A holiday fable, with apologies

It was a few days before the end-of-year holidays here in Stuttgart, Germany, on a cold and snowy night, when I was awakened from a deep sleep by three spirits calling themselves the ghosts of the past, present, and future.

Th 0601ils Davidbelforte

It was a few days before the end-of-year holidays here in Stuttgart, Germany, on a cold and snowy night, when I was awakened from a deep sleep by three spirits calling themselves the ghosts of the past, present, and future.

Now I admit that it might have been the slightly excessive Schwabian wine I had at dinner earlier, or even perhaps the schnapps I had for a nightcap. Whatever, I can assure you that, to me, these ghosts were real.

“What do you want with me?” I asked, trying to snuggle further under the goose down duvet, which I normally cast aside because it makes me too hot. “And how come you all show up at the same time? According to Dickens you are supposed to come one after the other, accompanied by all sorts of sound effects.”

“Timing,” they chorused. “We have a lot of ground to cover in a short time, so we are piggybacking some of our visits.”

“OK,” I acknowledged, more because I had, I thought, a clean conscience brought on by an exemplary life. So off they went in the usual order.

Holiday Past said, “Remember how easy it was to do the ILS annual economic review? You sent out queries, called your contacts, read the press clippings and annual reports, stroked your non-existent beard, and produced the forecast.”

“Easy times!” said Holiday Present, “Now with the fallout from the Sarbanes Oxley act your public company sources aren’t allowed to speculate on market conditions for today or the future, effectively shutting off a most valuable resource. It’s no wonder you had nightmares developing the 2005 review.”

“So what are you going to do for next year?” snarled Holiday Future. “Use a Ouija board or consult a crystal ball?”

I shot up out of bed responding, “The laser industry won’t let me down. They’ll rally to ensure that what I print in ILS is as good as it used to be.”

“Right,” they shot back. “And pigs can fly.” And they all disappeared at once, leaving me in a quandary.

But wait! What was that sound I heard over the roof tops of Stuttgart? Why I believe it was the beating sound of a multitude of winged pigs. “Next time,” I murmured to myself, “skip the last shot of schnapps.”

Now you haven’t asked what I was doing in Stuttgart in the first place. I’m here, serving on the Advisory Board of a new trade show, LASYS, scheduled for early 2008 at the new Messe in Stuttgart. This show’s concept is to bring together, under one roof, inter-industry, industrial laser systems solutions in laser material processing, for applications that are not presented or are in the background at other shows. I personally think this is a concept whose time has come because we work in a $5 billion industry that should be able to support its own free-standing international trade show. ILS has heard many comments from exhibitors at other trade shows about a lack of focus on laser technology by those shows’ organizers. LASYS may be the one to set the pattern for the future, more focused exhibitions.

So keep an eye on these pages and the ILS Website for follow-on news about the show. No Pig Air Force, just hard facts.

Editor’s Note: The heading of this editorial has changed to better reflect the content of this page. Watch out!

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David A. Belforte
belforte@pennwell.com

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