Die Medienkrise nimmt allmählich besorgniserregende Ausmaße an. Heute bin ich dem ersten Feuilletonisten über den Weg gelaufen, der in bestem Mannesalter wieder bei seinen Eltern eingezogen ist. Er habe die Miete für seine Wohnung in Frankfurt nicht mehr zahlen können, nun hause er in ländlicher Gegend und reise jeden Tag umständlich mit dem Zug an. Meine Mutter ist 87 und lauert im Erdgeschoss wie ein Zerberus, klagt er. Aber er wolle ja nicht klagen, fügt er an. Und ob ich einen guten Nebenjob wisse?
Das ist natürlich sehr, sehr traurig, deshalb werde ich mich im Folgenden auf friedliche und harmonische Mitteilungen beschränken. Harmonie etwa herrscht im Hause duMont – nein, nicht der Verlag,wo Freitag kräftig gefeiert wird, sondern der Schauspieler. Sky duMont ist mit einem blonden Haarvorhang namens Mirja verheiratet, und die beiden haben nun zusammen ein Buch geschrieben. „Unsere tägliche Krise gib uns heute: Eine witzige Soforthilfe für den Beziehungswahnsinn“ heißt das Werk, das tatsächlich als Ratgeber bei Gräfe & Unzer erschienen ist. Mit läßt es ehrlich gesagt etwas ratlos zurück, denn die Gesprächsthemen im Hause DuMont drehen sich vor allem darum, wer den Müll rausträgt und wer das Mammut heimbringt, wer wie einparkt und daß der Mann schnarcht, aber behauptet, es nicht zu tun. „Das Schnarchen des Mannes hat seinen Ursprung in der Steinzeit“, behauptet Sky DuMont. Der Humor des Buches allerdings auch.
Gutgelaunte Lektoren trifft man auch bei Wagenbach an. Der erste richtige Bestseller in der Verlagsgeschichte sei die „souveräne Leserin“ gewesen, nun ziehe das das ganze Verlagsprogramm mit. Ja, die Aufmerksamkeit für den Verlag habe sich deutlich erhöht, es geht uns gut. Das hört man doch gern. Aber wie kam dieser Bestseller zustande? Durch die guten alten Buchhändler. Es gab ein billig gebundenes Vorabexemplar für jeden, und dann liefen beim Verlag die begeisterten Briefe ein. Und es wurde empfohlen, aber wie.
Gute Nachrichten gibt es auch beim umzugsgeplagten Suhrkamp-Verlag. Die Vermittlungswebsite für Mitarbeiter, die im Januar nicht mit nach Berlin kommen, sei voll eingeschlagen, berichtet man mir heute am Stand. Vor zwei Tagen haben wir an dieser Stelle über www.Ex-Suhrkampler.de berichtet, nun gebe bereits zwei sehr ernstgemeinte Übernahmeangebote. Wenn die wirklich eine neue Stelle bekämen, hätte sich die Aktion schon gelohnt, freut sich Betriebsrat Wolfgang Schneider, und drückt mir einen „Grenzgang“ in die Hand. Prima, dann muß ich den nicht klauen.
Das Beispiel der Vermittlungswebsite könnte Schule machen. Ich denke da etwa an www.nebenjobs-fuer-feuilletonisten.de, das den ein oder anderen gestandenen Geisteswissenschaftler in den besten Jahren aus den Klauen des mütterlichen Zerberus befreien könnte. Auch andere könnten da profitieren, etwa Alexa Hennig von Lange, die, so berichtet ein übermüdeter Partygänger konsterniert, auf dieser Buchmesse noch mit niemandem geknutscht habe. Da muß man doch Abhilfe schaffen! Ist die Domain www.knutschen-mit-alexa.de noch frei?
Und der Steinzeit-Humor erst....
Und der Steinzeit-Humor erst. Eckard von Hirschhausen war ja wirklich überall, Simon Borowiak nirgends. Das kann einen schon depressiv machen.
Ohne die gute Stimmung...
Ohne die gute Stimmung verstimmen zu wollen: wie wunderlich ist es, je weiter die Literatur in die Zukunft schreitet, desto mehr können sich die Literaten in ihren Büchern thematisch nur mit Steinzeit-Gesinnung aus der (finanziellen) Misere retten…
Savall, Alexa schaut man an,...
Savall, Alexa schaut man an, die liest man nicht. Man hört ihr nicht einmal richtig zu. (Apropos, was macht eigentlich Zoe Jenny?)
Vadder Krause, Sie lenken meine Aufmerksamkeit auf Fürchterliches. Aber weil ich ja nicht Zielgruppe bin, überlasse ich weitere Verbalschreddereien dem Don.
höchstwahrscheinlich taucht er hier wieder auf:
„Gala Men“ Klatschgeschichten für Männer
für diese Zielgruppe ist er wohl zu alt und zu brav:
„Business Punk“ BWL-Studenten-“Bravo“
Welcher BWL Praktikant bei Gruner+Jahr hat das verbrochen ????
Don: Übernehmen Sie
rien ne va plus...
rien ne va plus
Part XXIII Looking for...
Part XXIII Looking for Leads
Subject: Over a cup of Dutch tea
Date: October 17, 2009 1:17:51 PM GMT+02:00
To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, H.Steltzner@FAZ.de, Bruno.Gardini@ESA.int
Mr e-Nonnenmacher: ‚Tiger, we read with interest your most recent job offer. What will you do with it‘
Begin forwarded message:
From: „Ross ROSE“
Date: October 16, 2009 6:59:59 PM GMT+02:00
Cc: „Ross ROSE“
Subject: Looking for Leads for an MDA BD Position
I don’t know if you remember me, I am a long time MDA-er. I’m sure that we bumped into each other a few times while you were here.
My reason for contacting you is that MDA is looking to hire a Business Development Manager to focus on NATO as a major account and our HR group has suggested that you may have some industry contacts who may be interested in such a role. So I’m reaching out to you in that regard.
In summary, MDA is looking to develop NATO as a significant client and we are going to hire someone (ideally based in the Brussels-Den Hague corridor) to focus on that organization to identify and position MDA for business opportunities. We don’t particularly want to relocate anyone. Person would work from a home office.
If you have any ideas or could refer us to anyone that would be greatly appreciated. My contact details are below.
Thanks a lot and I hope you are doing well.
____________________________________________________________________________ Ross Rose Director – Business Development, Integrated Information Solutions MDA (MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.) 13800 Commerce Parkway Richmond, B.C., Canada, V6V 2J3 Phone: +1.604.231.2518 Fax: +1.604.231.2757 Cell: +1.604.240.5246 email: email@example.com url: http://www.mdacorporation.com
This e-mail and any attachments are intended solely for the use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain legally privileged, proprietary and/or confidential information. Any use, disclosure, dissemination, distribution or copying of this e-mail and any attachments for any purposes that have not been specifically authorized by the sender is strictly prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please immediately notify the sender by reply e-mail and permanently delete all copies and attachments.
The entire content of this e-mail is for „information purposes“ only and should not be relied upon by the recipient in any way unless otherwise confirmed in writing by way of letter or facsimile.
