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Getting ready

Published Monday, December 31, 2012 @ 12:00 AM EST
Dec 31 2012

2013 is the first year since 1987 that contains four different numbers.

You're welcome.

Categories: Holidays, WTF?

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"Go home!"

Published Sunday, December 30, 2012 @ 7:57 AM EST
Dec 30 2012

That's what Tracey Ullman (b. December 30, 1959) yelled at her studio audience at the end of each episode of her Emmy-winning 1987-1990 Fox television series, which is perhaps best remembered for the intersitial amimations which introduced The Simpsons to the world.

Ullman had one U.S. hit record, 1983's They Don't Know, written by the late Kirsty McColl, who was a backup singer in the recording (and provided the "Bayuhbee!" at the end of the bridge.)

Categories: Kirsty McColl, The Simpsons, Tracey Ullman

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Published Saturday, December 29, 2012 @ 3:38 AM EST
Dec 29 2012

Happy birthday, Paula Poundstone (b. December 29, 1957)!

Visit our Paula Poundstone page.

Mary Tyler Moore is 76 today. Ted Danson is 65.

Categories: Paula Poundstone

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Eligible for Social Security

Published Friday, December 28, 2012 @ 8:29 AM EST
Dec 28 2012

Edgar Winter (b. December 28, 1946)

Categories: Edgar Winter, Eligible for Social Security

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Quotes of the day: Oscar Levant

Published Thursday, December 27, 2012 @ 6:38 AM EST
Dec 27 2012

Quotes of the day- Oscar Levant:
Oscar Levant (December 27, 1906 – August 14, 1972) was an American pianist, composer, author, comedian, and actor. He was as famous for his mordant character and witticisms, on the radio and in movies and television, as for his music.

Oscar Levant's own versatility may have helped to cloud his memory as a sort of Hollywood utility man, perhaps in the worst sense; people tended to see him as one among many personalities, but he was so much more. It is unfortunately forgotten that he was first and foremost, a brilliant musician and very competent composer. He was from an Orthodox Jewish Russian family, growing up in the Hill District of Pittsburgh. Like his siblings, he started music lessons at an early age and on various instruments, first taking piano lessons from his older brother Benjamin. At seven he continued piano under Martin Miessler, originally of the Leipzig Conservatory. Levant was giving public recitals within a year. He attended music lessons at the Fifth Avenue High School, where he was exposed to classical performance by his instructor, Oscar Demmler. This included going to recitals of the great Polish pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski and concerts conducted by Leopold Stokowski. Demmler invited Levant to accompany him in violin and piano repertoire, which was Levant's first public playing - he was only twelve. Click for IMDB biography.


A musical is a series of catastrophes ending with a floor show.

An epigram is only a wisecrack that's played at Carnegie Hall.

Every time I look at you I get a fierce desire to be lonesome.

Happiness isn't something you experience; it's something you remember.

I am a self made man. Who else would help?

I am no more humble than my talents require.

I don't drink liquor. I don't like it. It makes me feel good.

I envy people who drink. At least they have something to blame everything on.

I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin.

I never read bad reviews about myself because my best friends invariably tell me about them.

I was once thrown out of a mental hospital for depressing the other patients.

I'm going to memorize your name and throw my head away.

It doesn't matter who says it first, it's who gets credit for it last that counts.

It's not what you are, it's what you don't become that hurts.

Marriage is a triumph of habit over hate.

My behavior has been impeccable; I've been unconscious for the past six months.

Once I make up my mind, I'm full of indecision.

Schizophrenia beats dining alone.

So little time, so little to do.

Strip away the phony tinsel of Hollywood and you'll find the real tinsel underneath.

The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.

The only difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is that the Democrats allow the poor to be corrupt, too.

There is a thin line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.

What the world needs is more geniuses with humility, there are so few of us left.

Categories: Oscar Levant, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Harry S. Truman

Published Wednesday, December 26, 2012 @ 1:05 AM EST
Dec 26 2012

Quotes of the day- Harry S. Truman:
Harry S. Truman (May 8, 1884 - December 26, 1972) was the 33rd President of the United States (1945–1953). The final running mate of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944, Truman succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when Roosevelt died after months of declining health. Under Truman, the U.S. successfully concluded World War II; in the aftermath of the conflict, tensions with the Soviet Union increased, marking the start of the Cold War. Click for full Wikipedia article.

A leader in the Democratic Party is a boss, in the Republican Party he is a leader.

A liar in public life is a lot more dangerous than a full, paid up Communist, and I don't care who he is.

A politician is a man who understands government, and it takes a politician to run a government. A statesman is a politician who's been dead 10 or 15 years.

About the meanest thing you can say about a man is that he means well.

All of you, I am sure, have heard many cries about Government interference with business and about "creeping socialism." I should like to remind the gentlemen who make these complaints that if events had been allowed to continue as they were going prior to March 4, 1933, most of them would have no businesses left for the Government or for anyone else to interfere with- and almost surely we would have socialism in this country, real socialism. (in 1950)

All the President is, is a glorified public relations man who spends his time flattering, kissing and kicking people to get them to do what they are supposed to do anyway.

All through history it's the nations that have given most to generals and the least to the people that have been the first to fall.

Children and dogs are as necessary to the welfare of the country as Wall Street and the railroads.

Give me a one-handed economist! All my economists say, "on one hand... on the other."

Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for the real Republican all the time.

How far would have Moses gone if he had taken a poll in Egypt?

I do not believe in shooting anything that cannot shoot back.

I don't think the son of a bitch [Richard Nixon] knows the difference between telling the truth and lying.

I don't give a damn about "The Missouri Waltz" but I can't say it out loud because it's the song of Missouri. It's as bad as "The Star-Spangled Banner" so far as music is concerned.

I fear that the machines are several centuries ahead of the morals.

I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.

I know every one of these 50 fellows [journalists]. There isn't one of them has enough sense to pound sand in a rat hole.

I never gave anybody hell. I just told the truth and they think it's hell.

I sit here all day trying to persuade people to do the things they ought to have sense enough to do without my persuading them... that's all the powers of the President amount to.

I'll go to Japan, if that's what you want, but I won't kiss their ass.

It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.

It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it's a depression when you lose yours.

Men make history, and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.

My choice early in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference.

Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day.

On the one hand, the Republicans are telling industrial workers that the high cost of food in the cities is due to this government's farm policy. On the other hand, the Republicans are telling the farmers that the high cost of manufactured goods on the farm is due to this government's labor policy. That's plain hokum. It's an old political trick: "If you can't convince 'em, confuse 'em." But this time it won't work.

Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.

Put an underdog on top and it makes no difference whether his name is Russian, Jewish, Negro, Management, Labor, Mormon, Baptist he goes haywire. I've found very, very few who remember their past condition when prosperity comes.

Study men, not historians.

The external threat to liberty should not drive us into suppressing liberty at home.

The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know.

The President is always abused. If he isn't, he's doing nothing, and is of no value as the Chief Executive.

The Republicans favor a minimum wage- the smaller the minimum the better.

The White House is the finest jail in the world.

When even one American- who has done nothing wrong- is forced by fear to shut his mind and close his mouth, then all Americans are in peril.

When you get to be President, there are all those things, the honors, the twenty-one gun salutes, all those things. You have to remember it isn't for you. It's for the Presidency.

Whenever a fellow tells me he is bipartisan, I know he's going to vote against me.

Wherever you have an efficient government you have a dictatorship.

Categories: Harry S. Truman, Quotes of the day

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Take it easy...

Published Tuesday, December 25, 2012 @ 8:45 AM EST
Dec 25 2012

The hard part's over. Kick back and relax.

