Wednesday, February 18

Teenagers And A Deal

After yoga I pick the kids up from football camp - it is their half-term recess and they have a week no school. Eitan has a play date so I take Madeleine for pizza. She is not in an especially talkative mood and my jet-lag does not enliven the conversation either. Sometimes it can be like pulling teeth but the key thing, I remind myself, is the later. My older friend Dale (not to be confused with the other Dale) has lived through two teenagers and I know it has not been easy. His older, beautiful daughter had cancer and thankfully she appears rid of it entirely. Dale on occasion gives me parenting advice and notes that with older children nothing can be forced. Sometimes this nets periods of silence, Dale says, which should not be breached even if otherwise awkward. Teens have to be comfortable sharing their private stuff, and us parents must accept that it may be only a fraction of the whole. And still be fully behind them. So back to today: it is my hope that the trust established over pepporoni pizza goes far when the kids A) get arrested, B) become or get somebody knocked up, or C) caught with dope. It is my aim to react with something other than a good grounding and complete despair and while I don't anticipate such things, a good policy prepares for extremes. We experimented and survived somehow (maybe not A and B). Smart kids in nice neighborhoods get in trouble, for sure. The families I admired from Berkeley always seemed somehow supportive of whatever, and I wish this to be the case with us.

Madeleine, desperate for ten-pounds to buy some faux glasses, negotiates a deal: "If you give me ten pounds now, I will repay you plus you only have to give me one pound allowance this week end." Madeleine's allowance otherwise three quid, so I would pocket the difference, if I understand her correctly. Annualised, these terms worse than Sicily; it does provide a nice value to liquidity though. She gets credit for being creative but otherwise no-go.

London Encore

And here I am - just like that - back in the UK. 

 Eastwards is a tough flight from New York - not quite long enough to sleep on the overnight+wet or grey on arrival and worst of all: rush-hour traffic. But it feels genuinely good to be here and I chat with the taxi-driver about the state of the world and London. You can imagine. Radio 4 and John Humphries in the background and now part of my fabric. By contrast, New York's entrance is dramatic - the Triborough Bridge (great name for a bridge) serves up an endless skyline to the South and a brilliant contrast to everything else belching smoke or going clackity-clack. 

New York's sheer infrastructure dazzles with its neon, steel, poster giants, concrete and cement as far as the eye can see - tune in Gerschwin's Rhapsody as I pass the Lucky Strike billboard and the picture complete (though Lucky now a Discovery Channel). 

London, meanwhile, has its elevated M4 which passes 15 meters over the roofline and built in '67 as a necessity to connect the airport to Central London. Mostly the scenery dreary with the the occasional new construction taking advantage of the proximity to the airport. Glaxo-Smith-Kline, for instance, is impossibly modern and bendy whose curves emphasized by the dilapidated, post-war neighbors

Closer to the center, we see more glass than brick and London starts to feel cosmopolitan somehow. Since the buildings not high by NY or Big City standards, there is a human scale to the madness - it becomes easy to imagine work-places, homes and whatever. Even more cool to consider the various enthnic groups spread across the city's vast real-estate (180 languages and etc.) My best part is knowing Sonnet and the kids await my return.

Madeleine on a new house: "It would be great if we moved to Chinatown."

Photo of parliament from the London Tourist Board.

Tuesday, February 17

On Envy

I change my monkey-photo to Planet Of The Apes. These apes got along afterall.

Monkeys, one observes, are happy to be rewarded for their work with cucumber slices unless one of the group receives grapes. Then they get snarky and no longer do the work. It turns out that envy, or the 6th deadly sin and probably the least acknowledged, is passed along via evolution. More, reports the NYT, the vibe's unpleasant sensation equal to its opposite or schadenfreude - seeing your rival stumble. This measured by brain activity. I read this BTW awaiting Katie's doctor appointment and wonder about the past eight-years: Americans (and Brits), driven to keep up with the Joneses, did stupid things like buy unaffordable houses or Humvees

 It's too easy to call these people assholes (and many are) but our system's deep inequalities, accelerated during Bush and hyper-visible in our mythology (90210! Baywatch! The Sopranos!) have turned many citizens into twitching miseries (very different, mind you, than the more socially tolerable jealousy). Personally I have seen MBAs making $millions hateful of their status because it ain't more. 

