the other half end in death. You could be one of the lucky ones!
-Richard Jeni

Being divorced is like being hit by a Mack truck. If you live through it, you start looking very carefully to the right and to the left.
-Jean Kerr

My mother always said don't marry for money, divorce for money.
-Wendy Liebman

Alimony is the curse of the writing class.
-Norman Mailer

She cried, and the judge wiped her tears with my checkbook.
-Tommy Manville

Alimony: The ransom that the happy pay to the devil.
-H.L. Mencken

Divorces are made in heaven.
-Oscar Wilde

Ah, yes, divorce, from the Latin word meaning to rip out a man's genitals through his wallet.
-Robin Williams

Judges, as a class, display, in the matter of arranging alimony, that reckless generosity that is found only in men who are giving away somebody else's cash.
-P. G. Wodehouse

Love is grand; divorce is a hundred grand.
(Well, actually, 300 grand.)

There are two sides to every divorce: Yours and shithead's.

A wife lasts only for the length of the marriage, but an ex-wife is there for the rest of your life.
-Jim Samuels

I don't think I'll get married again. I'll just find a woman I don't like and give her a house.
-Lewis Grizzard

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Friday, July 21, 2006

1. Would you be less likely to vote for Rick Santorum...

... if you were aware that his campaign is, in desperation, engaging in deceptive "polling" that misstates his opponent's positions and is used to spread negative innuendo?

2. Are you surprised in the least?

3. Are you aware of the result you obtain when you enter the search term "Santorum" into Google?

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Question of the day

In St. Paul, Minnesota, the city council ordered the removal of a toy Easter bunny from its offices on the grounds that it might be offensive to non-Christians.

My question: when will the St. Paul city council be announcing the new name for St. Paul?
The Covert Comic

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Superior Pittsburgh technology...

(from the Special Weather Statement crawl on The Weather Channel)

At 7:30 p.m., National Weather Service Doppler Radar in Pittsburgh indicated a strong thunderstorm over Mars...

Damn, that's some radar we have in Pittsburgh. I'd be more comfortable if they'd look for cylinders, though, using their enhanced technology:

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PNC Park Threatens To Leave Pittsburgh Unless Better Team Is Built

(from The Onion, which last year announced "Study Reveals Pittsburgh Unprepared For Full-Scale Zombie Attack. Must be a local on staff there...)

PITTSBURGH—After five years of serving Pittsburgh as their state-of-the-art sporting facility, PNC Park, the home of the rundown, poorly maintained Pirates, said Tuesday it is threatening to leave Pittsburgh unless a new team can be built within the next three years.

PNC Park

"I love the city of Pittsburgh, but the Pirates are an old, dilapidated club built from other teams' spare parts, and its very foundation is rotting away," the stadium said to reporters assembled in its press box. "I had every intention to stay here for the duration of my career as a ballpark, but given that I haven't seen any realistic long-term plans for improving my resident team's ramshackle condition, I would be lying if I said I wasn't thinking about taking my services elsewhere."

The young stadium, regarded as one of the best of the recent crop of real-estate development projects throughout the league, added that "after this year's All Star Game, I have learned that a ballpark of my caliber deserves to host that kind of play every day."

"The Pirates have become such an eyesore that I've even had to resort to bringing in different teams each week to play in me," the stadium said.

Although Pirates owner Kevin McClatchy said he is doing everything in his power to keep the park in Pittsburgh—attempting a rebuilding process every few years, making small free-agent additions, and erecting a new six-foot-tall outfielder in left field—the stadium dismissed the moves as nothing more than "a fresh coat of paint on a team that's in danger of collapsing under its own weight."

Mets owner Fred Wilpon has been vocal about his interest in bringing PNC Park to New York for the 2007 season so that it may take over for an aging Shea Stadium.

"The New York Mets have all the necessary components in place to fulfill PNC Park's needs," Wilpon said. "We have a gleaming new shortstop in Jose Reyes. We have a visually stunning, jaw-dropping player in Carlos Beltran. And the infrastructure of our minor-league system is designed to ensure that PNC Park will be inhabited by great ballplayers for years to come."