Categories: Christmas

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Merry Christmas!

Published Monday, December 24, 2012 @ 4:23 PM EST
Dec 24 2012

Sassy awaits the arrival of Santa.
Riley prefers the long winter's nap.

Merry Christmas from Kevin and Cindy, Lucy, Sassy, and Riley (the Shelties) and Pumpkin and Chloe (the cats.)

Categories: Christmas, KGB Family

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Three out of four...

Published Monday, December 24, 2012 @ 7:52 AM EST
Dec 24 2012

Great-grandmother, grandfather, and granddaughter Leanna. There would have been four generations, but as my daughter Sara noted, somebody had to take the picture.

Categories: KGB Family

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Published Sunday, December 23, 2012 @ 8:05 AM EST
Dec 23 2012

Categories: Religion, Second Amendment

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Christmas is...

Published Sunday, December 23, 2012 @ 4:33 AM EST
Dec 23 2012

Kids, dogs, and snow. Granddaugter Lea and her best bud Bella enjoy the precipitation up north near Tionesta.


Categories: Christmas, Dogs, Holidays, KGB Family

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Worst. Apocalypse. Ever.

Published Saturday, December 22, 2012 @ 12:25 AM EST
Dec 22 2012

Categories: Cartoons, Mayans, Mel Blanc, Photo of the day

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Go ahead...

Published Friday, December 21, 2012 @ 2:48 AM EST
Dec 21 2012

Categories: Mayans, Photo of the day

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Quotes of the day

Published Thursday, December 20, 2012 @ 7:21 AM EST
Dec 20 2012

Quotes of the day- John Steinbeck:
John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. (February 27, 1902 - December 20, 1968) was an American writer. He is widely known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath (1939) and East of Eden (1952) and the novella Of Mice and Men (1937). As the author of twenty-seven books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books and five collections of short stories, Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.
Click for full article.

A boy gets to be a man when a man is needed.

A dying people tolerates the present, rejects the future, and finds its satisfactions in past greatness and half-remembered glory.

A fella ain't got a soul of his own, just a piece of a big soul, the one that belongs to everybody.

A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.

A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.

A little hope, even hopeless hope, never hurt anybody.

A question is a trap, and an answer your foot in it.

American cities are like badger holes ringed with trash.

I know this- a man got to do what he got to do.
(In The Grapes of Wrath)

I must be getting old because nowadays I find I'm more interested in the food I eat than in the girl who serves it.

I wonder why progress looks so much like destruction.

I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts.

Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.

If I wanted to destroy a nation, I would give it too much and I would have it on its knees, miserable, greedy and sick.

In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.

It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.

It is the nature of man to rise to greatness if greatness is expected of him.

Little presses write to me for manuscripts and when I write back that I haven't any, they write to ask if they can print the letter saying I haven't any.

Man is the only kind of varmint that sets his own trap, baits it, then steps in it.

No man really knows about other human beings. The best he can do is to suppose that they are like himself.

No one wants advice, only corroboration.

Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts, perhaps the fear of a loss of power.

The American girl makes a servant of her husband and then finds him contemptible for being a servant.

The discipline of the written word punishes both stupidity and dishonesty.

The President must be greater than anyone else, but not better than anyone else. We subject him and his family to close and constant scrutiny and denounce them for things that we ourselves do every day. A Presidential slip of the tongue, a slight error in judgment- social, political, or ethical- can raise a storm of protest. We give the President more work than a man can do, more responsibility than a man should take, more pressure than a man can bear. We abuse him often and rarely praise him. We wear him out, use him up, eat him up. And with all this, Americans have a love for the President that goes beyond loyalty or party nationality; he is ours, and we exercise the right to destroy him.

The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success.

There are no ugly questions except those clothed in condescension.

There are some among us who live in rooms of experience we can never enter.

Time is the only critic without ambition.

To be alive at all is to have scars.

Unless a reviewer has the courage to give you unqualified praise, I say ignore the bastard.

We are lonesome animals. We spend all our life trying to be less lonesome.

We spend our time searching for security and hate it when we get it.

We value virtue but do not discuss it. The honest bookkeeper, the faithful wife, the earnest scholar get little of our attention compared to the embezzler, the tramp, the cheat.

What a wonderful thing a woman is. I can admire what they do even if I don't understand why.

Writers are a little below clowns and a little above trained seals.

Categories: John Steinbeck, Quotes of the day

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Tea Party Nation Knows What Causes Shootings: Unions, Loud Stereos and Sluts

Published Wednesday, December 19, 2012 @ 1:59 AM EST
Dec 19 2012

(from Wonkette.)

There was a pretty bad shooting on Friday, and the only thing anybody can talk about is Why It Happened. Logical folk (i.e. us) have been saying it probably had something to do with guns and mental health, but people who don't want that to be true have been saying there isn't any evidence for it, despite all the evidence for it.

In their stead, however, they have been providing all sorts of other factors that are much more obvious, and do not require evidence. This is lucky because they do not have any.

The gun-massacre by the guy with seriously questionable mental health was not exacerbated by guns or mental health care, see, it was abortion pills, obviously. Also to blame: children who do not bum-rush gunmen, because they're stupid. Also, courtesy of Mensa Brain-Astronaut Glenn Beck: Fisher-Price toys. DEFINITELY NOT GUNS.

But there is more. There is sooo much more, and it was decided by Tea Party Nation, so you know it's real, and not a petty, steaming pile of Puritanical extremist propaganda that travels so far afield from the issues at hand that one can't help but wonder what they think the issues actually are. Tell us, Tea Party Brain Timothy Birdnow, what are we to do, to stay not dead?

Homeschool. Take away the power of the radicals in the classrooms. Makes your kids safer, too.

Yes. Guns are not the problem, leaving the house is the problem. That's where they shoot people! And teach evolution!

Back Right to Work legislation for the public sector. Teacher’s unions have helped cement much of this in place. As long as we have group think in the classrooms we will never see the end of this.

There was a shooting! DESTROY UNIONS. This is a real thing. This is a serious thought. Why, Birdnow? What is the “this” we will “never see the end of”? Why are unions so bad?

There was a time when teachers actually spanked children; now a teacher is in peril if he verbally chastises a bad kid.

Ah, cool. Destroy the unions, they are preventing children from being beaten in public, and this is causing school shootings. Next tip:

Call evil out. We have to stop being sorry and start being angry. This is not a time for national grief so much as a time for national anger. We should stop tolerating this sort of thing. Indeed, stop tolerating any bad behavior.

Not guns, mind you. “Bad behavior.” Like what?

If you see kids jumping ahead in line, say, call them out. If you see punks bothering their neighbors call them out. Say something to the idiot blaring his car stereo. Say something to the foul-mouthed teens. Tell the brats to pull up their pants; nobody wants to see their filthy underwear and pimply behind.

Again, a polite reminder that this is a real thing that people believe with their brains. The way to prevent mass shootings is to tell people to pull up their pants, because if we stop putting up with bad behavior, people will magically stop using murder machines to murder.

(Also, about that car stereo thing: A man in Florida (of course) confronted some teens about their loud stereo. They started arguing with him, so he killed one of them with… wait for it… A GUN.)

Also, the problem is not that people with certain conditions lose the ability to reason between right and wrong, the problem is that weenie liberals WON'T TEACH ‘EM:

The idea of restoring standards of right and wrong never occur to anyone on the Left. Last night on television a reporter referred to the shooter’s “damaged mind and broken soul” as if he were somehow a VICTIM! In the old days we would not call this anything but a heinous crime, a horrible mass murder of innocent children.

