Juan Antonio Samaranch. I want to be Juan Antonio Samaranch. How do you get to be Juan Antonio Samaranch? "The 2020 Olympics go to the city of.........Bethesda....I would like to say that athletics brings a smile to the face of a child who has only known war and now will know peace, because together the human spirit will soar above violence and the planet will unite to defeat tyranny......and now I will return to my castle in Lausanne until four years from now when you will feed me and pay me money to buy nice clothes and fly on your corporate jet....."
Thinking about Juan Antonio Samaranch beats thinking about Bob Dole and Ross Perot which I seem to be doing too much of these days. CNN provides me ample time to contemplate abortion planks and running mates but little time to scrutinize the future of the Prodi Government, Jovanotti's latest and the ochre-blue sky one first encounters when you land at Fiumicino.
After spending the month of February in Iowa and New Hampshire with Steve Forbes, I realized that no candidate running for the most important elected office in the world cares about the ochre-blue roman sky. Actually, Bob Dole knows that sky. He knows Bologna too. He was wounded in the town of Castel d'Aiano, just outside of Bologna. But my guess is that the religious right won't let the side of him that wants to think about the ochre-blue sky out of jail.
Hats off to Stefan for his continued commitment to international gossip, (but seriously, you are doing your classmates a service).
Anna Gabriela Garcia's address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Spies from the North report that a certain member of the SIGHS community is feeling very s@isfied with himself after a successful impression of Jaws 3D on the steps of a fashionable museum in downtown Manhattan. This is a definite move up from the barracuda pool, where he had been being all too true to his low countries background (trying to stick his finger in a dyke).
Reportedly, our subject stuck his teeth into a request for a light and wouldn't let go. The midwest beauty was eaten up by his charms, to the point of writing her telephone number (1-800-696-7763) on the cigarette that he proceded to bum off her. A fin(e) performance.
Unfortunately, I have nothing interesting to report but I do need HELP- Does anyone know anything, if anything is to be known, about the status of environmental policies (acid rain, NOx, SOx,etc.) and the European Union? I'm more interested in the politics than any directives or regulations that have been passed.One of the profs I work for is doing some consultin
After reading about Tom Jacobs' adventures in the wilds of where-ever-hell-he-is, I was inspired to relate my own experiences in the exotic local of Georgia, where I have been sent on the first official business trip of my budding career.
Georgia (or at least the little piece of it I have seen) does not seem that inspiring. This may be due to the fact that I am spending most of my time either at the hotel or at the office. It may also have something to do with the scenery, which consists of scrub pines, scrubbier rednecks, and shacks.
I thought that getting to eat in any restaurant I chose for free would offset the discomfort of being away from home, but this is already getting old. I would gladly trade the steak I had last night for milk and cereal out of my own kitchen and a night in my own bed.
I am staying in Columbus, southwest of Atlanta near the Alabama border. Our office down here is in a tiny town called West Point, about a 25 minute drive to the north. Fort Benning, home of the 82nd Airborne Division, is just outside Columbus, so the town has that usual "just-outside-the-front-gate" atmosphere. Great if you want to pawn your stereo, go to a strip joint, or get a tatoo, but otherwise lacking in basic urban charms...
Went to lunch today with some people from the office to this little restaurant/bar. If you can fry it, they serve it... The walls were covered with college football banners for Georgia and Alabama, stock car racing memorabilia, and stuffed critter heads. There was a little shrine to "Bear" Bryant in one corner (ask one of the guys in the office who he was), complete with a little night-light over his portrait. The people here are extremely open and friendly though. We were disappointed to learn that there was no chili today. The waitress informed us that this was due to the fact that "Mamma and Daddae" - the cooks - had gone off to the casino to gamble and not made any before they left. She recommended the catfish instead.
