[Markus' report on various alumni:]
- Before his wedding in Bologna this summer, Andrew Stephens has taken on the honorable task of supporting American farmers' rights against unfair competition from US economic foes. He suspects his hour/salary ratio means he is working pro bono, but enjoys John Deere merchandise articles that come with his job, such as T-shirts and caps. Needless to say he wears all those with pride and dignity.
- I saw Chris Donat the other day. He told me he found a job with a law firm in DC, analyzing trade legislation. [Chris, wherever you are, tell us more.]
- Omer Taspinar got into the SAIS European studies Ph.D. program. He will be working with our friend and mentor David P. Calleo
When our grandchildren write books about us, the following may prove useful as a matter of record. But it depends on a good number of us becoming famous and becoming involved in numerous affairs and scandals. Any Salon attendees should feel free to add to or amend the following account.
The New York Salon officially opened on Sunday, March 24, 1996 at "Rudy's," a dark establishment on the West Side full of men blowing their social security checks on, mainly, horse piss. Let the record show that the Salon endorsed the selection of Rudy's by Rebecca, who is absolved of any further planning or logistic duties for a few months, unless the rest of us remain lazy. Others in attendance were, in no particular order, Liz, Beth, Charles, Netta, Rosa Emilia, Ayse and Jame. Stefan was also present, but too hung over from a rather heavy session the night before at Cafe Fanelli's to be of much use, and he came late.
The topic of discussion was "Nihilism in Contemporary Pop Culture," courtesy of Beth, who is also absolved of planning duties for a bit. The Salon consensus was that haute couture was meaningless, Tarantino films reflect not predict society and that Rudy's plays excellent music. Jame suggested field trips but nobody seconded that idea. Most of the Salon proceeded to dine on brick oven pizza, where the topic switched to the morality of the armed services and a primer on how Greeks can avoid service in the Greek army. Whatever opinion was reached was drowned out by the cockroach sighting beneath the next table that no one must tell Liz about--for her own sake because she truly enjoyed her salad, and we don't want to spoil the memory. Finally the Salon concluded at Le Gamin, where Charles tried to demonstrate the positive impacts on society that authoritarian regimes offer; no consensus was reached, and the Salon lacked quorum anyway. [Or was that dequorum?]
...After running around like a complete nut case since the day I stepped out of my orals, I have just this week arrived at a stable position.
I'm working in R&D for ParcPlace-Digitalk Inc., near Portland, Oregon. We're a software vendor specializing in the Smalltalk language and related products, currently working like crazy to maintain and extend our technological edge over our newest (since 1992) competitor. Big competitor, hint, it's 3 letters, first one is "I", the other two are an abbreviation of a term meaning "shit". [BS? BM? I don't get it.]
...Setting the record straight: In October, Kathryn gave birth to a happy healthy big (9 pound - ouch!!) baby girl named Alexandria. No reports yet on whether she actually bounces (I'm curious, but Kathryn sez if I touch the baby I'm dead). Daddy - and hubby - Thomas Herr recently started a cool job w/Ernst&Young.
I recently asked Matthew Rose to forward a request to the notoriously internet-shy Belmeloro for web installments of his prized column detailing the grubbier days of our lives. This is what Matthew wrote back:
Well, you know how difficult it was getting Belmeloro to write his bit when he had nothing else to do with his time? Well, it's even harder now. I mentioned this to Belmeloro the first time you asked. He turned his nose up and said after a pause, "naah." If you write a web-site piece about the death of Belmeloro, I can print it out for him in an attempt to prick his conscience.
We can probably go one better by pleading directly to our master of meretricious malfeisance. Could everyone please plead with Belmeloro, c/o Matthew, for his return to ferreting glory. Even if it's just a one-liner, let Belmeloro know his craft is much appreciated and needed. Of course, any embarrassing gossip you share with him will be sure to spur him on. If he doesn't return, then truly he will be dead to us all.
The Reader's Digest version of my life at this moment is as follows (excuse the bulleted format - too much memo writing):
- Finally took the council of the little moral voice in my head and quit my cushy job with a defense consulting firm in favor of position in marketing with Ericsson, a Swedish telecommunications equipment manufacturer. I will be working with their wireless products division dealing with a new pseudo-cellular service - say that three times very quickly - called PCS (whenever you see ads for Sprint Spectrum, think of me -- my new division sells the equipment which underpins it). This career change may also have something to do with my seemingly endless search for tall women: global headquarters for Ericsson are in the land of legendary long-legged blond women and the midnight sun (Stockholm).