Translation: “You know what I miss? The days where we didn't understand mental illness and just electrocuted people. We should do that still. Fuck ‘em. Let's get mad.”

The next one is a doozy:

Work to devolve power back to the parents, the local officials, and the communities. A society that is top-down will inevitably lead to alienation of the sort we have seen here… As an FBI profiler said on television last night, he undoubtedly felt powerless and sought to remedy that. Why does a twenty year old feel powerless? He could leave his mother’s home at any time at his age. He feels powerless because he has lived in an over-bureaucratized society, one run ultimately from a far-away central location.

(Just to make sure you're following: The implication here is that a man shot up a school because of a centralized government.)

He has been coddled all his life, given free rein to indulge his senses but not to face the responsibilities that freedom necessitates. He was an eternal juvenile, a child who was not allowed to grow up. He lived in a world of the Progressives making, not in reality.

Progressives made this young man feel helpless. It's only logical! If we were more focused on states' rights, he would have felt magnificent, and free, and would have been not as shooty. Again, IT WAS NOT GUNS OR MENTAL HEALTH. REALLY. IT WASN'T.

On to the most logical cause of shootings:

Restrict the sex in movies, television, on the internet.

There is it! There's the money quote. Obviously slutty thoughts cause shootings. NOT GUNS.

There is a reason why young people commit these sorts of crimes, and sex plays no small part. Their passions are eternally inflamed, and they wander the Earth with no outlet for their overstimulated glands.

Taking a quiet pause for “overstimulated glands” causing shootings.

[I]t has traditionally been understood that a sexually robust individual will fight harder and more aggressively… Even if they were to live promiscuously (a very bad thing for society) they still cannot find adequate outlets for their passions, which have grown to titanic volume.

Titanic volume! Look how slutty kids are these days. No wonder they're shooting people! They aren't having enough sex! (Also: If they do have enough sex, that is “a very bad thing for society.” In case you were thinking we could get through any argument without some slut-shaming.)

The only answer is to follow the other societal coping mechanism, which is to tone down the sexual stimulation, encourage chastity and modesty.

OK. OK this blog post has to stop. It's too much. It is too much stupid. The next item on the list is how Trayvon Martin probably got himself shot because of marijuana, and after that… oh. Oh man here comes another blockquote:

Support the creation of local organizations to act as "neighborhood watch" for schools. Had George Zimmerman been at the front door instead of some mechanical card reader those children would still be alive.

I can't feel my legs. It's too much. The room is spinning. School shootings happen because there are not random, armed civilians at the door. And the only people against this would be unions.

I have to stop. I can't write anymore. It hurts. My face hurts, what's wrong with my hands…

10.Go back to church. We need God more than ever, need prayer.

OH GOD. STOP WITH THE BLOCKQUOTES. It hurts, it hurts. We get it, it wasn't guns. It was anything but guns. Literally anything. Does anyone have an inhaler?

[Tea Party Nation via ThinkProgress]

(Read the original post here.)

Categories: Mass shootings, Rich Abdill, Second Amendment, Tea Party, Wonkette

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Cartoon of the day

Published Wednesday, December 19, 2012 @ 12:52 AM EST
Dec 19 2012

Categories: Cartoons, Mayans, Politics

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Quote of the day

Published Tuesday, December 18, 2012 @ 8:43 AM EST
Dec 18 2012

‎December 21 is the end of the world, the 28th if you happen to be Greek Orthodox.
-David Letterman

Categories: David Letterman, Quotes of the day

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If customer service departments were honest...

Published Tuesday, December 18, 2012 @ 7:44 AM EST
Dec 18 2012

‎"Your call is important to us, but not important enough for us to hire anywhere near the number of people required to adequately deal with the never-ending torrent of valid complaints about our breathtaking incompetency."

Categories: KGB Opinion, Observations

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"Of human sacrifice, and parents’ tears"

Published Tuesday, December 18, 2012 @ 5:58 AM EST
Dec 18 2012

Our Moloch

Garry Wills in The New York Review of Books

Few crimes are more harshly forbidden in the Old Testament than sacrifice to the god Moloch (for which see Leviticus 18.21, 20.1-5). The sacrifice referred to was of living children consumed in the fires of offering to Moloch. Ever since then, worship of Moloch has been the sign of a deeply degraded culture. Ancient Romans justified the destruction of Carthage by noting that children were sacrificed to Moloch there. Milton represented Moloch as the first pagan god who joined Satan’s war on humankind:

First Moloch, horrid king, besmear’d with blood
Of human sacrifice, and parents’ tears,
Though for the noise of Drums and Timbrels loud
Their children’s cries unheard, that pass’d through fire
To his grim idol. (Paradise Lost 1.392-96)

Read again those lines, with recent images seared into our brains—“besmeared with blood” and “parents’ tears.” They give the real meaning of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday morning. That horror cannot be blamed just on one unhinged person. It was the sacrifice we as a culture made, and continually make, to our demonic god. We guarantee that crazed man after crazed man will have a flood of killing power readily supplied him. We have to make that offering, out of devotion to our Moloch, our god. The gun is our Moloch. We sacrifice children to him daily—sometimes, as at Sandy Hook, by directly throwing them into the fire-hose of bullets from our protected private killing machines, sometimes by blighting our children’s lives by the death of a parent, a schoolmate, a teacher, a protector. Sometimes this is done by mass killings (eight this year), sometimes by private offerings to the god (thousands this year).

The gun is not a mere tool, a bit of technology, a political issue, a point of debate. It is an object of reverence. Devotion to it precludes interruption with the sacrifices it entails. Like most gods, it does what it will, and cannot be questioned. Its acolytes think it is capable only of good things. It guarantees life and safety and freedom. It even guarantees law. Law grows from it. Then how can law question it?

Its power to do good is matched by its incapacity to do anything wrong. It cannot kill. Thwarting the god is what kills. If it seems to kill, that is only because the god’s bottomless appetite for death has not been adequately fed. The answer to problems caused by guns is more guns, millions of guns, guns everywhere, carried openly, carried secretly, in bars, in churches, in offices, in government buildings. Only the lack of guns can be a curse, not their beneficent omnipresence.

Adoration of Moloch permeates the country, imposing a hushed silence as he works his will. One cannot question his rites, even as the blood is gushing through the idol’s teeth. The White House spokesman invokes the silence of traditional in religious ceremony. “It is not the time” to question Moloch. No time is right for showing disrespect for Moloch.

The fact that the gun is a reverenced god can be seen in its manifold and apparently resistless powers. How do we worship it? Let us count the ways:

1. It has the power to destroy the reasoning process. It forbids making logical connections. We are required to deny that there is any connection between the fact that we have the greatest number of guns in private hands and the greatest number of deaths from them. Denial on this scale always comes from or is protected by religious fundamentalism. Thus do we deny global warming, or evolution, or biblical errancy. Reason is helpless before such abject faith.

2. It has the power to turn all our politicians as a class into invertebrate and mute attendants at the shrine. None dare suggest that Moloch can in any way be reined in without being denounced by the pope of this religion, National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre, as trying to destroy Moloch, to take away all guns. They whimper and say they never entertained such heresy. Many flourish their guns while campaigning, or boast that they have themselves hunted “vermin.” Better that the children die or their lives be blasted than that a politician should risk an election against the dread sentence of NRA excommunication.

3. It has the power to distort our constitutional thinking. It says that the right to “bear arms,” a military term, gives anyone, anywhere in our country, the power to mow down civilians with military weapons. Even the Supreme Court has been cowed, reversing its own long history of recognizing that the Second Amendment applied to militias. Now the court feels bound to guarantee that any every madman can indulge his “religion” of slaughter. Moloch brooks no dissent, even from the highest court in the land.