The biggest news in town right now is the presence of several of Olympic boxing teams, which are training in the local high school gym. One must wonder what the impressions of these athletes must be. Imagine coming from the wilds of where-ever-the-hell to the wilds of Georgia. Maybe fried food might provide an intercultural bond, a sort of commonality between the athletes of these far away lands and the Billy Rays and Bobby Sues of West Point, Georgia. I am told that fried yak tastes a lot like fried chicken, and that grits remind some people of kus-kus [sp?]... Perhaps we could get some dubbed episodes of The Dukes of Hazard.
As Charles "chronicled" a week or so ago we have moved (but not to the burbs!!!). Hanna and I (toghether with Joachim Alpen's Elise (until she joins him in Moscow!), "Stefan's" Tanya, and April) have moved to 2332 19th St., right accross from the park on 19th and Columbia. It is a great little house, and finally some of us here have a place fit for cookouts and kegs in this amazingly (relatively) comfortable summer weather we have had. House-warming party to be anounced later.
Well I guess it's time to check in again and give a brief review of what's happening (or not) in Bishkek. Actually there's not a lot happening, besides sweating of course. But you folks in DC probably know that better than I. Then again, you have air conditioners so it's really not the same now is it?
Just a couple things before I forget. A couple of months ago in the local English newspaper (yes, we have one...well, you could call it that) there were two stories side by side--one about parliament discussing whether or not to legalize polygamy and the other about a necrophiliac who was finally caught after, get this, 35 years of sex with the dead. (Do you think he cuddled afterwards?) He was tried, found NOT INSANE, and sentenced.
Interesting tidbit: traditional "courtship" in Kyrgyzstan consists of men plotting with their friends to abduct a woman, take her up in the mountains to some secluded (though I imagine very plush) yurt, and have sex (i.e. rape) with her for a couple days. Afterwards, she is released to return home where, since she is no longer a virgin, she basically has to marry him. Nowadays I hear this isn't too frequent though in the mountains it still does occur. Another one, though from someone who was traveling on Aeroflot. He was sitting in the "non-smoking" section and the guy next to him asked the stewardess why there were people all around him smoking. It turns out that EVERY OTHER ISLE was "non-smoking"! No you figure out why the USSR collapsed.
Last month I had to go out to the west of the country to look at a project. It was only about 250-300km but took 8-9 hours to get there through the mountains on the worst "roads" I've ever seen, or felt. It was very beautiful country--virtually no-one around except for small groups of yurts (small, tent-like structures), cows, horses, and dirty children. We literally had to get out of the car to get the herds of sheep to move out of the way. Strange how they wouldn't move for a 2000lb. car with a blaring horn, but they scattered when we walked thru the herd. (Then again, I guess a car has never slit their throat and eaten their flesh before.) They're not very bright animals, but awful cute (and getting cuter everyday I might add; Stefan--just kidding.) On the side of the road a lot of people were selling the ever-popular Kimis, fermented mare's milk. It's like milk with sweat and grease mixed in. Very good for the health I'm told. It was kind of funny when we finally met our client. Among other things, he was offering us his car for collateral on a loan he wanted. Unfortunately, the car kept breaking down on him while we were around. Didn't breed much confidence, but was good for a couple laughs.
Well, I guess that's about it for now, but if anyone has any good stories about beach trips with SAIS grads, I'm all ears! It must be hard......and it still is.
I have recently been accused of a too-rosy disposition. A disgruntled SAIS colleague believes that things are a bit too cozy here in New York City. Perhaps our friend is right. After all, life in Gotham has its drawbacks. Subway platforms in the summer time, for example. Urine baked at 115 degrees has an impact that must be experienced to be believed. More interesting, and ultimately more distressing, and when I'm old far more entertaining to tell the grandkids, is living with New Yorkers. Due to the outrageous sums that the most degenerate windowless shoeboxes command for rent around here, I pay a still-high ransom for the pleasure of sharing an apartment with two other people. Some of you may recall that in January one roommate, a jolly Swede with a lavender disposition, moved out and another, an enticingly beautiful but alas quite lesbian graduate student, moved in. This story has nothing to do with either.