Tiger (grinning a lot): ‚We let the Dutchs bit the Canadians.‘
Mr e-Steltzner: ‚Sorry, what does that mean?‘
Madame: ‚We decided to just write an answer back is too boring. I know the head of personnel of TNO, a military research institution in Den Haag, which is linked to NATO. We will visit him for a cup of tea at the weekend and ask him, if he has a suggestion.‘
Subject: Just among us
Date: October 17, 2009 1:24:32 PM GMT+02:00
Tiger: ‚Madame, lets enjoy the rest of the poppy-seed strudel just among us.‘
Madame: ‚I assume you are bored, no German election, no Nobel-price announcement and not even an interesting Tatort tomorrow.‘
Tiger: ‚What do you think about this e-book discussion. Do they mean us?‘
Madame: ‚You are arrogant as always!‘
Tiger: ‚Wouldn’t it be a funny thought that Google publishes our stuff.‘
Madame: ‚You mean starting with the e-salon stories?‘
the e Salon
Copyright© 2005 Lisbeth Heuse
This book may not be copied, stored, translated or reproduced in any form,
in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of the copyright holder.
Printed in the Netherlands, December 2005
1 A dream • already many years ago 1
2 Making a case • took a lot of nerve 2
3 Heuse versus Europe • it is easily said but difficult to do 8
4 Four characters in one • the main players in the e salon 9
5 Virtual life • a few e mails out of several hundred 10
6 The centre of Europe is Bavaria
• according to a member of the Oktoberfest Party 15
7 Big projects • require long negotiations 16
8 Mr e Clinton • Tiger’s beloved friend 17
9 The Marriage of Figaro
• if, my dear Director, you feel like dancing? 19
10 The French referendum • an interview with Mr e Clinton 22
11 The first part of Mr Clinton’s interview
• answers to Tiger’s original questions 26
12 Tiger’s garden party
• and the German Kanzler’s call for an early election 28
13 The election campaign in Germany
• the debate between Frau e Merkel and Herrn e Schröder 32
14 Outside the e salon • Frau Dr Heuse’s housewife show 39
15 The better part of Wassenaar knows
• e Queen Beatrix comes calling 41
16 La dignité humaine, c’est inviolable
• Madame’s questions to M. e Chirac 48
17 Putting the problem on the table • outside the e salon 53
18 Where there is no plaintiff • there is no judge 55
Every since I wrote my little book on project management as a Christmas present for my daughters, various people have asked me when I would write another one. Here it is and again, a Christmas present. I hope it is as entertaining as the last one – though the underlying topic is a lot more serious.
I could not have written this book without the help of others. First of all there is my old friend and e mail partner, Bruno Gardini. Besides encouraging me for many years already to write my ideas down, he also looked after me during the most difficult time of my life, the last years in ESA. Secondly I wish to mention Bernd Harnisch, another ESA colleague, who often supported me unexpectedly and contributed the photo to this little book. Finally, most of all I thank my husband Ken Cox for polishing my grammar and spelling and patiently putting up with a workaholic without work.
1 A dream
already many years ago
More than fifteen years ago, my boss at that time cornered me one day and asked: ‘what would you like to do when you are 55?’. Being cornered, my answer was honest: ‘I would love to be the European Minister of Technology’. That was the first time I openly acknowledged what I was dreaming about already for a while.
It was a crazy dream. There was nothing close to a European Minister of Technology. And in any case, I was far away from such a position, being just a project manager and a very busy mama of two small girls living at the other end of the world, in Vancouver.
A few years later I applied for a post at the European Space Agency (ESA). My boss at MDA, Brian Gilliam, knowing my dream, made no effort to keep me in MDA. Instead he supported me ever since.
The position at Estec in Noordwijk (The Netherlands), the technology centre of ESA, was by status lower than the one I had at MDA. But it paid better, because ESA pays a lot. Already at the interview I was confronted with the peculiarities of ESA. One of the interview board members told me afterwards that the Head of Personnel had asked at the interview board: ‘Can a woman actually do that job?’.
For the first seven years I worked on a large satellite program, Envisat. I managed the negotiations of most of the 120 payload contracts, which got me around Europe and left me with little sleep. My negotiation partners in industry where high level managers, while I was formally only a rather low level ‘controller’. And when I was not even promoted at the end of the project, the ESA Head of Personnel gave as an excuse: ‘You are too smart and you show it too much’. But at that time, I had already decided to fight for a change.
2 Making a case
took a lot of nerve
Obviously, I could not put up such a fight on my own. Luckily, ESA got a new Director General: an Italian, Mr Rodotá. From the beginning he made it rather clear that he too had come to ESA with very ambitious aims. Furthermore, coming from industry, we had the same cultural background. Therefore I decided to provide Mr Rodotá with the material that would allow him to make the necessary changes.
In the next eighteen months I worked on several projects in the Administration Directorate, in particular the introduction of a new software system for the finance department and a working group reviewing the situation of women at ESA. Eventually I even got to a position where I reported directly to the Director of Administration, a Frenchman named Mr Sacotte.
As part of my direct reporting relationship, I pointed out to Mr Sacotte a case of serious corruption involving over a million euros. Instead taking corrective measures, Mr Sacotte covered it up.
A few months later I reported a case of a pregnant woman being pressured by her managers to accept a contract that was in violation of ESA’s contract regulations. When Mr Sacotte did not do anything again to correct the situation, I decided it was time to contact the Director General.
I documented the cases in a little report and wrote an e mail to Mr Rodotá. On the following day, Mr Rodotá called me in Estec and we arranged that I would visit him in Paris.
On my way to Paris, the train stopped between Brussels and Paris for several hours. No reason was given. When I finally arrived at ESA headquarters, I was much too late for my meeting. However, Mr Rodotá had waited, and when I excused myself, he just commented very dryly: ‘It was not your fault.’
In the following weeks I did a few more assessments for Mr Rodotá, and in June 2000 he appointed me as internal auditor. When he asked me to accept that post, he clarified the working relationship with a smile: ‘Formally you work for the head of the internal audit service, but informally you work for me.’
Up to that moment, I knew only very little about internal auditing. To get acquainted with my new profession, I studied two big textbooks. Soon it turned out that I knew a lot more than my boss, the head of the internal audit service.
Internal auditors have professional pride. They have their own code of ethics, which requires them to make independent and prudent assessments. According to their code of ethics, they have to point out problems to the respective management – even if it affects their own superiors. On the other hand, from the organisational viewpoint auditors must have special protection to allow them to work independently. That special protection does not exit in ESA.
The internal audit service within ESA is part of the ‘executive’, which is headed by the Director General. The Director General and his directors report to the Council and several Council subcommittees. The Council and its subcommittees consist of representatives of the ESA member states, and they have the control and legislative functions within the legal framework of ESA. Contrary to parliaments in democratic societies, these representatives are not elected but are instead civil servants; most of them are the heads of the national space agencies in their respective ESA member states. The Council approves and controls the annual budget of ESA. However, ESA delegates certain tasks and projects to the national space agencies (for example, the Ariane rocket programme). Consequently, Council members approve a budget that ultimately becomes part of their own budgets. None of their meetings are held in public.
The Administrative Subcommittee is responsible for controlling the administration. The rules governing the relationship between this subcommittee and the Administration Directorate state that the Director of Administration has to inform the Administrative Subcommittee about any change affecting the internal audit service. In particular, a substantiating report must be provided in case of reassignment or dismissal.
The contract of an ESA staff member is governed by the Staff Rules. These rules state that the Administrative Subcommittee has to be informed in case of dismissal or reassignment of an internal auditor. However, they do not include the requirement of a substantiated report.
It should be pointed out that the very same Administrative Subcommittee and ultimately the ESA Council are responsible for both sets of rules.