Though LaPierre is the pope of this religion, its most successful Peter the Hermit, preaching the crusade for Moloch, was Charlton Heston, a symbol of the Americanism of loving guns. I have often thought that we should raise a statue of Heston at each of the many sites of multiple murders around our land. We would soon have armies of statues, whole droves of Heston acolytes standing sentry at the shrines of Moloch dotting the landscape. Molochism is the one religion that can never be separated from the state. The state itself bows down to Moloch, and protects the sacrifices made to him. So let us celebrate the falling bodies and rising statues as a demonstration of our fealty, our bondage, to the great god Gun.

December 15, 2012, 5:25 p.m.

Link to original article here.

Categories: Gary Wills, Mass shootings, Moloch, New York Review of Books, Second Amendment

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Unintended consequences

Published Monday, December 17, 2012 @ 4:28 AM EST
Dec 17 2012

So, the car has a USB port and user access to its multi-function display? What could go wrong?

The post-ignition status display was slightly different. Fortunately, Cindy has a sense of humor in addition to being a Star Trek fan.

Categories: KGB Family, Star Trek

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Published Sunday, December 16, 2012 @ 12:10 AM EST
Dec 16 2012

Hey, t-shirt person.

If the "loving" god who demands your worship isn't bright enough to correctly interpret the establishment clause of the United States Constitution, and is so petty and vindictive as to turn his back and allow the slaughter of 20 innocent babies, then I have no use for either of you.

If you don't think teachers should be unionized but they should be armed, cancel basic cable.

If more guns made things safer America would have the lowest murder rate on Earth.
The NRA reminds you their right to shoot more clay pigeons without reloading is just a bit more important than your life.
Welcome to America, where some of you will have an easier time buying an assault rifle than marrying who you love.
-John Fugelsang

Once, millions of Americans correctly argued the Constitution gave them the right to own other human beings, too. We changed.
-Jason Cochran

If the reason to have a thing is to protect yourself against people with the same thing, maybe that thing is a bad thing.

It took two minutes, between 9:36am to 9:38am to kill 26 children and their teachers. How many hunters encounter 26 deer in two minutes?
-Roland Scahill

Too many conservatives refuse to regulate assault rifles, but they're fine with regulating the female reproductive organs. Because liberty.
-Bob Cesca

Sorry, but prayers and giving your kids hugs fix nothing; only having the balls to stand up to our insane selfish gun culture will.
-Bill Maher

Categories: First Amendment, Mass shootings, Religion, Second Amendment, WTF?

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Remembering Hitch

Published Saturday, December 15, 2012 @ 12:47 PM EST
Dec 15 2012

Christopher Hitchens died a year ago today. We remembered him here.

Categories: Christopher Hitchens

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Going in style

Published Saturday, December 15, 2012 @ 7:58 AM EST
Dec 15 2012

I say we all wear red shirts on December 21, 2012. So at least if we die, we die as Mr. Gene Roddenberry intended.
-from Twitter (via The Sanity Inspector)

Categories: Gene Roddenberry, Mayans, Star Trek

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Two out of ten isn't enough...

Published Saturday, December 15, 2012 @ 7:00 AM EST
Dec 15 2012

Happy Bill of Rights Day, commemorating the ratification of the first ten Amendments to the United States Constitution on this day in 1791. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt first declared its annual observance on December 15, 1941.

Should unfortunate circumstances place you in the presence of someone pontificating on the manner in which the first and especially the second amendment really should be interpreted, do what I do. Ask the delusional pedant to recite all ten Amendments.

"You can't? Gee, a real Constitutional scholar, ain'tcha Skippy?"

"Now go away, before I taunt you a second time."

Categories: FDR, First Amendment, Second Amendment, U.S. Constitution

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Tweet of the day

Published Friday, December 14, 2012 @ 8:07 AM EST
Dec 14 2012

Categories: Elayne Boosler, Twitter

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Merry Christmas, my ass.

Published Thursday, December 13, 2012 @ 9:57 AM EST
Dec 13 2012

Well, not mine, really. Gabriel is one of the animals helped by Janice Wolf at Rocky Ridge Refuge. Help them out by ordering a 2013 calendar online, or by sending $16 ($20 international) to:

Rocky Ridge Refuge
Janice Wolf
P.O. Box 105
Midway, Ar. 72651

Tell her you want the humor calendar. Trust me.

Categories: Animals, Rocky Ridge Refuge

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A brief history of the Gregorian calendar

Published Wednesday, December 12, 2012 @ 12:20 PM EST
Dec 12 2012

I'm sick of hearing about the Mayans, so here's an oldie but goodie:

This information comes from the original (pre-Motif) DECwindows help file which accompanied VMS version 5.3. It was written by Marios Cleovoulou and is copyright © 1988, 1989 by Digital Equipment Corporation.

As decreed by Pope Gregory XIII, October 4, 1582, was followed by October 15, 1582. Thus ended the 1,600 year reign of the Julian calendar upon which the Gregorian calendar is based, and thus began the calendar which DECwindows Calendar uses to measure time.

Calendars based on sun and moon movement were used even by the ancients, but the first reasonably accurate one was the 365 1/4- day cycle calculated by the Greek Sosigenes. This was the calendar authorized by Julius Caesar in 46 BC. The Julian calendar (not to be confused with the Julian period; see below) had three years of 365 days each, followed by a fourth year of 366 days.

The 365 1/4-day cycle was more accurately defined in 730 AD by the Venerable Bede, an Anglo-Saxon monk, who shortened the time by 11 minutes, 14 seconds. This accumulates to a whole day's error every 128 years, or a little more than three days every 400 years. This being the Dark Ages, nothing was done to adjust the Calendar, despite Roger Bacon sending a note to Pope Clement IV, informing him of the drifting of the date for the vernal equinox. Later, Pope Sixtus IV did become convinced that another reform was needed and called the German astronomer Regiomontanus to Rome to advise him. Unfortunately, Regiomontanus died of the plague shortly thereafter and the plans died with him.

Thursday, October 4, 1582 was the next time the calendar was adjusted. This last day of the Julian calendar was followed by Friday, October 15. So began the Gregorian calendar that we use today, named after Pope Gregory XIII. He commissioned the mathematician Father Christopher Clavius, S.J., to do the necessary calculations, having been authorized to reform the calendar by the Council of Trent in 1545.

The Vatican librarian Aloysius Giglio provided a formula for long- range accuracy. He suggested that every fourth year be a leap year, except for century years that are not divisible by 400. Thus 1700, 1800, and 1900 would not be leap years, but 2000 would be, because 2000 is divisible by 400. This rule eliminated three leap years every four centuries, making the calendar sufficiently correct for most ordinary purposes.

Political Acceptance in Europe

Italy, Portugal, and Luxembourg immediately adopted the new calendar. By 1584, Belgium, parts of the Netherlands, Switzerland, and most Catholic German states had joined, and by 1587, so had Hungary. It was not until 1699-1700 that these countries were joined by the rest of the Netherlands, Denmark, and the Protestant German countries.

By the time the British imposed the calendar on all its possessions, in 1752, 11 days needed to be lost. September 2, 1752, was thus decreed to be followed by September 14. In addition, New Year's day was moved back from March 25 to January 1. (For example, before, March 24, 1700 had been followed by March 25, 1701). Among other repercussions, this moved Washington's birth date from February 11, 1731, to February 22, 1732. The following year, 1753, Sweden too adopted the calendar.