- I'll miss some of the intranet work I have been doing for the firm I was with (like Lotus Notes, but cheaper and easier to use - based on HTML version 3 and Netscape 2.01), as well as the fractional T-1 connection to the internet (documents from my hard drive take longer to load than most homepages). I will not miss working in a firm where 90% of the employees are retired senior military officers (gruff guys with a average age of 55+), and where the bulk of the clients are those models of efficiency and enthusiasm, Defense Department employees.
- Still living in the same digs near Cleveland Park in NW DC.
Chow for now - got to go shock my boss with a letter of resignation.
Just wanted to say bye before leaving for Moscow. I'll be gone from March 11 until April 7. Hope to see you all when (and if) I get back. I've never been to the former USSR before, but if the Russia travel kit of the World Bank medical facility is any indication of what I'm going to experience, then I could be in serious trouble!
Contents of kit:
water purification drop
oral rehydration salts
Ultrathon insect repellent
and last but not least: a clean syringe
Unfortunately, I have little to say for myself. I have been spending much of my time out here at Stanford sitting on my duff, anxiously awaiting the approaching end of my overlong academic adventure, and nursing my bloated testicle back to health. But that is another story (for a glimpse, see my home page). What I have to report is that our esteemed and talkative classmate, Jay Backstrand, has a girlfriend! Just kidding. Actually, he played a crucial role in the recent NetDay96 in California, hobnobbing with CEO's of top technology firms, Vice-President Gore, and President Clinton. For those of you who only read the comics, the NetDay96 organizers spent no public money. Volunteers used donated wiring kits to prepare the connection of several computers in each participating school to the internet. Several thousand schools and volunteers were involved.
Clinton showed up to take full credit for an event in which neither he nor the Federal Government played any role whatsoever. Jay knew all this, but was so star-struck by meeting the man that he decided to change his political allegiances and vote for him this November.
Jay was far too modest to volunteer this information himself, but I thought when a classmate is a core member of a project that makes international news and receives a visit from practically the entire cabinet, we should congratulate him. Nice work, Jay.
The only important negative about New York is money. I have none. Actually I have less than none. I have negative money. My basic cost of living equals my salary. My credit card bill also equals my salary. When the government does this, it is called "deficit spending" or "living beyond your means" or "mortgaging the future." When I do this it is called "you will go to jail soon and all your possessions will end up at IRS auctions along with drug dealers' sports cars."
But everyone already knows that New York is expensive so I deserve no sympathy. At least I have steady work, unlike some Senate staffers. I'm getting the hang of this reporting thing. For example, a reporter can make headway with a question such as, "Your brokerage is an industry god and I am a humble worshipper who bows before you. I will spend twenty minutes listening to your babble for a crumb of information that I can exaggerate into a front-page story." Do not use lines such as, "So tell me shit you're not supposed to talk about." Work at Institutional Investor can be difficult but so far, so good; I recently was promoted and I like my colleagues, who are all about our age.
I'm grateful that there are so many SAISers here, not just Monique and Ann, my former II-mates, but an entire gaggle of folks. I have juicy gossip on most of them, and I can make up stories about the rest, but it would be gauche to spread innuendo in such a public forum. Email me directly for the scoop.
Until recently I shared a funky little apartment in Greenwich Village with a very fun Swede named Per. I was hoping to meet women through him but the only women he consorted with were drag queens. Oops. He moved out over New Year's and now I live with Carolyn, a very pretty NYU grad student. Carolyn knows lots of beautiful women. The problem is that she dates them. I'm not sure which is worse, having no women in the apartment or having lots, none interested in men.
Sorry about this two-week news lull: I'm in London visiting friends and family before going to New York where I've found a real job editing at Knight Ridder Financial News (meters away from Tom Atkins). New York now seems to boast the highest concentration of SAIS '95 alumni.
London is not far behind, however. A dinner organized by the still-embryonic London chapter of Bologna alumni was well attended by B'94: Maximiliano Tedeschi, Aygen Yayikoglu, Thanos Kafopoulos (who is leaving for the Greek army this week and is holding a party tonight--all are invited), Matthew-Scott Hansen, Jonathan Sinclair (playing at European Business News), John Uppington, Matthew Rose and myself. Rosa Alfonso i Terme, Corden's Assistant in DC, was there as well. She's now researching at the IISS. Corden, by the way, is set to lecture at Oxford in the near future.
Other News... Tonje Vetleseter starts work at the World Bank in the environment department, and will soon have a new e-mail address. Serra Ayral, however, will be coming back to Europe (maybe) after completing her new contract at selfsame bank.
....While Jancsi Strohmeyer and Sophia Verykios are getting married in Greece in August/September 1997.
Finally, a reminder: If you like the concept of this website, make sure to contribute news, rumour and e-mail addresses. Its success depends on you. Thanks!