Swiss skipped wars for 200 years — No need to upgrade their jet fighters!

The people of Switzerland will vote later this month on the future of their country’s fleet of fighter jets. The Swiss Air Force would like to replace its aging F/A-18 Hornet fighters, but opponents cite the fact that Switzerland has enjoyed two centuries of peace and is surrounded by friendly countries, making new jets an unnecessary purchase. The country will vote on the issue on September 27…

Switzerland plans to spend $6.6 billion on new airplanes, acquiring the first in 2025 and enough to retire all of the Hornets by 2030.

If Swiss parliamentarians can’t think of anything more useful to spend that amount of money on – I’d wager there are plenty of taxpayers, especially those with families, who would come up with suggestions.

Absolutely the toughest marching drummers ever

Most folks don’t know that an early part of the years I spent as a musician were my high school years – especially in marching bands. Though I also played in the horn section of a University concert band at the same time, I played simultaneously in two separate high school marching bands. One played all their football games on Friday nights. The other on Saturday afternoons. Conflict between the two only came up once a season. Plus I still helped out once in a while with the P.A.L. band I’d marched with since 7th grade. 🙂

All I can say is these folks really rock. Close to traditional formation staging; but, everything else is over the top.

Thanks, UrsaRodinia

Here’s the silliest “performance art” in the world of let’s-pretend-this-is-art-not-play-therapy or public-masturbation

Performance art is a joke. Taken terribly seriously by the art world, it is a litmus test of pretension and intellectual dishonesty. If you are wowed by it, you are either susceptible to pseudo-intellectual guff, or lying.

Is that overstating the case? Probably. There have been some powerful works of performance art – but most of them took place a long time ago, in the early 1970s, when the likes of Marina Abramovic and Chris Burden were risking all. Or perhaps the golden age of performance art was even longer ago, in the days of the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich in 1916. Back then, Dada performance was a real menace to society, when Hugo Ball stood in a wizard costume declaiming words that made as little sense as the world war then raging.

Today, most art that claims to part of this modern tradition of performance is an embarrassing revelation of the art world’s distance from real aesthetic values or real human life. Take, for instance, the latest nude egg layer from Germany.

Performance artist Milo Moiré creates abstract paintings by pushing eggs filled with paint and ink out of her vaginal canal. She does this while standing naked in front of an audience. The nudity, apparently, is artistically essential. As for the act of pushing paint-filled eggs out of her body, it is – as no doubt you perceive – a powerful feminist statement about women, fertility and creativity.

And yet it’s not a strong statement at all. It is absurd, gratuitous, trite and desperate. Anywhere but an art gathering, this would be regarded as a satire on modern cultural emptiness.

And this is the thing about performance art – it has quite rightly become the stuff of satire. When the film director Paolo Sorrentino wants to capture the brittleness of contemporary European culture in his film The Great Beauty, what does he show? Performance art, naturally. A group of arty folk watch as a woman runs towards a stone aqueduct and bashes her head against it. Afterwards she struggles to explain herself in an embarrassing interview.

You cannot achieve any thoughtful goal by measures banal, uncreative and sufficiently self-centered to be a parody of themselves. Egregious to the point of embarrassing is hardly thought-provoking.

Sheep will be able to call for help against wolves via txt msg

Swiss sheep could soon be texting shepherds for help when they are being stalked or attacked by wolves…A Swiss biologist is developing a collar that can monitor a sheep’s heart rate and spot when it is distressed.

The collar will call a shepherd if it spots that the heart rate of an animal has increased for an extended period…

I hope it can differentiate between life-threatening panic and the joy of sex.

Early prototypes of the collar, employing heart rate monitors similar to those used by runners to fine-tune their training, have been tested on 12 Swiss sheep. The tests, carried out in the Bernese Alps above Les Diablerets, involved scaring the sheep with two muzzled Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs…

Wolf expert Jean-Marc Landry from Swiss carnivore research group Kora came up with the idea for the collar in a bid to limit the number of sheep lost to wolves reaching Switzerland from Italy.

Growing numbers of sheep are being eaten by wolves, especially among small flocks owned by farmers who cannot afford a sheepdog. Even those that are not eaten trample down fences and flee long distances when being hunted.

Dr Landry said the first collars would be produced in the autumn and he was considering three different techniques to help protect the sheep.

The collars could be fitted with a mobile chip that alerted a shepherd via text message when the sheep were stressed. Alternatively they might play a loud noise or spray a chemical repellent to frighten off the wolf.

Landry is considering other processes the chip might be programmed to trigger. So far, not especially productive IMHO.

Though, I guess we might try to think up other practical defense mechanisms that would be initiated by appropriate circumstances and signals.

Swiss voters against longer holidays, in favor of sex!


Prototype drive-in sex boxes in Zurich

Voters in Switzerland have rejected a proposal to give themselves more annual leave in a national referendum. The plan would have given workers six weeks off a year, but business groups warned about the cost to the economy.

In other referendums, voters in Zurich agreed to the creation of “sex boxes” where prostitutes can work…

Referendums are a key part of Switzerland’s direct democracy system.

The Swiss frequently have their say on changes to laws, budgets, or any issue that 100,000 citizens say they feel strongly about.

Two-thirds of voters reportedly rejected an increase in the country’s minimum annual leave from four weeks to six, which would have brought it in line with most other West European countries.

But a proposal to construct what have locally been referred to as “sex boxes” for prostitutes got the green light from voters in Zurich.

The plan would see the creation of special parking spaces with walls between them where sex workers can ply their trade away from suburban areas in Switzerland’s biggest city.

I still can’t imagine why they rejected longer vacations. Similar regs haven’t crushed the economy in Germany.

As for more sex – even the Swiss aren’t against that.