In 1793, the French Revolutionary government adopted a calendar of 12 onths of 30 days each, with five extra days in September (six on leap years). The Gregorian calendar was reinstated in 1806 by Napoleon.

Political Acceptance World Wide

Adoption of the calendar in countries outside Europe and its Crown possessions occurred much later, and often in conjunction with political upheaval: Japan in 1873, Egypt in 1875, China in 1912, and Turkey in 1917.

In 1918, Russia's revolutionary government decreed that January 31, 1918, would be followed by February 14, 1918.

Religious Acceptance Worldwide

German Protestants used the old calendar until 1776, three quarters of a century after their countries had adopted the Gregorian system.

Sweden retained the old Easter rules for 90 years after switching to the Gregorian calendar, and many Middle Eastern Christian sects still retain the Julian calendar.

The Russian Orthodox Church still follows the Julian system.

The Julian Period

Astronomers use the Julian period because it is convenient to express long time intervals in days rather than months, weeks and years. It was devised by Joseph Scaliger, in 1582, who named it after his father Julius, thus creating the confusion between the Julian (Caesar) calendar and the Julian (Scaliger) period.

Julian Day 1 began at 12:00 noon, January 1, 4713 BC. This date was thought by some to correspond approximately to the beginning of the universe. Certainly it predated any known astronomical events known in the 16th century without resorting to negative times. Scaliger decided on the actual date on the grounds that it was the most recent coincidence of three major chronological cycles:

- The 28-year solar cycle, after which dates in the Julian calendar (for example September 27) return to the same days of the week (for example Tuesday).

- The 19-year lunar cycle, after which phases of the moon return to the same dates of the year.

- The 15-year indiction cycle, used in ancient Rome for tax regulation.

It takes 7980 years to complete the cycle. Noon of January 1, 1988, marks the beginning of Julian Day 2447161.

The Julian period is also of interest because of its use as a time base by the VMS operating system.

VMS and the Julian Period or:
Why VMS regards November 17, 1858,
as the beginning of time...

The modified Julian date adopted by SAO (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory) for satellite tracking is Julian Day 2400000, which turns out to be November 17, 1858.

SAO started tracking satellites with an 8K (nonvirtual) 36-bit IBM 704 in 1957, when Sputnik went into orbit. The Julian day was 2435839 on January 1, 1957. This is 11225377 octal, which was too big to fit into an 18-bit field. With only 8K of memory, the 14 bits left over by keeping the Julian date in its own 36-bit word would have been wasted. They also needed the fraction of the current day (for which 18 bits gave enough accuracy), so it was decided to keep the number of days in the left 18 bits and the fraction of a day in the right 18 bits of one word.

Eighteen bits allows the truncated Julian day (the SAO day) to grow as large as 262143, which from November 17, 1858, allowed for seven centuries. Possibly, the date could only grow as large as 131071 (using 17 bits), but this still covers three centuries and leaves the possibility of representing negative time. The 1858 date preceded the oldest star catalogue in use at SAO, which also avoided having to use negative time in any of the satellite tracking calculations.

Ultrix (Unix) Time Origins

The beginning of time for Ultrix systems is:

Thursday January 1 00:00:00 1970

The reason for this date being chosen is that this was the year that UNIX, the "father" of Ultrix, was firstreleased.

Thus dates prior to 1970 are BU; 1970 and later dates are AU.

History and DECwindows Calendar

If you read the topics concerning the political and religious acceptance of the Gregorian calendar, you will see that there is a problem: there are many dates for the conversion from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. For example, the British (and therefore the Americans) converted in September 1752, so British and American Calendar users might expect Calendar to show September 2, 1752, to be followed by September 14, 1752. However, a Russian user would expect to see this jump between January 31, 1918, and February 14, 1918.

DECwindows Calendar conforms to the date of the original decree, therefore no days have been lost since Friday, October 15, 1582, nor since the beginning of DECwindows Calendar time: January 1, 1600. Thus for everyone except for users from the majority of the Catholic European countries, which all converted before this date, there will appear to be an "error" in Calendar, where the conversion actually took place. This generalization was felt to be acceptable for an application not specifically designed for historians.

Categories: 12/12/12 12:12:12, Computers, Miscellany

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Quote of the day

Published Wednesday, December 12, 2012 @ 12:12 AM EST
Dec 12 2012

"Old men miss many dogs."-Steve Allen

Skippy and PeeWee, circa 1970. Thanks for the photo, Mom.

Categories: Dogs, KGB Family, Quotes of the day

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12/12/12 12:12:12.12, or the end of the world as we know it.

Published Tuesday, December 11, 2012 @ 5:16 AM EST
Dec 11 2012

Forget 12/21. The end of the world as we know it may begin today at 7:12 pm Eastern Standard Time.

That's when December 12, 2012, 12:12:12 arrives in American Samoa on the International Date Line.

Those with a less than altruistic streak are hoping the world's computer systems will implode in the great cascading failure Y2K was supposed to have been.

Enhancing the absurdity of the situation is the knowledge the potential disruption will be due not to obscure defects in the design of mind-numbingly complex hardware and software. Blame for the collapse can instead be squarely pinned to the banal bleatings of billions of blithering idiots.

They will be simultaneously e-mailing, posting, tweeting and blogging in a frenetic attempt to have their pointless communications endowed with that rarest of time stamps, 12/12/12 12:12:12. The load to computer and communications systems could be overwhelming.

While the chaos could proceed in an orderly, domino-like fashion as the earth spins through each time zone, it's more likely the most notable disturbance in the Force will be felt tomorrow morning at 7:12:12 am Eastern Standard Time.

That corresponds to 12/12/12 12:12:12 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). All systems containing intrinsic timekeeping functions are synchronized to UTC and display local time as an offset from the UTC base time. Nerds know this, and to make certain their messages are precisely timestamped, they'll post using the non-offset UTC, the planet's "official" time.

To paraphrase Padmé Amidala:

So this is how civilization dies... with your crazy Aunt Betty posting a cat picture to her Timeline.

(Thanks to Dave Dustin, whose musings on Twitter reminded me of the 12/12 business)

Categories: 12/12/12 12:12:12, Dave Dustin, Signs of the Apocalypse, WTF?

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Breaking News

Published Tuesday, December 11, 2012 @ 12:20 AM EST
Dec 11 2012

There's an unconfirmed report that NASA has scheduled a 9 am press conference at its Washington, DC headquarters to confirm that the agency has made contact and has been communicating for some time with sentient extraterrestrials.

The same report states emissaries of the as yet unidentified race have provided key NASA experts with startling revelations in the fields of physics, quantum mechanics and biochemistry- knowledge that will forever change humanity's perspective and, possibly, its very role in the universe.

The report is unconfirmed because I made it up. But it was a neat thrill there for a second, huh?

Categories: KGB, WTF?

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When Things Were Rotten

Published Monday, December 10, 2012 @ 7:11 AM EST
Dec 10 2012

On December 10, 1975, the 13th and final episode of Mel Brooks' When Things Were Rotten aired on ABC.

Hoping to do for the Middle Ages what Blazing Saddles did for the Old West, the absurdist comedy premiered in the top 20 but quickly tanked. A critical success, it couldn't survive in its Wednesday 8 pm time slot opposite Tony Orlando and Dawn on CBS and Little House on the Prairie on NBC.

In that primitive age- before the Internet, before DVRs, yea, verily, even before Betamaxes- moms and dads opted for musical variety and wholesome viewing on the family's two television sets.

It was a shame. In addition to Brooks, the series boasted top-name talent. The show's bouncy theme was written by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, the guys who did Bye Bye Birdie, Applause, and Annie. Four episodes were directed by Peter Hunt, better known for directing the Tony-winning musical 1776 and its movie adaptation.