"Also, PNC Park has already established a good rapport and budding friendship with this year's Home Run Derby runner-up David Wright—the bedrock of our team's stability," Wilpon added.

Though PNC Park would not elaborate on its relationship with Wright, it did say that Wright mentioned how much he enjoyed its dimensions, especially those in left and left-center.

Pittsburgh fans were irate upon hearing news of the stadium's possible relocation.

"If that ballpark left, this city would be devastated," said Pittsburgh resident Howard Valinsky. "I make a point of taking my kids down to the stadium during Pirates away games so they can stand outside of it and marvel at the rugged limestone and the blue steel—both of which have had an excellent year despite rainy conditions."

Valisnky added: "The fact that McClatchy hasn't given this stadium the sort of beautiful, well-designed team it deserves is a travesty. Let's face it, the Pirates have been falling apart for years. Frankly, I find myself wondering if it's even safe for fans to be near them."

The stadium echoed Valinsky's sentiments, saying, "The fans have been so great at being there for me. But if I can't hold a team that can compete, then what's supposed to hold me here?"

In a last-ditch effort to keep PNC Park, a citywide referendum will be added to this year's midterm election that, if passed, would draw from a property-tax fund to aid McClatchy in assembling a new, state-of-the-art team by 2010.

PNC Park, however, is not convinced.

"When I came here in 2001, they promised me a championship team," the stadium said. "I was warned by venerable and much-beloved Three Rivers Stadium—which imploded soon afterwards, as you know—that I should look elsewhere, that this team was set in its ways and not focused on rebuilding, that they were simply using me as a means to make money," the stadium said. "I was young and brash and I didn't listen. Now that I am more mature and have settled a bit, I realize I have to do what is best for me and my family."

In the event that the Pirate organization does not have the financial wherewithal to meet the park's demands, there are contingency plans in place to attract other stadiums to the city. While the league has said it frowns on the idea of putting an expansion stadium in the Pittsburgh area, some have floated the idea of bringing over old Tiger Stadium, which went into forced retirement in 2000.

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Yep, it's the Apocalypse Dept.

When a former KISS member starts issuing statements on parental obligations:

"Our responsibility is to protect our kids, supply the money and the structure and the love. Their job is to do well in school and behave, period. This notion of parents having to go negotiate with their children who just learned to wipe their butts is out of the question."
-Gene Simmons

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Especially pertinent quote of the day...

The happiest time of anyone's life is just after the first divorce.
-John Kenneth Galbraith

First divorce? Then again, economists aren't particularly known for their optimism. In any event... I'm now officially unmarried.

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Tonight's mustsee teevee

From The Marin Independent Journal:

7:30 p.m. "Unwrapped"
A behind-the-scenes look at the culinary side of Las Vegas provides the dark details of what happens when animals "retire" from the Seigfried & Roy show. Also: carbon dating suggests some items in buffet at the Flamingo that have been on the Strip longer than Wayne Newton. Food Network.

8 p.m. "Alaska: Dangerous Territory"
Dangerous occupations in Alaska include crab fisherman, deep-sea oil rig operator, bush pilot and single women. History Channel

9 p.m. "Animal Cops: Houston"
Animal control officers work to save pets in the aftermath of Hurricane. Also: reports some pets may be blowing their FEMA loans on catnip and chew toys. Animal Planet.

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Snarky quote of the day

A man's mother is his misfortune, but his wife is his fault.
-Walter Bagehot

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United Methodist joke of the day

One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Alex standing in the foyer of the church staring up at a large plaque. It was covered with names with small American flags mounted on either side of it.

The seven year old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the Pastor walked up, stood beside the little boy, and said quietly, "Good morning, Alex."

"Good morning, Pastor," the boy replied, still focused on the plaque. Then he asked, "Pastor, what is this?"

The pastor said, "Well, son, it's a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the service."

Soberly they stood together, staring at the large plaque. Finally, little Alex's voice, barely audible and trembling with fear, asked:

"Which service: the 8:30 or the 11:00?"

