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.


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Yeah, yeah, I'm inspired


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He knows if yinz is a jagoff


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Saturday, June 04, 2005

$ EOJ

Terry Shannon, a legend in the VMS community, died earlier this week. He was 52.

I arrived at DEC PRO after Terry had moved on, but was fortunate enough to terrorize a few DECUSes and DEXPOs with him during his tenure at Digital Review. No one knew the market better than he, and his VMS knowledge was legendary. Terry's original cut of Introduction to VAX/VMS remains the best user guide ever written for any operating system. His skills at blending the technical and humorous were unequaled, and he managed to both intimidate and inspire those of us who plied our trade in that brief golden age where magazine columnists were not reduced to shillish flackery. Alas, these days it's hard to make a living when your main products are honesty and integrity.

I hope his family and close friends can take comfort in knowing that there are a large number of us who can't think of Terry without involuntarily breaking into a grin. He will be sorely missed and fondly remembered.

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Quote of the week

"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."
George W. Bush on Social Security

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Friday, June 03, 2005

No comment.

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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Ballroom blitz

Dancing: the vertical expression of a horizontal desire.-George Bernard Shaw.

ABC just might have a hit in Dancing With The Stars, its new "reality" show featuring celebrities paired with professional dancers in a weekly ballroom dancing contest.

It has a lot of things in its favor: good looking women in tight dresses; sexually suggestive but socially acceptable body movements (hey, it's ballroom, right?); and hulking men with two left feet enduring public ridicule in order to be able to hang onto a writhing female who, under different circumstances, could quite probably inflict debilitating injuries in unimaginably delightful ways. Hell, I'd risk rupturing a disk or two to rumba with Evander Holyfield's partner, Edyta Sliwinska. Eddy, you can even bite a chunk out of my ear.

Of course, I'm just speaking for the over-the-hill dirty old man contingent. But I'd wager this program, a British import already airing in a dozen other countries, will score big across all demographics. And if it is a hit, it will only get better: I'd also wager "A" list stars will start lining up to appear.

The judges are forgettable; fortunately, the producers were wise to tap Tom Bergeron to anchor the show. I've been a fan of Bergeron since his breakfast show on the FX cable network in the early 90s. Personable, quick-witted and unflappable, the America's Funniest Home Videos host could helm a six-hour documentary on the decomposition of meat and make it tolerable, if not enjoyable. Part of the fun of this live show will undoubtedly be Bergeron's deft handling of embarrassing moments.

I suspect the gang at Gino's North back in Chicago has found its summer replacement for The West Wing. This is one of those shows that's best viewed with a rambunctious crowd. That it was equally enjoyable to a guy sitting in a Toronto hotel room in his underwear is probably a good omen for the alphabet network.

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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Quote of the day

"He's a pain in the ass and an egocentric maniac, but other than that he's a good guy."
-former Allegheny County Executive Jim Roddey commenting on Coroner Cyril Wecht.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Thunderstorms and pregnant flight attendants

The flight to Toronto would have been on time, if it hadn't been for that line of thunderstorms that moved through Pittsburgh around 6 p.m. last night. When there's lightning over the airport, the ramps are shut down... which means the people on the Air Canada Jazz Dash 8 who had just landed were stuck in that little Bombardier tin can for nearly an hour.

Once the squall line passed southeast, we hustled on board and the twin engine turboprop climbed into the dissipating goop with a couple bumps and groans. What was more interesting was the flight attendant, a charming lass who was eight months pregnant, but looked like she could give birth at any time. When we reached altitude and my ears popped, I glanced around nervously to make certain it was my ears and not her package that had reacted to the lower atmospheric pressure.

Most domestic airlines ground pregnant attendants at their 26th or 27th week; European airlines additionally restrict them to a total of 200 flight hours while pregnant to reduce exposure to potentially dangerous cosmic radiation. Lots of insurance carriers won't cover pregnant women if they fly after the 28th week.

While looking up this information, I noticed that passengers on commercial aircraft get 100 to 300 times the ground level exposure to cosmic radiation.

I think I'm going to start cabbing it. And I hope the Air Canada flight attendant lady has a beautiful kid, with no excess appendages.

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Sunday, May 29, 2005

There are two cupcakes in this picture

Eat your heart out, Dolly Madison.

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Violators will be prosecuted.
So there.  
The kgb@kgb.com e-mail address is now something other than kgb@kgb.com saga.
kgbreport.com used to be kgb.com until December, 2007 when the domain name broker Trout Zimmer made an offer I couldn't refuse. Giving up kgb.com and adopting kgbreport.com created a significant problem, however. I had acquired the kgb.com domain name in 1993, and had since that time used kgb@kgb.com as my sole e-mail address. How to let people know that kgb@kgb.com was no longer kgb@kgb.com but rather kgbarkes@gmail.com which is longer than kgb@kgb.com and more letters to type than kgb@kgb.com and somehow less aesthetically pleasing than kgb@kgb.com but actually just as functional as kgb@kgb.com? I sent e-mails from the kgb@kgb.com address to just about everybody I knew who had used kgb@kgb.com in the past decade and a half but noticed that some people just didn't seem to get the word about the kgb@kgb.com change. So it occurred to me that if I were generate some literate, valid text in which kgb@kgb.com was repeated numerous times and posted it on a bunch of different pages- say, a blog indexed by Google- that someone looking for kgb@kgb.com would notice this paragraph repeated in hundreds of locations, would read it, and figure out that kgb@kgb.com no longer is the kgb@kgb.com they thought it was. That's the theory, anyway. kgb@kgb.com. Ok, I'm done. Move along. Nothing to see here...

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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.


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If my answers frighten you then you should cease asking scary questions.


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