Monthly Archives: November 2009

Darwinistic

Can someone please explain me what the evolutionary advantage of hiccup* is? Especially at 1 am in the morning when you really want to sleep…

*Schluckauf, le hoquet

Good night


It is amazing to see how bright stars can shine, how much light the moon can shed or how dark a night can be when the lights of the city are not dimming the night. Though it is pretty too.

Good morning

A few, dear moments without rain, or hail, or wind. And it even did last until I arrived dry at work.

Back to ‘Start’

For once, they had a capable politician holding this socially, economically and linguistically fragmented country together. And then, what happens? The EU comes along and establishes a whole new form of brain drain.

Back to ‘Go’ then for Leterme; same game, same rules, same dies. Or maybe not? Next federal elections are in 2011; good luck ’til then!

Things more beautiful from a distance

  • ‘Good’ old times
  • Impressionist paintings
  • The basilica of Koekelberg

How to fail expectations when there aren’t any

Gender balance: √
Big/small country balance: √
Left/right party balance: √
East/west country balance: ≠

3 out of 4; not bad for the first time.

On a more serious note: there was more than one article today on how much it speaks for European affairs to vote two ‘faceless’ people on top – Herman van Rompuy as EU President and Catherine Ashton as high representative – and how bad of an idea it was to get a Belgian.

First of all, that van Rompuy and Ashton are not much known outside their countries or Brussels doesn’t mean they’re not good at what they are doing. It speaks more for the linguistic media divide in Europe. There aren’t many qualified – let say – Finish, Polish, Greek, Austrian, Irish, Danish or Slovene politicians coming to my mind like this; and I’m following EU affairs.

Second, I hope they will know how to use to their advantages the fact that the position they are going to take isn’t defined yet and that, anyway, nobody is expecting them to do anything particularly useful or worth remembering. Being able to get a job done free from overwhelming expectations is something a certain guy on the other side of the Atlantic might be envying those newcomers for.

Last but not least; I don’t know what better qualification there could be for a top EU position than a successful experience in managing Belgian politics, its linguistic, social, economic and other ‘vanity’ mess issues.

Regarding my opinion on Tony Blair and how relieved I am that he did not make it, it couldn’t be expressed any better than Korie already did.

Love-hate relationships

Today: Trains – with a particular reference to the Deutsche Bahn

The German railway services are ridiculously expensive, often unreliable (according to public impression: always) and altogether a company that still needs to learn more about its responsibility towards customers, employees and stakeholders.

171 Euro for a Stuttgart-Cologne round trip are excessive (by comparison Paris-Brussels: 134 euro; 24h advance booking). I’ve never seen the ’29 euro on any distance ticket’ available online no matter how much time I booked in advance and I really would be looking forward to some more competition by the SNCF (though certainly not a role model on open and fair competition policies itself) on the German rails like recently announced.

That was the kind of thought running through my mind while sitting comfortably first on a Thalys and then on a ICE; 2nd lass equipped with plugs (in both trains), heating and coffee service. I admire modern technology – the shape, the style, the systems. We so easily rely and depend on them and even easier ‘bitch’ about them if they fail – and might it be only a 5 minutes delay. We are taking it for granted without acknowledging the skills and complexity behind. Sitting on the platform and watching the trains coming in and going out with an almost meticulous precision is witnessing a masterpiece of engineering and beauty – in Germany as well as in France.