Thursday, June 30
Wednesday, June 29
The Greek economy was one of the fastest growing in the eurozone during the 2000s; from 2000 to 2007 it grew at an annual rate of 4.2% as foreign capital flooded the country. A strong economy and falling bond yields allowed the government of Greece to run large structural deficits. Large public deficits are one of the features that have marked the Greek social model since the restoration of democracy in 1974. After the removal of the right leaning military junta, the government wanted to bring disenfranchised left leaning portions of the population into the economic mainstream. In order to do so, successive Greek governments have, among other things, run large deficits to finance public sector jobs, pensions, and other social benefits. Since 1993 debt to GDP has remained above 100%.
Tuesday, June 28
Sunday, June 26
Friday, June 24
Sonnet and I watch Sharapova defeat fellow (?) Brit Lisa Robson who enjoys the crowds heart but bows out in two sets. Pictured. Venus Williams dispatches Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez losing two points and Nadal battles Gilles Muller before the rain shuts us down. No complaints though - we see three of the world's best tennis players and perhaps two of all time. Andy Murray on Center Court and the country holds its breath - Fred Perry the last British winner and that was '36.
Thursday, June 23
This Greek eroticism from about 400 BC : a nympth pulls her charge inward; he resists and so a roll-reversal : usually (always?) the male the agressor. But a closer look finds the temptress has a .. penis. A hermaphrodite. The sculpture believed risquee and mothballed for >100 years until '09 - it is one of my favorites.
Tuesday, June 21
My wise friend Xavier notes the importance of a "strong woman" in a partnership. I am blessed , having married one, and surrounded by others, like Ada and Mary - pictured. Ada Israeli (married to Shai) and her PhD on playwright Henrik Ibsen. Mary a Director at Thompson Reuters, one of the world's largest media and information companies.
Monday, June 20
Finally! Some good news from California! Our very own 21-year-old auburn-haired gal wins the Miss USA crown on Sunday night and will represent The Nation in the Miss Universe pageant later this year in Brazil! Our darling from El Lay topped a field of 51 beauties to take the TITLE at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip! She strutted across the stage in a blue bikini with white polka dots and a dark turquoise evening gown with beading on its top! Her interests are history and the British monarchy! California is back, y'all!
Arnaud and Julia's wedding at Château de la Napoule, an historical landmark whose gardens listed by the French Ministry of Culture as "among the Notable gardens of France." I do not doubt it. A warm sun sets over the lingering blue sky as vows exchanged (NB: the fellow above not Arnaud).
Friday, June 17
I have lunch at Terminus, outside the train station, and snap this guy who I am pretty sure is a spy. I am here for meetings then back to London on the evening train.
Wednesday, June 15
Tuesday, June 14
Sonnet and I decide to play hooky and here we are, buying .. shoes. She checks out some LK Bennetts. Sonnet: "they're alright. Upscale but not too upscale." I have learned not to render an opinion on these things. Instead, I sit on a lounge chair and make faces at a baby deserted by her mother. It's all good until the kid starts screaming and I am surrounded by six women and the sales clerk who drill into me with their eyes . What did I do ? From there we stroll along the Richmond High Street - more shoes! More clothes ! and then to Madeleine, who finishes football and needs a ride to swimming. Who is the passenger in this journey, I wonder ?
"I did not have three thousand pairs of shoes, I had one thousand and sixty."
Etan away Monday morning to the Isle of Wight for five days . Road trip, dude. We check, and double-check, the gear. His class+five adults picked up by coach at the school entrance. Also joining is Head Teacher Mr X who, I note , "a very brave man." X has heard my joke many, and many, times before : there is always one smart-ass dad on the playground and if you do not know who it is, well, it's you. So Eitan has no problem at the drop off - in fact, he happily joins his gang and gives me a sheepish hug and off he goes. One step closer to the exit, I tell a few of the choked up mums.