My job as internal auditor turned out to be rather difficult and unpleasant. Generally, there was a very hostile atmosphere and it was neither known nor accepted that the internal audit service should be a formal, independent function with the right of access to information and people. Nevertheless, I did several audits covering a wide range of topics: a €10 million contract to industry for nothing in return, blackmail against staff members in order to bully them into placing illegal contracts, fake disciplinary procedures violating the basic principles of a fair trial, and a report on discrimination against woman within the Agency.
My formal boss refused to approve any results related to serious misconduct of senior management. Therefore I gave the reports directly to my informal boss, Mr Rodotá. Whenever the head of the internal audit service found out, we had a clash. Finally, nine months into my new job, when my staff contract with ESA was up for renewal, he refused to approve an extension unless I would apply for a post outside his internal audit service.
With the intention of demonstrating how such a case would be handled and covered by the ESA rules, I suggested to Mr Rodotá that I would pretend to accept a reassignment with the aim of challenging it later. Mr Rodotá agreed and announced openly that he would reassign me – but he did not follow up on his announcement for many months. That gave me time to generate another report: a thorough assessment of the internal audit service itself and its shortcomings.
When Mr Rodotá did not take any initiative to actually reassign me, several people – my formal boss, Mr Sacotte, and the Swiss head of the personnel department, Mr Sperisen – made several attempts to bully me into applying for a post. Obviously, the three had a vested interest to get me out of the internal audit service, because my various reports exposed their areas of responsibility in particular.
Finally, a rather high management position responsible for industrial auditing was opened, for which I was fully qualified given my experience in the Envisat contract negotiations. On the suggestion of Mr Rodotá, I applied. Despite my experience, I was not even invited for an interview, and a man with considerably less experience was appointed instead.
After another round of trying to get me to apply for a non management position, I was finally reassigned to another staff position with the title Senior Business Analyst. The Administrative Subcommittee of the Council was informed immediately – but without providing the required substantiating report.
Based on the failure to inform the subcommittee correctly, I appealed the reassignment. It took one year until the case was finally reviewed and decided in the ESA Appeals Board.
In parallel, I also appealed the fact that I was not invited to the interview for the high level management post. However, in order to avoid a situation where I would be offered a management position in exchange for withdrawing my reassignment case, I discontinued the case as soon as my application for appeal was formally accepted.
As part of my new assignment, and while the lawyers were exchanging piles of letters with the respective members of ESA, I generated my last report. In that assessment I demonstrate article by article where the ESA staff rules fail to comply with standard European legislation.
While I was still working on that report, the position of my previous boss, the head of the internal audit service, was opened. Again I applied, though I must admit I was not seriously interested in getting that job. However, it was another exercise suitable for challenging the discriminatory attitude against women in the Agency.
A few weeks later, the German ambassador to the Netherlands visited Estec and all German staff members were invited to have a drink with him. I took the occasion to inform him about the problems within ESA and gave him a copy of all reports.
For informing the ambassador about ESA internal confidential issues I was disciplined.
A few days later, the vacancy for the head of the internal audit service was extended – a message that there was not yet a suitable candidate, implying that I was not considered suitable. On the following day, the vacancy note for the successor to Mr Rodotá was opened. I smiled and remembered that I had told Mr Rodotá at our last meeting how much I would love to have his job. I immediately withdrew my application for the head of the internal audit service and applied for the position of Director General. With my application I provided all my reports and wrote in the cover letter that if the Council appointed me to the position of Director General, my intention was to fix the problems I had raised. I never got any answer from the Council, but for another eight months no decision was made with regard to the appointment of a new Director General.
Several months later, the Appeals Board meeting regarding my reassignment took place. The ESA Appeals Board consists of three judges from various ESA member states. The Council appoints the judges on renewable terms, which means they are not independent. Furthermore they have no mandate to assess decisions of the Council and its subcommittee. The meetings of the Appeals Board take place at ESA headquarters in Paris. With the exception of a lawyer, no people external to ESA and no press are allowed to attend.
I did not take a lawyer, because a week before the meeting I realized that my two lawyers had become very nervous. They had accepted the case without realizing the implication of ESA’s rudimentary legal system. They had finally understood that they would lose, and no respectable lawyer likes to lose. Because I knew I could handle the defence in the meeting myself and did not want to waste more money, I terminated the contract with them and asked my friend Bruno Gardini to come with me.
The day of this hearing was probably the scariest one of my life. Remembering Mr Rodotá’s dry comment about the train being stopped on my first visit to him, I was terrified that something unexpected would happen again on the way to Paris. I had no illusion; ultimately my case was against a French director, and I had every reason to assume he was well connected politically .
I lost as I had expected. The judges took the position that the reassignment was correctly handled, because a substantiated report was not required by the staff rules.
For the trip to Paris I needed a travel order, which had to be signed by my new boss. He did not sign, and when I complained he gave a rather lame excuse. I was furious, and when he refused to leave my office I shouted at him. After I came back from the Appeal Board meeting, I found a letter in my tray in which my little boss strongly complained about my behaviour. To clarify the issue, I asked for a disciplinary procedure against myself. After the exchange of several letters, I was told that with respect to that incident I had not given any reason that would justify a disciplinary procedure.
On the day when I finally got the full report from the Appeal Board, I was not in a good mood. I was sitting in my office – on my own as usual – and wondering why I had to pay 20,000 euros out of my own pocket to demonstrate the rudimentary legal system of ESA. Suddenly I got a phone call and was told to see the ESA doctor. The doctor strongly suggested that I should visit a psychologist. I asked for a reason, but she didn’t give me any except that I was perceived to be under stress. We argued for almost two hours. I stuck to my position that I would not even consider going before I got the reasons in writing. Of course, nobody gave me that.
I do not think it should be the task of a simple ESA staff member to fight the rudimentary legal system of ESA. Therefore I wrote a letter to the German minister responsible for ESA, Ms Bulmahn, in which I informed her about the outcome of the appeals board and the request to visit a psychologist. I send the letter via the German ambassador to the Netherlands.
At that time, Ms Bulmahn was not only the German minister responsible for ESA, she was also formally the highest responsible person within the ESA organisation because she chaired the council at the ministerial level. That council consists of the ministers from every member state. It meets every few years and determines general policy for ESA, the budgetary framework, and the major programmes. The chairmanship rotates with every meeting.
I never got any response from Frau Minister Bulmahn. Instead, the ESA head of personnel initiated another disciplinary procedure, again for informing the German government about confidential issues within ESA.
Obviously, if I were to be disciplined this time, I would be dismissed. Therefore I decided in agreement with Mr Rodotá that I would go to the last council meeting to be held while I was still a staff member. Taking into account the problems I had with getting a travel order signed for the Appeals Board meeting, I did not even try this time. Instead I went at my own expense.
At the gate of ESA headquarters in Paris I was stopped by Mr Sacotte and Mr Sperisen. The two gentlemen told me that I was not allowed to go to the council meeting. Since I did not consider it wise to force my way pass the two large gentlemen, I turned around and went back to the Netherlands.
When I came to my office, I found an announcement on my desk that the French director for launchers, Mr Dordain, had been selected as the future Director General.
I was suspended from work the next day, and two months later I was dismissed for informing the German government about ESA’s problems.
