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!

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"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

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

They really do work well together...

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Ancient history

The only photograph of me as a reporter for The Daily Messenger in Homestead, PA. My guess it's from early 1972. The late Earle Wittpenn hired me in November, 1971, shortly after I turned 17. Note the manual typewriter and the ancient telephone. Also note the sideburns and the thickness of the glasses. Glasses were actually made of glass- no composites back then. In 1973, I became city editor of the Messenger and two weeklies, the Squirrel Hill News and the East End Tribune. I think I still probably hold the distinction of being the youngest city editor of a daily newspaper. It helped that I was willing to edit eight newspapers for $125 a week. Which also explains why I didn't stay in journalism.


From the 1971 Homestead Senior High School yearbook. I was editor of the Hi-Steader; Ira Handelsman was the sponsor. Ira taught me sophomore English, Russian I & II, introduced me to the wonders of James Thurber, E.B. White, Saki (H.H. Munro), O. Henry (William Syndney Porter) and Jack Finney, among many others, and suggested that since the first drafts of my assignments needed no editing, I should consider newspaper writing.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Top Ten Northwest Airlines Pilot Excuses

From The Late Show with David Letterman:

10. Bunch of fat guys seated on the right side of the plane made us vector east.

9. We get paid by the hour.

8. Mapquest always takes you the long way, am I right, people?

7. Tired of that show-off Sullenberger getting all the attention.

6. You try steering one of those airplanes after eight or nine cocktails.

5. Wanted to catch the end of the in-flight movie.

4. Activating autopilot and making occasional P.A. announcements is exhausting.

3. According to our map, we only missed our target by half an inch.

2. For a change, we decided to send luggage to the right city and lose the passengers.

1. Thought we saw balloon boy.

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Hee hee

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I've written a half-dozen eulogies for pets and friends over the years. It's the first anniversary of Beanie's death, and I find I still can't write one for her.

Perhaps it's because she's still here. There are three pictures of her on the wall in front of my desk. A box with her vet records sits next to the filing cabinet. Her ashes are in a drawer less than two feet from me.

Ours wasn't a verbal relationship, anyway. We spent hours walking the paths in South Park. We'd share a white pizza with bacon on the living room floor and listen to 70s music. I'd fall asleep on the floor and wake up with her beside me, the thump of her tail welcoming me to consciousness before my eyes had focused.

I won't recount the details of those instances in the past year when I felt something warm at my feet and looked down to see an empty floor. Or felt a wet nose and warm breath on my ear as I drove past the paths we walked in the park, despite the car's empty back seat. Or the dreams of her walking on a leaf-covered trail, not looking back, pausing occasionally to allow me to catch up.

When it's time for me to join her, our ashes will be commingled and scattered in the woods next to that trail. Then it will be someone else's chore to produce the appropriate words.

We'll have other things to occupy us, and all the time we didn't have here.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's a crime.

If you don't understand why those of us who work in IT get irritated by the unrealistic computer displays in television dramas, just imagine your reaction if a character in CSI were to pompously announce the victim's blood type was "chocolate chip, with a hint of vanilla." Which is the hematological equivalent of the "Reversed Internet Protocol Process" above. From that point on, you've lost me. If you can't take the time to learn the format and range of valid IP addresses, I'm not going to buy your exotic forensic frippery, so save the condescending smiles and knowing nods, you imbeciles.

And we won't even mention routinely enlarging low-resolution security videos to determine the brand of wristwatch the suspect is wearing or count the number of freckles on his face. Know what you get when you enlarge a low-res picture?

"Oh, but they enhance it," the apologists cry. As my grandfather used to say, you can't polish a turd. In this context, "enhance" means "fabricate," and it has no place in a drama that is supposed to demonstrate the realistic application of science and police procedures. It's only a television show? Tell it to the prosecutors who have seen hung juries and the guilty acquitted because of the very real "CSI Effect."

One of the producers of the show used to work on Star Trek, which explains a great deal. But this isn't the 24th century. There are no Heisenberg Compensators in 2009, and reversing the polarity doesn't do anything except fry the power supply.

So sit on your tachyon beam emitter and spin, Skippy.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Photo of the day


I suspect most couples would prefer Viagra, just for tactical considerations.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

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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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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