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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Saturday, October 21, 2006


That's how my friend, the esteemed Stan Kelly-Bootle, refers to dilettante citation hunters in his Curmudgeon column in this month's ACM Queue. Stan will undoubtedly appreciate the recursive irony of linking his name back to... the Wikipedia.

It's nice to see that Stan's fettle is again approaching fineness. His gem of the month:

The Christian message is that such good deeds are rewarded: "You can't take it with you, but you can mail it ahead."

And he's on top of U.S. politics as well. From a recent e-mail:

Q. What is the difference between Congress and the Library of Congress?
A. At the Library of Congress, you aren't allowed to lick the pages.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Only 20?

The 20 Stupidest Quotes of Campaign 2006

And there are still a couple weeks to go until the elections...

(from political humor guide Daniel Kurzman on

20. "If you are not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin." --Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.) (Source)

19. "She's either Puerto Rican, or the same thing as Cuban, I mean they are all very hot. They have the, you know, part of the black blood in them and part of the Latino blood in them that together makes it." --California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, on California Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia, the lone Latina Republican in the Legislature (Source)

18. "He has "a career of slavishly supporting the Republican Party." – House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, (D-MD) on Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, an African-American Republican running for Senate (Source)

17. "Hugo is a nice little Guatemalan man who is doing some painting for me ... in Virginia." --Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) (Watch video clip)

16. "God is the one who chooses our rulers." --Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.), explaining why the separation of church and state is "a lie" (Source)

15. “Well, I'll take your questions... I'm not going to ask any of my supporters to leave.” –Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY), chairman of the House Republican Campaign Committee, surrounding himself with a phalanx of small children after the Mark Foley scandal broke, when a reporter asked if he would mind asking the children to leave so they could ask questions about an adult topic (Watch video clip)

14. "I think I'd just commit suicide." --Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), on the prospects of the Democrats taking back the Senate in November (Source)

13. "We have a lot of kids who don't know what works means. They think work is a four-letter word." --Sen. Hillary Clinton, speaking to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Source)

12. "We thank God for those young people that do it every day and every night --to fight this enemy that's a taxi cab driver in the daytime, but a killer at night." --Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) (Watch video clip)

11. "I still had a ham sandwich for lunch, and my mother made great pork chops." -Sen. George Allen (R-VA), on his Jewish heritage (Source)

10. "Now I've seen what happened in Abu Ghraib, and Abu Ghraib was not torture. It was outrageous, outrageous involvement of National Guard troops from (Maryland) who were involved in a sex ring and they took pictures of soldiers who were naked. And they did other things that were just outrageous. But it wasn't torture." – Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT) (Watch video clip)

9. “As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else.... It's being drawn to Iraq and it's not being drawn to the U.S. You know what? I want to keep it on Iraq. I don't want the Eye to come back here to the United States.” --Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), comparing the Iraq war to the Lord of the Rings (Watch video clip)

8. "Overly friendly." --the initial characterization of Mark Foley's emails by House Speaker Dennis Hastert's office (Source)

7. "And, and, and my position is it's in his corner, it's his responsibility." --House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), blaming House Speaker Dennis Hastert for the page scandal (Source)

6. "I said a little prayer before I actually did the fingerprint thing, and the picture. And my prayer was basically: 'Let people see Christ through me. And let me smile.'" --Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, on being arrested and posing for his mug shot (Source)

5. "Congressman Hoekstra and I are here today to say that we have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, chemical weapons.” –Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) (Source)

4. "I enjoy cocaine because it's a fun thing to do. ... I enjoy the company of prostitutes for the following reasons: it's a fun thing to do. ... If you combine the two together it's probably even more fun." --Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.), in an interview with Stephen Colbert)

3. "We're not going to tell you what our plan is, Jon, because you're just going to go out and blow it." --Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT), on the secret plan he and President Bush have to win the Iraq war, in a debate with his Democratic challenger, John Tester (Source)

2. "This fellow here, over here with the yellow shirt, macaca, or whatever his name is. He's with my opponent. He's following us around everywhere. And it's just great. ... Let's give a welcome to macaca, here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia." --Sen. George Allen (R-VA), ridiculing S.R. Sidarth, a 20-year-old Virginian native of Indian descent, by using an ethnic slur referring to a type of monkey found mainly in Asia (Watch video clip)

1. Congressman Mark Foley (R-Fla.): "Do I make you a little horny?"
Teen: "A little."
Foley: "Cool."
--from the transcript of a sexually explicit IM chat Foley had with a 16-year-old male, the revelation of which prompted him to resign

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Billy Pilgrim e-mail

Care to become unstuck in time? Visit Mail To The Future, a site which allows you to compose e-mails which are transmitted at a time you specify. Of course, the time you specify must be in the future. The mail server's flux capacitor doesn't appear to be working.

(Temporal-related digression. I hate the term "moving forward," as in, "That will be our policy, moving forward." As one of Scott Adams' Dilbert characters said, "Thanks for removing time travel from the problem.")