 Of course envy is not an American phenomenon - in Nairobi I met seven Kenyon runners under 2:15 for the marathon and several unhappy about not making the elite squad. Yet those Africans work together and their comparisons did not seem corrosive. The runners happy to be blessed, alive and... running. Pretty simple. So today Barack signs the stim-u-lator and we will see how the country manages its schadenfreude.

Madeleine and Eitan at the age when they compare everything. It generally effects their happiness - for instance, the other night Madeleine thought Eitan's ice cream more and she could not enjoy her desert. Brother. As a parent, it is my job to cut this off somehow at the quick so it does not dog them the rest of their lives. Oh boy, seen and done that before.

Monday, February 16

Sheridan Square

This photo where Sheridan and West Fourth Streets join at Seventh Avenue. In my mind the heart of Greenwich Village and around the corner from Waverly Place and Sixth Avenue where I enjoyed - ? - my first apartment. I am pretty sure it was a tenement once and Mark, who found the flat while I was in Africa with my family, lived in a walk-in closet complete with loft. But that is another story and now he lives in Greenwich, Connecticut. I remember my first-time arrival, driving up Sixth Avenue looking for 373 and thinking: this cannot possibly be it - more generally, I think I would have preferred less humid, more friendly Africa thank you very much. So today the only thing to change is the passer-byes; the buildings and my memories fixed circa 1989-90 when everything raw though happily I have a number of dear friends whom keep that epoque alive like Erik, Brad, JD, Todd and Kelly and others - without them, who would share the humour of the mad transition post college?

Washington Square

I take a few hours to myself and head downtown to buy a pair of kicks - which I do: New Balance, blue. The sales clerk has a big afro and I overhear her speak french so I nudge my way in. Turns out she is from Morocco, which she makes me guess. Since I have been there, we bond and again I get to use my French. This never happens in London BTW where I am told over 180 languages spoken. Go figure. I eventually meet Washington Square on a beautiful and clear New York afternoon and snap this photo at MacDougal and Washington Square North. Stately, next to derelict. I am surprised to find several mews blocks which are prevalent in London and never seen by me in New York - these are usually private streets with connected row houses no more than several stories. Here, they are surrounded by the taller mid-century condominiums and NYU. Their isolation from the hustle-bustle makes them kinda interesting I suppose - like being in a zoo, perhaps too since all the street-walkers like me curious. So my house and Wash Square - here is what I learn: it used to be a farm. Then a burial ground until the New York purchased the land around 1800 and turned it into a military parade ground where volunteer militia companies responsible for the nation's defense trained. By the 1830s, the surrounding houses had become the most desirable in the city, and I bet damn nice to live in one today. I can dream if only for a minute strolling by.

In One Word: Production

In an attempt to understand this idea of scale when it comes to the stimulus, I turn to Paul Krugman, who has been reporting ahead of the curve. His observation: no wealth created in America during Bush - only artificial pricing drawn from easy-credit. Today's correction consistent with the 1930s and Japan though not yet as deep. Krugman notes that FDR's New Deal started the country towards recovery but we owe are today to World War II. The US government footed war production entirely, borrowing 120% against GDP versus 8% or so today. In return, of course, we helped create the largest market imaginable for our goods and eventually services like accounting and banking... boy, does Europe wish we stopped at the 747s and Microsoft. Krugman concludes that without an equally massive works program it will take a generation or more to pay down our $trillions. What would the Gipper be thinking now?

I imagine that I am the only person, really, who cares about these pithy observations on the economy so why? Well, it helps me boil down the endless chatter to something I understand and I don;t care that my missives selfish or self-serving. There you have it. Also Madeleine and Eitan may read this very blog one day+I wish them to know what was happening inside the dark hole since they will be paying for it.

The photo BTW appeared in 1942 and widely circulated particularly in LIFE Magazine in 17 September 1942 and the Illustrated London News in the next month. It shows 4,500 aircraft models suspended from Chicago’s Union Station. The inspiration derived from FDR's assertion that America would produce 185,000 war-focused aircraft in 1942 and 1943.

