I have been working for BBC current affairs television since I left Bologna
as what they call an "assistant producer" or general all round slave. This
has involved a time on business programming, a time on zany consumer
television and the past year on the more serious current affairs programme
Panorama. This involves me churning out 40 minutes of telly in six - eight
weeks and generally spending a hell of a lot of time on the road convincing
people to do and say what they don't want to.
My current project is on the
history of Usama Bin Laden's involvement in terrorism and is transmitted on
Monday 26th October on BBC 1 TV. [Oops, sorry about posting this a day late--Stefan] It will also go out on A&E in the next few
weeks. I can't complain as although the film involved 7 weeks on the road
that meant a month in Africa and a chance to catch up with Stefan and
Rosa-Emilia for a wild Friday night in NY last weekend. Now I am back in
cold, rainy London, stuck in a dark edit suite and free if anyone hits town
and feels like a wild night out. Good to see that people still keep in touch
and that you can still drop in on people 5 years later and feel like Bologna
This is kind of an update, kind of a suggestion, and kind of a
solicitation. I just launched my newest product, and my first at Snap.
It's called Email.com and it's a free, web-based email service -- much like
Hotmail or Yahoomail but better. Even if you have another email account,
you might want to use Email.com to get mail on the road or keep your
personal emails separate from your work ones (and your company records).
Since it's brand new, there are still a lot of good names still available.
Everyone who signs up makes me look really good, so please take a minute to
grab a great name and further my career :-)
Go to Snap http://www.snap.com and click on the graphic that says "Free
Then send me an email from your Email.com account and let me know what you
I wanted to give the alums a report on my recent visits to the SAIS
DC happy hours. No, it is not because I've been pathetically
overwhelmed with nostalgia and had nothing better to do than drink
Mexican beer on the patio at 1740 Mass Avenue. Rather, was
accompanying my wife, Emanuela has enrolled at SAIS DC.
For those of you wondering how SAIS DC is these days, don't worry, it
is exactly the same. The Bolognese still travel in packs wearing SAIS
Bologna tee shirts and the DC second years are still terribly impressed
with the fact that they work at the World Bank. Talk bout consistency,
the Admissions Office picks the classes with scientific accuracy.
Each class has 1 student with a John Uppington personality, one with a
Martina Bahn, and a Martin Buhr. The only difference that I noted was
that SAIS no longer has a Zach Messitte, but that is because that guy
doesn't fit any mold.
Emanuela is enjoying SAIS, starting out part time with strategy &
policy and micro. I'm still at the Department of Commerce after a year
and a half, making sure that our antidumping law is enforced in a fair
and efficient manner. We are going to Bologna for Xmas, making it my
4th trip back since graduation.
[Martin Buhr brings up a good point--we need to get started on this 5-year Bologna reunion project. Does anyone have any ideas? Stefan]
I was wondering if you had heard if anyone in our class had begun working
on our Bologna reunion. I got a reminder from the Alumni Office that as a
class agent, I was nominally supposed to do something about this. However,
if anyone has already started, I won't bother. Several of my friends from
the class before ours in Bologna rented two villas in Tuscany last spring
and spent a week there last spring prior to going to Bologna. I got the
information from the person who organized it, and can could pass it on to
whoever is handling arrangements. Alternately, if no one is doing this I
could start making inquires myself.
A quick note to friends, family, and many acquaintances from the past few
After three years in New York with JP Morgan's Technology, Media, and
Telecommunications Investment Banking group, I am returning to Washington,
DC to work as a Manager in Business Development at America Online. I start
at AOL on October 19 and will be on vacation in Turkey from October 4-15.
For those of you in New York, let's all get together before I go. For
those of you in DC, I will see you soon. And for the rest, I'd love to
hear from you and look forward to staying in touch.
My new non-work e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Home phone number until October 18 is 718-643-2284.
Work is incredibly boring. It consists mainly of displaying high levels
of ratlike ingenuity, but not much thought. The pathetic thing is they
pay a good deal of money for such a skill -- and they couldn't care less
how much I am underutilized. Oh well, people have put themselves through
school on far less noble pursuits.
The cross continental relationship between myself and Adam is going
quite well. Thanks to email, there's the feeling of constant contact.
