A Right Old Mess!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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political hypocrisy

It seems there is no end to the political hypocrisy that has taken over our well surveilled world.

I wrote a post a few days ago about the Belgian government wanting Skype to hand over confidential customer data. I called it ‘Taking A Swipe At Skype’ (if you want to read it click here )

In a previous post called, ‘What Is The German Word For Hypocrite?’ (if you want to read that one click here) I had a bit of rant against the hypocrisy of Germen Chancellor Angela Merkel who professed great anxiety publicly about the Americans snooping in on her phone calls while she and her intelligence agencies were in cahoots with the US to spy on other European countries.

Now a week or so later the two stories have merged with yet another piece of hypocrisy, this time by the Belgians who have announced that they are starting an official investigation into allegations that Belgium’s telecommunications networks were spied on by a consortium of German and American intelligence agencies.

telecommunications network

In other words, it is okay for the Belgians to snoop on Skype users, but not okay when someone else wants to snoop on the Belgians.

If that’s not another good example of hypocrisy I don’t know what is.

Specifically the targets in Belgian sights are the United States National Security Agency and Germany’s Bundesnach-richtendienst (BND) and an operation that they referred to as ‘EIKONAL’.

The Belgians found out about the snooping when Austrian politician Peter Pilz blew his whistle at a press conference in Bern, Switzerland, saying that EIKONAL had targeted European telecommunications carriers for at least four years, from 2005 to 2008.

Spokesmen for the Belgian government have said that if the alleged espionage is confirmed, it would have “not only legal implications, but will also affect relations between Belgium, Germany and the US”. It also threatened to “take appropriate action” but didn’t specify what that would be – they probably don’t know yet.

Switzerland and the Netherlands flags

Needless to say, the governments of Switzerland and the Netherlands were not amused by the revelations either and immediately launched their own investigations into this thing called ‘EIKONAL’.

It’s all turning into what they call “a right old mess”.

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A Conversation With The Cat.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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I was walking through the house

the other day with my camera

when I spotted the cat lying on a sofa.

“Hi there.” I said. “Whatya doin?”

“Just chilling out here on the sofa,’” she said.

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“I have a joke for you,” I said.

So I told her a joke.

It must have been a good one,

my how she laughed.

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Then I asked,

“Mind if I take your photo?”

“Oh no, no way,” she replied.

“I haven’t combed my fur or anything.”

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No Excuse For A Bad Photo Nowadays!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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In the town where I went to school the local photography shop was the place to go when you needed a photo for a passport or driving license or whatever. The guy who owned the store invariably came out with the following line when he got you positioned and was ready to take the shot…

“Would you like a good photograph

…..or one that looks like you?”

It’s easy to be cynical and complain about new technologies. Although on the whole I embrace new technology, I have at times been highly critical about some aspects (as with recent short series about the awful auto-correct cell phone feature – check out the “Bloopers” section if you want to see them).

But new technology has on most occasions made life easier or more convenient. And at times a lot less expensive.

Photography is one area where there can be no doubt that for most people the advances made with digital photography is a big plus.

Just as with musical recordings there are still purists out there who use reel-to-reel tape and prefer the crackly authenticity of vinyl LP records, with photography there are some who prefer to develop and print their own photographs.

For my part, however, the days of running down to the local pharmacy with my 35mm film and then repeating the process the next day to get the prints, many of which weren’t worth the expense and bother, are over. And thank goodness for that!

Nowadays you can snap 100 photos, pick out the best 20 or so, use your personal computer software (even free stuff like Google’s Picasa) to crop and improve them and then print off either professionally or on your own home printer only the ones you really like (the ‘keepers’ we call them).

Of course, there’s always a downside. And the BIG downside to all this is that there really is no excuse nowadays for taking a bad photo – and printing it!

Unfortunately that message hasn’t reached a lot of people yet, as the following examples illustrate.

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Beware The Green Eyed Monster!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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They say that a picture is worth a thousand words.

Well here’s a blog post slightly over 6,000 words. Don’t worry, it won’t take you long to read it.

It’s about the behavior of several heads of state at the Mandela Memorial in South Africa, an event which itself was turned into a bit of a farce.

From sign language interpreters who didn’t know any sign language to politicians not having the sense to realize they were on a world stage and everyone was watching, it was all a bit pathetic really.  

But funny too!

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President Obama shares a joke with

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

Michelle Obama obviously didn’t get it – or did she?

Obama and Helle share a joke - Michelle doesn't get it

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Now a bit of touchy-feely from Obama

who is obviously enjoying the encounter.

The look on Michelle’s face seems to indicate that

she is not too happy with the way things are going.

Obama and Helle touchy feely time

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Obama and Helle take a little ‘selfie’ photo with her cell phone,

as British Prime Minister David Cameron tries to form a threesome.

Michelle, looking even more pissed off glowers into the distance.

(Wonder if the NSA is bugging that phone?)

Obama and Helle selfie photo time

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The happy couple get closer and share another joke.

Michelle gets farther away,

and she still ain’t laughing!

South Africa Mandela Memorial Obama and Helle getting closer

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Obama gets up to say a few words,

assisted by the sign language interpreter for the deaf.

Yes, that’s him,

the interpreter who didn’t know any sign language at all.

You couldn’t make this up!

Obama with interpreter who can't interpret

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When he come back to sit down again,

Obama finds that the seating arrangements have changed.

Michelle is now between him and the lovely piece of Danish.

Suspecting he may have blundered Obama takes Michelle’s hand and kisses it.

Michelle gazes off into the distance.

She has a “it ain’t gonna be that easy to fix this one, buster” expression on her face.

Obama Michelle kissing hand

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With his new little friend isolated

Obama studiously looks in the other direction. 

Michelle still ain’t laughing!

Obama with new seating arramgement

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Give Us A Job Too!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Today is a continuation of last Saturday’s post which was about the idiots that we employ these days.

Even when some of them get only one simple job to do they find a way of messing it up.

Lack of pride, concentration, interest, I don’t know, but here are some more of the results.

Enjoy.

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Give Us A Job!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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I’m not sure what exactly happened or when it happened but things have changed in the employment world.

It used to be when you gave someone a job they were thankful not only for the opportunity to work and earn some money, but also for the chance to do something and better themselves. They had pride in what they did no matter what their job was.

Some of that still exists. But it is rare. Today many people seem to just want the money and couldn’t care less about the work they do.

It’s a pity and it is a terrible thing for the country as a whole. Whether it will ever change or not I don’t know. For what it’s worth my opinion is that once standards are lost they are very difficult to regain.

Having said all that, however, if you can momentarily set aside the frustration of trying to work with the dumb asses you have to employ these days it can sometimes make life a bit more amusing.

Here are a few examples.

Enjoy.

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Funny Fotos!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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A few weeks ago we had a short series of what were called ‘perfectly timed photos’ because in most cases the shutter was clicked at just the right moment to achieve the perfect result.

This lot are similar in so far as the end result is effective and hopefully amusing, although they are  a bit more contrived or ‘set up’ to achieve the required result.

Have a look and see what you think.

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