KT @ Diner

Another day, another omelet. Here we map out her work-day and discuss strategy. My morning otherwise begins at the Riverbank State Park in Harlem where I head at the crack of dawn to swim laps in their fabulous 50-meter pool (another one - last time it was Asphalt Green on the Upper East Side). The sports center on 28-acres (bigger then Columbia with 21) and 21-meters above the Hudson River from 137th to 145 Street, on the West Side Highway. To get here, I cross one of two connecting bridges over fast moving traffic which is a bit worrisome but once on the island I feel completely free of NYC though the skyline ever-present. I also learn that this the only state park in Manhattan, and since space is dear, dear reader, it is built over the North River Wastewater Treatment Plant, which processes 125 million gallons of wastewater every day when dry and designed to handle up to 340 million gallons a day when the weather is wet. Only in New York. The plant was imagined in the 1950s and completed in 1991 after presumably working its way up the Hudson until it found Harlem, offering (I imagine) the least civic resistance. In return, they got a good park.

So at 7AM I enter the Aquatics Center to find a black receptionist who tells me I must have A) a swim suit and B) a lock. Since I don;t have B, she directs to buy one, which I do. I tell her I need a back-up plan for the combo, which I will surely forget, and ask her to write it down behind her desk. She looks at me warily. I swim 2500 meters and on my way out, tell her: "you can relax." She breaks into a huge grin and "you remembered the combination" and we both crack up and wish each other a good day. There is magic in these little things that make others happy.

Sunday, February 15

Upper West Side

Here are some rocks from 87th and Broadway, not far from where I lived way-back-when and boy has it changed. 

1989, my first year in New York, set the dubious record for most murders - surpassed the following year at over two thousand. It was generally understood that anything above above 90th was dangerous and newly arrived white kids from Ivy League schools whispered about Harlem's beginning and, presumably, civilisation's end. It is hard to imagine today as Katie's 104th and Amsterdam thrives - I love her Korean veggie where I automatically buy papaya, pineapple and mango and sometimes pomegranate along with remarkably fresh produce. 

We go to a fancy Thai on 111th and then there are the diners - not like I knew them with their 24 hour earnesty and working man's toast - no, these places are chic and offer goat-cheese omelets, caramelised onions and Italian sausage. What is surprising about this neighborhood is why it has taken so long? 

Columbia U. begins at 114th and is one of the world's most prestigious institutions - it is shocking to think that in 1990 the business school considered re-locating to Westchester. Today, it is expanding to "SoHa" (South of Harlem) or North of 125th Street up to 140th where new students promised a dorm and state-of-the-art facilities. By 1995 and my return for graduate school, gentrification well on the march. 

Riverside Drive, always proper, now serviced by upscale Fairway while sushi restaurants popping up left-and-right in Morningside Heights. Harlem now a sweet-spot of rustic brown-stones, compelling Americana, ethnic mixture and affordable. By recently, many of my friends talking about fixer-uppers with multiple floors for only a million dollars (cheap when compared to the same price for a down-scale two-bedroom apartment farther South). Anybody who wants to catch the area's nadir should watch De Niro's "Taxi Driver" whose final bloody shoot-out inside a derelict on 87th and Columbus - Scorcese was afraid of the ceiling collapsing underneath his filming equipment.

For some reason New Yorkers and everybody loves to romanticise the city in the 1970s - its grittiness, grime and deserted spaces somehow a cool backdrop for Popeye Doyle. I think also viewed as a decade of artistic freedom, sex and unity - James Baldwin and Ralph Ellison and all that. Me, I am glad there is no graffiti on the subways and the place as safe as anywhere- safer than London, in fact. I hope we are not going back to those bad-days given the recession which will hit any city harder than average and the Big Apple worse. I have enjoyed dinner-party discussion re NY's wealthful "sterility" somehow being oppressive. Well to them I say: find yourself in the Bronx. I was around in '90 when every day was a killing.

