Monthly Archives: September 2004

Outta here

OK folks, I’m off to Portugal until Sunday night. Blogging will be slow in the interim.

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Judge Kent strikes again?

Amused to note this judgement (via Making Light). The name of the judge isn’t given but I think I detect the style of our old friend Judge Samuel B. Kent. Update: No, it seems that this is a different Texan … Continue reading

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Duvet day

…or duvet morning, at least. I woke up with no energy and no appetite (no temperature either so there’s nothing very wrong with me physically). I guess it’s basically the reaction to not getting the job with the European Commission, … Continue reading

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International Crisis Group feed

In case anyone wants to know on a regular basis what my colleagues and I are doing at work, you can now add to your friends list.

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Christening

We got our youngest, U, baptised today. I’m Catholic, while Anne was brought up as a Methodist; we had decided at an early stage that the kids would be baptised as infants (Anne wasn’t until she was thirteen) at whichever … Continue reading

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Why ћ is not the same letter as ħ

I’ve had a comment from a reader of my language quiz who complains that the Serbian letter ћ is not unique to that language, but is also found in Maltese. Well, no, not really; the Serbian ћ is Cyrillic, and … Continue reading

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September Books 10) The Gods Themselves

10) The Gods Themselves, by Isaac Asimov I reread this one for my website. Full review will be published there.

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September Books 9) The 9/11 Commission Report

9) The 9/11 Commission Report. OK, perhaps there were less grim things to be reading as I shunted between planes yesterday at Belfast City Airport and then Heathrow; but it’s a gripping story, told well, and basically leaves little room … Continue reading

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Latest woe

So eventually the 1430 flight was announced for 1700. But British Midland’s computer system is buggered. So, at 1730, rather than let the remaining passenges on board, they gave us back our tickets and told us, effectively, to sod off. … Continue reading

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More aargh

The noticeboard says my 1430 flight is delayed until 1520. It’s now 1530.

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Yesterday in Belfast

I was here for a conference on last year’s elections, which also coincided with the opening ceremony for the new building of the Queen’s University of Belfast Institute of Governance, of which I am an honorary fellow. Now I have … Continue reading

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Flight woe

My cunning plans to be back in Brussels by lunchtime today have been scuppered. The flight I was meant to be on to Manchester got cancelled, but they changed me to another flight via Birmingham which would actually have got … Continue reading

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Got here at last…

Checked into fading guesthouse on Cromwell Road just now. Just behind me came a taxi driver from Belfast City Airport with two Chinese passengers. Then they took a second look at the place and asked him to drive them to … Continue reading

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Questions, questions…

Both Mastermind and University Challenge last night featured questions about a) Bleak House and b) Einstein’s quote that “God Does Not Play Dice”. The knowledge contained in quiz shows may be running out…

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More travels

Back from Moldova safely, but more travels loom. I go to the Hague for the afternoon today, and then tomorrow evening go to Belfast for a conference – Belfast folks please give me a shout if you'd like to meet … Continue reading

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September Books 8) To The Nines

8) To The Nines by Janet Evanovich I first got into Janet Evanovich by picking up some of her earlier Stephanie Plum books at Vienna Airport. And since I was changing planes there again, and failing really to get engaged … Continue reading

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Gallows humour

What is worse than being captured by the Chechens? Being rescued by the Russians. Feel free to post in your own journal provided you don’t say where you got it from.

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Talking to a Moldovan

I’m here as a guest at a conference organised by an old friend of mine. For the first time since I’ve known him I got him to reminisce about his time in government in the early 1990s. Not verbatim, but … Continue reading

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September books 7) Judgement Day: The Trial of Slobodan Milosevic

7) Judgement Day: The Trial of Slobodan Milosevic, by Chris Stephen. The title makes it sound as if this is a book restricted just to the one event, the Milosevic trial. In fact it’s not, and what you get is … Continue reading

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Things I’ve learnt from the last few weeks

1) You can’t rely on everyone. I’m pretty sure that Finnish ex-president Martti Ahtisaari never said a word to Rehn about me, for instance. And Paddy Ashdown was constrained by his institutional position from saying anything. 2) You can rely … Continue reading

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Best careers advice book ever

I see that a new edition of What Color is your Parachute by Richard Nelson Bolles is coming out. I found this the best careers advice book I ever read, at the moment I last took a serious career shift, … Continue reading

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September Books 6) Monstrous Regiment

6) Monstrous Regiment, by Terry Pratchett. Pratchett on form is not only funny but also profound – I think Small Gods is his peak, and I found The Fifth Elephant surprisingly apposite when I was in Macedonia during the 2001 … Continue reading

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Why do I have time to update?

Well, I actually thought I would be doing Real Work in this internet cafe, disturbed only by the sound of people arguing in Russian around the room – just like the Brussels office used to be before moved back to … Continue reading

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September Books 5) Star Trek: Enterprise – The First Adventure

5) Star Trek: Enterprise – The First Adventure, by Vonda N. McIntyre I’m not really a trekkie. I mean, if I come across a Trek episode – from any of the series – while channel surfing, I’ll probably stop and … Continue reading

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Back in Chisinau

So, here I am in Chisinau, the capital of the former Soviet republic of Moldova. It’s my second visit; not a lot has changed since I was last here three years ago (Communists still in power, Soviet army still occupying … Continue reading

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Author, author!

Well, I wrote back a polite and fairly lengthy email to the author who was bothered about the fact that I have written some pretty negative things about her work on my website. And she has replied, offering to send … Continue reading

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Bah

Set off to the office in the pious hope that I might get some work done before leaving for Moldova. On the outskirts of Brussels, after 20 minute drive, realised I had left my passport at home. Go back and … Continue reading

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Moldova

Off to Moldova until Sunday. Blogging may be slow while on the road.

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Let’s call the whole thing off…

…well, it looks like the story has come to an end. Just got an email from the former foreign minister of Poland saying: I am ready to support your candidacy for a position in Olli Rehn’s cabinet. Knowing your excellent … Continue reading

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“You can either work for me or John Kerry”

A statement with unexpected consequences.

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