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Fear, loathing, and a gonzo birthday

Hunter S. Thompson: July 18, 1937 ? February 20, 2005

America... just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.

Faster, faster, till the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death.

In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upwardly mobile.

Old elephants limp off to the hills to die; old Americans go out to the highway and drive themselves to death with huge cars.

Politics is the art of controlling your environment.

The music business is a cruel and shallow trench, a large hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.

There's no such thing as paranoia. The truth is, your worst fears always come true.

They don't hardly make 'em like him any more; but just to be on the safe side, he should be castrated anyway.

With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market quotations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.

When the going gets tough, the weird turn pro.

Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas.

I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.

Buy the ticket, take the ride.

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The ugly American

If you thought it was humiliating to watch the President of the United States talk with his mouth full and swear, watch him assault a female head of state over at Multi Medium.

Also see the video here.

What an asshat.

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Abortion, stem cell research, and Comedy Central

The upcoming US Senate debate- and threatened Presidential veto- of several bills supporting stem cell research jogged my memory.

A few months ago, the topic was discussed on the only television program that isn't afraid to tackle controversial issues straight on, cutting through the spin and partisan talking points like a heated knife through butter.

Of course, I'm referring to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Comedy Central's "fake news" show that somehow- ironically, almost sadly- manages to be the only regular source of incisive debate and reasoned discourse available on television.

I had transcribed the following when the show originally appeared in May, then somehow got distracted and forgot about it. I stumbled upon it yesterday, and it's even more relevant with the upcoming Senate debate.

Jon Stewart: My guest tonight, the senior editor for National Review magazine, his new book is called "The Party of Death: The Democrats, The Media, The Courts, and the disregard for human life." Please welcome to the show Ramesh Ponnuru... Ramesh!

The book is called "The Party of Death." My question, of course, to you- what is this party of death, and how can we, as good, decent, moral Americans.. stop it?

Ramesh Ponnuru: Sure, well, the party of death is the term I use to describe all the forces in our politics and culture that are undermining the right to life.

Jon Stewart: The uh, Democrats, the media... and the courts.

Ramesh Ponnuru: And the disregard for human life.

Jon Stewart: And the disregard for human life.

Ramesh Ponnuru: That's right.

Jon Stewart: And that would be in the domain of... the Democrats, the media, and the courts.

Ramesh Ponnuru: It's more broadly in our society.

Jon Stewart: Now, I've read your book; the rest of society was not mentioned.

Ramesh Ponnuru: They make an appearance in chapter 19, I think.

Jon Stewart: There was a quick mention... now in the book, you do decry that the pro-life movement has been demonized as extremist, and called hypocrites and such, do you feel that that cheapens the discourse? As would be in your book, "The Party of Death?"

Ramesh Ponnuru: I think hard words get said in politics both ways, that's not my principal concern, I do think the press, to talk about the media part of the subtitle, has often misrepresented and presented factually inaccurate information, usually with a bias towards the pro-abortion side.

Jon Stewart: Hmm. Now, the media typically presenting false information, it's kind of their thing.

Ramesh Ponnuru: Their job?

Jon Stewart: Yeah. For any subject, from what I've seen. This is clearly a conversation America should have openly, but doesn't. In many respects- and I know, you know, you care very deeply about your issue, but it seems like rhetoric, such as "party of death," puts people on- I guess what I would call- the defensive. In some respects.

Ramesh Ponnuru: Yeah. I have noticed that from time to time.

Jon Stewart: Yes.

Ramesh Ponnuru: But look, I think... I can't really present the argument against things like abortion if I'm pretending that it doesn't have something to do with death. That's just part of the argument.

Jon Stewart: Could you agree maybe that there is sanctimony on both sides?

Ramesh Ponnuru: Oh, absolutely. No question.

Jon Stewart: Now: What is the sanctimony on your side?

Ramesh Ponnuru: I try very hard in this book to argue for a non-religious, secular and rational case for the pro-life position, and I think too often, pro-lifers tend to say, "Well, my side is God's side," and if you disagree with me, you're not religious, you're not moral, you're not godly, and I don't believe that's true, and I don't believe it's right to say so.

