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 12, 2008

Current event quotes of the week

Jesse Jackson also said he thought Barack Obama was talking down to black people by lecturing on things like fatherhood and being a responsible husband. Jesse thought it was insulting, not only to him, but to his former mistress and their love child.

This is what I love about America. According to a new report, after people started getting their government stimulus checks in the mail, internet porn sites had a 30% increase. You know what that means? People use their stimulus package to stimulate their packages.
-Jay Leno

Barack Obama is campaigning very hard, going everywhere these days to get the vote out. Barack Obama's staff recently announced that Barack is planning to hold a campaign event at a NASCAR race. Yeah. The event will be called "Meet your first black guy."
-Conan O'Brien

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Friday, July 11, 2008

When Star Trek technology goes very, very wrong...

"Okay! Okay! I don't need ice for my drink!"

The idea is something out of Orwell's 1984 (or a Star Trek episode; remember the "training collars" from The Gamesters of Triskelion?-KGB): requiring all airline passengers to wear identifying bracelets, containing personal information and a GPS tracking chip to monitor their movements. And, oh yeah, one more thing: any flight crew member would be able to immobilize wearers by simply pointing a laser device in their general direction.

And, yes, it's apparently real. The Washington Times reports the US Department of Homeland Security is interested in the technology, that carries the most innocuous of names: The Electronic ID Bracelet.

The bracelet- in development for several years, and distributed by a Canadian company called Lamperd Less Lethal, Inc., more on them in a minute- would take the place of an airline boarding pass. An RFID chip on the bracelet would contain information about the wearer, and any luggage in their possession. A government-funded GPS system would monitor where the bracelet is at all times, giving security agents the ability to follow suspects (and everyone else) around the airport, and on the plane.

The bracelet- similar in concept to the wristbands hospital patients are issued- would be worn by every traveler "until they disembark the flight at their destination."

Which, hopefully, you would... unless you get stunned by another feature on the bracelet: an Electro-Muscular Disruption (EMD) sensor, similar in function to a police Taser. According to a promotional video on YouTube, the bracelet would be able to completely immobilize the wearer for several minutes... enough time to subdue a potential hijacker, or the guy in 34C who wanted the WHOLE can of Coca-Cola.

If this sounds like alarmist propaganda, or something you'd hear on late night radio, then don't take our word (or the Times') for it. Read what Paul S. Ruwaldt of the Science and Technology Directorate, office of Research and Development at the Department of Homeland Security, had to say about it.

"To make it clear, we [the federal government] are interested in... the immobilizing security bracelet, and look forward to receiving a written proposal," Ruwaldt wrote in a letter to the bracelet's distributor, obtained by the Times. "It is conceivable to envision a use to improve air security, on passenger planes."

Still not convinced? We don't blame you... but here's what Lamperd Less Lethal Inc. had to say in response to the Times' story.

"We wish to clear up any misconceptions regarding the EMD Safety Bracelet for Airline Security," the company wrote in an email comment, since posted on the Lamperd website. "The bracelets remain inactive until a hijacking situation has been identified. At such time a designated crew member will activate the bracelets making them capable of delivering the punitive measure- but only to those that need to be restrained."

Activation of the bracelets' "stun" setting would be performed in one of two ways. A plane's crew could activate anyone's bracelet, by way of a grid screen installed onboard the aircraft. Flight attendants would also be able to activate a passenger's bracelet "by simply pointing the laser at the bracelet- that laser dot only needs to be within 10 inches of the bracelet to activate it"... so, hopefully, you're not sitting too close to the alleged perpetrator (or a kid with a laser pointer-KGB).

"We believe that all passengers will welcome deliverance from a hijacking, as will the families, carriers, insurance providers etc," the company adds. "The F-16 on the wing-tip is not to reassure the passengers during a hijacking, but rather to shoot them down."

Good grief. There's literally nothing we can say to top that...

Watch the YouTube Video


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The Bush bus tour

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Quotes and stylish elements of the day

All dwellers in cities must live with the stubborn fact of annihilation; in New York the fact is somewhat more concentrated because of the concentration of the city itself, and because, of all targets, New York has a certain clear priority. In the mind of whatever perverted dreamer might loose the lightning, New York must hold a steady, irresistible charm.
(From Here is New York, 1949)

Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it.

Be obscure clearly.

Everything in life is somewhere else, and you get there in a car.

Genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one.

Home was quite a place when people stayed there.

