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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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Happy birthday, Ernie!

One of my favorite actors, Ernest Borgnine, is 92 today. An Oscar-winning performer and charming gentleman, he nonetheless may be remembered best for revealing the secret of his health and longevity:

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Friday, January 23, 2009

I'm anything but a socialist, but...

It really burns me to see Microsoft, which has $20.7 billion of cash lying around and "depressed" quarterly profits of only $4 billion throw 5,000 people out of work. Now, if your company's losing money, sure, I can understand the cuts. But $20.7 billion is enough money to pay each of those 5,000 employees $100,000 a year for more than 40 years. Microsoft can't afford to take a ding for a year or two?

Placing profit and personal interest above all else placed this country in its current financial situation. Obviously, it's going to take a while for the lesson to sink in.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

From the inbox...

Don't mention it. Glad I could help.

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Oh, what a night...

Thanks to Peter and Julie Stumpf, whose wedding present to Cindy and me were tickets to tonight's performance of Jersey Boys at the Benedum. I still remember the first time I heard "Sherry," at Vincent's Pizzaria on Ardmore Boulevard when I was seven years old. Lots of earworms for the rest of the week, for sure...

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Quotes of the day

Being president is like being a jackass in a hailstorm. There's nothing to do but to stand there and take it.

Freedom is not enough.

Friendly cynics and fierce enemies alike often underestimate or ignore the strong thread of moral purpose which runs through the fabric of American history.

Greater love hath no man than to attend the Episcopal Church with his wife.

Guns... are all symbols of human failure. They are necessary symbols. They protect what we cherish. But they are witness to human folly.

Hell, by the time a man scratches his ass, clears his throat, and tells me how smart he is, we've already wasted fifteen minutes.

I have learned that only two things are necessary to keep one's wife happy. First, let her think she's having her way. And second, let her have it.

I never trust a man unless I've got his pecker in my pocket.

I want real loyalty. I want someone who will kiss my ass in Macy's window, and say it smells like roses.

If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: President Can't Swim.

If two men agree on everything, you may be sure that one of them is doing the thinking.

It's damned easy to get in a war but it's gonna be awfully hard to ever extricate yourself.

It's probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in. (re: J. Edgar Hoover)

Make no mistake. There is no such thing as a conventional nuclear weapon.

Making a speech on economics is a lot like pissing down your leg. It seems hot to you, but it never does to anyone else.

My generals are always right about other people's wars and wrong about our own.

Our safest guide to what we do abroad is always what we do at home.

Son, in politics you've got to learn that overnight chicken shit can turn to chicken salad.

The CIA is made up of boys whose families sent them to Princeton but wouldn't let them into the family brokerage business.

The world has narrowed to a neighborhood before it has broadened to a brotherhood.

While you're saving your face, you're losing your ass.

You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered.

-Lyndon B. Johnson (August 27, 1908 - January 22, 1973)

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Through a glass, darkly

President Obama's inaugural address contained no historical sound bite. Those hoping for an "ask not what your country can do for you" or "the only thing we have to fear" were undoubtedly disappointed.

But there is an astounding depth to what he said, assuming his references were selected for their true meanings and not merely for familiarity of phrase. Given Obama's background, the former seems likely; the new President does not seem to be an indolent scholar who quotes out of context.

"We remain a young nation," he said, "but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness."

The scripture quoted is from 1 Corinthians 13. From The New Living Translation:

"If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn't love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God's secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn't love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would have gained nothing.

"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

"Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when full understanding comes, these partial things will become useless.

"When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, [the original translation is the famous "through a glass, darkly"] but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

"Three things will last forever- faith, hope, and love- and the greatest of these is love."

I'm an ardent supporter of the separation of church and state. You'd assume an incoming President making multiple references to God and quoting from the Christian New Testament would give me the willies.

But President Obama also noted, "[P]ower alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead... our power grows through its prudent use. Our security emanates from the justness of our cause; the force of our example; the tempering qualities of humility and restraint."

A country based on the concept of agape. Wow. Or am I the only one who interprets it this way?

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Quote of the day

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all the other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: Know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more.

-President Barack Obama

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That's some Spirit

Rob and Jeff Kolodjay were scheduled to fly on Spirit Airlines to a golf vacation with four other friends on Thursday out of LaGuardia in New York City. Their flight got canceled, and they rebooked their flight to US Airways flight 1549.

While the Kolodjay's have good things to say about US Airways, they are less pleased about the policies of their original carrier. When they tried to cancel the return tickets on Spirit they could not use because they never made it to Myrtle Beach, the company representative insisted on charging them a cancellation fee.

Rob Kolodjay said his conversation was blunt, "We survived this air crash and I need your credit card number, he said 'and our policy is we're going to charge you $90.'"

It's unclear if Spirit plans to try to collect the fee, however, the credit card the group was booked with is still on the plane, which is sitting on a barge in the Hudson River.

US Airways has been more accommodating according the Kolodjays. They claim their luggage might be returned to them soon, including Jeff's now lucky set of golf clubs.

Update: Statement from Misty Pinson, Spirit Airlines:
"Spirit Airlines has given the Kolodjay family a full refund and have issued credits to their credit cards. They will not be charged anything by Spirit Airlines... We applaud everyone involved in bringing these passengers to safety and wish the family the best."

(original story at Fox 61)

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Lest we forget...

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Way to go, Pete

They even did the "subversive" verses. Tony Norman in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette nailed it: "Seeger leading the audience in a rendition of Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land" was brilliant and perfectly subversive given the politics of the last eight years. It is no longer a song of protest. It is a song of triumph."

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Quote of the day

When you play Pittsburgh, you play the entire city.
-Howard Cosell

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Life is a giant hologram, and I can't find the channel changer...

For many months, the GEO600 team-members had been scratching their heads over inexplicable noise that is plaguing their giant detector. Then, out of the blue, a researcher approached them with an explanation. In fact, he had even predicted the noise before he knew they were detecting it. According to Craig Hogan, a physicist at the Fermilab particle physics lab in Batavia, Illinois, GEO600 has stumbled upon the fundamental limit of space-time - the point where space-time stops behaving like the smooth continuum Einstein described and instead dissolves into "grains", just as a newspaper photograph dissolves into dots as you zoom in. "It looks like GEO600 is being buffeted by the microscopic quantum convulsions of space-time," says Hogan.

If this doesn't blow your socks off, then Hogan, who has just been appointed director of Fermilab's Center for Particle Astrophysics, has an even bigger shock in store: "If the GEO600 result is what I suspect it is, then we are all living in a giant cosmic hologram."

(The whole story here.)

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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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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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