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

The perfect gift

Let the countdown begin!

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100,000 years? Have you ever been to the South Side on a Friday night?

Human species 'may split in two'

Humanity may split into two sub-species in 100,000 years' time as predicted by HG Wells, an expert has said.

(BBC News, via Rafal M. Sulejman)

Evolutionary theorist Oliver Curry of the London School of Economics expects a genetic upper class and a dim-witted underclass to emerge.

(Apparently, higher intelligence
comes with the onerous price
of humongous feet.)

The human race would peak in the year 3000, he said- before a decline due to dependence on technology.

People would become choosier about their sexual partners, causing humanity to divide into sub-species, he added.

The descendants of the genetic upper class would be tall, slim, healthy, attractive, intelligent, and creative and a far cry from the "underclass" humans who would have evolved into dim-witted, ugly, squat goblin-like creatures.

But in the nearer future, humans will evolve in 1,000 years into giants between 6ft and 7ft tall, he predicts, while life-spans will have extended to 120 years, Dr Curry claims.

Physical appearance, driven by indicators of health, youth and fertility, will improve, he says, while men will exhibit symmetrical facial features, look athletic, and have squarer jaws, deeper voices and bigger penises.

Women, on the other hand, will develop lighter, smooth, hairless skin, large clear eyes, pert breasts, glossy hair, and even features, he adds. Racial differences will be ironed out by interbreeding, producing a uniform race of coffee-coloured people.

However, Dr Curry warns, in 10,000 years time humans may have paid a genetic price for relying on technology.

Spoiled by gadgets designed to meet their every need, they could come to resemble domesticated animals.

Social skills, such as communicating and interacting with others, could be lost, along with emotions such as love, sympathy, trust and respect. People would become less able to care for others, or perform in teams.

Physically, they would start to appear more juvenile. Chins would recede, as a result of having to chew less on processed food.

There could also be health problems caused by reliance on medicine, resulting in weak immune systems. Preventing deaths would also help to preserve the genetic defects that cause cancer.

Further into the future, sexual selection- being choosy about one's partner- was likely to create more and more genetic inequality, said Dr Curry.

The logical outcome would be two sub-species, "gracile" and "robust" humans similar to the Eloi and Morlocks foretold by HG Wells in his 1895 novel The Time Machine.

"While science and technology have the potential to create an ideal habitat for humanity over the next millennium, there is a possibility of a monumental genetic hangover over the subsequent millennia due to an over-reliance on technology reducing our natural capacity to resist disease, or our evolved ability to get along with each other, said Dr Curry.

He carried out the report for men's satellite TV channel Bravo.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Life in the dungeon

My basement home office is jokingly referred to as "the dungeon" by friends and family. While it's windowless, I do have lots of full-spectrum lighting and the back door is visible from my chair, so referring to it as a dungeon seems a bit harsh.

So anyway, I'm working and I peripherally see something fall past my face, hear a distinct "thud," and feel a small impact on my mouse platform.

I glance down and see:

One is instantly reminded of the memorable line from Woody Allen's Annie Hall: "Honey, there's a spider in your bathroom the size of a Buick!"

I wasn't about to attempt to squash this thing; I was afraid she'd use some arachnid ju-jitsu on me. So I just watched her as she calmly examined the mouse, reconnoitered the area and then jumped a good foot and a half away from the desk to the floor, where she casually sauntered under the shelving.

The colder weather is forcing insects inside, and my friendly neighborhood octopede is making the best of it, I guess. I see her once a day, generally in the evenings after Leno's monologue, as she jumps from the top shelf, to the mouse pad, and then on to the floor.

We exchange a collegial human/arachnid "howyadoon?" and continue to go our respective ways. There's been a noticeable decline in silverfish and other creepy crawlies down here, and I suspect Bertha (that's what I call her) deserves the credit.

I just hope she doesn't have a nursery nearby.

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Photo of the day

From Strange Statues from Around the World. Be warned: some are not work safe and many are not for the faint of heart.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Cartoon of the week

(via By Michael Maslin, published in The New Yorker October 16, 2006.)

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Third base...

From: Serge Egelman
Date: October 16, 2006 9:52:44 AM EDT
Subject: Re: [IP] more on Rude TSA personnel; uneven liquids policies

I just flew to NYC last week to visit my sister for the weekend. Going through the Pittsburgh airport, I was told that I had too much toothpaste. I told the agent that I was under the impression that we were allowed 3 oz. He said that was correct, but my toothpaste tube clearly says 6 oz on it. I explained that since the tube is less than half full, I am clearly in compliance. He said something like, "I understand your position, but the tube says 6 oz." "But it's less than half full." "It says 6 oz on it." "Okay, using your powers of reasoning, what volume of toothpaste would you say currently remains in this tube?" "Less than 3 oz." "So then I'm in compliance." "No sir, the tube says 6 oz."