And it featured great stuff like:

Villain: "Are you ready to tell that to your maker?"

Victim (to camera): "Mel! I didn't do it!"

(YouTube video: Opening credits and theme, "When Things Were Rotten")

Once upon a time when things were rotten
Not just food but also kings were rotten
Everybody kicked the peasants
Things were bad and that ain't good
Then came Robin Hood... ba-bah!

Soon the band of Merry Men begotten
They wore outfits made of plain green cotton
Helping victims was their business
Boy oh boy was business good
Good for Robin Hood!

They laughed, they loved, they fought, they drank
They jumped a lot of fences
They robbed the rich, gave to the poor
Except what they kept for expenses!

So when other legends are fogotten
We'll remember back when things were rotten
Yay for Robin Hood!

Categories: Blazing Saddles, Mel Brooks, TV, When Things Were Rotten, YouTube

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Quotes of the day

Published Monday, December 10, 2012 @ 3:12 AM EST
Dec 10 2012

Quotes of the day- Damon Runyon:
Alfred Damon Runyon (October 4, 1880 - December 10, 1946) was an American newspaperman and author best known for his short stories celebrating the world of Broadway in New York City that grew out of the Prohibition era. To New Yorkers of his generation, a "Damon Runyon character" evoked a distinctive social type from the Brooklyn or Midtown demimonde. The adjective "Runyonesque" refers to this type of character as well as to the type of situations and dialog that Runyon depicted.

He spun humorous and sentimental tales of gamblers, hustlers, actors, and gangsters, few of whom go by "square" names, preferring instead colorful monikers such as "Nathan Detroit," "Benny Southstreet," "Big Jule," "Harry the Horse," "Good Time Charley," "Dave the Dude," or "The Seldom Seen Kid." His distinctive vernacular style is known as "Runyonese": a mixture of formal speech and colorful slang, almost always in present tense, and always devoid of contractions.

Runyon's fictional world is also known to the general public through the musical Guys and Dolls based on two of his stories, "The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown" and "Blood Pressure". The musical also borrows characters and story elements from other Runyon stories, most notably "Pick The Winner." The film Little Miss Marker (and its remake, Sorrowful Jones) grew from his short story of the same name. Click for Wikipedia article.


A free-loader is a confirmed guest. He is the man who is always willing to come to dinner.

Always try to rub up against money, for if you rub up against money long enough, some of it may rub off on you.

Get as mad as you like but never get off the payroll.

He who tooteth not his own horn, the same shall not be tooted.

I long ago came to the conclusion that all life is six to five against.

It may be that the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong- but that's the way to bet.

Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.

She is a smart old broad. It is a pity she is so nefarious.

You can become a winner only if you are willing to walk over the edge.

Categories: Damon Runyon, Quotes of the day

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Signs of the Apocalypse, #905

Published Sunday, December 09, 2012 @ 2:10 AM EST
Dec 09 2012

Well, thanks for clearing that up...

Categories: Photo of the day, Signs of the Apocalypse, WTF?

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DUI: Decorating Under the Influence

Published Saturday, December 08, 2012 @ 11:43 AM EST
Dec 08 2012

Categories: Holidays, Photo of the day, WTF?

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Quotes (and cartoon) of the day

Published Saturday, December 08, 2012 @ 12:31 AM EST
Dec 08 2012

James Grover Thurber (December 8, 1894 – November 2, 1961) was an American author, cartoonist and celebrated wit. Thurber was best known for his cartoons and short stories, published mainly in The New Yorker magazine then collected in his numerous books. One of the most popular humorists of his time, Thurber celebrated the comic frustrations and eccentricities of ordinary people. (Click for full article.)

A burden in the bush is worth two on your hands.

A little crotch kicking is a good thing, if done in anger. I can't stand guys who are merely piqued by the unforgivable...

A man's bed is his cradle, but a woman's is often her rack.

A pinch of probably is worth a pound of perhaps.

A woman's place is in the wrong.

All men should strive to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.

American college students are like American colleges; each has half-dulled faculties.

But what is all this fear of and opposition to oblivion? What is the matter with the soft darkness, the dreamless sleep?

Childhood used to end with the discovery that there is no Santa Claus. Nowadays, it often ends when the child gets his first adult, the way Hemingway got his first rhino, with the difference that the rhino was charging Hemingway, whereas the adult is usually running away from the child.

Discussion in America means dissent.

Do not look back in anger, or forward in fear, but around in awareness.

Don't get it right, just get it written.

Don't let the chip on your shoulder be your only reason for walking erect.

Early to rise and early to bed makes a man healthy and wealthy and dead.

He knows all about art, but he doesn't know what he likes.

He who hesitates is sometimes saved.

Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility.

I hate women because they always know where things are.

I loathe the expression “What makes him tick.” It is the American mind, looking for simple and singular solution, that uses the foolish expression. A person not only ticks, he also chimes and strikes the hour, falls and breaks and has to be put together again, and sometimes stops like an electric clock in a thunderstorm.

I spit on the grave of my awful forties.
(on turning 50)

I suppose that even the most pleasurable of imaginable occupations, that of batting baseballs through the windows of the RCA Building, would pall a little as the days ran on.

I think that maybe if women and children were in charge we would get somewhere.

I wouldn't go down there if they was Fig Newtons down there.

If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons.

In his grief over the loss of a dog, a little boy stands for the first time on tiptoe, peering into the rueful morrow of manhood. After this most inconsolable of sorrows there is nothing life can do to him that he will not be able somehow to bear.

It had only one fault. It was kind of lousy.

It's better to know some of the questions, than all of the answers.

Love is blind, but desire just doesn't give a good goddamn.

Man has gone long enough, or even too long, without being man enough to face the simple truth that the trouble with Man is Man.

Men are more interesting than women, but women are more fascinating.

Nowadays men live lives of noisy desperation.

One [martini] is all right. Two are too many, and three are not enough.

Our love never ripened into friendship.

She said he proposed something on their wedding night her own brother wouldn't have suggested.

She who goes unarmed in paradise had better be sure that is where she is.

Sixty minutes of thinking of any kind is bound to lead to confusion and unhappiness.

So much has already been written about everything that you can't find out anything about it.

Sometimes the news from Washington forces me to the conclusion that your mother and your brother Ed are in charge.
(cartoon caption)

The human being says that the beast in him has been aroused, when what he actually means is that the human being in him has been aroused.

The material on me... was so extensive that the writer couldn't find anything he was looking for, and, with data up to his waist, had to guess and make things up.

The most dangerous food is wedding cake.

The past is an old armchair in the attic, the present an ominous ticking sound, and the future is anybody's guess.

The saddest words of pen or tongue are wisdom's wasted on the young.

The wit makes fun of other persons; the satirist makes fun of the world; the humorist makes fun of himself.

The written word will soon disappear and we'll no longer be able to read good prose like we used to could. This prospect does not gentle my thoughts or tranquil me toward the future.

There are two kinds of light- the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures.

There is no safety in numbers, or in anything else.

There is something about a poet which leads us to believe that he died, in many cases, as long as twenty years before his birth.

We must all study German. When Fate knocks in German, by God you hear it.

What this country needs is a good detached retinue.
(to his ophthalmologist)

Where did you get those big brown eyes and that tiny mind? (cartoon caption)

Where most of us end up there is no knowing, but the hell-bent get where they are going.

Why do you have to be a nonconformist like everybody else?

Women deserve to have more than 12 years between the ages of 28 and 40.

You can fool too many of the people too much of the time.

You can tell where I get my ideas from the things I write, and then you will know as much about it as I do.