I don't know which is more discouraging, literature or chickens.

I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.

If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world, and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.

In a free country it is the duty of writers to pay no attention to duty.

Luck is not something you can mention in the presence of self-made men.

No man is born perpendicular, although many men are born upright.

No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky.

Old age is a special problem for me because I've never been able to shed the mental image I have of myself- a lad of about 19.

Television hangs on the questionable theory that whatever happens anywhere should be sensed everywhere. If everyone is going to be able to see everything, in the long run all sights may lose whatever rarity value they once possessed, and it may well turn out that people, being able to see and hear practically everything, will be specially interested in almost nothing.

The first day of spring was once the time for taking the young virgins into the fields, there in dalliance to set an example in fertility for Nature to follow. Now we just set the clock an hour ahead and change the oil in the crankcase.

The trouble with the profit system has always been that it was highly unprofitable to most people.

We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry.

Whatever else an American believes or disbelieves about himself, he is absolutely sure he has a sense of humor.

E.B. White, (July 11, 1899 - October 1, 1985)

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Photo of the day

Hey. I think it's neat.

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Quote of the day

People have the illusion that all over the world, all the time, all kinds of fantastic things are happening. When in fact, over most of the world, most of the time, nothing is happening.

Washington DC is a city filled with people who think they are important.

David Brinkley (July 10, 1920 - June 11, 2003)

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Quote of the day

I don't mean to be a diva, but some days you wake up and you're Barbara Streisand.
-Courtney Love (b. July 9, 1964)

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Off to a flying halt

The latest Microsoft Windows Update security fix apparently works by rendering the Internet invisible to machines which install the patch. Or at least that's what it did to my system, forcing me to use System Restore to roll the machine back to its prior state. So here I am, 54 minutes older, with nothing to show for it except a higher systolic blood pressure reading and the knowledge I won't make band rehearsal at church tonight because I'll be working late to make up for the time I've lost.

I'd like to think that if there is indeed a Final Destination where our souls congregate after shuffling off our mortal coils, there's a special gatekeeper. A gatekeeper who keeps meticulous records on the total number of minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, centuries of time wasted due to bad software design. A gatekeeper who requires authors of buggy software- and their management- to complete an online application containing one page for every minute of life users have wasted trying to get their systems to operate after a software "upgrade," each page requiring a response to an annoying, Vista-like security prompt. And at the end of the application, the system hangs, and they have to start all over again.

Sigh. Forgive me my unkind thoughts.

I'll settle for some boils and a plague of locusts.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I think the reason is obvious...

... why her boyfriend's in Vegas and he hasn't bought her an engagement ring.

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Monday, July 07, 2008

Quotes of the day

Robert A. Heinlein, July 7, 1907 - May 8, 1988

A poet who reads his verse in public may have other nasty habits.

A reverence for life does not require one to respect nature's obvious mistakes.

Age does not bring wisdom. Often it merely changes simple stupidity into arrogant conceit.

Always listen to the experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it.

Always tell her she's beautiful, especially if she isn't.

An armed society is a polite society.

Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.

Climate is what you expect. Weather is what you get.

A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity.

Government is an inescapable disease of human beings.

History has the relation to truth that theology has to religion- i.e., none to speak of.

It is amazing how much mature wisdom resembles being too tired.

It never does any good to warn a man about his wife.

Little girls, like butterflies, need no excuse.

Love your country, but never trust its government.

Man can be chained but he cannot be domesticated, and eventually he always breaks his chains.

Never appeal to a man's better nature. He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage.

Never try to outstubborn a cat.

Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of time and annoys the pig.

Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.

Obscurity is the refuge of incompetence.

Progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things.

Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny.

Self-awareness is not just a bunch of amino acids bumping together.

Sex should be friendly. Otherwise stick to mechanical toys; it's more sanitary.

Specialization is for insects.

Stupidity cannot be cured with money, or through education, or by legislation.

The early worm deserves the bird.

Was there ever a time when the majority was right?

What are the marks of a sick culture? It is a bad sign when the people of a country stop identifying themselves with the country and start identifying with a group. A racial group. Or a religion. Or a language. Anything, as long as it isn't the whole population.

Women and cats will do as they please. Men and dogs had better get used to it.

Yield to temptation. It may not pass your way again.

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Hello, Dalai

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, is 73 today.

A handy memory aid, for those of you who are easily confused:

(Ms. Parton's birthday is January 19. She's 62.)

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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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