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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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Whatever this is...

...I'm pretty certain it's not a terrestrial being...

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Happy birthday, Ed Asner

You got spunk. I hate spunk.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Quote of the day

There was a little confusion at the meeting there at the White House when President Bush was told that Obama was coming. He said "Oh, you mean we caught him?"
-David Letterman

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It's P.J. O'Rourke's birthday

How someone who edited the National Lampoon in its heydey turned out to be a conservative Republican is difficult to fathom. But if only all Republicans had P.J. O'Rourke's sense of humor and powers of observation:

[T]here are several recognizable types of humorous activity. There is parody, when you make fun of people who are smarter than you; satire, when you make fun of people who are richer than you; and burlesque, when you make fun of both while taking your clothes off.

A bimbo is a young woman who's not pretty enough to be a model, not smart enough to be an actress, and not nice enough to be a poisonous snake.

A little government and a little luck are necessary in life; but only a fool trusts either of them.

A lot of people out there think Easy Rider had a happy ending.

A nation with a goofy foreign policy needs a very serious policy of defense.

A record number of savings-and-loan failures left America with a nationwide shortage of flimsy toaster ovens, cheap pocket calculators, and ugly dinnerware.

Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence, and a Bad Haircut.

And by the way, I've about had it with this "greatest generation" malarkey. You people have one stock market crash in 1929, and it takes you a dozen years to go get a job. Then you wait until Germany and Japan have conquered half the world before it occurs to you to get involved in World War II. After that you get surprised by a million Red Chinese in Korea. Where do you put a million Red Chinese so they'll be a surprise? You spend the entire 1950s watching Lawrence Welk and designing tail fins. You come up with the idea for Vietnam. Thanks. And you elect Richard Nixon. The hell with you.

Anything that makes your mother cry is fun.

Are we disheartened by the breakup of the family? Nobody who ever met my family is.

Authority has always attracted the lowest elements in the human race.

Britain, France and Germany are obscure branch offices of American culture and may be closed in the interests of rational consolidation.

Canadians don't deal with the same kind of health care problems and traumas we face. They have a health care system based on treating hockey injuries and curing sinus infections that come from trying to pronounce French vowels.

Corporate corruption gives al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and other Muslim radicals second thoughts about messing with the United States. If we'll screw our own grandmothers in the stock market, God knows what we'll do to them.

During the mid-1980s dairy farmers decided there was too much cheap milk at the supermarket. So the government bought and slaughtered 1.6 million dairy cows. How come the government never does anything like this with lawyers?

Economics is an entire scientific discipline of not knowing what you're talking about.

Even a band of angels can turn ugly and start looting if enough angels are unemployed and hanging around the Pearly Gates convinced that all the succubi own all the liquor stores in Heaven.

Every generation finds the drug it needs.

Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy, the whores are us.

Everybody knows how to raise children, except the people who have them.

Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes.

Everyone's very busy, though not exactly working.

Everything that's fun in life is dangerous.

Explain the concept of death very carefully to your child. This will make threatening him with it much more effective.

Fame is a communicable disease. If you get screwed by someone who's got it, you may catch it yourself.

Feeling good about government is like looking on the bright side of any catastrophe. When you quit looking on the bright side, the catastrophe is still there.

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.

Guns are always the best method for private suicide. Drugs are too chancy. You might just miscalculate the dosage and just have a good time.

Humans are the only animals that have children on purpose with the exception of guppies, who like to eat theirs.

I hate political correctness because it's founded on the idea that by means of language you can escape truth- that if you simply give a different name to something you've somehow changed it. It is a very childlike idea.

I like to do my principal research in bars, where people are more likely to tell the truth or, at least, lie less convincingly than they do in briefings and books.

I like to think of my behavior in the Sixties as a "learning experience." Then again, I like to think of anything stupid I've done as a "learning experience." It makes me feel less stupid.

I'm a registered Republican and consider socialism a violation of the American principle that you shouldn't stick your nose in other people's business except to make a buck.

If the outdoors are so swell, how come the homeless aren't more fond of it?

If the U.S. is going to be involved in military multilateralism, it should ask its partner nations that ancient question of diplomacy, "You and what army?"

If we want to demoralize the population of Iraq and sap their will to fight, we ought to show them videotapes of the South Bronx, Detroit City and the West Side of Chicago. Take a look, you Iraqis- this is what we do to our own cities in peacetime. Just think what we're going to do to yours in a war.

If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.

If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free.

In general, life is better than it has ever been, and if you think that, in the past, there was some golden age of pleasure and plenty to which you would, if you were able, transport yourself, let me say one single word: "Dentistry."

In order to understand the stock market we have to realize that, like anything enormous and inert, it's fundamentally stable, and, like anything emotion-driven, it's volatile as hell. Got that? Me neither.

In our brief national history we have shot four of our presidents, worried five of them to death, impeached one and hounded another out of office. And when all else fails, we hold an election and assassinate their character.

