Hey SAIS gang,
Things are going well here in the Hub of the universe (known to the rest of
the world as Boston). The company is sending me to London for a month
starting July 6th (thankfully I will be able to celebrate the 4th on US
soil) and look forward to seeing the slew of SAISers I gather is living there.
I was on vacation hiking in the Olympic Mtns in Washington state, and
attended a party of U. Washington people where I met a woman from Kyrgyzstan
(sp?) a guy from Kazakhstan, and I guy from Tuva (a very small province in
the Russian republic). Apparently there is a large Central Asian Studies
program at U. Wash for those of you so inclined.
I took the GMAT on June 21st in a 95 degree classroom (we don't believe in
air conditioning here in New England) and am debating whether to apply for
'98 or '99. If Martin Spicer or any other MBA SAISer is out there in
cyberspace, I want to talk to you.
Rumor has it that Chris Signorello is back in New England working a summer
associate position at Goodwin, Procter, and Hoar after finishing his second
year at Georgetown Law School. If I can ever get in touch with him, I will
provide a more complete update.
News you can use culled at random from Sebastian and Gioia's Bolognese luvfest, in no particular order:
Glenn Manoff has become a world-traveling (well, Singapore anyway) scribe on the
telecoms beat, based out of London with Maggie. He is mulling authoring a book about the
exploits of some local entrepreneurs. Maybe he'll be the first SAISer from our class to
get published...in English, that is.
Lynn Taguchi has reportedly shifted into the Vietnamese highlands where she can keep
better contact with the indigenous peoples. She had been living in Hanoi for some time.
I forget what she does, exactly, but it sounded cool.
Chris Donat, still laboring at White & Case in Washington, and his fantabulous
girlfriend Adrianna, received many inquiries about Ben Neaderland's newish job at the
Pentagon. Chris had to admit that he wasn't exactly sure what Ben did--"something to do
with Nato"--but as everyone expected, Ben is apparently working some pretty long hours.
Aideen Mannion, who along with Zagreb-based Tony Randazzo works at the Financial Services
Volunteer Corp. in New York, is moving to Warsaw this summer for the job. The only
problem...what about the boytoy in New York? (Oops--was that on the record?)
Tom Jacobs is living the rough life. We were enjoying cappuccinos somewhere off San
Stefano and I sighed, "You just don't get this in Hong Kong." Tom looked at me like I
was crazy and replied, "Who are you kidding? You just don't get hot showers in Bishkek."
Beata Plonka is, as always, considering a move. Remain in Florence? Return to Krakow?
She hinted that she even had an offer to teach in Hong Kong--go for it, Beata!
Markus and Serra, before hitting Bologna, stopped at a volleyball tournament outside of
Venice. Serra's team swept the tourney, and they had to delay their visit to Bologna so
she could claim her mighty award. They did make the ceremony--just in time.
Diana Fonovich is the latest SAISer to find employment at the World Bank, where she's
heading up their Bosnia operations from Washington. She finds this all rather amusing.
Manami Terashima is working Ben-like hours, or even worse, in Washington, where she is a
reporter for a Japanese daily. But compared to the hell she went through at Tradition in
New York, she feels okay about it.
Louise Ferguson is contemplating a move from Brussels to London. All you Londoners get
ready to throw her a welcoming party.
Oh yes. Almost forgot. Sebastian and Gioia had a lovely wedding. As Matthew Rose put it,
"This is what life is all about...being blissfully happy." Indeed.
...And while we're on the topic of general updates, recent American arrival and green card holder Adriana Cordali called me today here in New York--her new job involves accounting stuff for Alitalia, while her husband Tudor is a Cadillac salesman in Queens...
