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Monday, August 07, 2006

Signs and Portents

Have you ever noticed that smoke sometimes almost seems to form patterns? It's kinda like clouds, where you can see bunnies, or turkeys, or faces.

Just like this:

How spooky is that?

(This joke was a scream when I thought of it. An hour of photo manipulation later, and it's boring. But that's all I got. Originally Fidel was involved. That was a lot funnier, but it made no sense. I did think of a much better joke, but Publius beat me to it.)

Why did Adnan Hajj go to the trouble of faking this photo, and then do such a crappy job on it? The official Reuters explanation is that their dog ate it. No, wait, I mean, that Hajj was just cleaning up a little dust, and he goofed because he couldn't see the screen.

Can't see the computer screen in the dark? Sure, I buy it. Ric Locke suggests that his laptop batteries drained, and he had to do his Photoshopping by candlelight.

Nick and Nora proffer the novel idea that the photographer was sending a literal and metaphorical smoke signal, a sign that he was working under duress. I think the dog theory is more plausible.

My current theory is that all the local stringers had a bet on to see whose editors were the most gullible and clueless. First one to be fired wins. They were probably inspired by this quote:

"It's hard to imagine how someone sitting in an air-conditioned office or broadcast studio many thousands of miles from the scene can decide what occurred on the ground with any degree of accuracy," said Kathleen Carroll, AP's senior vice president and executive editor.

Photo editor: "Look, Jews do not have horns, cloven hooves, and tails. Choirs of young-eyed cherubim do not follow Nasrallah around, singing his praises."

Local stringer: "Oh, excuse me, Mr. Cool-and-Comfy, I'm only out here eating dust and dodging Zionist ordnance. What do I know?

Hajj apparently won the bet, big time, because not only has Reuters fired him, they've "pulled" all 920 of his photos, where "pulled" just means they won't sell them anymore. I googled him earlier this morning, and found mostly soccer pictures.

[Copyright of the original of the above photo belongs to Reuters, and they're welcome to it. Used without permission.]