You might as well fall flat on your face as lean over too far backward.

Categories: Cartoons, James Thurber, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day

Published Friday, December 07, 2012 @ 6:08 AM EST
Dec 07 2012

Quotes of the day- Noam Chomskey:
Avram Noam Chomsky born December 7, 1928) is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, historian, political critic, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor (Emeritus) in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. In addition to his work in linguistics, he has written on war, politics, and mass media, and is the author of over 100 books. According to the Arts and Humanities Citation Index in 1992, Chomsky was cited as a source more often than any other living scholar from 1980 to 1992, and was the eighth most cited source overall. He has been described as a prominent cultural figure, and he was voted the "world's top public intellectual" in a 2005 poll. (Click here for complete article.)

Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media.

As soon as questions of will or decision or reason or choice of action arise, human science is at a loss.

Businesses try to maximize profit, power, market share and control over the state. Sometimes what they do helps other people, but that's just by chance.

Education is a condition of imposed ignorance!

Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it's from Neptune.

How it is we have so much information, but know so little?

I think there is a good reason why the propaganda system works that way. It recognizes that the public will not support the actual policies. Therefore it is important to prevent any knowledge or understanding of them.

I think we can be reasonably confident that if the American population had the slightest idea of what is being done in their name, they would be utterly appalled.

I was never aware of any other option but to question everything.

If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged.

If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.

If you think the wrong thoughts, you're not in the system.

In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than just ideals to be valued- they may be essential to survival.

See, people with power understand exactly one thing: violence.

Sports plays a societal role in engendering jingoist and chauvinist attitudes. They're designed to organize a community to be committed to their gladiators.

The country was founded on the principle that the primary role of government is to protect property from the majority, and so it remains.

The Internet is an elite organization; most of the population of the world has never even made a phone call.

The more you can increase fear of drugs and crime, welfare mothers, immigrants and aliens, the more you control all the people.

The most effective way to restrict democracy is to transfer decision-making from the public arena to unaccountable institutions: kings and princes, priestly castes, military juntas, party dictatorships, or modern corporations.

The press is owned by wealthy men who only want certain things to reach the public.

The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum- even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.

There's a good reason why nobody studies history. It just teaches you too much.

To some degree it matters who's in office, but it matters more how much pressure they're under from the public.

"Tough love" is just the right phrase: love for the rich and privileged, tough for everyone else.

Unfortunately, you can't vote the rascals out, because you never voted them in, in the first place.

We shouldn't be looking for heroes, we should be looking for good ideas.

You don't get to be a respected intellectual by uttering truisms in monosyllables.

You never need an argument against the use of violence, you need an argument for it.

Categories: Noam Chomsky, Quotes of the day

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'Tis the season

Published Thursday, December 06, 2012 @ 12:02 AM EST
Dec 06 2012

Potential KGB Report Christmas card.

Categories: Holidays, KGB

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You're welcome

Published Wednesday, December 05, 2012 @ 6:55 AM EST
Dec 05 2012

Click here, and kiss the rest of your morning goodbye.

Categories: Miscellany, WTF?

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Published Wednesday, December 05, 2012 @ 5:45 AM EST
Dec 05 2012

This might be what finally motivates me to get a Blu-Ray player. The third season of Star Trek: The Next Generation was when the show finally jelled. Most of my favorite episodes come from that year: "Who Watches the Watchers?"; "Déjà Q"; "Yesterday's Enterprise"; "The Offspring"; "The Most Toys"; and the terrific cliffhanger, "The Best of Both Worlds".

(YouTube video: Star Trek: Next Generation - Season Three Blu-Ray trailer from CBS Home Entertainment. Turn off the lights, be sure you're in hi-def, go to full screen and crank up the sound.)

Categories: Patrick Stewart, Photo of the day, Star Trek, TV, Video, YouTube

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Quote of the day

Published Tuesday, December 04, 2012 @ 1:11 PM EST
Dec 04 2012

Hanukkah is the most American holiday because it's a celebration of burning oil that we don't have.
-Andy Borowitz

Categories: Andy Borowitz, Quotes of the day

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How "White Christmas" and "The Ten Commandments" begat "Star Wars"

Published Tuesday, December 04, 2012 @ 12:46 PM EST
Dec 04 2012

Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" was the first film shot in Paramount Pictures' proprietary VistaVision widescreen process. Twentieth Century Fox's previously introduced Cinemascope used anamorphic lenses to squeeze a wider image onto the film; the process was reversed during projection. When you see a film clip where everyone looks extremely tall and skinny, you're seeing a widescreen anamorphic print being projected in error by a normal lens.

The problem with all this image squeezing and unsqueezing was the effect on image quality. Distortion was introduced which couldn't be completely eliminated during projection. Color motion picture film in the 1950s was also rather grainy, and the fuzziness could be detected when the image was projected on the larger, wider screens.

Instead of using lenses to squeeze a wider image on the negative, VistaVision cameras moved the film horizontally past the lens, exposing the equivalent of two standard 35mm frames. This doubled the width of image without the introduction of anamorphic distortion and graininess. Think landscape vs portrait photo printing on your computer, and you'll get the idea.

Very few VistaVistion projectors were built, and they were used only at special previews and premieres. Since twice as much film was used to record the image, it had to move through the projector twice as fast, at a somewhat terrifying three feet per second. For regular exhibition at the local neighborhood movie house, the VistaVision negatives were printed down to standard vertical 35mm reels, while keeping the widescreen aspect ratio. A VistaVision print could be projected with a regular lens, which meant theater owners didn't have to buy special equipment or deal with switching lenses when the second movie on a double feature was shot in non-widescreen format.

Technology marched on; higher quality film stocks were created as well as better anamorphic lenses. VistaVistion's bulky cameras and high film costs doomed the format. After being used on about three dozen or so films, VistaVision disappeared for the most part in the early 1960s.

Jump cut to the mid-1970s. John Dykstra was looking for cheap motion picture cameras suitable for shooting special effects. Effects shots require multiple exposures and multiple printing steps, each resulting in increased film grain and loss of detail. The old VistaVision cameras, with double the negative size of a standard 35mm frame, were ideal-- and were dirt cheap, since no one had used them for 15 years. Even better, the lens mounts on the old cameras and printers could be modified to use readily available, high-quality Nikkor lenses from 35mm Nikon still cameras. (I vaguely recall an ad by Nikkor on the back cover of Popular Photography magazine boasting how their lenses made Star Wars possible, but the issue's long gone and I can't find the ad online anywhere.)

Dykstra bought the old equipment, added motion control hardware and software, and the VistaVision cameras that shot Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye in White Christmas and Charleton Heston in The Ten Commandments (a 1956 Paramount release) became the Dykstraflex system that made Star Wars' groundbreaking effects possible. The old VistaVision equipment carried Industrial Light and Magic's multiple award-winning efforts until the replacement of optical-based special effects with computer generated imagery.

Categories: Movies, Star Wars, Video, YouTube

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Published Tuesday, December 04, 2012 @ 8:05 AM EST
Dec 04 2012

Categories: Miscellany

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Everybody does Shatner, #11

Published Monday, December 03, 2012 @ 2:10 AM EST
Dec 03 2012

Categories: Star Trek, William Shatner

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One of the few sport-related posts you'll ever see here...

Published Sunday, December 02, 2012 @ 9:50 PM EST
Dec 02 2012

Never underestimate a kid from Homestead, PA.

Categories: Charlie Batch

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Published Sunday, December 02, 2012 @ 7:20 AM EST
Dec 02 2012

Photos encountered during the past week:

That's quite a choice.