I gather that from this line of reasoning that you can bring any volume of liquid as long as it's labeled as 3 oz. The robots apparently won't have problems with that.

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Set your Tivo

8:30 p.m. "The Class"
Kate dares Ethan to sample every flavor in the frozen yogurt shop without buying anything. We tried that in a singles bar once, but all we got was a series of restraining orders. CBS.

(Marin Independent Journal)

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Dead writer's birthday Quotes of the Day

Happy birthday to the incomparable Oscar Wilde:

(A cynic is) a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

(T)he people who love only once in their lives are really the shallow people. What they call their loyalty and their fidelity, I call their lethargy of custom or their lack of imagination. Faithfulness is to the emotional life what constancy is to the intellect- simply a confession of failure.

A Dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.

A pessimist is one who when he has the choice of two evils chooses both.

A thing is not necessarily right because a man dies for it.

All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That is his.

Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.

Bachelors should be heavily taxed. It is not fair that some men should be happier than others.

Bad artists always admire each other's work.

Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship.

But the world will never weary of watching that troubled soul in its progress from darkness to darkness.

Children begin by loving their parents; after a time they judge them; rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.

Conscience and cowardice are really the same things.

Consistency is the last resort of the unimaginative.

Each class preaches the importance of those virtues it need not exercise. The rich harp on the value of thrift, the idle grow eloquent over the dignity of labour.

Education is an admirable thing. But it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.

Every great man has his disciples, and it is always Judas who writes the biography.

Good taste is the excuse I've always given for leading such a bad life.

I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never any use to oneself.

I am not young enough to know everything.

I couldn't help it. I can resist everything except temptation.

I don't like principles. I prefer prejudices.

I have never come across anyone in whom the moral sense was dominant who was not heartless, cruel, vindictive, log-stupid, and entirely lacking in the smallest sense of humanity.

I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.

I like people better than principles, and I like people with no principles better than anything else in the world.

I suppose that when a man has once loved a woman he will do anything for her, except continue to love her.

In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane.

In America the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience.

In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing.

In old days men had the rack. Now they have the press.

In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants. The other is getting it.

It is a terrible thing for a man to find out suddenly that all his life he has been speaking nothing but the truth.

It is perfectly monstrous the way people go about, nowadays, saying things against one behind one's back that are absolutely and entirely true.

It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.

Life is one fool thing after another where as love is two fool things after each other.

Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.

Morality is simply the attitude we adopt toward people we personally dislike.

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.

Never give a woman advice: one should never give a woman anything she can't wear in the evening.

No man dies for what he knows to be true. Men die for what they want to be true, for what some terror in their hearts tells them is not true.

No man is rich enough to buy back his past.

Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it's too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.

One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.

One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell one that, would tell one anything.

Only the shallow know themselves.

Ordinary riches can be stolen; real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.

Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.

People fashion their God after their own understanding. They make their God first and worship him afterwards.

Personality must be accepted for what it is. You mustn't mind that a poet is a drunk, rather that drunks are not always poets.

Questions are never indiscreet, answers sometimes are.

Realism is only a background.

She wore far too much rouge last night and not quite enough clothes; that is always a sign of despair in a woman.

Skepticism is the beginning of Faith.

Society often forgives the criminal; it never forgives the dreamer.

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.

The advantage of the emotions is that they lead us astray.

The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame.

The man who sees both sides of a question is a man who sees absolutely nothing.

The old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect everything, the young know everything.

The only thing that men and women have in common, is that they both prefer the company of men.

The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.

The Soul is born old, but it grows young; that is the comedy of life. The Body is born young and grows old; that is life's tragedy.

There are many things that we would throw away if we were not afraid that others might pick them up.

There are two kinds of people who are really fascinating- people who know absolutely everything and people who know absolutely nothing.

There is no sin except stupidity.

There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.

To have the reputation of possessing the most perfect social tact, talk to every woman as if you loved her, and to every man as if he bored you.

Truth is never pure and rarely simple. Modern life would be tedious if it were either, and modern literature a complete impossibility.

Truth, in matters of religion, is simply the opinion that has survived.

We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars.

When the gods wish to punish us they answer our prayers.

Wickedness is a myth invented by good people to account for the attractiveness of others.

Women are made to be loved, not understood.

Women give to men the very gold of their lives. Possibly; but they invariably want it back in such very small change.

Women have a wonderful instinct about things. They can discover everything except the obvious.

Women inspire men to great undertakings, and then distract us from carrying them out.

Women spoil every romance by trying to make it last for ever.

Women treat us just as humanity treats its gods. They worship us and are always bothering us to do something for them.

Work is the curse of the drinking class.

You know more than you think you know, just as you know less than you want to know.

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Quote of the day

Autumn truly is what summer pretends to be: the best of all seasons. It is as glorious as summer is tedious; as subtle as summer is obvious; as refreshing as summer is wearying. Autumn seems like paradise.
-Gregg Easterbrook

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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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