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...
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The Carbolic Smoke Ball
Superb satire, and based in Pittsburgh!
"No religious Test shall ever be required as a
Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the
Article VI, U.S. Constitution
Geek of the Week, 7/16/2000
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Saturday, December 02, 2006
Maintenance in progress...
We're in the midst of some major configurations and should be back on the air Monday.
Friday, December 01, 2006
Quote of the day
The president's twin daughters are celebrating their 25th birthday with a trip to Argentina. Apparently their trip has caused what's known as chaos, to the point where, according to ABCNews.com, the American embassy and many Argentinian officials have strongly suggested the twins return to America. Just to repeat: Argentina, former safe-haven for Nazi war criminals, is drawing the line at the Bush twins.
And a Merry Humbug to You, Too....
Attention, crankypants! Thanks to the ingenuity of those fine folk at despair.com, your search for the pefect holiday gift source is over:
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Quote of the day
If you can't describe your position in eight words or less, you don't have a position.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Newsgroup tagline of the day
Go go gadget Sybian!
And get rid of the penny, while you're at it...
WASHINGTON (AP) -- By keeping all U.S. paper currency the same size and texture, the government has denied blind people meaningful access to money, a federal judge said.
U.S. District Judge James Robertson said the Treasury Department has violated the law, and he ordered the government to come up with ways for the blind to tell bills apart. He ordered them to begin working on it within 10 days. The American Council of the Blind has proposed several options, including printing bills of differing sizes, adding embossed dots or foil to the paper or using raised ink.
"Of the more than 180 countries that issue paper currency, only the United States prints bills that are identical in size and color in all their denominations," Judge Robertson wrote. "More than 100 of the other issuers vary their bills in size according to denomination, and every other issuer includes at least some features that help the visually impaired."
Government attorneys argued that forcing the Treasury Department to change the size of the bills or add texture would make it harder to prevent counterfeiting.
Judge Robertson said the government was violating the Rehabilitation Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in government programs.
"It's a landmark decision. I believe it will benefit millions of people," said Jeffrey A. Lovitky, attorney for the plaintiffs.
A Treasury spokeswoman said the department had no comment.
Advertisement of the day
(via David Kifer on the alt.quotations Usenet newsgroup.)
Blast from the past
While doing research related to the possible sale of the kgb.com domain name, I stumbled across the Internet Archive Wayback Machine and discovered they have samples of kgb.com dating back to 1997.
KGB Report in its current online incarnation is about four years old. It began after two years of inactivity, when either the writing bug caught me again or my solitary existence in Chicago forced me to find ways to kill time.
The Wayback Machine, fortuitously enough, happened to catch what I thought was one of the best weeks of the restarted Report. I have to confess one of the reasons the week had so much stuff was that I had recycled pieces I had written for other media in the intervening years.
Any any event, take a look here. Finding it was a pleasant surprise. I hope you also enjoy it.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
I snagged the kgb.com domain name in 1993, about a month after CERN announced the World Wide Web would be free and when there were only about 130 web sites in existence. I used it for email; the kgb.com web site didn't really appear until 1997.
Over the years, I've been asked to sell the domain name countless times. During the internet boom years of the late 90s, the offers arrived almost daily. I still get about two or three e-mails a month, mostly from idiots offering $100. Really, guys. Even the most mundane three letter domain name deserves more than that. The few truly serious callers made offers of several thousand dollars or so, but not enough to exceed its appraised value or tempt me to sell it.
But about a week or so ago I started getting calls from a legitimate source who incrementally boosted their offer closer to my original stated price.
Well, yesterday they agreed to pay what I asked, and now I'm faced with a dilemma: do I really, really want to sell?
kgb.com has been around for a long time. It's an easy to remember name, and my email address- email@example.com- is well nigh unforgettable.
Still, the rational businessman part of me says to take the cash. It's significantly more than the appraisals I've received over the years, and it's not like "the" KGB is going to become more well-known. Sure, everytime someone like Alexander Litvinenko makes the news, I get a bump in traffic; but the KGB's been defunct now for 15 years and, frankly, I can do without the 300,000+ pieces of spam that land at kgb.com every year and all of the Boris and Natasha hoo-hah.
Truth be told, I've anticipated this for a while. I've had the kgbreport.com domain name in reserve and pointed at kgb.com for just such an event.
But it's still kind of hard to give it up. Perhaps, as my minister says, it's time to let go of the banana.
Your comments are appreciated. In the meantime, I need to get a couple hours' sleep.
