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 26, 2006

Quote of the day

Society is like a stew. If you don't stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top.
-Edward Abbey

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Oh, the humanity...

A little historical note. In the 1990s. when Apple had a similar notebook problem- Powerbooks caught fire and damaged the company's reputation at the time- the problematic Powerbook acquired a funny nickname inside the company: "The Hindenbook."
(Tim Onosko, in a posting on Dave Farber's "Interesting Persons" mailing list. )

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Friday, August 25, 2006

Purge continues; Paramount bounces Pluto

VIACOM's Paramount Pictures continued its campaign to extricate itself from relationships with controversial heavenly bodies. Yesterday it cancelled its long-time association with beleaguered Pluto shortly after the International Astronomical Union voted to strip it of its classical planet status, citing- among other things- its erratic behavior.

Paramount severed its ties with actor Tom Cruise earlier this week for similar reasons.

While Pluto never achieved Cruise's superstar status, it had long been considered a fairly reliable supporting player. Discovered in 1930, Pluto often made unbilled cameo appearances in scores of science fiction films. Its association with Paramount began with the 1953 George Pal classic The War of the Worlds, and continued through the studio's various incarnations of the Star Trek franchise.

Pluto's demotion by the IAU particularly irked Paramount execs because they fear references to its former planetary status in the studio's extensive library will annoy audiences and significantly undercut future re-release values. "We're going to have to re-watch every episode of every Trek-related series and rescreen all the movies to locate all the Pluto stuff so we can remove or overdub them," an unnamed Paramount manager said. "All of them. Even Star Trek V, Insurrection, and Nemesis. It's a painful process and it certainly isn't making Pluto any new friends."

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Political quotes of the week

God is the one who chooses our rulers.
-Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.), explaining why the separation of church and state is "a lie." More info...

When Scarborough starts to suggest maybe you're an idiot ... it's like Mel Gibson saying, "That guy's too racist for me."
-Democratic strategist Paul Begala, on MSNBC's Joe Scarborough publicly wondering if Pres. Bush is an "idiot."

If you strip away their power, all you've got is a bunch of fat old men with white hair who look like Newt Gingrich and Baby Huey.
-Nancy Cunningham, estranged wife of Rep. Duke Cunningham, convicted in the lobbyist scandal, decrying the GOP leadership.

(compiled by Daniel Kurtzman on about.com.)

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Yep, it's the Apocalypse: Sign #144

Coprophagia for the kiddies:

And it gets worse.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Mr. Eloquence

Actually, its a lot of fun to fight. You know, it's a hell of a hoot. I like brawling...You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil...You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them.
-Lt. Gen. James Mattis, three-star Marine general

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Little known facts about Pittsburgh, #23

Regent Square is probably the best place in town to spot lesbians in their natural habitat.

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Quotes of the day, country music edition

I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for those people who like country music, denigrate means "put down."
-Bob Newhart

You might be a country music fan if you want to write country music but you can't think of any clean words that rhyme with truck.
-Brian Koffmann

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Bumper sticker of the day

GEORGE W. BUSH'S
"WAR ON TERROR"
Making the skies safe
from shampoo.

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For true Star Trek fans:

Star Trek Inspirational Posters, the best Trek-related humor site I've encountered. These may seem obscure to some of you, but if you're a Trekker, you'll wet your pants:

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The sticky floors slowed them down...

(Phoenix) - A prank at an Arizona theater was anything but a laughing matter.

Someone released two poisonous snakes in a theater that was showing the new movie, Snakes on a Plane.

Snake wrangler Tom Whiting was called to one theater twice in one day to collect the diamondback rattlesnakes. He says all a moviegoer would have to do is startle a snake in the dark and it will attack.

"It was in the theater, and that to me that's very scary," says Whiting. "I'd hate to be in a movie about snakes and have a rattlesnake bite me." [It could have been worse... thank goodness it wasn't Brokeback Mountain-(KGB)]

No one was bit during the incident.

wltx.com

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Philosophical quote of the day

It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.
-Samuel Johnson

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In case you missed it...

The world did not end yesterday. Guess you're going to have to pay those DVD late return fees.

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Hey, music lovers!

Blue because that song you just heard on the radio reminded you of that unbelievable night of unbridled passion with the person you loved more than life itself... you know, the one who later became a delusional nutcase who left you and took the Tivo and your ice cube trays?

Have we got a book for you!

I Hate Myself and Want to Die: The 52 Most Depressing Songs You've Ever Heard

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Back to school

Autodidacticism has its limits. While it's served me quite well through several careers and innumerable avocations, I've kind of hit the wall in my guitar playing efforts.

I can read music and taught myself enough of the basic chords- A, Am, D, E, Em, F, G- to strum about 70% of the songs written in the 60s and 70s. But I realized that if I wanted to achieve my secret Goal in Life®- to play Mason Williams' Classical Gas- at my present rate of progress, I'll be crippled with arthritis and senility before I make it past the 16 bar intro.