Meanwhile, the g7-and-a-half summit in Denver proved to be a bland affair, as it should be when there is nothing seriously wrong with the world. Both the economic and political communique were leaked way before the end of the affair, and anyway dealt mainly with such cute topics as rain forests and global warming and the "challenges of globalization." It's sad that by far the best bits were French Finance Minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn saying the "anglo-saxon" model of job creation was not good for France; and the Russians saying they weren't really in any hurry to officially join the G7 anyway just after the French said they didn't think the Russians were ready. However, I did run into Vincent Mortreux, who was producing for Univision (see below).
I've just come back from my first ever baseball game--the Yankees beat the Mets 6-3 at Yankee Stadium--and what a great and disgusting spectacle it was. For a sporting event, there was precious little celebration of health and fitness. The fans are an indiscriminate congregation of big haired women and big-gutted men vying to stuff themselves with $4 hot dogs or soggy pretzels drooling with mustard. $5.75-cans of Miller Light are uncritically consumed and the leftovers rained on those below. And the game itself is another valid excuse for real New Yorkers to give New Jerseyites the finger. But then everybody but me knew all this already.
Does anybody know of things to do in Denver? the G-7 meets there June 20-22, as every good SAISer knows, and I'm being sent to edit the words of wisdom we can expect to emanate from the lips of the annointed ones. Any tips on non-mainstream bars and good jazz places are appreciated.
[Charles Kenny works at the World Bank, that dapper institution at the forefront of sustainable development through structural adjustment via personal sacrifice]
Worried that some might have got the wrong impression of Our Glorious
Leader [Wolfensohn] from a scurrulous article in the FT, I would just like to quote
from the memo that The Supreme Being sent around that same day: "I
wanted you all to know that the Financial Times article today that seeks
to imply that I believe you should all go and spend some time in burger
bars does not reflect what I actually said." In fact, The Godhead was
just quoting a senior colleague at the Bank. This colleague had been sent
on one of the $300 million-worth of Wolfensohn Weekend Away Specials,
where staff who have been working at the World Bank for thirty years are
jetted off to Harvard Business School to learn about how to loan money to
developing countries for public sector projects. The senior manager (not
our Exhalted Premier himself) had said that after an hour-long case study
of how to run a high-turnover, low quality operation employing a large
number of high-school dropouts at the minimum wage, he had realised that
"the Bank's problems were similar to Burger King's."
Similarly, pointed out the Imperial Master, "I did not say that the
Bank's middle management was a 'marshmallow middle.'" Again, he just
quoted what a friend of his had said about middle managers at the Bank.
Many middle managers did indeed have marshmallow middles after eating
fish in the World Bank cafeteria last week --sixty of them were carted
off to hospital with food poisoning. In a perfectly timed publicity
blitz, the annual Bank Cafeteria Survey was announced the same day. As
the True Messiah so rightly concluded: "I am sorry that during this
difficult period of change we all have to bear this. I fear it will not
be the last but I hope it will not distract us from our common task."
Stay off the fish, then. Indeed, there will be no rest for the
marshmallow middle. To increase productivity, learning and leadership
(and avoid food poisoning), all staff in grades 17 through 25 are now to
eat daily at Burger King.
Update from my side of the world:
After searching around in some of the more exuberant hovels of this superb
capital, I settled on "The Iota Restaurant and Bar" as a venue for
my original musical compositions on unsuspecting audiences. All in all,
great fun and a good place for a fine mid-week beercito. I play every
Wednesday around 10:00 or 10:30. The address is 2832 Wilson Boulevard, just
two blocks downhill from the Clarendon Metro in Arlington, near Whitlow's
restaurant. Stop by for a guaranteed good time: it'll make ya whistle.
(How's that for a sales pitch?)
Besides this, looking at abandoning all D.C. ambitions and heading to New
(a golden city of love) to conduct economic analysis on emerging markets in
... It was nice seeing and spending time with some of
our friends in Bologna last week.
If you don't mind adding it to the list, my e-mail address is:
Vmortreux@aol.com. I have been working as the Washington Bureau news
producer for Univision (the Spanish language television network which
broadcasts in the U.S. and 13 countries in Latin and Central America) for the
past two years...