In what is widely thought to be the largest leveraged buyout to date, Donald Trump announced that if everyone in the world will lend him all the money they have, he will buy everything they own.

It is easy to understand why the cat has eclipsed the dog as modern America's favorite pet. People like pets to possess the same qualities they do. Cats are irresponsible and recognize no authority, yet are completely dependent on others for their material needs. Cats cannot be made to do anything useful. Cats are mean for the fun of it. In fact, cats possess so many of the same qualities as some people that it is often hard to tell the people and the cats apart.

It takes a village to raise a child. The village is Washington. You are the child.

It's all there in the Declaration of Independence. We are the only nation in the world based on happiness.

It's better to spend money like there's no tomorrow than to spend tonight like there's no money.

Keeping house is as unpleasant and filthy as coal mining, and the pay's a lot worse.

Lust, Pride, Sloth, and Gluttony, or, as we call them these days, "getting in touch with your sexuality," "raising your self-esteem," "relaxation therapy," and "being a recovered bulimic."

Maybe a nation that consumes as much booze and dope as we do and has our kind of divorce statistics should pipe down about "character issues."

Never let the people with all the guns and the people with all the money be the same people.

Never refuse wine. It is an odd but universally held opinion that anyone who doesn't drink must be an alcoholic.

Nothing handles better than a rented car. You can go faster, turn corners sharper, and put the transmission into reverse while going forward at a higher rate of speed in a rented car than in any other kind.

Once the XFL was canceled for not being stupid enough, it was clear that America's internal enemies had already triumphed.

One of the annoying things about believing in free will and individual responsibility is the difficulty of finding somebody to blame your problems on. And when you do find somebody, it's remarkable how often his picture turns up on your driver's license.

Peat is found only in Celtic countries because God realized the Celts were the only people on earth who drank so much that they would try to burn mud.

Politicians are interested in people. Not that this is always a virtue. Fleas are interested in dogs.

Politics is the business of getting power and privilege without possessing merit.

Politics should be limited in scope to war, protection of property, and the occasional precautionary beheading of a member of the ruling class.

Reporters thus ignore a basic principle of news: There are two sources you can't trust, those who won't tell their story and those who will.

Some people are better imagined in one's bed than found there in the morning.

Some people are worried about the difference between right and wrong. I'm worried about the difference between wrong and fun.

Sometimes you need a B-2 bomber and sometimes you need your mother.

Stay away from girls who cry a lot or look like they get pregnant easily or have careers.

Staying married may have long-term benefits. You can elicit much more sympathy from friends over a bad marriage than you ever can from a good divorce.

Term limits aren't enough. We need jail.

The difference between corporations and governments is governments have a monopoly on force. It's a lot easier to vote with your feet or your wallet than it is to change a government with your vote.

The fact that nothing's happening never stops a real reporter.

The founding fathers, in their wisdom, devised a method by which our republic can take one hundred of its most prominent numbskulls and keep them out of the private sector where they might do actual harm.

The free market is ugly and stupid, like going to the mall; the unfree market is just as ugly and just as stupid, except there is nothing in the mall and if you don't go there they shoot you.

The French are a smallish, monkey-looking bunch and not dressed any better, on average, than the citizens of Baltimore. True, you can sit outside in Paris and drink little cups of coffee, but why this is more stylish than sitting inside and drinking large glasses of whiskey I don't know.

The French are sawed-off sissies who eat snails and slugs and cheese that smells like people's feet. Utter cowards who force their own children to drink wine, they gibber like baboons even when you try to speak to them in their own wimpy language.

The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop.

The one thing that can be safely said about the great majority of people is that we don't want them around.

The problem is not that 50 percent of people are females. The problem is that 100 percent of females are humans.

The proper behavior all through the holiday season is to be drunk. This drunkenness culminates on New Year's Eve, when you get so drunk you kiss the person you're married to.

The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work; then they get elected and prove it.

The Sixties was a decade without quality control.

The weirder you're going to behave, the more normal you should look. It works in reverse, too. When I see a kid with three or four rings in his nose, I know there is absolutely nothing extraordinary about that person.

The whole idea of our government is this: if enough people get together and act in concert, they can take something and not pay for it.

There are a number of mechanical devices which increase sexual arousal, particularly in women. Chief among these is the Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible.

There are just two rules of governance in a free society: Mind your own business. Keep your hands to yourself.

There are twenty-seven specific complaints against the British Crown set forth in the Declaration of Independence. To modern ears they still sound large part, because so many of them can be leveled against the federal government of the United States.

There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.

There is something more horrible than hoodlums, churls and vipers, and that is knaves with moral justification for their cause.

There's a whiff of the lynch mob or the lemming migration about any overlarge concentration of like-thinking individuals, no matter how virtuous their cause.

This country was founded by religious nuts with guns.

