Friday, March 30
Thursday, March 29
This photo from May 2003 has Eitan in the tub following his nightly routine: swim goggles and dinosaurs followed by a dry-off with his Spider Man towel then Spidey PJ's. And Spider Man bedtime story... and Spider Man bed-sheets, socks, comic books, socks and terry-cloth robe. And Spider Man slippers. Spider Man pillow cases. Spidey posters. Spider Man trainers. A Spider Man comforter. Underwear. T-Shirt. A Spider Man sweat-shirt. Spidey cartoons. Then, one day - it stops. The Boy's mind was done with the thing.
Wednesday, March 28
This rather serious and urban invitation is to the Sonnet's NY Fashion at the V&A. Tres cool.
I drop the kids off at school this morning and remain for a real treat: Springtime Assembly. The school children have been practicing their lyrics for songs including "Doe a deer, a female deer. Ray, a drop of Golden Sun..." and other seasonal classics. The school hall fills to capacity and media recorders fight for position above the head-line. As I sit in the front row, Eitan studiously avoids all eye-contact. Madeleine, on the other-hand, lights up when I look in her direction and waves away.
When I threaten the kids last night with the "nuclear option", ie, take the television to the dump, Eitan squarely rebuts: "Yeah, so, you watch more television than anyone. Dinner, weekend, sleeping!" Madeleine cries just thinking about it.
Tuesday, March 27
Three world records are set today in Australia: Natalie Coughlin (100m back stroke), Aaron Piersol (100m back stroke) and Michael Phelps (pictured). Phelps becomes the first swimmer under 1:44 in the 200 meter freestyle, touching in at 1:43.86 and robbing Ian Thorpe of his 2001 standard. I still follow this unusual sport from my youth - a memory water-logged from the hours spent in a pool at Berkeley, Walnut Creek and finally Brown. Swimming allowed me an exchange with Genevé Natation when I was 16 during the Olympic year 1984. I trained with Dano Halsell, who owned the World Record for the 50m freestyle, broken by Robin Leamy 24 hours later. My friend Etienne Dagon earned Switzerland's first swimming medal - a bronze - in the 200m breast stroke. Theo David was ranked seventh in the world in the 200m butterfly though did not make the Olympic finals. For a small non-swimming nation those were good times.
Photo by Rick Rickman.
Katie and I this Sunday kicking around NYC. Here we have a pedicure. From the West Side we walk to mid-town and Sean Jean's - also known as P Diddy's store. All the brothers who give us directions know exactly where it is. Sonnet is displaying designer Zak Posen in her upcoming collection "NY Fashion" and wants a Sean Jean baseball cap as Zak is Diddy's business partner. Inside the store there are lots of colorful styles vibrating to Diddy and other video rappers who rap. While I feel ultimately square in the coolest hip-hop style shop, it does not escape me that my fellow shoppers are, without exception, white.
Monday, March 26
Here I am on Madison Avenue at Rockefeller Center. Katie and I spend yesterday walking Manhattan and recovering (at least me) from a few cocktails and a late night capped by the re-run "Jerry Maguire" on late-night t.v. Behind me is 30 Rock -the centerpiece of Rockefeller Center at 70 floors and 266 meters. Once known as the RCA Tower, the building was renamed in the 1980s after GE re-acquired RCA which it helped found in 1919. The skyscraper is the headquarters of NBC and houses most of the network's New York studios, including the legendary Studio 8H, home of Saturday Night Live. The Rainbow Room is on the top floor. Unlike most Art Deco towers built in the 1930s, the GE Building was constructed as a slab with a flat roof, where the Center's observation deck, the Top of the Rock is located, which was first built in 1933. It spans from the 67-70th floors. On the 70th floor, reached by both stairs and elevator, there is a 20-foot wide viewing area, allowing visitors a unique 360-degree panoramic view of New York City. It's a good place to impress a date.
Photo of Katie taken at Kelly's wedding (Kelly can be seen at the left side of the photo). The two were friends at Harvard and now share New York City (Kelly always asks me: "JO how is your little sis?"). Today Katie chases down opportunities from the New York Times story of her including book agents, think tanks and foundations. After the wedding Katie, Todd and I head to the Mandarin Oriental for a late night drink and New York moment.