Saturday, February 14

Empire Diner

Katie and I lunch at 3:30PM and discuss the media collapse, which has happened in the last twelve months and continues downward. I renewed my subscription, for instance, to the International Herald Tribune last week and thought for the first time: why? I get the same, and in fact more news from or their RSS then from the paper. And a year's subscription not cheap at £350. I proceed because I like sitting at breakfast surrounded by kids and cereal and disappear in the newsprint. This a luxury which may be gone in several years I appreciate but where does it go? Katie thinks readership will fragment into extremes between professional and for-pay sources and extremist wackos driven by their passions and not caring particularly about writing for free; in the process, we lose a national identity. For me, I imagine a number of national titles, perhaps the NYT and WSJ or USA Today and everything else gone, like the sad case of the Chicago Tribune (though Sam Zell proves himself not the genius but fool). These entities likely become non-profit and receive foundation or grant support. What is for sure is that journalists and researches leaving in droves reducing coverage and probably quality. Accelerating the motion, bloggers "borrow" stories while stealing readers. Ultimately media brands mean something - accuracy, at the minimum. Once we are all online swapping, sharing and editing feeds who ensures we view the truth? As Katie says, we are sub-priming the news.

Katie buys a bunch of computer crap and I go to H&H bagels to pass the time and avoid the, ahem, negotiations. Unable to get a cab on Saturday late afternoon we must bus it to the Upper West. Groan.

Katie's Cat

Katie and I have a New York evening in the West Village, starting at MacDougal Street and a gin bar where we meet one of her pals Michelle, who may become the chair of Katie's Board. Katie knows Michelle from the Woodhull think-tank - she is also a VP, business development, for PR News Wire, owned by United Business News, where my old boss John Botts a Board Member. Six degrees? Michelle remarks on Katie: "there is an enormous market for what she does and nobody addressing it." and further, "[Katie] can make a ton of money." We like Michellle.Similar to Mary yesterday, she gives a strong validation for The Op-Ed Project and no surprise - it is a nifty endeavor. From Michelle, we enter the Lower West Side to visit David who opens his fourth restaurant on Carmine Street. The evening buzzes and I see Katie's über-cool friends including Nicole who I was last with in '95 at her and Katie's graduation from Columbia's International Affairs program. We squeal. From CIPA, Nicole got a law degree then The Hague where she persecuted International War Criminals and met her husband James; she is now pregnant for the first-time. At the table is Michael who exposed NYT's reporter Judith Miller for sourcing-errors regarding the Bush administration’s conclusions about Iraq’s alleged WMD Program in 2003 and Miller's involvement in the Valery Plame Affair - all of which eventually netted Michael an apology from The Times who otherwise resisted him. Another former, and Senior NYT writer next to me indites the whole newspaper for its support of the Iraq war. Phil is now a successful blogger and we discuss media and its changing business model. Various others include Zac, a PhD Historian who has published ten books most recently on the US-China affair and now considers a green-fund. Missing is New Yorker writer Sondro who is in Italy with his son. I enjoy my London status, which gives me some street-cred, and even use my french with Deborah who is back from three-weeks in Paris where her gay boyfriend takes her on retreat in the 7th arrondisement (Le Marais). I cannot think of a better thing to do. We part: "a plus." Fun.

Eitan, to Sonnet, back of car: "I cannot believe Katie is 40. She looks twenty or something."
Katie, next to me replies: "Aww, tell him this is what I tell Sam (Sondro's toddler) who reports my age to everyone!"

Madeleine names her gold-fish "Bubbles" and "Flippers."

Friday, February 13


So the $787 billion stim-u-lus passes the House - despite lacking one Republican vote. And here is the scary thing: the Japanese are criticising us for not enough. Let us not forget their "lost decade" when Japanese banks crippled with toxic debt from a real estate collapse following their easy-credit bubble. Sound familiar? The fall-out: 15 consecutive years of real estate price-declines ending in 2002 (source: Financial Services Agency via T Hoshi and A.K. Kashyap). In their socieity, as ours, the house a family's largest investment and its value-decline ensures the worsening of their standard of living. Ouch. I was in college when the Japanese economy went tits up (there is that expression again). Timid government under-funding of half-measures meant the financial system lost trillions and only until 2002 began a recovery. It is estimated that the public will recoup less than 50c on a dollar committed. So to us and so far: Obama's plan avoids the hardest decisions like nationalising banks, wiping out shareholders or allowing banks to collapse under the weight of their own bad debts. In the end, Japan had to do all these things: from 1992-05, Japanese banks wrote off 96 trillion yen or 19% of the country's annual GDP. Surely this has been studied by somebody in the White House? Probably not Republican Judd Gregg, who withdraws his bid to run the Commerce Department, and fails his country along with the rest of his party who got us here these last eight years.

Japanese women eating sushi from Japan Newsgroup Jucee.