No, the focus of my tale is N----, who lives in the basement. No, not some troll who dwells in children's nightmares, but a perfectly reasonable, if somewhat dim, personal trainer who inhabits what is essentially her own apartment, but is connected to mine by a stairway. She has lived in the place for years and the desirous dyke and I sublet our upstairs hideaway from her. All was well until May, when I did a bit of traveling. Upon my return my lipstick lesbo gripped me by the lapel and complained of being couped up with a madwoman. N----, you see, had become insufferable. Over the past several weeks her usual self-absorption reached epic proportions, to the point that even the most basic communication with her became a desperate act of fleeing a woman bent on repeating the same five lines to you, extolling her beauty and virtuousness over that of ugly lardass chicks.
N---- was quite the narcissist, but during my travels she had deteriorated severely. The personal trainer needed a shrink, not a treadmill. And boy did she get one. For the next day I came home in suit and tie to hear how N---- had gone beserk at the gym, crazed on booze (a story unto itself), screaming obscenities at the clients and spraying everyone with water. She then dashed into the street--Broadway--and nearly caused an accident. One of her employers drove her to the loony bin, where she remained in a padded cell for ten days. Now she's back, on lithium. Never a dull moment.
That is my story. N---- has calmed down--the drugs keep her even--but she wants to move now and that has put my living conditions in jeopardy. I can not afford to move so I hope to work something out. I don't know if there is a moral to my tale, but when I first moved in, I experienced a rush of triumph: I had beaten New York. I had avoided the broker middlemen bastards and found a cool and affordable apartment in the Village, with reasonable roommates. Now I stand a humbled man. New York is still full of weirdos. You just can't get a break.
The concentration of ex-SAIS types around Mass. Ave. becomes ever thinner, like a drop of oil spreading across water, or mosquitoes crushed under a heavy book. Tonje is moving out towards the 'burbs, Tricia is threatening a move to San Fransisco, and Markus and Serra are off to Switzerland towards the end of the month. They are busy doing all those touristy things that they hadn't done before. Not, of course, the Our Nation's Capital stuff, or the cultural side, but the Shopping. The excuse for this massive release of pent up consumerism is that 'it'll be cheaper here than in Geneva...'
Yesterday, they went to Alexandria to shop, today it's Potomac Mills, tomorrow Pentagon City. On Saturday they went to Shenandoa to shop, although we persuaded them to take a brief break from their singlehanded experiment in Keynsian expansionism to walk through the forested hills. Prepped on John Denver songs, I sat in the car constantly on the lookout for mountain mommas on the country road, but we didn't even see one roadkill.
Still, the trip was worth it for the views, and the splashing rivulet running over little falls and into bloody freezing pools. It was also fun to walk a little further downstream and watch people drinking out of the water we'd been bathing in, just like DC. It was poetically beautiful --the sunlight, dappled by the overarching birches, caressed the needle-carpeted floor of the forest etc etc etc.
[Later, Kenny wrote me this...]
one person to get fully into the Independence Day spirit was Makram. Walking back late at night from the celebrations on the Mall, we passed the MacDonalds on Seventeenth Street. There a woman, keen to try the new Arches Deluxe sandwich and show she was grown up (tho, to be honest, she had already grown quite enough), was trying desperately to get in, blocked by an unpersuadable security guard. At that point we spied Makram, who had just got in under the wire and was delightedly clutching his happy meal with four free Monopoly tokens. Maneuvering around the guard, he came acros the distraught, patty-deprived woman and, gallant as always, asked what was the matter. On hearing her sorry tale of rejection, his immediate reaction was to forgo his own dining pleasure and offer up his meal, super-sized fries and all, to the lady in distress. Nicest thing I'd seen all week.
I just accessed SAIS Faction Page newsroom, to check out the latest gossip, etc., only to discover that we lack data (mostly job information and addresses) about many of your classmates who are mentioned. Tom Jacobs in Bishkek? Rebecca Patterson with AP in London?
