All the best to you for 2023! Health! Atonement! Contentedness! Hygge ! Lagom ! Satisfaction in the pursuit of happiness !

We have a war in Europe and inflation in full swing. The former is a catastrophy for Ukraine and all soldiers who fight, the latter a kick in the groin of everyone relying on a fixed income. Among others the retirees whose nest eggs are melting away.

We don’t want to grieve or gripe, as others are doing much worse. And we are not supposed to do so because right now the floor belongs to the belt-tighteners. Tous azimuts we are held to exercise restraint in order to do good and avoid worse. No joke: The Swiss government, having squandered every opportunity to switch the economy from fossile to renewable energy, now demands that we won’t preheat our kitchen ovens and get used to taking our showers cold.

Let them demand. I sometimes do shower cold. But when it comes to baking, I warm the oven to the required 220 centigrades before putting the bread in. And I eat meat. And I heat my house with oil. And I drive (alternately) two very old but extraordinarily beautiful gasoline-powered cars. And I voted against government subsidies for newspaper publishers and for making the retirement age the same for women and men. And when trying to say something I get by just fine with “he”, “she” and “it”. All of the above are watermarks of right-wing stationary and it is fair to admit that at times the “identity” is very much put into question by the overly serious, all-too-diligent, oh-so-righteous variety of the political left. I am not at all looking forward to the decision-making in the coming election year in Switzerland (though, luckily enough, elections don’t make a big dent – it is the popular votes that count).

What else? The year belonged to Barbara Leifer. She managed not only to pull her Diplomatic Choir of Berlin out of the pandemic stupor but in addition was able to set a new high mark with refugee musicians from Ukraine. Her program «Konzert Ykpraïna» was a big success and appears to have legs. Her group of Ukrainian singers got a series of follow-up gigs in Berlin (the aim of the concert) and won a grant from a German government agency. 2023 will mark the 10th anniversary of the choir and Barbara is totally fired up for some special performance. Keeping pace makes you fell like a dog running next to his master’s bicyle.

About myself: I sang in the choir (bass, following the ground rule «when in doubt, leave it out»), finished the “ECOSOC handbook” on the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, traveled through the United States, sailed the Chesapeake, followed the midterms in Pennsylvania and Ohio. This feeds the blog, and some of what I see and hear I can publish (luck of the retired man) on In spring and summer I also blogged about my take on the Ukraine war, but ever since I was not able to get another word out. The horribilities of war – killing, maiming, torture, rape, strangulation, hunger, cold, absence of medical services, stupid military orders, reckless toying with nuclear war – is balanced with the repulsiveness of the political discourse: Green falcons who never wore a uniform but in word and writing wage war up to the last Ukrainian. Brown doves who preach the understanding of Russian imperialism, the disdain of international law, the taunting of democracy. Red weasels who out of anti-Americanism overlook every imaginable Russian swinery. Not to speak of the ostriches in our capital of Bern who for fear of damaging «neutrality» don’t dare to make even the most minimal contribution to the joint European war effort.

What I meant to say: We are fine, by and large. We continue living in New York City, Berlin and CH-4932 Switzerland, sometimes separated, often together.


All the best !