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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Hard to describe.

"a breezy writing style and a cool mix of tidbits"

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Saturday, November 26, 2005

Verizon: Major suckage increase

Back in the old days, if you needed your telephone service changed or had a service or equipment problem, you just called Ma Bell, told the nice lady what was wrong, and she'd fix it.

But the mean old Ma Bell was an evil monopoly, so some federal judge took it and broke it up so that local telephone service would be divvied up between seven new phone companies.

Over time, these seven phone companies realized they could operate more efficiently and make more money if they merged into larger companies. So the seven Baby Bells have, over the past 20 years, congealed back into two companies: Verizon, and SBC, which, ironically enough, bought the remnants of the original AT&T's long distance network and is renaming itself... AT&T. And I bet within the next ten years Verizon and AT&T will merge, and we'll be back to one phone company. Only instead of it being the nice, maternal Ma Bell, it will be another souless corporate behemoth. Ma Bell gave us princess phones and Bell Labs, who invented nifty things like transistors and lasers. Verizon and SBC give us hip-hop ring tones and text messaging, so our teenagers can lose what few spelling and grammar skills they still possess.

But I digress.

Anyway, I paid my Verizon bill online and decided I'd try their new Iobi service and voicemail. I watched the Flash demo and went to the appropriate screens and filled in the information. I was told the service would be added on November 30 and my phone bill would go up by about $13 a month.

Next, I decided to take a look at the Iobi and voice mail FAQs so I'd be up to speed when the new services were activated. As I told Verizon in my e-mail:


So, I order Iobi and voicemail, and then go to the product information page to learn more about the services.

I'm told to pick a state... which I do: Pennsylvania.

Then I'm told to enter my area code and the first three digits of my phone number, which I do.

First of all, this is ridiculous. You know who I am; after all, you just let me make major changes to my account. You already know my area code, prefix, phone number, my super-secret three digit account code and, for that matter, the name of my dog, fer Chrissakes.

The website tells me that 412 is not a valid area code for Pennsylvania.

Okay, maybe it's because I'm using Firefox as my browser. So I log out, close Firefox down, and switch to Internet Explorer. I log in, maneuver through the screens, enter the area code, 412, and my local exchange, 835... and your website tells me, again, that 412 is not a valid area code for Pennsylvania. It won't let me past that pop-up input screen.

Well, it certainly was valid when you accepted my order for Iobi and voice mail and added the extra-price services to my account.

Tell me... are the rocket scientists who designed and maintain your web site the same people who are responsible for your Iobi service? How can Iobi tell me what calls I have when you guys don't seem to be aware that there are four million people using an area code that you claim doesn't exist?

At this point, I'm seriously considering switching from POTS to Comcast IP service. Frankly, Comcast sucks far worse than you do. I have had nothing but positive experiences with Verizon telephone support, as opposed to Comcast, whose employees' chromosome counts are different from mine.

But at this stage in my life, I can only deal with one major incompetent communications vendor. I have past, pleasant memories of Bell Atlantic. I have always had horrendous experiences with my cable television vendor. If you're going to let your customer service go down the tubes as well, I might as well give Comcast everything. It gives me just one target at which to aim my invective, and when a failure on their part deprives me of cable television, broadband internet and telephone service, at least I'll be able to catch up on my reading.

Fixed the damned website, will you? You're embarrassing yourself.


I hesitate for a moment... should I send this? The odds are some outsourced cretin on the other side of the world won't appreciate it, and it will get misdirected or, worse, deleted.

What the hell. I hit the send button.

And Verizon's response? Just check here.

Some operator is gonna get an earful on Monday morning...

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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Say what?

Talk about huge breasts!

Tying the legs together keeps the inside moist.

It's Cool Whip time!

If I don't undo my pants, I'll burst!

I'm in the mood for a little dark meat.

Are you ready for seconds?

It's a little dry; do you still want to eat it?

Just wait your turn, you'll get some!

Don't play with your meat.

Just spread the legs open and stuff it in.

You still have a little bit on your chin.

Use a nice smooth stroke when you whip it.

Wow, I didn't think I could handle all of that!

That's the biggest one I've ever seen!

How long do I beat it before it's ready?

How long will it take after you put it in?

You'll know it's ready when it pops up.

Happy Thanksgiving! (Thanks to Grace McGarvie on alt.quotations)

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Goodbye, Sam

Sam, three-time winner of the World's Ugliest Dog title, passed away last Friday, just short of his 15th birthday. He succumbed from kidney failure, a complication from the medication he was taking for a heart problem.

A blog run by Sam's "mom" is here. She's quite a lady.

You can keep Sam's memory alive by buying his 2006 calendar.

And, if it's any consolation, the world's ugliest cat is still hanging in there:

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Headline of the week

Katie Holmes thrown out of film over vibrating device

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I'll forego the "two turkeys" line...

One of the dumbest creatures on
God's green Earth. And a turkey.

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Quote of the day

War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.
-John F. Kennedy

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Monday, November 21, 2005

Exit strategy?

What exit strategy?

I love those credit card commercials you do.
But Laura won't let me carry a wallet.

Wow. I thought Chang was kidding.
I can actually see straight through his ears.

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Copyright © 1987-2015 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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