3 Heuse versus Europe
it is easily said,
but difficult to do
For almost three years now, I have been fighting a complicated legal battle. However, this little book is not about the complications of getting my legal case through the applicable jurisdictions, because members of the legal community should write such book. Instead, it is about the way I implemented the advice that one of my lawyers gave me at the very beginning: ‘It’s not enough that you have a good legal case, you also have to be emotionally able to fight it’.
Let’s face it: I am doing something that nobody has ever done before. It soon turned out that life became rather tough and lonely. In particular, in the last two years at ESA not many people wanted to socialise with me. Usually I had lunch on my own and spent most of the time alone in my office. I was persona non grata. There was only one exception: my old Envisat boss Bruno Gardini visited me every afternoon for a cup of tea.
Being on your own has a big disadvantage: you have to have every idea yourself. Putting ideas in writing helped, and I started to write e mails for no other purpose than making my brain work. That was the start of the e salon.
Unfortunately, I have no copies of the many e mails I wrote while I was still at ESA. Therefore I am starting this little book with the ones I wrote from home after I was dismissed. I have selected these e mail messages from several hundred, and I only took the ones that I exchanged with my old friend Bruno. As the e mails were written on the spur of the moment, they do not follow a logical thread. I have thus arranged them by topic for this little book. Furthermore, in order to make the book easily readable but keep the authentic e mail style at the same time, I made only a few editorial changes, but the spelling mistakes have been corrected.
4 Four characters in one
the main players
of the e salon
First of all there is Tiger. Tiger can do whatever he wants; no education has ever managed to tame him. Any rumour that Tiger is my daughter Katrin’s stuffed animal (Steifftier) has to be considered wrong.
Tiger’s alter ego is Madame. Madame is the person my education wanted me to become: an elegant, well educated lady, involved in local politics or sitting in her Biedermeier salon, reading a lot and making her husband make lots of money. Obviously, Tiger cannot be Madame’s husband, because he is incredibly lazy and not interested in making money.
Madame has a house friend, frequently referred to as ‘the old man’, whom she asks for advice in complicated situations. The old man is actually Tiger’s last boss, Mr Antonio Rodatá, who was Director General at ESA. Some people may recognize the relationship between the two already from my previous little Christmas book, Mama, what do you do all day long?.
Of course, calling a respectable gentleman ‘the old man’ is not very polite. The title is derived from another set of stories, which I would have liked to include here. However, it would have made this little book too complicated. Possibly they will become my Christmas book for 2006.
Tiger’s best friend is Mr e Clinton. The two met during the summer vacation 2004, where they spent hours talking together on the beach of Pender Island in Canada. Mr e Clinton and Tiger pass their time discussing European politics.
Apart from these four regular participants, many guests visit the e salon. Most of them come to special events by invitation. Some come without invitation, which Madame considers rather impolite but unavoidable, given the political interest in the various debates.
5 Virtual life
a few e mails out of
Subject: “Es gibt keine List als die List der Männer, denn sie übertrifft die List der Frauen”
9 April 2003
Good morning Bruno!
I still have no own e mail address. In the first weeks I missed writing my various e mails about various little things, but not anymore. I guess I have the nature of a Diogenes. As far as I am concerned I could imagine living in a vat without any gadgets… but I think the cats, Ken and the rest of the family would not appreciate it.
If we had late afternoon tea, here is my contribution. The FAZ had an article about Baghdad and 1001 stories, and they quoted from a few key stories. What do you think of this?
“Es gibt keine List als die List der Männer, denn sie übertrifft die List der Frauen” (‘There’s nothing like men’s tricks, because they’re even better than women’s tricks’).
Any feminist would turn mad, but I think about the old man’s tricks. Anyway, who would be in a position to judge?
Subject: from a tiger in a cage
10 June 2003
I am walking around like a tiger in a cage – too much energy and nothing serious to do. It is getting worse day after day. By the end of the month, I will have nibbled off my tail. The worst thing I can imagine is the old man giving Madame Bulmahn another grace period. If he does, I will have no choice but to call him up and ask him to rescue my soul. I am not born for this schlaffi life.
Today, the lady of my favourite chocolate shop told me that she is retiring by the end of the month at 52. How can somebody retire at 52? I tried to convince her to continue – where else shall I buy my favourite Belgian chocolate?
Enjoy non schlaffi life
Subject: from the lady who likes to climb up trees and chase bears
27 April 2004
Seriously, I climbed a tree…
Good morning Bruno
… Some hours ago I was in the blackest mood you can think of. I didn’t even want to write you an e mail. Then I had supper, food always helps, and then:
On the path behind our fence in the back of our house there are a few trees, and for a few hours we were already watching a cat sitting on a branch 5 metres above the ground. First we thought it was our cat, but it wasn’t.
After supper I noticed a few neighbours standing around that tree trying to get the cat down, but their ladder was to short. Suddenly Tiger (or the lady who likes to climb trees and hunt bears) came alive. That was the (small) challenge of the day. I got the cat – who was scared – and the applause of the neighbours… now I wonder if the camera of the forces on Gordon’s balcony filmed Frau Dr Heuse climbing up a tree to rescue a red cat.
… but best of all, I am in a good mood again
Subject: Re: from the lady who likes to climb trees and chase bears
7 May 2004
Thanks for all your messages; they are always very amusing, though the humour is a bit on the grey side at times. The idea of a Tiger climbing a tree to rescue a little cat is very beautiful (just a bit dangerous, don’t you think so?), maybe he thought the cat was a little Tiger of her own or just very simply Tigers have a big heart.
Interesting question: why should Tiger be a he and not a she?!
I have received your message yesterday, but too late to answer. I did not forget you, but I was too busy with so many things I could not answer in the last days. To manage two programmes and a family life from a distance is very difficult and becoming more so every day. I have the feeling everybody is taking for granted that now I will be in Paris to the end of the year and I am afraid it may well be the case. On the other end things seem to be slowing down on the Aurora side, everybody think we have to wait for the Bush initiative to develop and become more concrete. I think it is rather silly; the all thing may just be an electoral bubble to disappear in few months!
Anyway, we have an Aurora Programme Board today. We will see.
I wish you a nice weekend in beautiful Holland, enjoy your afternoon walks.
Subject: Re: Re: from the lady who likes to climb up trees and chase bears
7 May 2004
I agree with you, making the next Aurora decision dependent on a Bush initiative is rather silly. I think it is just an excuse for a no decision. However, the inability of taking a decision in the Council might be the result of certain delegations being under scrutiny of Tiger.
You raised an interesting question: Is Tiger a ‘he’ or ‘she’? From my viewpoint it is a ‘he’. It was a man who taught me ‘It’s lonely at the top’. I am neither lesbian nor a feminist. I would always prefer a male friend, in particular a male Tiger, who is looking over my shoulder and telling you with a smile: ‘If you are so lonely you enjoy a male Tiger as an imaginary friend, you are on the top’.
The Tiger … and Lisbeth
Subject: honni soit qui mal y pense
4 June 2004
Bruno, bel ami! (honni soit qui mal y pense)
Yesterday I had a strange thought. What about learning French? Now that I am not anymore forced, because of some fake job requirement ‘working language’, Tiger thinks it could be fun to change the language occasionally. La parole a été donnée à l’homme pour déguiser sa pensée… however, for a longer e mail in French I would have to find out how to type ‘e’ with an ‘ on top.
I am used to learn things by myself. This morning I was thinking of buying Le Monde – but realistically that might be too ambitious for a just about beginner.
Cheers mon ami
Subject: the e salon – approved by a medical authority
21 July 2005
Good morning Bruno!
