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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Friday, October 14, 2005

The Bush Administration's continued slow descent into hell...

As my son Doug notes, Presidential Press Secretary Scott McClellan's daily briefings are beginning to appear more and more like sketches from Saturday Night Live. The excerpts that appear on the cable news outlets really don't do justice to their mondo bizarro quality. CSPAN carries them from time to time; flip over during the soaps in the afternoon for some true fictional entertainment, or visit the White House website and view them online.

Yesterday's is a real laughfest. The wheels are definitely starting to come off the bandwagon.

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Russian-built floating nuclear power plants?

Gee. What could possibly go wrong? I'm sure the Kursk and Chernobyl were just isolated incidents.

(Thanks to Rafal M. Sulejman.)

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Quote of the Day

Elsewhere, Apple Computer today introduced the first Video IPod, expected to be popular among porn fans with excellent eyesight.
-Andy Borowitz, The Borowitz Report

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Quote of the day

"I think we should all go back to the time before violent video games and start playing kid-friendly games like Clue!, where you try to figure out which one of you is a cold, merciless killer."
(from a forum thread on political and media reaction to violent video games, via my son Doug)

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Sheer excitement

From The Park News' South Park Township (PA) Police Blotter:

September 6- A resident from Squires Manor called the SPPD to report criminal mischief. The SPPD discovered that over the past few weeks, some unknown person had punctured the resident's left rear tire of their vehicle three times. The puncture seemed to be from a sharp, pointed device. An investigation is on-going.

September 14- A resident from Amy Drive called the SPPD to report a lost pet. The SPPD discovered that the resident's four-foot iguana had escaped from the residence. The resident stated that the iguana is docile. If the iguana is sighted, please call the SPPD.

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Monday, October 10, 2005

UNICEF bombs the Smurfs

Unicef bombs the Smurfs in fund-raising campaign for ex-child soldiers
By David Rennie in Brussels
(From the UK's News Telegraph)

The people of Belgium have been left reeling by the first adult-only episode of the Smurfs, in which the blue-skinned cartoon characters' village is annihilated by warplanes.

The short but chilling film is the work of Unicef, the United Nations Children's Fund, and is to be broadcast on national television next week as a campaign advertisement.

The animation was approved by the family of the Smurfs' late creator, "Peyo".

Belgian television viewers were given a preview of the 25-second film earlier this week, when it was shown on the main evening news. The reactions ranged from approval to shock and, in the case of small children who saw the episode by accident, wailing terror.

Unicef and the family company, IMPS, which controls all rights to the Smurfs, have stipulated that it is not to be broadcast before the 9pm watershed.

The short film pulls no punches. It opens with the Smurfs dancing, hand-in-hand, around a campfire and singing the Smurf song. Bluebirds flutter past and rabbits gambol around their familiar village of mushroom- shaped houses until, without warning, bombs begin to rain from the sky.

Tiny Smurfs scatter and run in vain from the whistling bombs, before being felled by blast waves and fiery explosions. The final scene shows a scorched and tattered Baby Smurf sobbing inconsolably, surrounded by prone Smurfs.

The final frame bears the message: "Don't let war affect the lives of children."

It is intended as the keystone of a fund-raising drive by Unicef's Belgian arm, to raise 70,000 for the rehabilitation of former child soldiers in Burundi.

Philippe Henon, a spokesman for Unicef Belgium, said his agency had set out to shock, after concluding that traditional images of suffering in Third World war zones had lost their power to move television viewers. "It's controversial," he said. "We have never done something like this before but we've learned over the years that the reaction to the more normal type of campaign is very limited."

Belgium prides itself on being the home of some of the world's most famous cartoon characters - from Tintin to Lucky Luke and the Smurfs, known to the Dutch- speaking half of the country as "Smurfen" and as "Schtroumpfs" to Belgium's French speakers.

The advertising agency behind the campaign, Publicis, decided the best way to convey the impact of war on children was to tap into the earliest, happiest memories of Belgian television viewers. They chose the Smurfs, who first appeared in a Belgian comic in 1958.

Julie Lamoureux, account director at Publicis for the campaign, said the agency's original plans were toned down.

"We wanted something that was real war - Smurfs losing arms, or a Smurf losing a head -but they said no."

The film has won tentative approval from the official Smurf fan club. A spokesman said: "I think it will wake up some people. It is so un-Smurf-like, it might get people to think."

Hendrik Coysman, managing director of IMPS, said: "That crying baby really goes to your bones."

(Thanks to Rafal Sulejman for the link.)

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Quote of the day

We're broadcasting live from down by the riverside where three lost souls are trying to find Jesus- although, personally- I don't think this is where he fell in.
-Miles Smoke (Steve Harvey)
in the film The Fighting Temptations

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In good company...

Today's the birthday of a bunch of people who've somehow had an influence on me: Henry Cavendish, Giuseppe Verdi, Helen Hayes, Thelonious Monk, Ed Wood, James Clavell, Ben Vereen, David Lee Roth, Kirsty MacColl and... my mother.

Happy birthday, mom; I have a card and book for you, and as soon as the gout subsides to point where I can put on a shoe, I'll be over to visit.

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Copyright © 1987-2014 by Kevin G. Barkes
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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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