Todd and I re-union at Kelly wedding Saturday night at Barney's in New York, where the reception is held. Todd, Kelly and I worked together at The First Boston Corporation in the early 1990s and share war-stories that are re-spun whenever we are together or by email. Suffering in the Financial Institutions Group doing mergers and acquisitions our first job out of college was often "de-humanising" as Kelly would say. We faced grumpy bankers, 80+ hour work-weeks, unusual stress and little training. Hence the potential for high comedy and life-time bonding. Since FBC each of us has gone our interesting ways and Todd is a General Partner at the buy-out fund Thomas Lee Partners.
Christian Wright at his pad in San Francisco with the Bay Bridge and downtown behind him. Christian and I catch-up Friday night at our favorite restaurant Delfina's where he knows the waitresses who, it is fair to say, adore him. Between five courses and two wines we gossip about our childhood memories, England football, various Brit-bands and other equally important things. Christian's short hair is a surprise but the look is fresh and he is always styled to perfection. After dinner I crash at his place to catch an early next morning flight to New York and Kelly Flynn's wedding where Katie is my date.
"If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear a flower in your hair."
"Sock it to me."
Friday, March 23
In the UK, the total burden of drug misuse, in terms of health, social, and crime-related costs, has been estimated to be between £10 billion and £16 billion per year by the government. What is interesting is how each is classified from the most addictive/ damaging (class "A") to the least. Legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco are not classified. A new ranking system (pictured) proposed by a team of British scientists draws controversy as it places alcohol as more dangerous than the Class "A" drug ecstasy, which kills 10 people annually of the one half million regular users (most freaking to Moby). This is hard to argue when one includes drink-related road accidents.
Thursday, March 22
Natalie and I re-union at the Mandarin Oriental in San Francisco for breakfast. Otherwise, she lives in St. John's Wood with her husband and three healthy and happy children. She is in town advising her high-tech start-up company and today will be in Napa for an off-site. Rough life. From breakfast I head to 750 Battery and Industry Ventures to catch up with them generally and discuss secondary deals.
Sunday, March 18
I'm in Paris for meetings tomorrow. It is windy and cold with a storm arriving tomorrow (snow in London? the cabby asks). This photo taken as the river winds by Place de la Concorde in the 8th arrondisement.
I learn that the average depth of the Seine at Paris is about eight metres. Until locks were installed to artificially raise the level in the 1800s, however, the river was much shallower within the city most of the time, and consisted only of a small channel of continuous flow bordered by sandy banks (visible in many illustrations of the period). Today depth is tightly controlled and the entire width of the river between the built-up banks on either side is normally filled with water. The average flow of the river is very low, only a few cubic metres per second, but much higher flows are possible during periods of heavy runoff. A very severe period of high water in January 1910 produced extensive flooding throughout the city. Until the 1930s, a towing system using a chain on the bed of the river existed to facilitate movement of barges upriver.
Madeleine outside the local toy store Friday. Aggie has the kids on a sugar-free diet but one can see that I am a sucker. The condition of Madeleine's treat is that she must chose a lolly for Eitan too.
Yesterday we discover the German braut-house Stein's on the river in Richmond - the food is legitimate and the owners krauts. We meet our neighborhood friends Rhonda and Ed and business school friends Thomas and Margret who share a three month old. The day is picnic-weather and we sit outside on the late winter sun while Eitan and Madeleine race up and down the river looking for lady bugs, which are out early this year. In the afternoon Madeleine helps me clean the car and Sonnet heads north to Primrose Hill for a farewell dinner to dear friend Rana Faroohar who moves to Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Friday, March 16
I pick Madeleine up from school for a date at Pizza Express. She, and the rest of her class, wear red noses in support of Red Nose Day. Red Nose Day is a UK-wide fundraising event organised by Comic Relief every two years which culminates in a night of comedy and documentary films. It is the biggest TV fundraising event in the UK calendar. On Red Nose Day everyone in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is encouraged to cast inhibitions aside, put on a Red Nose, and do something a bit silly to raise money - celebrities included. It is an event that unites the entire nation in trying to make a difference to the lives of thousands of individuals facing injustice or living in poverty.
This photograph of Richmond Park I took with my mobile while "power walking." At 0700 there is little disturbance other than the jogger or dog-walker. The park occupies 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) and is the largest Royal Park in London. It is home to around 650 free roaming deer which is quite a site the first time but then grows normal ("they're just DEER dad" Madeleine protests). The pastoral landscape of hills, woodlands, ponds, gardens and grasslands set amongst ancient trees offers a peaceful place for life's meditations. The Park is otherwise designated as a National Nature Reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation. Best of all, it is a seven minute walk from our house.
This groovy picture of the Stanfills taken in Boulder, Colorado, in 1969.