Jon Stewart: But you are saying they're not moral, you're just saying their morality is not based in religion.

Ramesh Ponnuru: I'm not saying they're not moral, I'm saying that on this issue they're profoundly mistaken. You can be sincere and conscientiously wrong.

Jon Stewart: Don't you think that-

Ramesh Ponnuru: You think that about people you disagree with on some issues, right?

Jon Stewart: I disagree with a lot of people. I think the problem with this debate is it's being waged from both extremes. The truth is, if you want to blow this out hyperbolically, the real issue it gets down to is, do you condone what some would consider rape to prevent what some would consider murder? Because women, justly so, are protective over what happens inside their, what we call [bleeps]. I don't know the scientific terms. But that's the part that feels like it's missing from the book. The book feels, it feels like like, if, if you... can I tell you something?

Ramesh Ponnuru: Yeah.

Jon Stewart: I am very unprofessional. The book feels like it doesn't give credence to.. the idea that... this is a really difficult decision that people make and there is no real clear-cut... your thing is just flat-out, clear-cut. You are a human being from the moment of conception and anything thay happens from there and from there on is immoral if it is not to the protection of that life.

Ramesh Ponnuru: Well, there are a lot of not such clear-cut issues I take up in this book, like end of life care issues and some of the stem cell issues as well.

Jon Stewart: But even on those issues, it seems like you're very clear cut about these are all lives, and the Democrats and the media disregard that.

Ramesh Ponnuru: And the courts, don't forget the courts...

Jon Stewart: And the courts... and I think a lot of people would be sympathetic to some of these arguments if.. if... know what I mean?

Ramesh Ponnuru: Well, you know, look...

Jon Stewart: Let me put it this way... and I apologize... the President said- let's talk about stem cells, since you don't want to talk about abortion- the President said, I do not condone the taking of innocent life to save life. And I assume that's your position on stem cell research.

Ramesh Ponnuru: Yeah, that's right.

Jon Stewart: But couldn't you say that is the exact justification of the Iraqi war?

Ramesh Ponnuru: Taking innocent lives and.. well... uh, the difference is that uh..

Jon Stewart: (to audience) No, no, and I want us honestly to have a conversation because you're a smart guy and you made a lot of interesting arguments..

Ramesh Ponnuru: Leave aside the question of this particular war, does anyone who's not a pacifist is going to be confronted with the question-

Jon Stewart: That's not the case.

Ramesh Ponnuru: -Is going to be confronting this question of supporting wars that take innocent human lives, right?

Jon Stewart: No. Because armies fight each other, but there are civilians who have nothing to do with this who are dying by the thousands.

Ramesh Ponnuru: Yes, but any war involves civilian casualties.

Jon Stewart: But this is what they consider collateral damage in that war, somehow is not acceptable when it might lead to a cure for, let's say, Parkinson's.

Ramesh Ponnuru: Okay, I see your point.

Jon Stewart: That's my point.

Ramesh Ponnuru: I'd be against any war in which we were deliberately targeting civilians to be killed, and I'm against the bombing of Hiroshima, Nagasaki for that reason.

Jon Stewart: You know, you are a brave man to come out against Hiroshima. In retrospect. All right. Last point! And then I'll let you outta here.

Ramesh Ponnuru: Okay.

Jon Stewart: Isn't there a conversation to be had- in real terms, rationally- where I would guarantee you 70-75 percent of the country would come to a reasonable agreement about the fact that yeah, abortion's not getting your tonsils out, but that women have to be protected in some manner from governmental interference in that, and we'd probably come to something that the majority of people would really, really agree on, in that respect.

Ramesh Ponnuru: If this issue were decided democratically, I think in a lot of states abortion would remain legal, at least in the first trimester, very few places would continue to allow it in the second and third trimester, and some places would ban it further, but those of us who are unhappy about it, we'd just have to try to persuade our fellow citizens another day, it wouldn't be the policy we have now, a nationwide policy of abortion on demand, imposed by the Supreme Court.

Jon Stewart: Ramesh Ponnuru, "The Party of Death," it's on the bookshelves now.