My gypsy days have finally come to an end as I have taken up residence
in the hood of my youth, Park Slope. You never appreciate the joy of
just being settled until you are forced to live out of bags and in
different places for 5 months. As I am settling in, the need for a
little SAIS-NY reunion is becoming stronger. Look for somethiing in
Signs of an hypocritical Republican Congress: This astute body, which
saw fit to plaster the front pages with the lurid details of the Starr
Report, decided they had to protect the young men and women of our Armed
Forces and banned the sale of "sexually explicit" materials at base
exchanges. I guess they figured the Starr materials would suffice as a
substitute! Oi vay, they are tiresome.
Check y'all later!
The wide silent river that is my life has had a change of pace these past 3 weeks--there have been some rapids, to abuse the analogy--and so these pages have not been updated. You'll be intrigued to know that Sighs's tardy updates are directly due to the turmoil hitting the world's markets: I was drafted by Bridge News to cover the circus of the IMF and World Bank annual meetings in Washington, as well as the sideshows: meetings of the G7, G22, G10, the Interim Committee, the Development Committee, and even Greenspan's speech.
First, I need to confess that I got goose-bumps attending Greenspan's speech Wednesday morning. Besides the adrenalin-rush of doing live coverage of his every syllable, the mere fact he was coming up with such straightforward phrases as "the outlook... is considerably worse" and "In my 50 years, I have never seen anything like this" and "due to unknown forces, monetary policy must be especially vigilant" felt not so much like reading tea-leaves as being smacked over the head by them.
It is clear that whenever there is a global financial crisis, finance ministers have crisis meetings. What is not clear is which event causes which... Most of the action took place in the Marriott near the Washington Zoo, and often the proceedings resembled a brood of monkeys in an echo chamber, the whole lot of them (including the press) screeching about the crisis. This working up of communal hysteria could not have been healthy for the nerves of investors, and even the Dutch Central Bank president (whom yours truly interviewed) likened the whole spectacle to a hothouse, predicting that markets would look up if only everybody would just go home.
Speaking of the Dutch, the SAIS mafia is alive and well at the level of international finance: Here I was standing outside the IMF at 7:45 AM (those who know me well will find this startling) waiting to stick a tape recorder in the face any finance minister stupid or vain enough to come in through the front door when who should bound by but Arend Kapteyn, newly promoted as aide to the Dutch executive director at the IMF. Despite him not being finance minister yet, I accosted him anyway, and we continued to engage in short little bursts of happy little mini-SAIS reunions during the course of the meetings. Fergus McCormick was there as well in his capacity as judge, jury and executioner for Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Agency, striking fear in the hearts of many a Latin American delegation, who tried desperately to convince him not to utter the 'd' word (downgrade).
Tonje Vetleseter was volunteered by the World Bank to serve as propaganda officer for its many projects, and you can ask her yourself how happy she felt to be doing this. Martina Ban got her foot through the door as well, in her capacity as a vaguely defined consultant on all matters financial and Italian. I'm sure there were others from SAIS, but either they didn't recognize me (I was disguised in a suit) or I didn't run into them.
Two observations about the UN's general assembly:
1. You might remember how President Clinton's appearance in the assembly hall sparked an unprecedented standing ovation, as the rest of the world showed its support for an unfortunately concupiscible president being hunted down by Congress for his human, all to human nature. What was not reported is the fact that the standing ovation was a gradual process, spreading slowly, as successive delegations decided to stand up. From my vantage point, I could clearly see that the very first group to stand up was the Dutch delegationčit is they who created the impetus for the standing ovation. It all makes sense, really, if you consider what's legal in Amsterdam.
2. In the main secretariat building of the UN, on the way to the cafeteria, you pass a wall upon which are hung the portraits of all the past Secretary Generals. Each one has a spotlight on it. The spotlight on Waldheim is broken, so his portrait is plunged in darkness. This has been the case for as long as I've walked by there, and I considered it to be a particularly deft diplomatic stroke of genius. The week of the General Assembly, however, his portrait was suddenly bathed in light, and I can only assume this was done so as to not offend the sensibilities of any highly-ranked Austrian that might chance by. I have not been back since the GA, but I will check to see if the spotlight has ceased to function once more.
For the record: Zach Messitte and Julia Holman held a small party in Maryland to celebrate their engagement... Elizabeth Jacobs is getting married in New York later this month... Osten Johanssen moved to New York and... is engaged to Lisa, Susannah Gold's sister. Small world or what?