I have a sit down conversation with Eitan and Madeleine regarding garbage or, more specifically, how to make less of it. I ask for ideas and both hands shoot up: recycle! finish our plates! use both sides of the paper! Madeleine gets a star for the most creative: "if the mirror is broken, use bark to fix it."
Thursday, March 15
Whatever other reasons may explain the lack of women’s voices on the nation’s op-ed pages, the lack of women asking to be there is clearly part of the problem. Many opinion page editors at major newspapers across the country say that 65 or 75 percent of unsolicited manuscripts, or more, come from men.
The obvious solution, at least to Catherine Orenstein, an author, activist and occasional op-ed page contributor herself, was to get more women to submit essays. To that end Ms. Orenstein has been training women at universities, foundations and corporations to write essays and get them published.
Uproars over the sparse numbers of women in newspapers, or on news programs, in magazines, and on best-seller lists regularly erupt every couple of years. A doozy occurred in 2005, after the liberal commentator Susan Estrich and Michael Kinsley, then editor of The Los Angeles Times’s opinion pages, got into a nasty scuffle over the lack of female columnists. That dustup is what motivated Ms. Orenstein to take her op-ed show on the road, which she has done with support from the Woodhull Institute, an ethics and leadership group for women.
“It’s a teachable form,” Ms. Orenstein said recently over coffee and eggs. “It’s not like writing Hemingway. You show people the basics of a good argument, what constitutes good evidence, what’s a news hook, what’s the etiquette of a pitch.”
Over the past 18 months several hundred women and men (though in fewer numbers) have taken the seminar, which can cost a group up to $5,000, Ms. Orenstein said (although she has also donated her services). She has not kept records, but said about two dozen former students have sent her clips of their published essays to say thank you. Suzanne Grossman at Woodhull didn’t have comprehensive statistics but said that the first pilot session for a dozen women at a Woodhull retreat produced 12 op-ed articles. (Some participants wrote more than one.)
“I try to convey the idea that there is a responsibility,” she said. “Op-ed pages are so enormously powerful. It’s one of the few places open to the public. Where else is someone like me going to get access? It’s not like I can call up the White House: ‘Hello?’ ”
About 30 women who also are not in the habit of calling up the White House gathered Monday evening for one of Ms. Orenstein’s seminars. Eighteen, mostly from nonprofit organizations, sat around a large conference table in Manhattan against a dazzling backdrop of New York City’s skyline at sunset, while a dozen or so listened in through a speaker phone in Washington.
They had been invited by SheSource, an online database of women experts, financed by the White House Project, a women’s leadership organization, Fenton Communications and the Women’s Funding Network.
Ms. Orenstein asked: Could every woman at the large rectangular table name one specific subject that she is an expert in and say why? The author of “Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality and the Evolution of a Fairy Tale,” Ms. Orenstein began by saying, “Little Red Riding Hood” and writing the words in orange marker on an oversize white pad.
Of the next four women who spoke, three started with a qualification or apology. “I’m really too young to be an expert in anything,” said Caitlin Petre, 23.
“Let’s stop,” Ms. Orenstein said. “It happens in every single session I do with women, and it’s never happened with men.” Women tend to back away from “what we know and why we know it,” she said.
Next she asked the participants why they thought it important to write op-ed articles. Women shouted: “Change the world,” “shape public debate,” “offer a new perspective,” “influence public policy.”
“You are all such do-gooders,” Ms. Orenstein said laughing, “I love this.” She then proceeded to create another kind of list that included fame, money, offers of books, television series and jobs.
The Rev. Dr. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, an Episcopal priest and the executive director of Political Research Associates in Boston, frowned. “It’s not why I do it,” she said.
That, Ms. Orenstein declared, is a typically female response: “I never had a man say, ‘That’s not why I do it.’ ”
Tuesday, March 13
This photo taken in Richmond on the toe path. Not far West is the Teddington Lock, which is the limit of the tidal Thames but the three miles between Teddington and Richmond are only truly tidal for about two hours before and two hours after high tide. That is when the three separate vertical weir gates (one in each navigation arch) of Richmond Footbridge are raised. At all other times the weir gates are lowered into the water which means that there is always a minimum depth of 1.72 metres of water between Teddington and Richmond.
When the weir gates are lowered, three red discs (red lights at night) in a triangular shape are displayed under each arch to indicate that navigation through them is not possible. There is a lock that can be used when the gates are down. High tide at Richmond is about 1 hour after high water at London Bridge with low tide being between 3 and 3½ hours after low water at London Bridge.