To grasp the true meaning of socialism, imagine a world where everything is designed by the post office, even the sleaze.

Undeterred by historical example, however, the EU looks to fulfill the age-old dream of having a country of English cooks, German lovers, French defense forces and Italian efficiency experts.

Very little is known of the Canadian country since it is rarely visited by anyone but the Queen and illiterate sport fishermen.

War is a great asshole magnet.

War will exist as long as there's a food chain.

We'll run this planet as we please, and if you don't like it, go back where we came from.

We're told cars are dangerous. It's safer to drive through South Central Los Angeles than to walk there. We're told cars are wasteful. Wasteful of what? Oil did a lot of good sitting in the ground for millions of years. We're told cars should be replaced with mass transportation. But it's hard to reach the drive-through window at McDonald's from a speeding train. And we're told cars cause pollution. A hundred years ago city streets were ankle deep in horse excrement. What kind of pollution do you want? Would you rather die of cancer at eighty or typhoid fever at nine?

Whatever it is that the government does, sensible Americans would prefer that the government do it to somebody else. This is the idea behind foreign policy.

When a thing defies physical law, there's usually politics involved.

When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.

When somebody's muffler shop goes bankrupt, the government doesn't pay him $100,000 to not install mufflers.

Why do some places prosper and thrive, while others just suck?

Why is this soiled, crumpled, overdecorated piece of paper bearing a picture of a rather disreputable president worth fifty dollars, while this clean, soft, white, and cleverly folded piece of paper is worth so little that I just wiped my nose on it?

Women are successful in the business world because the business world was created by men. Men are babies. And women are?Good With Kids.

You are not going to achieve individuality by having your knee pierced or wearing a great big ring in your buttock.

You can't get good chinese takeout in China and cuban cigars are rationed in Cuba. That's all you need to know about communism.

You can't put your VISA bill on your American Express card.

You say we [reporters] are distracting from the business of government. Well, I hope so. Distracting a politician from governing is like distracting a bear from eating your baby.

Watching Republicans in Washington is like watching lemmings, if lemmings jumped into cesspools instead of off cliffs. Splash! There goes Mark Foley!

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Take the red pill, get the blue screen

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Quote of the day

Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.
-Franz Kafka

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Settled in

(Google Earth)

Atlantic Broadband fixed the cable tv and Internet problem (the original installer had crimped the coax too tightly, shorting out the connection) so we could get to Facebook and watch last night's new episode of House. Officially, that makes this home.

Home is more or less in the middle of the above satellite photo, showing the teeming metropolis that is Fayette City, PA, population 671.

As is often the case with Pennsylvania's quaint method of classifying municipalites, Fayette City is not a city, but a borough. According to Wikipedia, "A borough is a self-governing entity that is smaller than a city. If an area is not governed by either a borough or city, then the area is governed as a township. Villages or hamlets are unincorporated and have no municipal government, other than the township in which they are found."

Got that? Good. Now you know why I waited until after the election to move.

Fayette City is an old coal town that is flooded regularly by the Monongahela River. Fortunately, we're on a hill about 150 feet above the city proper, and from my office window I have a lovely view of the river, the railroad, and the closed Wheeling-Pittsburgh mill across the river in Allenport.

For you river town enthusiasts, the sequence is: The Point, South Side, Hays, West Homestead, Homestead, Munhall, Whitaker, Rankin, Braddock, West Mifflin, Duquesne, McKeesport, Dravosburg, Glassport, Clairton, Elizabeth, Elrama, New Eagle, Monongahela, Donora (home of the new Donora Smog Museum), Monessen, Charleroi, Belle Vernon, Dunlevy, Fayette City. But the Mon flows north, so the order should be reversed.

At night, you can hear the various fire departments up and down the valley sound their sirens at curfew, and you can hear the train whistles even in the cellar with the doors closed.

To an old Homestead boy, it sounds just like home.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

The good news: I'm no longer using Comcast.

The bad news is I'm now a customer of Atlantic Broadband, and so far we're off to a flying halt.

I should have been suspicious when the tech completed the installation last week. It was before the move, and we didn't have any televisions in the new place. "That's ok," the tech said, "there's a general outage in the area. The cable's not working, anyway."

On Thursday and Friday I was using the broadband Internet connection, but on Friday I noticed the connection speed was all over the place. Some times it was greater than 6Mb/sec, but then it would drop precipitously to 100K.

I figured I'd call on Monday. So, naturally, on Saturday evening, everything died, including the cable tv service, and I can't get anyone out until tomorrow.

A month or so ago I bought pdaNet software for my Palm Treo, which turns the phone into a wireless modem that uses Verizon's data network. It's only a 2.4Mb connection, but it's enough to get essential work done.

Still, I don't want to risk exceeding my "unlimited" data transfer limit with Verizon, so I'm off the air here until Atlantic fixes the cable.

See you tomorrow...

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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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