What do you think about the idea that our e salon is actually some kind of medicine? The professor yesterday was rather serious about the huge amount of stress I am under and made a serious effort to explain that there is a well proven relationship between stress and cancer. Then he urged me to always:
(1) Step back and see things in perspective (and not personally).
(2) Take things with humour.
Wouldn’t you agree, requirement (1) is taken care off by Tiger, who writes nasty letters on my behalf, and requirement (2) by Madame, who laughs about the tricks of Tiger and serves you another cup of fabulous e cappuccino with
a big smile
Subject: What does e salon stand for?
28 October 2005
Good afternoon Bruno!
Welcome on the e Biedermeier sofa! Everybody is here already, sitting around and talking. In lieu of any interesting political topic today, we are discussing the meaning of the ‘e’ in ‘e salon’.
For engineers it’s obvious: ‘e salon’ stands for ‘electronic salon’.
Certain arrogant members of the ESA forces might argue that it’s just another example of Madame’s inadequate spelling skills, and it is supposed to be: ESA loan.
Taking the various political discussions in the salon into account, ‘e’ could stand for ‘Europe’.
But Madame and Tiger can only smile. Obviously, in their view things are only interesting when they are not so obvious.
Enjoy the weekend – ciao
6 The centre of Europe
according to a member of the Oktoberfest Party
Subject: German politicians for afternoon tea
8 June 2004
Good afternoon Bruno,
The value system of German politicians these days is something that could be amusing – even for an Italian.
Koehler was nominated by the CDU/CSU, and related to it was a story in the FAZ yesterday, which I found really amusing. The CDU/CSU Kanzler candidate in the last election, Stoiber, was asked by Chirac and Schröder to become a candidate for the post of the president of the European Commission (Prodi’s job). Stoiber declined on grounds that he wants to continue dedicating himself to the CSU and his current post as Ministerpresident of Bavaria.
Which makes Tiger wonder whether Ministerpresident of Bavaria is more important than President of the EU Commission and also, of course, than Prodi’s previous post; i.e. President of Italy… and if he were still alive, Giordano Bruno might repeat: ‘Se non e vero, e…’.
Enjoy the afternoon – even if only later – with a good cup of tea.
7 Big projects
require long negotiations
Subject: too much to lose
19 June 2004
Good morning Bruno,
At least something, a constitution for the EU! I would have liked to attend that meeting yesterday (for professional reasons). For somebody with a natural interest in the art of negotiation, watching 25 top politicians coming to an agreement seems to be more fascinating than any EC football final could ever be.
The TV reporter complained that it took 14 hours and said this was a sign that Europe cannot be governed by 25 guys. I don’t agree. Maybe that reporter should have attended a few Envisat negotiations. I wonder how many people ever had to manage a single negotiation meeting lasting 27 hours (and it was the second in a week, the first one was SIRA with 15 hours). Also, one can be sure that Herr Schröder and Co. are never short of food and do not have to survive on spoiled birthday cake – like poor Tiger at 3:30 a.m. in Aerospatiale.
Enjoy the week – ciao
8 Mr e Clinton
Tiger’s beloved friend
Subject: opening the windows of the e salon after the summer vacation
20 August 2004
I saw kids going to school today and wondered if you were back from vacation now as well. We came back yesterday. Tiger is already bugging me ever since to open the e salon, because he wants to discuss his newest idea with you. Assuming that you are about to be back, I told him to go ahead and open all the windows (after six weeks without any fresh air, even e salons get a bit stuffy).
I had a great vacation, met all my best friends in Canada, enjoyed time off, nature, and Katrin, who came from California for a weekend. Sonja and her friend Jorik were there as well. Tiger made a new (imaginary) friend, who talks even more than he does. When I was reading my vacation book, the memoirs from Bill Clinton, Tiger was sitting on the beach chatting along with his new friend, virtual Bill Clinton.
Bill Clinton knows much about politics, but he had never heard about someone running an e salon. Therefore Tiger invited him to come for an interview. Would you have time next week? Even virtual Clinton is a busy man, and we have to give him a few days of advance notice.
I hope you have come back from vacation as relaxed and full of energy as I did.
Subject: just a short chat
2 September 2004
Good afternoon Bruno,
Tiger is wiggling his big tail! He too is very happy that you are back. He has already contacted his new friend virtual Clinton to arrange for a visit in the e salon. Tentatively they have agreed on Friday at 10:30.
Now he is awfully busy working on the questions for his interview with Mr Virtual Clinton tomorrow. Given that Tiger always talks too much, I wonder if an (ex) president can stop him.
Enjoy the evening and please don’t forget to come by at 10:30 tomorrow to meet Tiger’s newest friend.
Subject: interview with Mr e Clinton
3 September 2004
Tiger: ‘Good morning Mr e Clinton, may I introduce you to the e salon. We feel very fortunate that you found time to join us this morning’.
Mr e Clinton: ‘Good morning, Mr Tiger. I am happy to come. Since I have never before been in an e salon, I feel honoured to be invited.’
Tiger: ‘As you know, I read with great interest your memoirs, in particular since I am in the process of writing some myself. When I got back to Europe from Canada and reflected over ESA, I realized that you never mention NASA in your 990 pages – or did I miss it?’
Mr e Clinton: ‘Your observation is interesting; NASA was indeed never on my critical agenda. As you know, NASA had an important role at the height of the cold war. With the fall of the Soviet Union and globalisation it lost its importance. We have no arms race any more with Russia, and we do not need an International Space Station to demonstrate that people from different nations can peacefully work together.
Furthermore, we have learned from various space missions and deep- space research that the world is a unique place, and that there is no replacement for it in reach of our planet. Therefore, my emphasis has always been and still is, on the importance of the environment here on the earth.’
Tiger: ‘Do you imply that there is no need any more for a publicly financed space programme?’
Mr e Clinton: ‘No, definitely not. First of all, access to space is an element of infrastructure. As you remember from my memoirs, one of the first initiatives I undertook as governor of Arkansas was to improve the streets. Infrastructure is a task of government, which must insure that everybody has affordable access to it. By the way, with access to space I do not only mean rockets, but also all other space related services, like GPS, meteorological and climatological observations, space research, communications, etc. The actual implementation could be a case by case decision whether it should be done by private organizations or public ones – but the important aspect is that the government has to put an organisation in place that provides fair access for everybody.’
Tiger: ‘Mr e Clinton, in appreciation of your memoirs I gave you a copy of the Constitution for Europe. Given your experience as president and your background in law, do you have any comments?’
Mr e Clinton: ‘A constitution must always be understood based on the historical situation in which it was created. Taking that into account, the European one is a remarkable achievement. However, in the context of our discussion regarding your aim to move ESA under the EU, I would like to point out that such a move might not solve all your problems.
You told me that the Belgian courts did not prosecute the EU commissioner who caused the resignation of an entire Commission, and that finally the Commission took the case into the European Court of Justice, where it is still pending. What I would like to point out to you is that the European Court of Justice is essentially a civil court. Such a court would not be appropriate for the kind of civil rights violations and corruption cases you reported from within ESA. Those cases would belong in a criminal court. For such crimes within the European context, the new EU Constitution introduces a public prosecutor for Europe. However, implementation of this Public Prosecutor is not mandatory in the constitution. The constitution says ‘may’. Will there be enough momentum in Europe to convert ‘may’ into ‘will’ and to push the necessary legislation through the various political bodies?’