"Hoist up sail while gale doth last. Tide and wind stay no man's pleasure."
Today I have a free hour between meetings and so visit the National Portrait Gallery on Trafalgar Square. The showing exhibit "Face of Fashion" presents the iconic photos of Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, Paolo Roversi, Mario Sorrenti, Steve Klein and Corinne Day. Day "discovered" Kate Moss in 1989 and took this photo 'Kate's Flat' in 1993. The gallery is small but each image packs punch including Klein's bloody and snot covered image of boy-toy singer Justin Timberlake never published. Klein also shoots Brad Pitt and Angelina Jollie suffering suburbia when the public became interested in seeing the couple together in '04.
From the NPG I have lunch with old friend Najib who founded London company First Credit which buys non-performing loans that are repackaged and sold to new buyers. The company I learn is to be sold for over $700 million this year.
Madeleine voice mail on my mobile: "Hello, it is Madeleine. I have a wobbly tooth. when Aggie was in the middle of reading us a book, I interrupted and said: 'what is this?' I interrupted and said 'what is this wobbly thing in my mouth?' and asked if it is a wobbly tooth and Aggie said it was."
Monday, March 12
I took this photo of Catherine at her wonderful wedding to Peter in Pacific Palisades in June 2006. The ceremony was outdoors during a summer heat-wave. I was able to snap about ten photos - far fewer than my one good image per 200 frames requires but this one I like. The shot taken shortly following the ceremony and captures the afternoon's mood. The roses were unintentional but make the picture interesting I think. Madeleine pulled a runner that day - but this another story.
Proportion of senior management jobs held by women, by country:
Philippines - 50%
Brazil - 42
Russia - 34
China - 32
USA - 23
Australia - 22
France - 21
Ireland - 21
GLOBAL AVG - 17
Italy - 14
Germany - 12
Japan - 7
The UK is barely above the global average at 19%.
Thursday, March 8
Eitan and Madeleine practice Yoga Tuesday mornings in the Tim Berners-Lee School Hall (Berners-Lee, FYI, is credited with inventing the World Wide Web and is an alumni of the school). At the same time as yoga, the school ochestra bangs together fight songs creating quite a ruckus. The Initially aggrieved yoga instructor and mum complained to our Head Mistress but to no avail - space is money, after all. The kids contort themselves in may favorite poses including the Downward Facing Dog, the Lotus pose and the Tree pose. I sit nearby and read a book.
In London I learn that it is illegal to hail a cab while the cab is in motion. The cab driver is supposed to ask each of his passengers whether they are suffering from any 'notifiable disease such as smallpox and the plague.' A driver is allowed to urinate in public, as long as he is on the rear wheel of the vehicle with his right hand placed on it (the cab, that is).
It is also illegal to be drunk in a pub. Or to serve somebody who is drunk. Or buy a drink for somebody who is drunk. It is also illegal to dance in a pub where dancing is described as "the rhythmic moving of the legs, arms and body, usually changing positions within the floor space available and whether or not accompanied by musical support."
Wednesday, March 7
Some of the world's most famous architects have thrown their weight behind plans for a 30-storey sky-scraper on the edge of the City of London. The public inquiry into the "Walkie Talkie" (pictured) at 20 Fenchurch Street opened yesterday. The inquiry, which comes amid a growing concern about London's changing skyline, is set to pit an array of traditionalists against modernists including Frank Gehry, Lord (Norma) Foster and Lord (Richard) Rogers who all support the building. London's Mayor Ken Livingstone is also an advocate as he tries to increase living and work space in the back-drop of the world's dearest property values. Against the structure are many local councils and heritage groups who bemoan the loss of London's flat line and mostly uninterrupted views of St. Paul's Cathedral. (Picture from the WWW)
Other London high-rise controversies:
- St George's Wharf, Vauxhall, where deputy prime minister John Prescott has given the green light for a 50-storey residential tower criticised for it 1960s-style architecture.
- On the South Bank, an array of new towers reaching 460 feet are to go up nearby the entrance to Waterloo station.
- A 51-storey tower south of Blackfriars Bridge will feature a hotel run by Dubai.
- A 46-storey residential tower in a mixed-used scheme next to Vauxhall station.
- A 48-storey residential and leisure development in SE1.
Tuesday, March 6
But what is the tie for? “Neckwear has long been a way of finishing an outfit, displaying wealth, and drawing attention to the face and framing the head,” says Sonnet Stanfill, the Curator of Contemporary Fashion at the Victoria and Albert Museum, who refuses to take sides in the tie spat. “It allows colour into an outfit, and allows an expression of one’s personality. The contemporary interpretation of ties continues that tradition.”