Deja Vu

And here it is Friday again. I fly into NYC yesterday to join Katie and her business plan and, as always, life is a goof in the Big Apple. As though I need an excuse to be here. As I write Katie plugs away - same as it ever was, and a good thing as her business growing. My plugging away can be done from anywhere with this notebook and my mobile - in outer-space, nobody can hear you scream. And besides this year there ain't much plugging going on in privé equité though I do make sure I am with the people that count. Like Mary - who we see this morning. As ever, she is inspiring and half-way through I begin considering ongoing business education but then I come to my senses: I've not touched a trades book since '97 and Columbia Business School. Mary has a unique talent anyways that comes from within and I can't touch that, though I admire. No wonder she advises the CEOs of the world's biggest companies and despite the recession is more in demand than ever - three all-nighters this week+world travel (we saw her in London several weeks ago for dinner). And today she turns her great attention on Katie's Op-Ed project before dashing into a waiting limosine to take a conference call on route to Midtown. Her time is valuable. Switching to London, Madeleine asks about war which is so everywhere that I filter it gone but for the kids it is shocking. And needs to be explained, which Sonnet does without me. Later she receives a call from the constable concerned about fraudulent frocks sold at Sotheby's - the criminal apprehended, you see, and Sonnet to provide the comparable evidence. Meanwhile the V&A's next exhibition this month (though not Sonnet's): hats. Oooo it is going to be swe-et.

Thursday, February 12

Thank You's, A Marathon Plus Some Deer

Madeleine writes thank-you's from her birthday party this morning before the school-run. Note the spot on her sweat-shirt which is flaxseed oil. Yes, I make the kids take their dose every morning and boy do they resist sometimes leading to a mess. At least it is not disgusting cod liver oil (which we used to do). This morning I complete a circuit-run in Richmond Park including bench steps, squats, heel presses and etc. It is part of my training program for April's London marathon, which I will do for charity (don't worry - the request is coming). Unlike the past ten years where I have ramped up on at least four occasions only to be disappointed by injury, I intend to run London for fun vs. a time. I have acquired my chicken costume. In '98 I ran London, my last marathon, in 3:11 and while this ain't a bad time, I bonked at mile-23 or the Tower Bridge. It started pouring rain. Forced to walk I missed my goal of three-hours and, dear reader, the chance to never run a marathon again. Those are the breaks sometimes. So this morning - the park slicked over with ice and cold; a few cyclists barrel by in their aero-dynamic outfits plastered with colourful Italian and various logos; I say 'hello' to an older gent dressed for the hunt: olive moleskin cap, tweed jacket, baggy pants+ walking stick. He smiles a cheery back at me. Since Richmond is a deer park I pass a heard of bucks who, ancient mystery, are always separated from the does. The next cull is this month so the older beasts have magnificent antlers which must be six or seven-fee from the head. Their breath puffs as they stare at me without interest. Who would think we live in a cosmopolitan city? The deer could care less anyway.

Wednesday, February 11


Here is Rakoposhi, which I photographed in 1997 from the Karokoram Highway (KKH) in Pakistan. The mountain is part of the Karakorams in the Nagar Valley or approximately 100 km north of Gilgit, where we spent several days on our way into the Hunza Valley. 

Rakoposhi is 7,788 metres (25,551 ft) at its peak and means "shining wall" in the local language. It is also the 27th highest in the world and the 12th in Pakistan - K2, which I also saw from the KKH, is Pakistan's highest at 8,611 metres (28,251 ft). Rakaposhi was first climbed in 1958 by Mike Banks and Tom Patey of the British-Pakistani expedition, via the Southwest Spur / Ridge Route. Weeks before our arrival, an ill-prepared Pakistani team became stuck at 24,000 feet - not anticipating several nights exposure on the open redige several died from the extreme temperatures. As our guide Munir told me, "it was a macho thing." 

Apparently and not surprisingly, Pakistani men feel an urge to prove themselves against their mountain Gods. Rakaposhi is also notable for its exceptional rise over local terrain. On the north, it rises 5,800m in only an 11.5km horizontal distance from the Hunza River. The skree at the bottom of the photograph is a glacier. 

