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, February 28, 2009

Braddock hits the big time

Birthplace of my mother, Braddock finally hits the big time:

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Friday, February 27, 2009

Gimme that fully orchestrated unsynthesized music...

If you like to listen to large orchestras these days, you're pretty much out of luck unless you go to the movies. Broadway? Fahgeddabout it. When I saw Phantom in New York, there were only about 15 musicians in the pit and there are even fewer on the road shows that visit here.

The arrangers do a decent job of compensating with tight arrangements and synthesizers, but there's no way a synth, two violins, a cello, and a computer-driven power amp can really produce the sound of a 30-piece string section.

I'm surprised no one has ever hauled these guys on the carpet for misleading the public. The cast recordings typically feature at least a 30-piece orchestra; Phantom had more than 80.

I think I'm going to have to sign up for the Pittsburgh Pops series next year. Their "Broadway" show will feature songs from Phantom, Hairspray, Wicked, Mamma Mia, Dream Girls, Jersey Boys, Tommy...

There's something about a full orchestra that can really put a piece of music over the top:

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

"The crappiest generation of just spoiled idiots..."

Everyone under the age of 30 should be forced to watch this:

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Self-resolving recursion

Kevin is giving up worrying about what to give up for Lent, for Lent.
(Facebook status entry)

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Bill Gates is responsible for my oversleeping

Having a computer running a Windows operating system is like living in a house where all the exposed surfaces are covered in flypaper. The crud collects, it's impossible to keep clean, and over time becomes so littered with debris you can only move at a snail's pace and sometimes you encounter areas so cluttered everything comes to a complete halt.

Eventually, you have no choice but to grab the stuff you can- data and programs which haven't been entrapped by Window's OS goo- flee outside, burn the sucker down and start over again with a fresh install.

Since last Saturday, I've been trapped in this nightmare scenario. My main laptop is an old Acer notebook with a dead and unavailable Pioneer CD/ROM drive, so I couldn't reinstall from CD. I had to reboot from the hidden partition on the hard drive. Fine, except for some reason, the Windows reinstall would abort during the file copy process. It took five attempts before the reinstall completed.

Then, of course, you have to reinstall all the updates online from Microsoft. The sneaky thing here is that even after you download everything and Microsoft Update says everything's fine, you need to run update and connect to Microsoft again, to get the updates to the updates. In all, I had to connect nearly two dozen times over the course of the next 18 hours to obtain everything. I could download at 16mb/sec from Comcast at the old place; with Atlantic "Broadband", I'm sometimes lucky to maintain 2mb/sec.

Application re-installation was typical- I had lost some registration keys, restored the wrong versions of some programs, and wasted hours hunting down stupid mistakes on my part, like mis-configuring gmail for Outlook. Hey, when you're in your mid-50s, presbyotic, have been awake for 20 hours while trying to adjust to a new pair of computer glasses, it becomes nigh impossible to tell the difference between pop3.gmail.com and pop.gmail.com.

So after dinner out last night and some quality time with my charming bride, I forgot to set the alarm and didn't wake up until 8:30 am. So sue me.

The notebook booted, loaded everything and was ready to go in under two minutes. Wait a minute... what's that? Updates are Available. Install now?

"It is not true that life is one damn thing after another- it is one damn thing over and over." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Inanity of the day

Republicans want to pass a law requiring all Internet providers and operators of millions of Wi-Fi access points- including hotels, local coffee shops, and even home users- to keep records about users for two years, in order to aid police investigations.

They can't monitor one peanut company, and they want to track 200 million net users? And I'm pretty certain Osama bin Laden isn't stealing my wi-fi.

Sheesh.

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Rupert, Rupert, God what did you do?

Most people know songwriter Rupert Holmes, who turns 62 today, as the author of Escape (The Piña Colada Song).

Sure, you remember it... that cheery little 1979 ditty about a couple pursuing mutual infidelity through the personals ads in the local paper. The two set up a rendezvous at a local bar, discover they're both amoral sociopaths, but hey, they don't hold grudges.

Their fate is never explicitly disclosed, but based on the tune's insipid lyrics it's probably safe to assume they ended up lying unconscious in a tropical monsoon "on the dunes by the cape," rendered insensate from alcohol poisoning, their intimate regions painfully abraded by beach sand and infested with crabs of assorted varieties.

I much prefer Holmes' first success, 1971's Timothy. The characters in this light-hearted pageant tell a story as well, resulting in the tune being the first and only Top 40 song based on that winning combination of coal mining- and cannibalism.

Trapped in a mine what had caved in
And everyone knows the only ones left
Were Joe and me and Tim

When they broke through to pull us free
The only ones left to tell the tale
Was Joe and me

Timothy, Timothy, where on earth did you go?
Timothy, Timothy, God why don't I know?

Hungry as hell, no food to eat
And Joe said that he would sell his soul
For just a piece of meat

Water enough to drink for two
And Joe said to me, "I'll take a swig
And then there's some for you."

Timothy, Timothy, Joe was looking at you
Timothy, Timothy, God what did we do?

I must have blacked out just 'round then
'Cause the very next thing that I could see
Was the light of the day again

My stomach was full as it could be
And nobody ever got around to finding Timothy

Timothy, Timothy where on earth did you go
Timothy, Timothy god why don't I know

Timothyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy Yeah
Timothy
Timothy (fade)

I don't know what's more disturbing: the lyrics, the fact the band is having such a great time singing it, or the nagging question- what the hell did they do with the bones?

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Song of the day

 

Carl Anderson (February 27 1945 - February 23 2004), from a Tonight Show in the mid-90s.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

I don't care what they say...

I like Conan:

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Copyright © 1987-2014 by Kevin G. Barkes
All rights reserved.
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.
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Truly great madness cannot be achieved without signficant intelligence


I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.


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