So starting next Tuesday evening, I'm heading down to Monster Music, where I will take lessons with an articulate young guy in his mid-thirties with a dazzling smile and confident manner, who wears a bandana and has incredibly tatooed arms. So you know I'm serious.

I played trumpet in high school but my embouchure disappeared sometime in the 70s. Trumpet isn't a good solo instrument.

Besides, chicks dig dudes who can wail on an axe. At least that's my assumption, based upon an empirical analysis of the available data.

"Glod knew a guitar when he saw one. They were supposed to be shaped like a woman, but this was only the case if you thought women had no legs, a long neck and too many ears."
-Terry Pratchett, Soul Music

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Yep, it's the Apocalypse: Sign #143

I've come to the conclusion that the advanced evaluation method used by the Transportation Security Administration to determine what items may be carried onto a plane is probably not a heuristics-based threat analysis computer program, but a dartboard.

Things you cannot carry on to the plane:

Aerosol spray bottles and cans; bubble bath balls, bath oils or moisturizers; bug and mosquito sprays and repellents; deodorants made of gel or aerosol; hair styling gels and spray of all kinds including aerosol; hair straightener or detangler; knives, except for plastic or round bladed butter knives; lip gels such as Carmex or Blistex; liquid lip glosses or other liquids for lips; liquid bubble bath including gel or liquid filled; liquid foundations; liquid, gel or spray perfumes and colognes; liquid sanitizers; liquid soaps; liquid mascara; make up removers or facial cleansers; mouthwash; nail polish and removers; shampoos and conditioners; or toothpaste.

Things you can carry on to the plane:

Cigar cutters; corkscrews, cuticle cutters, eye drops (up to four ounces); eyeglass repair tools, including screwdrivers; eyelash curlers; knitting and crochet needles; nail clippers; nail files; up to four ounces of essential non-prescription liquid medications; safety razors, including disposable razors; up to four ounces of saline solution; plastic or metal scissors with blunt tips; toy transformer robots; toy weapons, if not realistic weapons; umbrellas; walking canes; and, my personal favorites, gel-filled bras and up to four ounces of personal lubricant.

The TSA admonishes you to "try not to over-think these guidelines," which is sound advice. Just imagine what you could do with a corkscrew, a crochet needle, a toy transformer robot, a Star Wars light saber, an umbrella, a cane, a gel-filled bra and four ounces of K-Y® Brand Intimate Warming Liquid.

"If we can't make your flight safer, we can at least make it more surreal."
TSA... proudly and patriotically bewildering the air traveler since 2001.

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'Dang, babye,' seyde Sir Neville, 'ye speke gret wisdam.'

Serpentes on a Shippe! (spoylerez), from Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog.

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Happy Birthday...

...Dorothy Parker, who said, among other things:

I shall stay the way I am because I do not give a damn.

Lips that taste of tears, they say
Are the best for kissing.

You can drag a horticulture, but you can't make her think.
(When asked to use the word "horticulture" in a sentence.)

I wish I could drink like a lady
I can take one or two at the most
Three and I'm under the table
Four and I'm under the host

Now I know the things I know,
And I do the things I do;
And if you do not like me so,
To hell, my love, with you!

Look at him, a rhinestone in the rough.

It serves me right for putting all my eggs in one bastard. (on her unexpected pregnancy)

Authors and actors and artists and such
Never know nothing, and never know much.

It's a small apartment, I've barely enough room to lay my hat and a few friends.

By the time you swear you are his,
Shivering and sighing,
And he vows his passion is infinite and undying-
Lady, make a note of this:
One of you is lying

This wasn't just plain terrible, this was fancy terrible. This was terrible with raisins in it.

My land is bare of chattering folk;
The clouds are low along the ridges,
And sweet's the air with curly smoke
From all my burning bridges.

Ducking for apples- change one letter and it's the story of my life.

I require three things in a man: He must be handsome, ruthless and stupid.

You can't teach an old dogma new tricks.

A girl's best friend is her mutter.

If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.

That woman speaks eighteen languages, and can't say "no" in any of them.

Brevity is the soul of lingerie.

That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment.

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Foxhole atheists speak out...

The first use of the statement "There are no atheists in foxholes" has been traced to Lieutenant-Colonel William J. Clear in a story of Bataan's final weeks, delivered during the "Army Hour" program over the NBC Red (Radio) Network in 1942.(via wikipedia.org)

Actually, it appears the foxholes are chock full of them, and they're rather peeved:

Newsweek
Aug. 21-28, 2006 issue - There are no atheists in foxholes," the old saw goes. The line, attributed to a WWII chaplain, has since been uttered countless times by grunts, chaplains and news anchors. But an increasingly vocal group of activists and soldiers?atheist soldiers?disagrees. "It's a denial of our contributions," says Master Sgt. Kathleen Johnson, who founded the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers and who will be deployed to Iraq this fall. "A lot of people manage to serve without having to call on a higher power."

I Was an Atheist in a Foxhole

Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers

The Atheists In Foxholes Memorial

"There are no atheists in a foxhole" isn't an argument against atheism, it's an argument against foxholes.