Tiger: ‘Hmmmm, I had not thought about that. The unification of Europe seems to be an endless process… Thank you very much for your contribution.’
Mr e Clinton: smiles.
Tiger to the e audience: ‘Does anybody have a question for Mr e Clinton? Please feel free to ask him personally. Mr e Clinton is so kind as to stay for a little while and to talk with you personally over a cup of cappuccino from the fabulous dolce vita machine of HQ.’
Copyright© 2004 Lisbeth Heuse
This interview may not, in whole or in part, be copied, stored or reproduced in any form, or translated, without the prior written consent of the copyright holder.
9 The Marriage of Figaro
if, my dear Director,
you feel like dancing?
Subject: Sacotte in a Mozart opera
8 October 2004
Good morning Bruno,
In the FAZ this week there is a puzzle about operas. It is part of a comic strip, and everyday you get to guess which opera, character, etc. Most of them are Wagner, I assume, anyway operas I don’t know. But today I (think I) got the answer, which made even old Tiger smile: Le Nozze di Figaro.
So Tiger decided to start the day by listening to a Mozart opera. By the way, yesterday I decided to keep all my ESA files. You never know what I might need them for. But before I took that decision, I went through binders and binders of Appeals Board correspondence, Advisory Board correspondence, lawyer communications, reports to the DG, ambassador, Council and AFC. I even found a pile of old e mails between Sacotte and me, when I was still working for him … like a real opera:
Se vuol ballare,
Se vuol venire
Nella mia scuola,
Meglio ogni arcano
Di qua pungendo,
Di la scherzando
Tutte le machine
What would Sacotte’s answer to Tiger’s song? Don’t you think we should invite him to the e salon for a little duet?
Subject: more Figaro in the ESA soap opera
8 October 2004
Good afternoon Bruno,
Starting the day with an opera is very good for the spirit. Made me laugh all day long while still organizing old ESA boxes and stuff.
I am sure I told you that I wrote a ‘Friday report’ every week to the old man. When the forces returned my stuff, they didn’t include my binders with copies of these e reports. The consequence of course being that I have no proof what e mails I wrote to the old man.
Have I ever told you the juicy gossip around these e mails:
In the gigantic ESA soap opera, some of the forces claim that I had (or still am having) an affair with the old man, and that I left because he left. As there is more than one version of an affair in every good opera, the other part of the forces only claimed that I was in love, generated 153 love e mails (the number is formally recorded in one of de Cooker’s opuses) and annoyed the DG to a point that he fired me.
The forces should listen to Figaro:
…Aprite un po quegli occhi,
Uommi incauti e sciocchi…
Enjoy the weekend.
10 The French referendum
an interview with Mr e Clinton
Subject: the French referendum in the e salon
22 May 2005
Good morning Bruno!
How was your weekend?
Poor Tiger still has a blue paw, pretty hard to take. He has figured out that he can go bicycling if he uses the foot in a certain way… but that certain way hurts after a while as well.
To keep him sane, Madame gave him something to do. Because Tiger was complaining that everybody and his dog was giving their opinion and interviews on the French referendum next Sunday, Madame suggested opening the e salon on Friday afternoon for a political discussion. Mr e Clinton has already agreed to attend and answer questions from Tiger…
… and now Tiger is busy preparing questions for Mr e Clinton.
Do you have any particular suggestion whom we should invite?
Enjoy the day – ciao
Subject: Italienische Zustände?
24 May 2005
Good morning Bruno!
Isn’t e cappuccino really exciting these days? French referendum, Dutch referendum, and now we can discuss whether we are getting ‘italienische Zustände’ in Germany: an early election and a change of government without planning four years in advance.
Tiger is licking his lips. Of course he is planning to contribute to the election campaign. But for the time being, he is still working on the questions for the interview he wants to have with Mr e Clinton during the e salon happy hour on Friday. As Madame is busy on Friday, we have set the time at 17:00 – i.e. late afternoon. I assume you will still be around at that time.
Enjoy the day – ciao
Subject: what would the ex president say?
25 May 2005
Good afternoon Bruno!
I would really like to have a real cup of tea with you. Virtual life is only exciting to a certain extent.
What do you think the real Mr Clinton would say if he knew that Tiger has made him part of the ESA soap opera? The other day while he was working on his interview, Tiger had a bizarre idea. Somewhere he had found an e mail address of the real Clinton, and he thought it would be real e fun to send his questions to that address and to see what came back. Tiger has decided to have only two questions – maybe the real Mr Clinton would have time to answer:
(1) Mr e Clinton, if you were M. Chirac, what would you do with a ‘no’ in the French Referendum?
(2) What do you think will happen with the European constitution?
… and how would the answers of ex president Clinton compare with the ones of Mr e Clinton?
Luckily there is no copyright applicable. Mr e Clinton is a private affair in a private e salon… otherwise the real Clinton could ask for royalties… though of course that would only work if Tiger made some money with his ESA soap opera.
I hope you had fun drinking another cup of e tea – enjoy the later part of the afternoon – ciao
Subject: getting the e salon ready
26 May 2005
Tiger was pondering a new idea: what about inviting Mr e Chirac to the e salon so he could stimulate a conversation between Mr e Clinton and M. e Chirac? But Madame talked him out of it. For whatever reason, she thinks M. e Chirac would be too elitist for her salon – kind of messing up the open spirit.
For the rest, Madame is hassling Tiger to clean up the old, dusty files in the salon and open all the windows to let in fresh ideas. Feel lucky that you are out of her reach!
I look forward to see you tomorrow hoping you have a bit of time to join Tiger’s show.
Ciao – Lisbeth
Subject: Friday before the French referendum in Tiger’s e salon
27 May 2005
… After Mr e Clinton answered Tiger’s questions, he turned to Madame:
Mr e Clinton: ‘Madame, may I ask you to recall what happened three years ago?’
Madame: ‘Certainly, what specifically would you like to know?’
Mr e Clinton: ‘Tiger told me that the German ambassador came to visit Estec, and that you gave him all the reports you had produced so far in advance, as well as everything related to your appeal against being reassigned from your position as internal auditor. Did the ambassador confirm having received these documents?’
Madame: ‘Yes, during the drink at Estec Herr Dr Duckwitz took me aside and told me he had send everything to Berlin. Therefore I continued putting a copy of every document in the mailbox of the embassy in Den Haag.’
Mr e Clinton: ‘Well, I would say that the German Minister of Foreign Affairs – Mr Fischer is his name, isn’t it? – cannot deny not knowing your case. Are you aware of any reason why he never contacted you?’
Madame: ‘No… maybe because I am not a member of the Green Party…’.
Mr e Clinton: ‘… not very smart of him… this is very sad for Europe, because unfortunately, not only will Mr Fischer’s political career be over once your case is in court and public, but the EU constitution will loose its credibility due the fact that a key member of the EU convent acted in such a fundamentally improper manner.
On the other hand, with the French population very likely to vote against the constitution, your case, Madame, has become even more important. It is the only means left to force the necessary changes in the various European organizations… in the interest of Europe, please keep on going.’
Madame: ‘I see it the same way, Mr e Clinton…nevertheless, wouldn’t you agree that ‘it is easily said, but difficult to do?’
Dear Bruno, I hope you enjoyed a break from day to day work – enjoy the beautiful weather over the weekend – ciao
11 The first part of Mr e Clinton’s interview
answers to Tiger’s original questions
Subject: what did German Foreign Minister Fischer do with the information?
