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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dcl dialogue online!

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"

USA Today Hotsite

Our riveting and morally compelling...

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One of  51,848 random quotes. Please CTRL-F5 to refresh the page.

Google Web

(July 2000 and earlier)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Murtha speaks the truth.

"There's no question Western Pennsylvania is a racist area," Johnstown Congressman John Murtha told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in a recent interview. "The older people are hesitant... they're slow, slow in seeing real change."

Murtha's candid, nuanced statement prompted the expected hysteria and indignation. Racism is no longer widespread in Western Pennsylvania, sayeth those wise in such issues. It's not a metastatic disorder, but an increasingly rare affliction, concentrated in tiny malignancies within isolated pockets of the community.


The fact is it's so widespread and commonplace that it just isn't noticed any more. It's faded into the background noise of everyday existence. It's the senile uncle muttering obscenities you stick in the overstuffed chair at the far end of the living room every Thanksgiving.

There may be niches of enlightenment here and there, probably concentrated in enclaves comprised of non-natives. But in an area where it's not unusual for three or more generations to live within a zip code of each other, the truth is that opinions on race are just as likely to be shaped by the attitudes of 1928 as 2008.

I'm 54 years old. I'm a born and bred Western Pennsylvanian. I remember growing up here in the 60s and experiencing the bizarre racial and ethnic dynamics that existed then and, in many respects, exist to this day.

My parents and grandparents made a decided effort to make certain that I followed the golden rule, to treat others in the way in which I wished to be treated. To not use bad words, to not call people names, to treat persons of different race, ethnicity or religion as if we had no differences because, deep down, we didn't.

Admirable, but not entirely effective. My parents also made it quite clear that it was totally unacceptable for me to smoke cigarettes, although they both puffed away with abandon and didn't seem to have a problem in telling me to follow their orders and not their example.

Similarly, they had no problem using racial, ethnic or religious slurs.

Not indiscriminately, mind you. The rude nigger, dumb dago or thieving Jew had indeed committed offenses worthy of rebuke. The words were intended as informative, not pejorative. And if you looked at the time in which my parents came of age, their behavior was totally understandable.

They grew up in an America where their race, ethnicity, religion and address were all but branded on their foreheads, and often determined their ultimate path in life. This was especially true since they lived in Homestead, the mill town where I was born and raised.

As I grew older, it was made clear to me that those who lived in Homestead did so only because they didn't have the brains or connections required to earn enough to buy a house in adjacent lily-white Munhall or West Homestead.

Throughout the 12 years of my school career, the three boroughs' school boards fought the state's order to merge into what eventually became the Steel Valley School District in 1972. All sorts of sound economic and educational reasons were posited for their resistance, but everyone knew the real reason the merger was so vigorously opposed was because the folk in Munhall didn't want their kids to have to associate with the niggers and white trash from Homestead. I attended school board meetings where people actually stood up and uttered those precise words, often to appreciative applause.

The people who attended those meetings and voiced those concerns are still around. They're our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents. And their attitudes haven't changed much.

My mother is an Obama supporter. She lives in an area comprised of life-long Democrats, primarily of her own age group.

And when she tells her Democratic brethren she plans to vote for Barack Obama, they recoil in disgust and terror. "You're going to vote for that nigger?" is the universal response.

"Absolutely," she says. "If you can vote for an adulterous party boy who says "Country First" but who'll do or say anything to get his ass in the White House just so he can finally outrank his daddy and grand-daddy, then yes, I can vote for 'that nigger.'"

My mother, a first-generation American born to two Czech immigrants, at that point typically turns on her heel, marches away with her head held high, and mutters under her breath:

"Dumb hunkies."

(Okay, here's the prerequisite "not everyone who lived or lives in Munhall and West Homestead is or were racists" disclaimer. But there are still too many of them. And if this post offends your gentle sensibilities, then- as my mother would say- "you're as clueless and out of touch as that retard we have in the White House now.")

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Wow- it's Whit Bissell's birthday again!

Michael Landon and Whit Bissell in I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957),
and Bissell as Mr. Lurry, manager of tribble-infested Deep Space Station K-7
in the original Star Trek episode The Trouble With Tribbles (1967).

Whit Bissell (October 25, 1909-March 6, 1996) was an alumnus of the Carolina Playmakers, the prestigious amateur-theatrical arm of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He entered films with 1943's Holy Matrimony, instantly establishing his standard screen characterization of fussy officiousness. Twice as busy on TV as he was in theatrical films, Bissell was starred as Woodrow Wilson on a 1965 episode of the Profiles in Courage anthology and was co-starred on the futuristic adventure series Time Tunnel. Lovers of low-budget 1950s horror films have a special place in their hearts for Whit Bissell's brace of "mad scientist" portrayals in I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957) and I Was a Teenage Frankenstein (1957); it was in the latter film that the admirably straight-faced Bissell uttered the immortal line: "Answer me! I know you have a civil tongue in your mouth-I sewed it there myself!" For his contributions to science fiction films, Bissell received a life career award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films in 1994. He served on the Screen Actors Guild board of directors for nearly two decades. - Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Observation of the day

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I curse myself for being so cynical...

