Archive for July, 2009


July 17, 2009

There has been great furore in Budapest recently about a flight of two fighter planes over the city. A lot of someone elses were alleged to be terrified (no, it’s never the interviewee who nearly shat himself at the sound of twin jet engines overhead, but “I think it’s completely unacceptable, some people were surely frightened by it, you know.”) and there seems to be a general consensus now that the military should have announced it in advance, so the military felt compelled to answer this challenge.

Now, if the military start to explain something, you should always expect fun of some sort. It’s either such a ludicrous lie that you can’t help laughing, or it opens up a small porthole on the weird and wacky world of what for want of a better expression we should now call “military thought processes”.

The milit’ry man said that people shouldn’t have worried because everything was by the book, the planes, a Mig-29 Fulcrum and a JAS 39 Gripen had only been executing a flypast for a major’s funeral, which happened to take place in downtown Budapest. ‘Fair enough’, you were about to think when he adds: ‘And it was a training flight anyway.’

What a brilliant idea! The Hungarian air force is constantly struggling from lack of adequate funding, even flying the mandatory minimum hours poses a serious problem, so why not? Why not fly multi-purpose missions? In fact, why not take it even further? Take off, train a bit, then off to the funeral (strictly in the world-famous “Missing Men” formation, which is different from the classic “Missing Man” inasmuch as a complete pair of planes are missing right from the off). Then a bit of civilian business, unfurl the “Will you marry me?” marquees that posh guy had paid a fortune for, and to finish it off let’s bomb some smelly nation nobody had liked in the first place.

Alright, I’ve got carried away with that last one, we can’t afford real bombs anyway.

But in rare moments of magic, military PR can come up with the best comic material you can inadvertently produce. This is from last year, there was a military open day in a public park in Budapest, and their main event was going to be the landing of a Mi 24 Hind attack helicopter. Sounds impressive, huh? What actually happened though was that before landing the Mi-24 buzzed the car boot sales next door, scattering wares, chairs, tables and two unfortunate men all over the place. This incident clearly forced the military to come up with an excuse, if not an apology.

So people watching the news that night were treated to the rare sight of a sincere-looking but genuinely bemused army spokesman who tried to justify what had happened with the following words: ‘It’s a gunship, this is how it lands.’

MEETING REQUEST: Hari Seldon will evaluate the Foundation’s Performance in the Time Vault

July 14, 2009

Meeting Request

CEO Hari Seldon will evaluate the Foundation’s Performance in the Time Vault on Thursday from 3pm.

Attendance is mandatory for all Foundation employees, absences are subject to line manager’s approval.

Have you noticed the striking similarity between Hari Seldon’s virtual appearances in the Time Vault and those corporate meetings they hold every year just to tell employees how great they were and why, despite their outstanding performance, they shouldn’t expect a raise next year?

Once every year the mighty CEO (or a simulacrum of his, as it were) visits every single backwater office of the company to bore people out of their skulls with re-stating the obvious again and again. Or sometimes to enrage them with corporate lies.

‘I have to admit, I was pretty sure you’ll get through the first Crisis with flying colours.’

Of course it would’ve been much easier if you had bothered to turn up. I had to do long shifts at the space port and the shipyard while you went on a bloody fact-finding trip to the Moon!

‘Mr. Hardin handled the situation with commendable dignity and professionalism.’

Did he? DID HE? He did sod all, except fly around and spout generic bullshit and second-hand wisecracks. Mind you, he turned up at least.

‘But you cannot rest on your laurels. Another tough year is approaching and you’ll have to rise to the new challenge.’

So no raises for anyone except management. Again.

‘So far you’ve managed to preserve your independence by relying on your superior technical knowledge. This time that might not be enough though, diversification could be the key in the future.’

And there goes our training budget too. Again.

‘Remember, you have to ruthlessly crush your competitors, either that or they’ll crush you. As I often say “Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right”. This is my very first advice for organisations that want to be successful.

The last time I heard this saying, it was from Mayor Hardin, claiming that he had invented it.

‘But while you must show no mercy in business, you should also heed Mr. Hardin’s wise words: “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”’

And so is sexual harassment if Mr. Hardin’s PA’s colourful account of the last executive Christmas do is anything to go by.

And so on, and so on, I’m sure you get the idea. If you don’t, you probably don’t know anything about corporate life, about which you shouldn’t feel bad at all. You can imagine how these things work and how it is the same, but only if you feel you’ve got a lot of time on your hands.

You can also imagine a funny punchline, if you feel it’s missing from here or anything.

A Very Good Argument

July 10, 2009

…against LSD.

What the hell was I thinking?

Daniil Kharms

July 8, 2009

Daniil Kharms hated rollerskates. He hated them so much that once he yelled at a kid across the road: ‘Hey, if you don’t stop rollerskating, one of these days you’ll fall flat on your face and break your nose!’

It was a bitterly cold Leningrad winter and he was on his way to Vasilevsky Market where he hoped to find some beetroots, maybe a couple of eggs, so I have to admit that he did have a point.

Why not try to read some of the works of Daniil Kharms. He’s much better than this. Honestly.

Swings and Roundabouts

July 8, 2009

Just have a look at these pictures of a newly built roundabout from Hungary.

The official excuse for it is “It isn’t completed yet.”

Somehow I fail to see how completing it would help.

July 8, 2009

Not Found

Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn’t here.

Aren’t we all?