I took this photograph, using my father's Nikon F-2, at Ghulmat (located in the Nagar Valley) which is called "Zero Point of Rakaposhi;" there has otherwise been no doctoring of the image. Recently I scanned a number of similar photos so I will try to post them here occasionally.

Prophecy Of Doom

This graph, from Credit Suisse, shows where we may be heading and why Obama pushes hard for further stimulus dollars, which was approved yesterday despite Republicans. From now there is no more. I shudder to consider that America no longer exports products the world wishes to buy with the exception (and a big one) of the iPod+technology. The last 25-years fueled by the services sector - Europe being the biggest buyer - which, thanks to Wall Street, has vaporised. Anybody with an oversized or variable rate mortgage and especially the elderly, who cannot reboot, are in for it.

Tuesday, February 10

Armani Twins

Here is a picture of reality - not. I post this image and wonder if the heavy black mascara, gaunt faces and direct, almost mocking look reflects the times? Too bad for your bad luck, sucker. Kate Moss, for instance, famously caught the mood with her "heroin chic" in the mid-1990s characterised by pale skin, dark circles underneath the eyes and jutting bones. She also promoted emaciated features and androgyny, and was in direct contradiction to the healthy and vibrant - cheery! - look of models like Christy Brinkley, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer and Heidi Klum. I remember the LA Times article BTW in '96 or '97 that charged fashion with a nihilistic vision of beauty that was reflective of drug addiction. Anorexia increased. The Armani Twins here certainly don't look emaciated from the neck up but neither do they look particularly happy either. In fact, they look alien. I otherwise have little insight into a woman's beauty other than sometimes it works and with others it doesn't. Go figure. I know that I was struck with Sonnet when I first saw her that evening at Ivor and Alison's wedding at the MOMA in San Francisco. In fact, unlike advertising's general consensus that beauty fades I believe it to be the opposite - my wife more bewitching today than 1993. I still find myself pondering sometimes what is going on inside her despite sharing about everything. I find her mystery greatly interesting.

Monday, February 9

A Castle And Venture Capital

Here is a tired looking me in Chiltenham. We are getting pelted by another storm though no snow, thank goodness, as all the local councils have run out of salt. You might ask "so what?" but last week many villages cut off from their distributions and food shelves empty. Plus the military had to evacuate people from their cars stranded on the motor ways. So we are grateful for rain. Sonnet off early for France where she will spend the night in a 14th century castle with a couple of gay guys. She always gets the fun stuff. Not surprisingly, her destination has no heating - accept for the occupied rooms - and she layers herself with hi-tech under-garments and a heavy jacket. Tres glam. It is a quick visit to pick up donated garments for her V&A collection - I really should know the full story behind these treasures but my mind blank. Stay tuned (for the story, not my mind).

Of interest to venture-capitalist, 2008 saw British venture-backed companies receive the most venture-capital since 2000 or the peak of the venture-market. Oh boy. This about one billion squid. I would like to think the entirety of money to new start-ups but rather the figure due to existing investors protecting their companies with more cash. I lament Europe's lack of a
Silicon Valley or Herzliya Pituach - without tech there is little hope against India or Asia. Typically during recessionary periods job-cuts net talent for early-stage, high-growth businesses and this what happened during the '80s when American Industry down-sized and Northern California took off. Today the orient emmerges as a fierce competitor for limited VC - visiting one can see why. China has taken 70 or 80 years of development and cherry picked the best - on show at the Beijing Olympics and everywhere from phones to wireless. There will be hiccups for sure but entrepreneurs now head for Shanghai and New Dehli before Frankfurt or Manchester. Silicon Valley retains its aura, if not dominance, thanks to Google, Apple and eBay - but today's trend is expat-repatriation where Stanford or Berkeley trained engineers go home. Unlike before, there are dollars chasing them. I think Obama gets this and so choses John Dohr and Mark Gallogly of Kleiner Perkins and Centerbridge to be among his 16 advisors re the economic recovery.