22 July 2005
Good afternoon Bruno!
That grey weather was making Tiger totally depressed. He was complaining that you can’t even see any stars in the Netherlands, and he was feeling so miserable that he didn’t even want to think about arranging a summer party in Madame’s e salon. To distract him, Madame made him dig out his last interview with his beloved friend Mr e Clinton. While reading it, Tiger became alive and started a discussion with Madame. His theory was that German Foreign Minister Fischer somehow manipulated the information in the letters, because that communication via the German ambassador took place at the same time when he wanted to become the EU Commissioner of External Affairs.
I never mailed you Tiger’s entire show (because I felt it had become too long). But given that the German President decided yesterday to call an election, I think you may still enjoy the full interview.
Replay of Tiger’s interview with Mr e Clinton and Mr e Clinton’s subsequent questions to Madame
(Original date: 27 May 2005)
Tiger: ‘Mr e Clinton, we are very pleased that you have joined our e salon today. May I asked you what would you do in response to a ‘no’ in the French Referendum if you were M. Chirac?’
Mr e Clinton: ‘This is a difficult question for me, because I would not have organized a referendum in the first place. Except for Switzerland, none of the western democracies have a referendum culture, which means the French (and Dutch) citizens are put in an unfamiliar situation. Furthermore, requesting a referendum for an exceptional measure such as the EU issue means the citizens are not being taken seriously, because they are just being asked to endorse a decision… that is, to give glory to the government.
That is not comparable to an election. The culture of a election is more than just a binary ‘yes’ or ‘no’ decision. Germany, France and the Netherlands have more than two parties to choose from. In the US, we have a rather elaborate primary election system where every citizen can potentially be involved.
The French people realise that. They vote against the referendum because they want to show that they are still sovereign.
Now as to your question, what would I do? I would do the same thing as Mr Schroeder did last Sunday: I would request a new election. But I doubt that M. Chirac will do that.’
Tiger: ‘What do you think will happen with the European constitution?’
Mr e Clinton: ‘On the European level, nothing will happen until the German election is over. The Dutch referendum will likely be ‘no’ as well – though probably with a very low turnout. Consequently, the remaining countries will postpone ratification. Once a new German government has been elected, they will need a grace period, so another 6 months will be lost. By that time, the new German government will find itself entangled in the economic problems that caused the end of the current German government – and for which the new one will have no magic solution either. Furthermore, there is not much glory left in the European constitution process for Frau Merkel. On the German side, the European constitution will always be associated with the Left Green coalition. Therefore she has no particular incentive to put any effort into finding a solution.’
Tiger: ‘Am I correct in my observation that you sound somewhat disillusioned?’
Mr e Clinton: ‘I wouldn’t go that far. I am just trying to analyse the situation. However I would like to point out that beside the right wing in Europe, the right wing in the US has a particularly strong vested interest in a non integrated Europe.’
This is the point where Mr e Clinton turned to Madame.
Dear Bruno, I hope you found the full interview interesting after all.
Enjoy the later afternoon and the weekend – ciao
12 Tiger’s garden party
and the German Kanzler’s call for an early election
Subject: Tiger’s summer party
24 July 2005
Good morning Bruno!
Tiger has been waiting already for hours on your e doorstep, and while Madame is serving you a nice cup of her lovely e cappuccino, he will tell you about his plans for a summer party.
Yes, Tiger has finally agreed to organize a summer party, and Madame has agreed to invite Meneer e Koopmans for an interview. The topic of the interview will be: how does the Dutch judge and professor of constitutional law view the decision of German President Köhler in the light of the German constitution. Of course, we do not know yet whether Meneer e Koopmans will come, but as Mr e Clinton has already agreed, it will not be a boring party. Unfortunately, due to the short notice Mr e Clinton only has time on Wednesday evening, and the party will start at 20:00.
Madame has invited the old man, who fortunately has no constraints.
As usual, Tiger is awfully excited. He has already checked over the decorations from last year’s party, because weather permitting it will be an e garden party.
I hope you can come – even Aurora men need a break!
Enjoy the day – ciao
Subject: Re: Tiger’s summer party
24 July 2005
It is always nice to have a summer party, I am looking forwards to it, and I assume there will be no e rain on Wednesday, although you never know. Today I went for a short bicycle tour taking profit of a warm if not totally sunny Dutch weather. No need to say I came home completely wet. I am wondering how my daughters cope with this all the year, in winter must be pretty cold!
Anyway, my daughters are all gone and the house is very empty, Kim went to the ESA camp. She called when she arrived and then not any more, so I assume it is all OK. Silvia went to Istanbul on Friday with her friends. The plane was overbooked; they had to change flights and almost missed it! But yesterday night CNN announced a bomb exploded near the place they are staying. I did not want to call because it was too late; I sent an SMS on the phone and only this morning I received a message they were OK. It was again a long night; the world is getting crazy and we do not know what to do. Do you think e Clinton can give an answer? He left in disgrace, but was he not a better president after all?
Enjoy this late afternoon before holidays.
Subject: just a question of imagination
25 July 2005
Good afternoon Bruno!
Tiger is awfully pleased. Meneer e Koopmans has agreed to come. I had not realized that Prof. Tim Koopmans was also an Advocate General at the Dutch Supreme Court.
The best of an e party is that it does not cost anything. As I have not even received the money from my mother’s inheritance, that’s an important aspect.
How about another cup of e tea in a lovely e Meissen cup in Madame’s antique computer e salon?
Enjoy the later afternoon – ciao
Subject: talking about a Trojan Tiger in the IA stable
27 July 2005
Good morning Bruno!
Isn’t the weather awful? This morning my old cat was sleeping close to the heating – which means it is so cold the furnace came on… in July!
Despite the cold weather, Tiger is insisting on his garden party. We have ordered a big pizza oven, which we are planning to put under a gigantic umbrella. Guests can lean against it – like my old cat – to warm up. Furthermore, there will be a late night pizza.
Madame is looking forward to having pizza with the old man. Then they will talk about old times, when they both tricked the head of the internal audit service into letting a Trojan Tiger into his stable.
Shall we enjoy another cup of e cappuccino (just to warm up)?
Enjoy the day – ciao
Subject: e garden small talk around Tiger’s hot pizza oven
27 July 2005
Good evening Bruno!
I am very glad you could come. May I offer you some nicely chilled e Riesling? I got it from a little vineyard in the Rheingau. As you can hear, everybody is talking a lot. Tiger is over there with his beloved friends. Let’s listen to what they are discussing:
Tiger: ‘Meneer e Koopmans, if you were a member of the German Constitutional Court, how would you assess the decision of the German President to dissolve the current Bundestag and to call for new elections?’
Dhr e Koopmans: ‘Constitutions are generated by people, and they always reflect the particular circumstances existing at the time of their creation. The relevant article in the German constitution is a sort of “lex Hindenburg”; which means it was designed for a particular historical situation. However, it is clear that the underlying intention of the article is to avoid political deadlock and chaos. I think that by requesting a new election in the current political situation, the President has ultimately complied with the underlying intention of the constitution.’
Tiger: ‘Mr e Clinton, from a political point of view, do you believe Mr Schröder was actually in a deadlock?’
Mr e Clinton: ‘Yes, though he has been careful not to mention all the problems he has and all the groups that cause these problems. Mr Schröder is what we Americans call “street smart”. Obviously, he wants to remain Kanzler. Therefore he does not want to block any more options than necessary by criticising potential future partners.’