Swiss bankers classified as fugitives after skipping federal court


Wegelin & Co, corporate headquarters, St. Gallen, Switzerland
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

Wegelin & Co., the 270-year-old Swiss bank facing criminal charges in a U.S. crackdown on firms suspected of aiding tax evasion, failed to appear at a court hearing as prosecutors called the bank a “fugitive.”

Prosecutors said after the hearing…in Manhattan federal court that three Wegelin client managers charged in the case also failed to appear and were considered fugitives.

When no defendants or defense attorneys showed up in court, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff asked prosecutors for a proposal on how to proceed. Prosecutors said they will confer with the Justice Department and advise Rakoff on their proposals. “Unlike an individual, arresting a company is somewhat difficult,” Rakoff said…

Wegelin is the first overseas bank to be indicted by the U.S. for aiding tax fraud, federal prosecutors in New York said this month. The three Wegelin client managers at the Zurich branch, Michael Berlinka, Urs Frei and Roger Keller, were also indicted.

The managers serviced “undeclared accounts” for U.S. taxpayers, meaning the income derived from them wasn’t reported to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, according to the superseding indictment filed this month.

Nothing new about international bankers considering themselves above the law. Especially when an historic function of their services is aiding their clients in defrauding the tax departments of one or another government.

For the first time in modern history we have a Department of Justice that actively seeks to repatriate the funds hidden abroad – instead of just relying on the crooks for fundraising.

Swiss speed demon trapped by [DUH!] his own mobile phone


All you need to get one is money – not brains

A Swiss motorist used his mobile phone to record himself driving on an autoroute near Geneva at 320 km an hour, nearly three times the speed limit, police said Wednesday.

But the offence was only uncovered six months later when the 28-year-old was questioned in another case and investigators found the images still on the phone.

Some shots were focused on the speedometer of his car, a Bentley Continental, according to a police spokesman.

Others showed the road, revealing where he was, and the phone’s timer recorded the date and the time — just before 3:30 in the morning local time last April.

Police said the driver, whom they declined to name, probably took the shots to impress his friends. His license was confiscated and he is free on bail awaiting trial.

When your testicles are hardwired to the accelerator on your car, you really can’t count on your brain working at all.

Swiss bank UBS bans tight skirts and fake nails


Dress like this guy — while acting like this guy

Swiss banking giant UBS has issued a strict dress code for employees, calling on them to wear “skin-coloured” lingerie and to ditch “fancy and coloured” artificial fingernails.

In a document stretching to more than 40 pages, UBS described a head to toecompany dress code, including permissible hairstyles, what cut of skirt and which type of socks to wear.

Women should not wear “flashy” jewellery or skirts that are “too tight behind.”

Underwear must not be “visible against clothing or spilling out of clothing.” Rather, they should be “skin-coloured under white shirts…”

Men should wear a “straight-cut two button jacket and pants that make up part of a classic professional suit.”

They should not wear ties that do not match the “morphology of the face” nor socks with cartoon motifs. And suits for both women and men must be either grey, black or navy blue.

Women are restricted to wearing seven items of jewellery.

“The reputation of UBS makes up our most precious asset. Adopting an irreproachable behaviour implies having an impeccable presentation,” said the bank, which has been trying to rebuild its reputation since suffering record losses during the financial crisis.

In the document, employees are also advised to avoid smelling of strong perfume, garlic, onion or cigarette smoke.

Somehow, I doubt if the smooth-talking gangsters who promulgated illegitimate mortgage loans, the cluster-grope that led eventually to illicit derivatives traded in private closets – dressed in any fashion outside the rules and rote of this code of appearances. If anything, appearances ruled their criminal activities – working to conceal the corruption of what their business had become.

A “Roman army knife” from 2,000 years ago

A 2000-year-old tool that has gone on display in a Cambridge museum has been taken as proof that the Romans invented the Swiss army knife.

The Roman version of the famous multi-purpose tool includes a spoon, knife, three pronged fork, spike and even what looks like a toothpick.

At only 15cm long it would have fitted easily into the pocket of a discerning diner and is easy to clean and sharpen thanks to the silver and iron used to make it.

The Roman eating implement has been estimated to date from between 201 to 300 AD and originates from the Mediterranean region of Europe.

The tool is currently on display for the first time at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Lucy Theobald, a spokesperson for the museum, said: “It’s believed to be an example of a Roman ‘Swiss army knife’ – a silver implement with a knife, spoon, fork, a spike for extracting meat from snails, and a spatula, which is believed to have been used for poking sauce out of narrow-necked bottles.”

No plastic, either. Every bit is repairable or easily replaceable. If you don’t remember when repairing things used to be part of design.

Harry Popper condoms make you think of Harry Potter?

The manufacturer of Swiss condom brand called Harry Popper is being sued by Warner Brothers.

The packaging of the contraception shows a cartoon-like condom with round-rimmed Harry Potter-style glasses waving a magic wand.

The Hollywood studio is taking legal action against Magic X, the manufacturers, for copyright infringement.

The Cantonal Court in Schwyz will rule in the coming weeks on whether to ban the product.

The image of my client is in danger,” said a lawyer for Warner Bros. “This is clearly a reference to the film and fictional character Harry Potter.
Everyone who sees the condoms automatically thinks of Harry Potter.”

The lawyer for Magic X said: “Our product has nothing to do with Harry Potter.” The brand was launched in 2006 and the name was registered with Swissreg, the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property.

The series has originated an immense amount of tie-in merchandise and the Harry Potter brand is estimated to be worth £15 billion.

Yes, I understand the intellectual property rights as they relate to copyright and trademark.

It’s still bloody creative and more than a little funny. Kudos to Magic X.