McCain staffer says she was mugged,
had 'B' cut into face

...but I want to see what's on the ATM security camera.

Update: not even Michelle Malkin is buying the story...

And an interesting quote from the Google cache of her now-private MySpace page: "Lying is the most fun a girl can have without taking her cloths (sic) off, but its (sic) better if you do."

Also note her occupation: "Being a badass." Hmm, not so much.

Sigh. Don't people realize that everything you post to the net can be found in a cache somewhere? Teenagers, especially, don't seem to realize what they put on the web can be not only embarrassing, but can kill a career.

This is one of those circumstances that would be best handled by getting this young lady some help and just dropping the whole thing. Hey, I've been in Bloomfield late at night. It can do weird things to your mind. Let's cut the kid some slack.

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Opie, Andy and the Fonz...

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Leave it to the geeks...

Just what you'd expect from a fellow geek: a flawlessly logical, fact-based explanation why geeks support Obama.

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Back in the day...

... we didn't use meaningless discourse markers like "back in the day" to pompously elevate inconsequential personal reminiscences into sage reflections based upon wisdom gained through experiences of questionable relevance.

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Quote of the day

"This is worse than a divorce. I've lost half my net worth and I still have a wife."
-Anonymous trader

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You can't make this stuff up, #2,712

Palin says she considers herself intellectual

The Associated Press
Wednesday, October 22, 2008; 12:47 PM

NEW YORK - Does vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin consider herself intellectual? You betcha!

"And you have to be up on not only current events, but you have to understand the foundation of the issues that you're working on," Palin said in an interview with People magazine. "You can't just go on what is presented you."

Although Palin didn't name a single newspaper or magazine when CBS News anchor Katie Couric asked where she got her information, the Alaska governor told People that she has always been a "voracious reader" and named reading- anything from biographies to historical works- as her favorite thing along with her children and sports.

Besides author Lawrence Wright's terrorism history, "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11," Palin said she's reading a lot of briefing papers.

"I appreciate a lot of information. I think that comes from growing up in a family of school teachers," she said.

Palin said if she and husband Todd had had a sixth child, they had already picked a name for a boy joining siblings Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper and Trig.

"I always wanted a son named Zamboni," she said.

The magazine will be on newsstands Friday.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Once every four years or so...

I get a cold or the flu or something that messes with my body temperature.

My normal body temperature is about 97°F. Anything higher than that, I get parasthesia and delusions. I think it's time for some heavy-duty meds and extended unconsciousness.

Go here and read up the page. I'm not responsible for anything posted here for the next few days. You've been warned.

I suspect this time is going to be worse. The gnomes are wearing sheltie costumes, and the Orion monopod has assumed the shape of a cat.

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Speaking of train wrecks...

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Small town values

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McCain campaign tactics: the source

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When experts go bad, #174

Not only have individual financial institutions become less vulnerable to shocks from underlying risk factors, but also the financial system as a whole has become more resilient.
-Alan Greenspan (in 2004)

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Quote of the day

Blaming anything in this country on George Bush is like blaming Ronald McDonald when you get a bad hamburger.
-Lewis Black

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Monday, October 20, 2008

"I was a stranger and you invited me in." Well, not so much.

"Sen. Barack Obama entered the barbecue joint where an older and majority white clientele of dozens was eating lunch after church services. At the other end of the restaurant, Diane Fanning, 54, who works at a discount club, began yelling: 'Socialist, socialist, socialist- get out of here!...

"Fanning said (after considerable public Colin Powell discussion) that she'd heard Powell had endorsed Obama but...

"...that 'Colin Powell is a RINO, R-I-N-O, Republican In Name Only. This is my one day off,' she muttered.

"Later, Obama came to the long table where Fanning and other members of a local First Presbyterian church were gathered. He held out his hand to her to shake it and asked, 'How are you, ma'am?' but she declined to shake."


Once must assume Ms. Fanning is a CINO... a Christian in Name Only. (Full story here.)

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At least he's not "undecided"

(via PostSecret)

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Bumper sticker of the day

(-but not quickly enough)

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

John McCain Accidentally Left On Campaign Bus Overnight

John McCain Accidentally Left On Campaign Bus Overnight

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Well, at least we know...

... that bizarre accent is phony...

... and she obviously wasn't listening to the lyrics.

On the plus side, that's the best Bullwinkle costume I've ever seen.

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Bumper sticker of the day

(but not reliably)

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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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