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, August 06, 2005

The obligatory quick Saturday post

I don't have as much time as I'd like for recreational reading, so I grab a few minutes here and there in odd places, like on the throne. This has rather unfortunate consequences of a Pavlovian nature. For the past month I've been reading Ron Chernow's autobiography of Alexander Hamilton during my daily- uh- constitutional. Now every time I see a ten dollar bill, I have to take a dump.

*****

A joke from David Browning: A blonde walks into a bar and asks the bartender for a double entendre. So he gives it to her.

*****

So the Cretin-in-Chief wants to permit the teaching of intelligent design (creationism) so kids can be exposed to different schools of thought? I wonder how many dental schools have a class on the tooth fairy? And would you want a root canal performed by a dentist who opted for the "different school of thought?"

*****

Quote of the day: "I'm spending the week at OSCON, a conference so geeky that they won't even let you in the door unless you have in your possession a Linux boot disk, the root password, a 20-sided die, or proof of virginity."-Matthew Baldwin (posted by The Sanity Inspector on alt.quotations)

*****

Bonus quote of the day: "If you asked me to name the three scariest threats facing the human race, I would give the same answer that most people would: nuclear war, global warming and Windows."-Dave Barry

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Friday, August 05, 2005

I wonder if it was a playoff game?

PANAMA CITY, Fla. - A man who got angry with his wife because she wanted to cuddle after sex when he wanted to watch sports on television was sentenced to death for murdering his wife by clubbing her 70 times with a claw hammer.

Christopher Offord, 30, was sentenced Wednesday by Circuit Judge Dedee Costello, who said the brutality of the crime outweighed any mental problems Offord may have had.

"The defendant struck his wife approximately 70 individual blows after spending a happy interlude with her," the judge said. "Her desire to cuddle after sex does not justify the extremely violent, brutal response of the defendant."

Offord pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the 2004 slaying of Dana Noser, 40, at his apartment.

He confessed to a bartender at a sports bar before his arrest. He told investigators that his wife had been nagging him to come back to bed.

Offord did not speak in court but said in a jailhouse interview in June: "I figured I killed her so I deserve to die."

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Thursday, August 04, 2005

Midway bound

Back to Pittsburgh this morning via Southwest, which reminds me of riding the band bus when I was back in high school: a stampede for the good seats, feeling squashed because there wasn't enough room to carry all our stuff, and a deep longing and resentment while watching those who got to ride on the football team bus stroll aboard leisurely with their seat assignments determined well in advance. Thank goodness I'm back on United for my next trip home.

Was it just me, or did you also have the fear that when the shuttle guys pulled out that loose piece of fabric, all the tiles would fall off, like pulling the thread on a pair of knit pants?

I definitely gotta get more sleep. Off to the Orange Line...

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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Instant karma

Immediately after posting the item below, I realized I didn't have my cell phone. I spent a half-hour searching the apartment, then went down to the apartment lobby to have a look.

I had ordered Chinese for delivery last night, and I knew I had the phone with me then, because I had talked to my wife. It had to be somewhere between the front security desk and my apartment.

No joy. I used the front desk phone to call my wife back in Pittsburgh, who reported she had a voice mail on her cell phone from Cingular. Someone had found my phone and left a contact number.

Long story short: a contractor working at the hotel found the phone on the floor and instead of turning it over to the security desk, took it home with him for "safekeeping." He suggested I should give him something for his inconvenience, which I did- I also told him that he should turn lost articles over to the security desk beause, after all, that's the reason it's there.

Moral: it's not nice to make fun of Mother Nature; or just plain ol' Mom, either.

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Why I'm going to Hell

My mother, who was born after the invention of stainless steel but before the discovery of magnetic recording, is one sharp cookie. My daily calls to her cover an incredible range of topics: family news, who was on Howard Stern that morning (Mom is a fan), details of the weather in a half-dozen locations across the globe, and her version of "today in history", where she reviews the notes she's made on decades of personal calendars.

I'm typically at my desk at work during our chats, and sometimes I get a bit distracted when a customer e-mail pops up on the screen or I hear a conversation going on outside my cube.

You really can't do this when talking with my mother. She's a walking, talking, septuagenarian Jeopardy board who switches subjects and contexts in the wink of an eye: "I'll take home remedies for poison ivy and late August theater party bus trips to eastern Ohio for $200, Alex."

Yesterday, we were discussing something she had told me but I had forgotten; I insisted she'd never mentioned the subject before, and she was just as adamant that she had.

I don't know what came over me. In a patient but slightly condescending tone, I said to her, "Mom, you didn't tell me. You remember, we have this conversation every day. It's your Alzheimer's.

There was quiet on the line for about five seconds. Then Mom said, "you little shit," and we both laughed heartily.

Afterwards, I felt bad. Despite a memory better than her grandchildren and an intellect far superior to the Commander-in-Chief of the United States, she's concerned about the effects of aging. It was unfair of me to exploit that fear, even though we both know it's totally baseless.

So, I apologize, Mom.

Please don't change the hiding place of the strongbox with all your legal documents, ok? Just remember, I'm not calling the coroner until I have that sucker in my hot little hands.

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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

It's all under control

Flying near Dallas? According to the Wall Street Journal, a group of controllers known... as the "T-boys"-- short for "testosterone boys"-- sometimes played games with one another using the airplanes that were under their control. For instance... one controller sometimes would direct a plane under his control to fly toward the same spot in the sky that another aircraft-- being guided by another controller-- was also heading for. The idea was to see which of the two controllers would be the first to back down and order his airplane to turn away...

The report also said that "air-traffic controllers... some working in a prone position with feet propped on consoles and listening to AM-FM radios while directing airplanes full of hundreds of passengers, had a "cavalier attitude" traced to a lack of supervision.

But don't worry, the FAA's taken care of it. Really. No reason to be concerned. Just move along. Nothing to see hear. And don't forget that taking a plastic butane lighter through airport security is a felony.

Yep, we got things under control here.

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What's in a name?

For those of you who are paying attention, you'll notice that the Bush administration is saying the United States is no longer engaged in the "War on Terror." We're now knee-deep in the "global struggle against violent extremism," which apparently does not include pre-emptively attacking and occupying another country based upon fabricated evidence.

-----

Baghdad weather: it's a relatively cool one today, with the high only 111° and a nighttime low of 87°. Amarah will hit 116° today.

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Monday, August 01, 2005

Karma

I'm back in the good old US of A, the land of air conditioning.

Before you complain about the heat here at home, take a look at this. If you recall, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said we invaded Iraq in March (2003) so our troops could find the weapons of mass destruction and be out of there before the summer heat arrived.

Insert your own "burn in Hell" stinger here for the eventual karmic disposition of Rummy and his cohorts.

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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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