Sep 262015
 

I’ve read two articles recently, both about the IS, both on the website of a newspaper allowing for comments, and both made me wonder.

The first article was about a man getting sentenced to four years for recruiting IS fighters among Chechnyan refugees in Austria and transporting them to Syria. Everybody agreed that this man’s actions were obviously going too far. So do I. Less did I agree with all the hate and blind rage in the forums.

The second article was about the case of two girls, 16 and 17 or something like that, both from Chechnyan origin. I believe they came to Austria at an age of about four. Both are devout believers and both have had something like an online wedding via Skype with some guys fighting in Syria for the Islamic state.

The girls had intended to travel to Syria and either didn’t make it out of Austria or were caught in Turkey and returned. They were sentenced to 12 and 14 months each and put on probation for three years. The crime in question was “Support of a terrorist organization”.

The general tone of the comments to this second article disturbed me, I joined the conversation and soon found it even more disturbing. Here’s why:

Most of the comments found the sentences much too mild. Many called for at least five years without probation, best followed by life-long psychiatric treatment.

Someone stated that everybody even sympathizing with the IS should be incarcerated for at least one year.

Someone else asked “Would you really let (potential) IS barbarians in Austria get away unchallenged“?

Would you really let (potential) killers in Austria get away unchallenged?
Would you really let (potential) rapists in Austria get away unchallenged?
Would you really let (potential) bankrobbers in Austria get away unchallenged?
Would you really let (potential) shoplifters in Austria get away unchallenged?
Would you really let (potential) music pirates in Austria get away unchallenged?
Would you really let (potential) agitators in Austria get away unchallenged?
Would you really let (potential) dissidents in Austria get away unchallenged?

I am perfectly capable of doing all that. At every moment civilized society is only one step away from my violence getting unleashed. Would you let me get away with that? Or yourself, if you think about it?

2583 – Memories

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Nov 122013
 

It’s snowing outside. It was not supposed to, but it does. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t complain, because, you know, it’s that time of the year. Or, well, yes, I do complain. It won’t help though 🙂

This picture was taken in hot summer. That’s in my memories and I hope to feel it again until … and then again and again until …

The Song of the Day is “Memories” from Leonard Cohen’s much under-appreciated cooperation with Phil Spector, “Death Of A Ladies’ Man”. See it in a clip from the short movie “I am a hotel“.

Aug 272013
 

It’s a pretty beautiful world, huh? At least in some places, and Croatia is definitely one of them.

Croatia was part of Yugoslavia, the ill-fated state that shattered to pieces after Tito’s death. I still can’t understand what perceived advantage it had for Yugoslavia’s people to fight each other, often to the death, but fight they did.

Croatia has recently become part of the European Union, Slovenia has been so for years. These two republics could be called the winners of the struggle. Slovenia had the overall soundest economy, while Croatia is a touristic wonderland with what is easily the most beautiful coast in Europe.

There are thousands of islands, most bleak, some very green, many unpopulated, some with villages, some with small towns.

Rab is smallest of the populated main islands in the Kvarner Archipelago. Its landscape is varied, its beaches are everything from rocky to sandy, and the main town, also called Rab, has a rich history.

Rab has never been destroyed. The island has of course been part of the Roman Empire, later of Byzantium, Venice, the medieval Croatian Kingdom, Hungary, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Yugoslavia, and since 1991 it is part of the independent Republic of Croatia.

Quite a long way, but the island has managed to steer free of all troubles throughout the centuries. By all means, this may be mostly due to the fact that it did not offer any riches beside those of its landscape, neither is it in a strategically important place.

Whatever the reasons are, today we enjoy the beauty of Rab’s beaches, its spires and its lush vegetation.

These images have kind of a postcard quality, thus the Song of the Day is “Postcards” from the 1998 Faithless album “Sunday 8PM”. Hear it on YouTube.

2504 – The Old House

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Aug 252013
 

Here’s again an image from a short trip to Croatia. You’ll see a few more soon.

Again this image has been taken with the 17/1.8. I have not used the Panasonic 25/1.4 in weeks, and in the meantime it has really been sold. The price I got was slightly less than expected, but I guess this just reflects the economic situation. Recovery is already there, though people are still not spending as easily as before the crisis.

The Song of the Day is “The Old House” from Marianne Faithfull’s 2011 album “Horses and High Heels”. Hear it on YouTube.

2502 – Halfway Up The Stairs II

 Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0  Comments Off on 2502 – Halfway Up The Stairs II
Aug 232013
 

My honeymoon with the Olympus 9-18 is more or less over, it’s just one of my lenses now. Still, at times it is convenient to have the lens mounted, even if the focal length would be available from other, higher quality lenses in my bag.

Today’s image for example has been taken at 12 mm, a focal length that I’ve covered by an expensive and beautiful prime, the Olympus 12/2.0.

Would there have been a difference? Hardly at f8. The prime might have been a smidge sharper and for maximum print sizes it may matter. Here, on the web, the difference is negligible.

The Song of the Day is again “Halfway Up The Stairs” by Sixto Rodriguez, taken from his second album “Coming from Reality”. Hear it on YouTube.

2500 – A Little Bit Later On III

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 2500 – A Little Bit Later On III
Aug 212013
 

2500? Really? Well, to be honest, I am not perfectly sure. A few weeks ago I had already posted a series of images, and only after five or six posts I recognized that somehow the sequence was all wrong. After #2432 I had posted #2243 (or something like that), and from then on I always just looked at the number of the previous post and incremented that.

Still, I check from time to time and a quick calculation makes me confident that I can’t be off by more than four or five days – if at all.

2500 days, some more posts, because on a few days I had more than one post. A little bit less than seven years.

Yesterday’s image was of a sunset, this one is from a little bit later on, taken looking east. I like the calm of eastern sunsets 🙂

The Song of the Day is “A Little Bit Later On” by Ella Fitzgerald and Chick Webb. Hear it on YouTube.

2499 – When The Sun Sets Down South

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 2499 – When The Sun Sets Down South
Aug 202013
 

It’s incredibly easy to please with a wide-angle, but as much as I like to use ultra-wides, the lens that I turn to most often these days is the 17/1.8. I still have not sold the 25/1.4, but hopefully by the time you read this, it’ll be gone for good.

I have no idea why it would be so, but the traditional normal lens is not my “normal” any more. A moderately wide lens, the equivalent of the traditional 35 mm “street lens” has become “normal” to me.

The Song of the Day is “When The Sun Sets Down South” by Sidney Bechet. Hear it on YouTube.