Sonnet in The Times today. Photo from the V&A.
Monday, March 5
This photo from several weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon strikes me wistful and I think how quickly parenthood slips by - even while paying attention.
Teenagers in the UK blog 4.5 hours per week on average according to The Times. This compares to reading which occupies two hours - including homework.
Moe's beloved car, purchased used in '63 to drive across the US of A with his young bride Grace Manning post-Peace Corps, remained parked in front of 1860 San Ramon or 1530 Euclid Avenue until sold in 2000. The 544 was the first production car with seat-belts as standard and I recall the smell of the red seats on a summer's day - or the hot black dash-board when parked in the sun. The thing had excellent gas mileage even then, a six piston engine I could understand, and rarely broke down (excluding an epic return-trip from Yosemite on the freeway in a snow storm, circa 1979). She was always reliable for the 0600 pool-run (Katie in the back seat, me up front) and afterwards Moe took her to San Francisco on the ferry or, when that service stopped, the North Berkeley Bart station. The 544 was profiled yesterday in the New York Times, which Moe points out, refers to her as "humpbacked" and treasured by many people today. While cars now may be more airo-dynamic or stylish, none elicits the short honk and quick wave of two guys passing each other in a vintage 544.
Saturday, March 3
Madeleine, in a serious voice, confides to me: "Dad, I learned on TV - and I am not happy about it - that Scooby Doo is going to be on every day." (Madeleine was once frightened by the cartoon)
Madeleine: "Do you know what day I wish it was? Halloween, Christmas and Easter!"
Eitan: "I don't want to go over there to see the deer because they poo a lot."
Eitan: "Dad I know how to use the (TV) remote control. Now I do not need you any more."
Caulkins was born in Winona, Minnesota and became a leading swimmer as a teenager. In 1977 she won her first national titles, capturing the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke races at the U.S. indoor championships and the 200-meter and 400-meter individual medley races at the U.S. outdoor championships. A
t the 1978 world championships in West Berlin, West Germany (now Berlin, Germany), Caulkins won the 200-meter butterfly race and the 200-meter and 400-meter individual medley races. She was also a member of the winning 400-meter freestyle and 400-meter medley relay teams. That year she received the James E. Sullivan Memorial Award, given annually by the Amateur Athletic Union of the United States (AAU) to the outstanding amateur athlete in the country.
At the age of 16, she was the youngest athlete ever to win the award.Although Caulkins was favored to win several medals at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, the boycott of the games by the United States caused her to miss the opportunity. She then enrolled at the University of Florida, compiling 12 individual collegiate championship titles there in various events from 1981 to 1984.
Caulkins also won the 200-meter and 400-meter individual medley races at the 1983 Pan American Games in Caracas, Venezuela. By 1984 she was not as dominating a swimmer as she had been earlier in her career, but at the Olympics that year in Los Angeles, California, she won the 200-meter and 400-meter individual medley races. She earned a third gold medal as a member of the winning 4 × 100-meter medley relay team. Caulkins retired from competitive swimming after the 1984 Olympics. (Photo from the US Swimming archive)
Friday, March 2
Daily circulation - National Morning Popular press - June '05
Daily Mirror 1,742,378
Daily Record 462,472
Daily Star 855,612
The Sun 3,230,652
Total of average daily net circulation: 6,291,114
Thursday, March 1
From England's Department of Health:
- In England in 2002, around two fifths (37%) of men had drunk more than 4 units of alcohol on at least one day in the previous week: just over one fifth of women (22%) had drunk more than 3 units of alcohol on at least one day in the previous week.
- In England in 2002, 21% of men had drunk more than 8 units of alcohol on at least one day in the previous week, and 9% of women had drunk more than 6 units.
- In 2002, average weekly alcohol consumption in England was 17.0 units for men and 7.6 units for women.
- In England in 2002, 27% of men and 17% of women aged 16 and over drank on average more than 21 and 14 units a week respectively. Drinking at these levels among men has remained stable at about 27% since 1992: for women it has risen from 12% to 17% in the same period.
- In 2003, a quarter (25%) of pupils in England aged 11-15 had drunk alcohol in the previous week; the proportion doing so has fluctuated around this level since the mid 1990s.
- In the United Kingdom, expenditure on alcohol as a proportion of total household expenditure has fallen from 7.5% in 1980 to 5.7% in 2003.