Dhr e Koopmans: ‘Which problems do you refer to, Mr e Clinton?’
Mr e Clinton: ‘For example, some months ago Mr Merkel and Mr Stoiber requested a summit meeting with Mr Schroeder, and in the end Mr Fischer attended as well. I wish to point out that the opposition requested that meeting. The meeting took place, and the four leaders apparently agreed on some significant improvements. However, the middle ranks of the various parties involved did not support them, and the improvements were not actually implemented.’
Mr e Rodotá: ‘Which means that in a certain sense, Frau Merkel also failed with this request for a summit meeting. Nevertheless, according to the polls she is poised to win the election in two months. Please, Madame, with reference to our conversation four years ago about women in management positions, what advice would you give Frau Merkel?’
Madame: ‘First of all, I think she needs a lot more humour to cope with the stress of being alone at the top – where she is not singing in a choir with others, but is instead the conductor. Secondly, she comes across a bit like the best girl in the class who tends to think ‘Ich mach das allein!’. But in order to succeed, Frau Merkel has to learn how to delegate and involve other people, and ultimately to enjoy the success of other people, because even a German Kanzler is only as good as her team.’
…and everybody is enjoying more e wine and more e talk, thus making Tiger’s e garden party last until very late in the night.
In the meantime, Bruno, may I wish you a nice vacation. Please give my regards to your mother and enjoy a real hot Italian summer!
With a big hug
13 The election campaign
the debate between Frau e Merkel and Herrn e Schröder
Subject: the e salon debate
6 September 2005
Good afternoon Bruno!
Sorry Bruno, we don’t have much time today. The reason being that Madame got a phone call from Mr e Clinton. Very nice indeed, but there is no free lunch; Mr e Clinton suggested inviting Frau e Merkel and Herr e Schröder for an interview in the e salon. Tiger was totally shocked. We are suing the German government, so why invite the Kanzler and the Kanzler to be? Even Madame was a bit hesitant, but Mr e Clinton convinced her with the argument that there was a debate between the two politicians last Sunday on TV and nothing was said that wasn’t already generally known. Wouldn’t Madame and Tiger do a better job?
Mr e Clinton is very convinced that this is a fabulous pre election idea. He has already set the date (these things have to be planned well in advance, given the hectic situation in Berlin these days).
Madame and Tiger had a long argument about who should invite whom. Then they agreed that Madame would contact Herrn e Schröder and Tiger would deal with Frau e Merkel. Now I wonder how the Merkel electoral campaign team will react when they are confronted with Tiger.
In preparation for the interview, we are collecting questions – preferable ones that were not asked already. What would you like to know from the two politicians?
Enjoy the later part of the afternoon – ciao
Subject: would you like to get Tiger’s briefing?
7 September 2005
Good afternoon Bruno!
This idea of an e salon debate turns out to be rather fun.
The Schröder election campaign organiser agreed to the interview – preliminarily, pending a comprehensive briefing including potential questions. Now Tiger is awfully excited and busy. I don’t think they have understood what they are getting into.
The Merkel election campaign team’s answer was that Frau Merkel had agreed to only one debate with Schröder and she had no time anyway. That made Madame amused. It implied that her e salon is on the same level as the German TV programmes. But since Madame wants to have Frau e Merkel in the e salon, she asked Mr e Clinton for advice. His suggestion was: ‘wait until we have final confirmation from the Schröder team, then send exactly the same briefing package to the Merkel team and tell them that Schröder has agreed.’ (Mr e Clinton is sure that the Schröder team will agree after they see Tiger’s briefing).
Shall I send you Tiger’s briefing?
I hope you enjoy the later part of the afternoon – ciao
Subject: almost there
7 September 2005
Good morning Bruno!
Tiger is sitting here grinning. He has mailed his briefing and wuff… within 90 minutes the Schröder election campaign team confirmed Herrn e Schröder’s participation in the interview.
Now Madame has sent the package with an appropriate cover e mail to Frau Merkel’s election campaign team. Tiger is grinning again. If Frau Merkel does not agree, he plans to make a few appropriate comments… and concentrate his energy on pestering Herrn e Schröder.
… and Madame is rather happy, because Tiger finally has something to put his teeth in.
Wishing you a nice day – ciao
Subject: Mr e Clinton was right
8 September 2005
Good afternoon Bruno!
Tiger is awfully excited. Frau e Merkel will come as well. Have I told you the date and time? It will be Wednesday at 20:15; that is, after the German Tagesschau news programme. It was the only time that Herr e Schröder was still available… and Frau e Merkel had no choice but to accept the date and cancel whatever she was had planned.
I know that’s late even for an workaholic like you, but then you can always read the results in the paper the next day anyway…
Enjoy the later part of the late afternoon – ciao
Subject: Frau e Merkel and Herr e Schröder on the same
e Biedermeier sofa
9 September 2005
Good afternoon Bruno!
Over a nice cup of late afternoon tea, we could discuss the set-up for the e Merkel / e Schröder debate. On TV those important people always stand behind a podium. Madame thinks that’s uncivilized. She will ask the two politicians to sit on her lovely e Biedermeier sofa (which made Mr e Clinton comment that it will be the first time the German Kanzler and his potential successor sat on the same couch).
20:15 is a little late for tea – even a very late afternoon tea. On TV you always see these people drinking plain water from simple glasses. But Madame will serve one of her full bouquet red wines. She likes to do everything possible to make her guests feel relaxed – in particular when they’re facing Tiger’s nasty questions.
Then we have agreed that Madame will make the opening statement and Mr e Clinton will make the closing statements. (Of course, everything will be translated to English simultaneously – after all we can use the klc techtrans service).
Can you think of anything important that we have forgotten?
Well, of course we hope you will attend, but for the time being we just wish you a nice weekend – ciao
Subject: reporters have to look through the window
10 September 2005
Good morning Bruno!
On Saturday, Tiger had a lot of fun.
For the rest of the weekend, Tiger and Mr e Clinton discussed the importance of publicity
Nun, immerhin ist Alexa recht...
Nun, immerhin ist Alexa recht schmuck anzuschauen. Ich habe allerdings mal den Fehler gemacht, eins ihrer Bücher zu lesen. Weg mit Schaden.
„Grenzgang“ habe ich auch nicht geklaut, aber geordert. Nach dem Reinlesen fand ich ihre Empfehlung sehr verständlich, Andrea. Es ist ja immer wieder schön, wenn sich aus Empfehlungen Bestseller ergeben. Es zeigt doch, daß wir souveränen Leser nicht ganz machtlos sind.
Das passiert nie. Nun ja,...
Das passiert nie. Nun ja, wenigstens kann man inzwischen etwas finden, was noch schlechter als Literaten im Bett ist: E-Book-Fans. Da gewinnt man im Vergleich.
Das blöde ist: Die machen das...
Das blöde ist: Die machen das nur, wenn sie sich unbeobachtet fühlen.
Ich weiß jetzt auch nicht, ob sich bei DuMont gestern wieder jemand ausgezogen hat, es war erst gegen halb drei, als ich ging. Wer weiß, vielleicht war schon Minuten später Nackttanz angesagt. Und immer, wenn keiner hinguckt.
Da sehe ich Synergien. Wie...
Da sehe ich Synergien. Wie wäre es mit Alexaknutschen-fuer-Feuilletonisten.de? Da gibt es doch sicher einen sponsornden Grossverlag, und vielleicht auch einen Sendeplatz bei MTV.