Would you mind putting a wee reminder out that that the 94ers (and all others) should be sure to keep my office updated about their career and address changes? A brief description of their activities would also be appreciated. We don't want to lose track of anyone, and now that E-mail is so available, there's no excuse for not keeping in touch - even and especially for those in the boonies.
Hope you are well and thriving. (Can I assume that it was you wearing the Viking helmet at DiBiasio's party?)
Ciao for now,
P.S. I'm off to the U.S. tomorrow for a three-week vacation, with a very brief stop in Washington en route to the Wild West and home. I'll be in touch after I get back. Hope to find my e-mail box overflowing upon return. LM
I just read the new multi-hyphenated Sais page appendage and I felt obligated to respond to the "inadvertent" information that has surfaced against my person. I don't mean to imply that what was written wasn't true--I can not and will not deny that it was. However, please remember that I live in the middle of nowhere and I think that imagining myself as a Sultan with a bevy of exotic, scantily-clad, ex-graduate students with very high GPA's and a firm grasp on the inner workings of the EMU frolicking on the NC beach is not something to be summarily condemned.
Right. London. England. The cold, wet, rainy, dirty city that closes far too early and has nasty Tory politicians seeping from nearly every sewer, actually wakes up in the summer to become a pretty nice place. The weather has been great, there are millions of outdoor bars and cafes and other places to drink beer, there's plenty of good music on offer, good food abounds, loadsa football on the tely (don't tell me everyone on earth didn't know that England made it to the finals of Euro 96. Honestly), Wimbledon on just down the road. I mean, its no DC - where is - but can I really complain? No, not really. I do anyway but I'll save that for another time. Sometimes I go to work, too.
I'm still working as a journalist, which is fun, but still dreaming of doing far loftier things, though nobody has told me what they are yet. The good new is I have now graduated from the lowly depths of energy journalism [Hazlyn, don't even think about asking me about the natural gas industry in LDCs] to the loftiest of lofty of journalism heights: that's right, the international communications and technology industries. It's still business journalism (which tends to be the only kind that pays you enough to afford clean underwear every day AND the occasional pint of warm bitter with your lunch) and I do come across the occaisional techo dork or two, but at least people tend to be genuinely excited about what they're doing, they are full of optimism about the future, and the pace of change is faster than (click here for clever metaphor of your choice), which is a far cry from the "eh, whatever" world of global energy.
The nice thing about journalism is that you don't actually have to do anything. You just write about what everyone else is doing (I suppose that could be a bad thing too but I'm a glass is half full type). The other nice thing is you get to be rude, cynical, aggressive, nasty, spread spurillous gossip, name call, and even be a bit smelly sometimes, and all of that is seen as a virtue. Just ask Robert Bonte-Freidheim. Hey cmon, I'm just kidding. I actually saw Robert and Louisa two nights ago at their georgeous house in the burbs of north London and they're doing great. Baby Julian is no longer a baby, unless most baby's are six feet tall, drink diet coke by the keg, and speak mixed german and english (which he does now). He's still lots of fun to play with. Baby Leonard [that's pronounced LEEE O nard, not Lenerd] is now 1+ and, apparently, sleeps alot.
Maggie's doing well and has a really good job. She's teaching in a primary school and working predominantly with kids who don't speak english as their first language. It's tough work - lots of refugees, too many sad cases, all off the nasty problems of modern urban society on display - but it's a real live "make a difference" type of job (with the crap salary to prove it) and she enjoys it. We're probably going to get married next summer. But don't book your tickets yet because that's what we said last summer. If anyone really wants to see it happen, then please - and I'm serious about this - SEND LOTS OF MONEY. Allright? You are all invited by the way.
Ok, that's the news and I am outta here. Ciao tutti.
SAISers have a remarkable cohesion, noted one woman at a recent party who is not of our clan. She added she felt perfectly welcome but it is true that we are fond of our own company. Odd for Washingtonians, who on the surface never had the opportunities for real college-style bonding. And perplexing for Bolognesi also. I recall by the end of that ochre year, we were rather sick of one another. Our willingness to commingle must be the trait of siblings, not friends. Just as no one can replace the sister or brother with whom you grew up, few in the world can carry a conversation about whether Chirac is a Guallist or why the U.S. doesn't give the Japanese a fair shake in trade, on the one hand, and about the latest show at MoMA and the whimsies of Umberto Eco on the other. It helps that we don't live on top of one another anymore.