(via Two Political Junkies)

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What's next?
United States of America v.
That Really Nice Set of Golf Clubs in Your Trunk?

(From The Newspaper.com)

Federal Appeals Court: Driving With Money is a Crime

Eighth Circuit Appeals Court ruling says police may seize cash from motorists even in the absence of any evidence that a crime has been committed.

A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that if a motorist is carrying large sums of money, it is automatically subject to confiscation. In the case entitled, United States of America v. $124,700 in U.S. Currency, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit took that amount of cash away from Emiliano Gomez Gonzolez, a man with a "lack of significant criminal history" neither accused nor convicted of any crime.

On May 28, 2003, a Nebraska state trooper signaled Gonzolez to pull over his rented Ford Taurus on Interstate 80. The trooper intended to issue a speeding ticket, but noticed the Gonzolez's name was not on the rental contract. The trooper then proceeded to question Gonzolez- who did not speak English well- and search the car. The trooper found a cooler containing $124,700 in cash, which he confiscated. A trained drug sniffing dog barked at the rental car and the cash. For the police, this was all the evidence needed to establish a drug crime that allows the force to keep the seized money.

Associates of Gonzolez testified in court that they had pooled their life savings to purchase a refrigerated truck to start a produce business. Gonzolez flew on a one-way ticket to Chicago to buy a truck, but it had sold by the time he had arrived. Without a credit card of his own, he had a third-party rent one for him. Gonzolez hid the money in a cooler to keep it from being noticed and stolen. He was scared when the troopers began questioning him about it. There was no evidence disputing Gonzolez's story.

Yesterday the Eighth Circuit summarily dismissed Gonzolez's story. It overturned a lower court ruling that had found no evidence of drug activity, stating, "We respectfully disagree and reach a different conclusion... Possession of a large sum of cash is 'strong evidence' of a connection to drug activity."

Judge Donald Lay found the majority's reasoning faulty and issued a strong dissent.

"Notwithstanding the fact that claimants seemingly suspicious activities were reasoned away with plausible, and thus presumptively trustworthy, explanations which the government failed to contradict or rebut, I note that no drugs, drug paraphernalia, or drug records were recovered in connection with the seized money," Judge Lay wrote. "There is no evidence claimants were ever convicted of any drug-related crime, nor is there any indication the manner in which the currency was bundled was indicative of drug use or distribution."

"Finally, the mere fact that the canine alerted officers to the presence of drug residue in a rental car, no doubt driven by dozens, perhaps scores, of patrons during the course of a given year, coupled with the fact that the alert came from the same location where the currency was discovered, does little to connect the money to a controlled substance offense," Judge Lay Concluded.

The full text of the ruling is available in a 36k PDF file here.

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On a more positive note

You may have tangible wealth untold:
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be,
I had a Mother who read to me.
-"The Reading Mother" by Strickland Gillilan
(via David Kifer on the alt.quotations Usenet newsgroup)

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Philosophical observation of the day

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
-Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931),
THE PROPHET (1923)

Their souls may dwell in the house of tomorrow, but their high school crap still dwells in my attic.

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Quote of the day

It amazes me that journalists and Republican politicians paint long overdue opposition to the Iraq war as leftist, extreme or defeatist. There is no longer an issue of whether we will prevail.

Nobody can win this war, least of all us, unless victory becomes defined as Shiite hegemony. We are being set up by the Republicans to blame our eventual defeat and withdrawal on leftist wimps who refused to support the effort to create a stable democracy.

This is an old tactic by warmongering leaders who have overestimated their own abilities. The American people should refuse to go for it.
-Mike Roddy

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Offered with no comment...

Today's editorial in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette praising Marriott International for banning smoking on its properties reminded me of my experience at the chain's Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile hotel the other week.

My mother and I were checking in and I commented offhand that it was my understanding that smoking rooms were no longer available.

"Oh, no," said the charming young lady at the check-in desk, "we still have them. Marriott doesn't go non-smoking until September 1. In fact," she added, "our property doesn't go non-smoking until October 1. We have a big medical convention here in September, and they said they'd cancel if there weren't smoking rooms available."

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Sermon excerpt of the day

[Trying to find his place in his prepared text, after a digression]:

Minister: "Obviously, that was not written here in the sermon. You can always tell when I'm off the text from the sermon... so, where am I? That's what I have to figure out..."

[Voice from congregation]: "Amen."

Minister: "I am? Man, that went faster than I thought..."

.

(Rev. Dale Reese, Windover Hills United Methodist Church, 8/20/06)

The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and have the two as close together as possible.
-George Burns

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Cartoon of the week

Published in The New Yorker August 21, 2006 (via Cartoon Bank)

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Quote of the day

Too often in politics, there are fallacious either/or arguments put up as a justification or an excuse for an action or view which is skewed in such a way as too suggest that there is only one acceptable choice.
-Peter Garrett

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Is Bush An Idiot?

Judge for yourself.

Good news from the White House. President Bush last week had his annual physical and he passed. He passed his annual physical. No word yet on the mental.
-David Letterman

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Copyright © 1987-2017 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...

commentwear


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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