(See the video.)

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Monday, July 17, 2006

Profanity of the day, take 2

Bush: "See, the irony is that what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it's over."

Blair [inner dialogue]: Not only does this twit talk with his mouth full, he just spit on my tie. I feel a lot better about taking that whiz in his soup.

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Yep, it's the Apocalypse

The National Temperature Index for July 18 is 950°F / 510°C(!), a whopping 13°F hotter than the previous record, which was set last year on July 22.

Statistically, July 21 is, on average, the hottest day of the year in the continental United States.

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Theological and sexist quote of the day

What if God's a woman? Not only am I going to hell, I'll never know why!
-Adam Ferrara

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Profanity of the day...

See the irony is that what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it's over.
[These is good rolls.] (assumed)
President George W. Bush

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Interview of the day...

QUESTION: Mr. T, why do you pity the fool?

MR. T: That is a good question. That is a good question and a legitimate question. And I'm the man to answer it. You pity the fool because you don't want to beat up a fool. You know, pity is between sorry and mercy. See, if you pity him, you know, you won't have to beat him up. So that's why I say fools, you gotta give another chance because they don't know no better. That's why I pity them.

(via Rob Owen's Tuned In Journal.)

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It could also be used for cell-phone users in theaters...

Northrop Grumman says it has developed a laser-based system -- a laser "bubble" -- that can knock just about any kind of airborne threat out of the air within a five-mile radius of an airport and is effective against shoulder-fired missiles up to 20 miles away. And, once it starts selling the systems in quantity, it's predicting a fully-installed price of "only" $25 million to $30 million, which it claims will be popular at airports in countries that are having neighborhood disputes, such as South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. "If it goes that [price] path, it's a very large market," Northrop spokesman Dan Wildt told Reuters. The first systems might cost as much as $200 million and will be available in about 18 months. Wildt said the laser "bubble" will destroy "rockets, mortars, artillery shells, unmanned aerial vehicles, short-range ballistic missiles, as well as cruise missiles," according to the Reuters story. So, we can imagine the short work it would make of, say, an errant Cessna 150 over Washington. Israel is reported to be working on development of the system with Northrop Grumman.

(via AvWeb)

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Quote of the day

You fall out of your mother's womb, you crawl across open country under fire, and drop into your grave.
-Quentin Crisp

(Hey, what do you want? It's Monday morning. Grumblegrumblegrumble...)

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Triffids in the back yard

I don't know if it's global warming or nature run amok, but things green and ominous are beginning to appear around my house.

Take today's National Temperature Index (NTI): a steamy 936° F, just one degree shy of the all-time NTI record high set last year, and the earliest date the NTI has broken 930°.

I just returned from letting the dog out, and what I saw in the back yard was rather alarming. Since Friday, it appears the locust tree nearest the house has grown two feet horizontally; it's now starting to block the path. What used to be flower beds now contain weeds as tall as me, bearing Star Trek-ish characteristics... and I know they weren't there Friday. They rustle loudly in the wind, and the dog won't venture out back unless I go with her, and even then her tail is between her legs and she whines softly.

I think I may have triffids. Even worse, the half-empty bottle of Roundup I have doesn't mention that species on its label.

And I haven't even checked the front yard yet. It could be that getting the mail is going to be a true adventure.

If there's no post here tomorrow morning, please notify the authorities...

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Movie dialogue of the day

Jake: It's a long story, something about the violation of expectations and a crushing loss of faith, and love, and life, and art.

Bill: So it's a girl?

Jake: Yes.

Bill: I've had a little bit of girl trouble myself lately. But it is better to have loved and lost, am I right?

Jake: She was a unique constellation of attributes; she was my Halley's Comet. But the universe is designed to break your heart, right?

Bill: A philosopher as well as an artist; yes, it is we who suffer most.

Jake: Yes, with the possible exception of the victims of violent crime.

-Jake (John Cusack) and Bill (Christopher Plummer), dialogue from Must Love Dogs, screenplay by Gary David Goldberg; from the novel by Claire Cook.

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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

get kgb krap!

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