MLP and Yates

Here is Mary Louise Parker photographed for her Broadway play "Hedda Gabler" by Martin Schoeller. It appears in the New Yorker, which otherwise doesn't especially like this time's interpretation of the Ipsen play. I otherwise love the photo and ML whom I became enchanted with during the first two series of her Showtime "Weeds" (the final series three sucks). Weeds takes place in some Southern California suburb probably just like FL in 2005 - ML loses her husband to death leaving her with two teenage boys and a mortgage. Mom does not wish to give up her lifestyle and SUV so she sells... weed. Given California's medical marijuana laws, this is not as far-fetched as it would seem I am sure. The show works because Parker comes across as a control-freak parent who is otherwise coming apart at the edges and we know, as did William Butler Yates, the center cannot hold. Every parent feels this at sometime and in today's horror show probably more often then ever. I know we have, though this is a good time to be alive - as is any, for that matter. The luck of the draw and one direct shot. Go figure.

Yates' full quote:

“Things fall apart;

the center cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity”

"Some of us create happiness wherever we go.
Others create happiness whenever we go."
Oscar Wilde

Sunday, February 8

Last Night

Since I know, Dear Reader, you are on the edge of your seat to see a Goremiti described the other day up close - here it is. In this instance, expertly manipulated by Nathaniel. From what I can tell, the object to knock your opponent's mini-figure off the table violently. I let the kids beat me up - which they love - until decided by the kids they enjoy themselves and their Goremiti rules more than me. Fair enough. Last night's slumber party goes to plan which is to say I yell several times and threaten to pull Eitan from the scrum. Eventually the wrestling turns to shouting then talking and finally murmuring and... silence. Which lasts until 7AM. It is good gang of Madeleine's friends and though I moan a bit here, it is a pleasure to clown with the kids who are excited to sleep in an unusual environment and gorge themselves on television and chatter. I recall night parties from about third-grade when the TV was Giligan's Island, Star Trek, the Great Grape Ape and Scooby Due. Usual stuff - some of it around still. In those 70s we kids dropped off to shred the hosting house sometimes tossing mattresses down stairways or jumping from first floor windows to access the otherwise forbidden outside. Who knew there were parents? Our last night a bit more contained and all exits bolted and double-checked. Madeleine at some point upstairs complaining it is too loud to sleep but I soundly order her back to her friends. In for a penny, in for a pound.


Alex Rodriguez, held forward as an example of healthy playing to fans and America, tested positive for drugs in '03, Sports Illustrated reports. Should we be surpised that he played for Texas, once owned by ex-el presidente W. Bush? Today A-Rod plays third-base for the NY
Yankees and for the period since 1996 he leads Major League Baseball in home runs, runs scored, runs batted in, total bases and extra-base hits. Among all players in baseball history prior to their 31st birthday, he is currently first in runs scored and total bases, second in extra base hits and RBI, and fourth in hits. In addition, to this point in his career Rodriguez has more home runs, runs batted in, runs scored, and base hits than all–time leaders Hank Aaron (RBIs) Barry Bonds (HR), Rickey Henderson (runs scored) and Pete Rose (hits) did prior to their 31st birthdays. He is the youngest player ever to hit 500 home runs, breaking the record Jimmie Foxx set in 1939. He is also the youngest player in Major League history to hit for the cycle, at the age of 21 (all stats from This extraordinary data now jeapordised thanks to A-Rod's friend and steriod Primobolan, which comes out five years after the testing. Oh boy have we seen this with Wall Street and sub-prime: the owners are the regulators. In this familiar story, Major League Baseball responsible for the league's drugs-testing program and if that was not conflicted enough, the MLB bound to confidentiality as part of a player's union contract. I mean - WTF? I no longer give any pro the benefit of the doubt- Conseco, Bonds, McGuire and now Rodriguez - the best the game's got - all needled up. Too bad for the honest sluggers BTW. Baseball, like Wall Street and mortgage backed securities, has no credibility - as an industry, there appears to be no desire to awknowledge or rid itself of the problem. The beauty of baseball, you see, is being able to compare figures - and there are plenty of figures - between eras. One can look at Ty Cobb and compare him to Pete Rose... or construct his success versus Nolan Ryan or Sandy Kofax. Say good-bye to all that. What is worse, really, is that the drugs use not a baseball problem but rather a public health issue - illegal, unregulated , unknown sourcing and distribution, unsanitary delivery and all outside medical oversight and likely at the back of the club house. The player's health at risk and unlike the industry, their loss could be a tragedy.

Katie Couric in 2007: "For the record, have you ever used steroids, human growth hormone or any other performance-enhancing substance?"

Rodriguez: "No."

Photo from the New York Yankees