Monday, June 13
Sonnet and I spend the evening talking to Bill, who heads the legendary math department at the Univ. of Arizona. Bill has an unkempt beard greying on the sides - I think of Paul Allen @ Microsoft for some reason. Nita and Alain worked with Bill and his partner Debs, also in the house, before moving to Oxford so Alain could run the Oxford Centre for Collaborative Applied Mathematics. I steer clear of anything with numbers. Instead we are pragmatic : how to perfect the martini. And the best place to drink them. Bill did a 3 year sabbatical inParis and we compare notes - he hopes to return but for now his kids at AU - "never say never," he winks.
Ben and I hang out for a bit - as much as he will let me, anyways : him being 16 and me , like, impossibly old. Ben is a strikingly good looking kid who is easy to photograph. He has also maxed-out on math classes at the Harvard Extension School and now contemplates theotrical maths for next year. Ben turned me on to a few good science fiction writers like Orson Scott Card whose Ender's Game I enjoyed then passed on to Eitan. Now he suggests Terry Pratchett, Gene Wolf and George RR Martin. And Harry Potter? I ask. Ben notes "structural flaws in the writing" and, besides, "Wizards are all, like, dicks."
The Carpenter Center behind Ben BTW is the only building actually built by Le Corbusier in the United States. Sonnet and I visited Villa Savoye at Poissy-sur-Seine in France, pre-kids, and enjoyed a picnic on the green grass.
Thursday, June 9
I am interested in Kate Bush, pictured, from the www, because of her '80s look - all that - and music, which I have grown to appreciate only recently. Bush is Britain's most successful solo female performer of the past 30 years who, at age 16, was discovered by Pink Floyd's David Gilmour and picked up by EMI. In 1978, at age 19, she topped the UK Singles Chart for four weeks with her debut single "Wuthering Heights," becoming the 1st woman to have a UK #1 with a self-written song. Many of Bush's songs have a melodramatic emotional and musical surrealism that defies easy categorisation (says me). She has influenced many of my favorites including Wild Beasts and Goldfrapp.
"The less you know about home computers, the more you'll want the new IBM PS/2."
Wednesday, June 8
Tuesday, June 7
Madeleine, out of the blue: "Dad would you have your wedding at the Putney Pool?"
Monday, June 6
Stephan on his wedding morning. Martin, supplying the booze, the Best Man. I have known Stephan from '03 when we met by work and friends ever since. He began his career shifting €millions for Swiss Re then Horizon21; he is now with a pe advisory firm in Mayfair.
Sonnet and I depart T5 on Friday for Bavaria, pictured, and Stephan and Barbara's nuptials. I have not been to Tegernsee which is 50 km south of Munich and a gateway into the Alps which tower, layered, before us. A drive would eventually go from our 700 ft sea-level to the Jungfrau in Switzerland at 4,158 m. Austria not far away either.
Friday, June 3
Martin, as you may recall, our neighbor who was born in the house he lives in and remembers The Evacuation during the Great W. His mother, Kiddee Godfree, won Wimbledon a couple times in the '20s so Martin a Wimbledon member and, since this is quite a thing, I wonder : how I can become one, too?
So the club has 375 "full members," (including Martin, Martin tells me) and about 100 temporary playing members and a number of honorary guys like past Wimbledon singles champions (not doubles - too dilutive). In order to join, an applicant must obtain "letters of support" from 4 existing full members, two of whom must have known the applicant for at least 3 years. The name then added to the Candidates' List. And then you wait, Martin says smiling, "30, 40 or 50 years. "
Photo of a streaker during a match between Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementiva in 2006. They probably chucked the dude in The Tower.
Thursday, June 2
The last time I saw John, pictured, he was the finance director for a friend's family business. Now he is the CFO of Sainsburys, the UK''s 3rd largest grocery with over 900 stores (16% mkt share) and 150,000 employees turning £20 B sales earning shareholders £710 M in 2010. Yesterday's market cap : £6,339 M. Not too shabby. John perfect for the role, too - neither showy nor overly enthusiastic. He instills confidence and .. calm. Let the CEO do all the drama and John Davan does just that - Davan viewed as one of those "celebrity CEOs". Sort of like a celebrity chef. But together they get the job done son nobody's complaining.