This is a wordy introduction to a straightforward matter, which is this: we had fun last weekend. Nothing out of the ordinary. Barely remarkable at all. Netta is leaving New York, possibly for Paris, possibly for the beach. Rosa and Hylke organized a dinner for the event. We ate at "Boom," a cool SoHo establishment. Netta, Beth and I finished the evening dancing, in which I nearly suffered a hear attack. The next evening, Charles threw a little affair at his apartment in Park Slope, which is a really groovy neighborhood that has echoes of DuPont-area Washington, only more established. The highlight was Stephan wearing a Viking helmet. He looked good--the long hair. The point to this is that NYC+job+SAISers=good time. The rest of you should come visit. The party's here. There's always room at that Norse wanna-be Belgian's. [Can I visit?]
[Two hours later this disturbing addendum broached my mailbox...]
Actually no one cares about Chirac because France is about as relevant as Polynesia these days; no one cares about Japan trade dumping because we're in hysterics over Beijing; let's face it, we go to MoMA for the sports cars not art exhibits, and come to think of it, we only go to art exhibits to see naked people; and I've never read an Umberto Eco book. I'm getting the hell out of this town and going back to DC, at least for a few days, and I'm going to like it. Go stuff your Viking helmets and silly restaurants; let's go camping instead.
I have finally located this damn Website after months of trying. Once again, Beth straightened me out. Unfortunately there is little news to report from Boston as I am the sole 94-95 SAISer from Bologna in Boston. Let's see, what I can think up to say. Well, you all know I was married last September. I have maintained my e-mail address as Cullen as I sign of my individuality and independence and my freedom of choice. However, after months of ongoing debates you all witnessed, I have changed my name to Carrie Cullen Hitt. John (husband) insists that I am just a Euro wannabe and have made multisyllabic name for myself just so I can sound European. He may right, but one must dream.
I am going to stay here at Harvard for another year where I am still doing energy work for a research project. The position involves frequent travel so I have been to many U.S. cities that I never had been to before (Chicago, Dallas, San Fran). Unfortunately the trips are quick and most of my time is spent hanging out with 40-60 year old men discussing transmission congestion and constraint pricing on electricity systems (huh?). I just finished a big project on political risk insurance for independent power projects overseas...at least gave me a free three day trip to Bangkok. Matthew Rose was correct in saying it's very stinky and it takes a long time to get to the airport. I am also doing consulting work on the side - good cash for a lot of bull. Thank goodness for all, none of this work involves me speaking any French.
I managed to see Gioia and Sebastian for a quick coffee at the airport in Amsterdam en route to Bangkok. Gioia is now working for Nissan Forklift (imagine Gioia in a hardhat!) and Sebastian is at the Defense Ministry sorting out Milosevic, Karadzic et al. I think they moved from the Hague to Amsterdam this past weekend (June 30). G & S's e-mail is Gioia@bart.nl
I spoke with Dutchboy [Arend] Kapteyn about three weeks ago. He is working at the Dutch National Bank or something like that. He is maintaining the life of a frat boy- living with tons of friends from university and visiting Greece en masse (and we though British tourists were bad). Now for the shocker - he has started his Phd! As you may already now, Rebecca Patterson is alive and well at AP in London. She is now an official Chelsea girl.
If your in Bostn, please stop by. We can eat a bunch of Fenway Franks and watch the Red Sox loose another game.
Manami's address: MANATTE@aol.com
Linda Cangiano's address: Linda.Cangiano@ska.com
This S@IS.faction Page URL: http://sighs.com/S@IS.newsroom.html
Inaugurated November 7, 1995; last revised July 25, 1996.
Questions, feedback: contact Stefan Geens at email@example.com