Thursday, September 15, 2005

Straighten up and fly right

Germans were ordered to stay serious when having their photographs taken for new passports, wiping away any grins, smirks or smiles so that biometric scanners can pick up their facial features. Interior Minister Otto Schily ordered passport authorities to only accept pictures taken from the front showing the "most neutral facial expression possible," starting Nov. 1.

Facial recognition systems match key features on the holder's face and work best when the face has a neutral expression with the mouth closed. "A broad smile, however nice it may be, is therefore unacceptable," the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

All happy folks must now stay in Germany. Jovial people and habitual smilers will not be permitted to leave the country until they lose their smile. I am thinking that being stuck in Germany might be a reason to lose your smile.

My mom is full blooded German. She was born in Freising Germany in 1934 and didn't leave until she and dad were married in the early 50's. Dad was in the USAF. She was there in the good old days, when you were allowed to smile even though you didn't have a reason. Her brother-in-law came for a visit to our house in 1975. As we drove to the house we passed the dozen or so horse farms that dotted the road upon which we lived. When he came into the house, and after the hellos, he told mom that he could see why she never came back to Germany. He fell in love with Kentucky.

In light of the new ruling, Germans will straighten up, or they wont fly, right ?

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