Granddaughter Lea has yer crescent rolls right here, pally.

Spock was not impressed long before it was cool to be not impressed.

Why yes. Yes, it does.

Categories: Miscellany, Photo of the day

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Tweet of the day

Published Saturday, December 01, 2012 @ 5:50 PM EST
Dec 01 2012

It's easy to blame others for your mistakes. Seriously. Try it.

Categories: Observations, Twitter

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Published Saturday, December 01, 2012 @ 10:04 AM EST
Dec 01 2012

Thanks for the great November!

Categories: KGB Blog News

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Quotes of the day

Published Saturday, December 01, 2012 @ 6:27 AM EST
Dec 01 2012

Quotes of the day- Woody Allen:
Woody Allen (born Allan Stewart Konigsberg; December 1, 1935) is an American screenwriter, director, actor, comedian, author, playwright, and musician whose career spans over half a century.

He began as a comedy writer in the 1950s, penning jokes and scripts for television and also publishing several books of short humor pieces. In the early 1960s, Allen started performing as a stand-up comic, emphasizing monologues rather than traditional jokes. As a comic, he developed the persona of an insecure, intellectual, fretful nebbish, which he insists is quite different from his real-life personality. In 2004, Comedy Central ranked Allen in fourth place on a list of the 100 greatest stand-up comics, while a UK survey ranked Allen as the third greatest comedian.

By the mid-1960s Allen was writing and directing films, first specializing in slapstick comedies before moving into more dramatic material influenced by European art cinema during the 1970s. He is often identified as part of the New Hollywood wave of filmmakers of the mid-1960s to late '70s. Allen often stars in his own films, typically in the persona he developed as a standup. Some of the best-known of his over 40 films are Annie Hall (1977), Manhattan (1979), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), and Midnight in Paris (2011). Critic Roger Ebert has described Allen as "a treasure of the cinema".

He is also a jazz clarinetist who performs regularly at small venues in Manhattan, including the Carlyle Hotel on Monday nights. (Click for full article.)

A relationship is like a shark- it has to keep moving forward or it dies. Well, what we have on our hands here is a dead shark.

All people know the same truth; our lives consist of how we choose to distort them.

As the poet said, “Only God can make a tree”- probably because it's so hard to figure out how to get the bark on.

Basically my wife was immature. I'd be at home in the bath and she'd come in and sink my boats.

Bisexuality immediately doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night.

Cloquet hated reality but realized it was still the only place to get a good steak.

Death should not be seen as the end but as a very effective way to cut down expenses.

Early in life, I was visited by the bluebird of anxiety.

Eighty percent of success is showing up.

Eternity is really long, especially near the end.

God is silent- now if we can only get man to shut up.

How can I believe in God when last week I got my tongue stuck in the roller of an electric typewriter?

Hypocrite: a guy who writes a book on atheism and prays that it sells.

I am at two with nature.

I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.

I believe there's something out there watching over us. Unfortunately, it's the government.

I can't express anger. I grow a tumor instead.

I can't listen to that much Wagner. I start getting the urge to conquer Poland.

I can't make the leap of faith necessary to believe in my own existence.

I do not believe in an afterlife, although I am bringing a change of underwear.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying.

I have an intense desire to return to the womb. Anybody's.

I really don't care about commercial success, and the end result is I rarely achieve it.

I recently turned sixty. Practically a third of my life is over.

I think crime pays. The hours are good, you meet a lot of interesting people, you travel a lot.

I think that people should mate for life, like pigeons or Catholics.

I think you should defend to the death their right to march, and then go down and meet them with baseball bats.

I took a speed-reading course and read “War and Peace” in 20 minutes. It involves Russia.

I wanted to be an Olympic swimmer, but I had some problems with buoyancy.

I was thrown out of college for cheating on the metaphysics exam; I looked into the soul of the boy sitting next to me.

I'd call him a sadistic, hippophilic necrophile, but that would be beating a dead horse.

I'm not afraid to die. I just don't want to be there when it happens.

If God exists, I hope he has a good excuse.

If I believed in reincarnation, I'd come back as a sponge.

If my soul exists without my body I am convinced all my clothes will be loose-fitting.

If only God would give me some clear sign! Like making a large deposit in my name at a Swiss bank.

In California, they don't throw their garbage away- they make it into TV shows.

In real life, [Diane] Keaton believes in God. But she also believes the radio works because there are tiny people inside it.

Intellectuals are like the mafia; they only kill their own.

Interestingly, according to modern astronomers, space is finite. This is a very comforting thought, particularly for people who can never remember where they have left things.

It was the day after Jean-Paul Sartre died.
(recalling under oath the day in 1980 he first met Mia Farrow)

It's worse than dog eats dog. It's dog doesn't even return other dog's phone calls.

Life doesn't imitate art. It imitates bad television.

Life is divided into the horrible and the miserable.

Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering- and it's all over much too soon.

Man consists of two parts, his mind and his body, only the body has more fun.

Marriage? That's for life! It's like cement!

Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.

Most of the time I don't have much fun. The rest of the time I don't have any fun at all.

My brain is my second favorite organ.

My one regret in life is that I am not someone else.

My parents stayed together for forty years. But that was out of spite.

My relationship to death remains the same. I'm strongly against it.

Not only is there no God, but try finding a plumber on Sunday.

Oh, now there's only one kind of love that lasts. That's unrequited love. It stays with you forever.

On the plus side, death is one of the few things that can be done as easily lying down.

Organized crime in America takes in over $40 billion a year and spends very little on office supplies.

Political questions, if you go back thousands of years, are ephemeral, not important. History is the same thing over and over again.

Remember, if you smoke after sex you're doing it too fast.

Sex alleviates tension. Love causes it.

Sex between a man and a woman can be wonderful- provided you get between the right man and the right woman.

Sex between two people is a beautiful thing; between five, it's fantastic...

Sex is like having dinner: sometimes you joke about the dishes, sometimes you take the meal seriously.

Sex without love is a meaningless experience, but as meaningless experiences go it's pretty damned good.

She was an atheist and I was an agnostic. We didn't know what religion not to bring our children up in.

Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle.

Some guy hit my fender and I said “be fruitful and multiply” but not in those words.

The difference between sex and death is that with death you can do it alone and no one is going to make fun of you.

The good people sleep much better at night than the bad people. Of course, the bad people enjoy the waking hours much more.

The last time I was inside a woman was when I visited the Statue of Liberty.

The lion and the lamb shall lie down together, but the lamb won't get much sleep.

The message is God is love and you should lay off fatty foods.

The only thing standing between me and greatness is me.

The three most beautiful words in the English language are not “I love you.” They are, “It is benign.”

The universe is merely a fleeting idea in God's mind- a pretty uncomfortable thought, particularly if you've just made a down payment on a house.

There's nothing wrong with you that some Prozac and a polo mallet wouldn't fix.

Thought: Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.

To me there's no real difference between a fortune teller or a fortune cookie and any of the organized religions. They're all equally valid or invalid, really. And equally helpful.

To you I'm an atheist; to God, I'm the Loyal Opposition.

Tradition is the illusion of permanence.

We will run amok together, and then, when we get tired, we will walk amok.
(As Jimmy Bond in Casino Royale)

What a wonderful thing, to be conscious! I wonder what the people in New Jersey do?

What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? In that case, I definitely overpaid for my carpet.

Whosoever shall not fall by the sword or by famine, shall fall by pestilence; so why bother shaving?

With me, it's just a genetic dissatisfaction with everything.

You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to.

You cannot prove the nonexistence of God; you just have to take it on faith.

Zen boy scout: rubs one stick together.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Woody Allen

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