Monday, November 27, 2006
The Lost (Holiday) Weekend
I first suspected I was in trouble early Wednesday evening went I felt a slight twinge from the broken tooth. Early Thanksgiving morning the pain woke me up.
Let me tell you why dentists are generally not very popular. I spent most of Thursday morning calling dentists in the Yellow Pages who had special emergency phone numbers listed in their advertisements, generally beneath a quote along the lines of "We're here for you" and "We care!" Those phone numbers did not connect to caring humans who were there for me, but to answering machines which provided pager numbers to call. Those who did respond to my calls to their pagers informed me that it was Thanksgiving and that I should know they had better things to do and to call their offices Monday morning, when they would try to squeeze me in sometime during the week. I apologized for bothering each of them, offering as my only excuse that my otherwise sound judgment was impaired by excruciating pain.
At 2 am Friday morning I awoke with a face that was throbbing and beginning to swell.
I stumbled to the computer and Googled "tooth abscess" and discovered this cheery entry:
The roots of the upper molar teeth are often located in the maxillary sinuses. If a tooth abscess generates pus, then a tooth abscess complication can be the sinus filling up with pus. Another serious problem is coma from septicemia of the brain. The brain is only about three inches from the tooth roots and a dental infection from a tooth abscess can spread to the brain through the veins in the head.
Endocarditis can also be a tooth abscess complication. Endocarditis is the inflammation of the inside of the heart and can be caused by bacteria from a tooth abscess. The bacteria attach to the inside of the heart, grow and can damage the heart permanently. If the bacteria enter the lungs, they can cause pneumonia.
The most serious worry is death. If a tooth abscess if left untreated it can grow and spread through the soft tissue of the face and cause dramatic outward facial swelling called cellulitis. If the swelling grows under the jaw it can cause Ludwig's angina, block off the airway and suffocate the patient.
Septicemia of the brain? Endocarditis?? Pneumonia??? Death????!
And the kicker...
If you are concerned about tooth abscess complications and would like to consult with Dr. Xxxxx, make an appointment at xxxxxx.
Which, of course, was an answering machine wishing me a happy Thanksgiving weekend and suggesting I call Monday morning for an appointment. Death is serious, but so are four day weekends.
Since all the listed complications sounded like actual medical problems, I headed off to the local hospital's emergency room, which contacted my family physician, who immediately admitted me and started intravenous antibiotics. (Funny how they could contact Dr. Larry immediately at 4:30 in the morning on a holiday weekend, eh?)
The next morning an oral surgeon appeared in my room and extracted the offending tooth. (By the way, if you're going to have a tooth pulled, I highly recommend having it done while reclining in bed immediately after an IV push of dilaudid.)
The oral surgeon then told me I shouldn't have let my condition proceed to such a severe state, and that I should have contacted a dentist. Emboldened by the dilaudid, I asked him, "And how many hours were you scheduled in your office between Wednesday night and Monday morning, Skippy?" Sanctimonious twit.
The balance of the weekend was spent watching the gradual reduction of the swelling. The oral surgeon didn't drain the abscess while I was in the hospital on Friday because that would have meant booking the OR, which, one assumes, would have been decidedly inconvenient.
So my record of not missing a KGB Report post since January 1, 2006 was broken, and there was no National Temperature Index on Friday, the first time since January 9, 2003, even though during that period I had travelled over 100,000 miles across two continents and nine time zones.
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Violators will be prosecuted.
The firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail address is now something other than email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org as my sole e-mail address. How to let people know that email@example.com was no longer firstname.lastname@example.org but rather email@example.com which is longer than firstname.lastname@example.org and more letters to type than email@example.com and somehow less aesthetically pleasing than firstname.lastname@example.org but actually just as functional as email@example.com? I sent e-mails from the firstname.lastname@example.org address to just about everybody I knew who had used email@example.com in the past decade and a half but noticed that some people just didn't seem to get the word about the firstname.lastname@example.org change. So it occurred to me that if I were generate some literate, valid text in which email@example.com was repeated numerous times and posted it on a bunch of different pages- say, a blog indexed by Google- that someone looking for firstname.lastname@example.org would notice this paragraph repeated in hundreds of locations, would read it, and figure out that email@example.com no longer is the firstname.lastname@example.org they thought it was. That's the theory, anyway. email@example.com. Ok, I'm done. Move along. Nothing to see here...
440 pages, over 11,000 quotations!
get kgb krap!