Tuesday, July 31

Black Canyon

We visit Black Canyon this afternoon and my photo from the chasm's south end. Black Canyon is about 12 miles outside of Montrose in Gunnison County, CO.


The Gunnison River drops an average of 43 feet per mile (8 m/km) through the entire canyon, making it one of the steepest river descents in North America. In comparison, the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon drops an average of 7.5 feet per mile (1.4 m/km). The greatest descent of the river occurs in the park at Chasm View dropping 240 feet per mile (45 m/km).

The Black Canyon gets its name on account of its steepness. This steepness makes it difficult for sunlight to penetrate very far down the canyon. As a result, the walls of the canyon are most often draped in shadows, causing the rocky walls to appear black. At its narrowest point the canyon is only 40 feet (12 meters) across at the river.

The area was established as a U.S. National Monument on March 2, 1933 and made into a National Park on October 21, 1999.

Red Letter Day

It is just possible that today Barry Bonds will break Hank Aaron's all-time home run record, New York Mets starter Tom Glavine wins his 300th game and New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodrigues becomes the youngest player (32) to hit his 500th homer. What are the odds of all three on the same day? It boggles the fan's mind. Photo by Thomas Ciszek of Atlantic City Surf pitcher Lincoln Mikkelsen who was the 2006 Sport Ticker Independent Baseball Pitcher of the Year.

Madeleine to Eitan: "You just want a hang nail so you can have all the attention!"

Pretty in Pink

Madeleine at the Stanfill house, Montrose. The BIG plan today is... wait for it... The Simpsons! Both kids wake up with one thing on their mind as they have been promised the movie. Otherwise, I give them chores to do around our suite in return for cash-dollars. Madeleine is eager to have some disposable while Eitan a bit more reserved: "Aw, dad, you can't really be serious!" says he. Strong work ethic in this family clearly. Today we're all excited to see Marcus and perhaps visit the Black Canyon national reserve.

Eitan, two inches from my face, 7:01AM: "Dad will you fix my Spider Man Watch?"

Eitan to me: "Mom said not to disturb you until after 7AM"

Madeleine about a sparrow's nest at Stan/Silver's: "Look at the bird apartment!"

Eitan has some of Stan's cherry pie. Yum. Sadly Bill Walsh is lost to cancer at 75. The Genius took over the ailing San Francisco 49ers in 1978 at about the time I was really getting into football. The 49ers were 2-14 the season before Walsh arrived and 2-14 his first year. Then, in 1979, he drafted a quarterback from Notre Dame named Joe Montana. The 49ers went on to dominate the league with Super Bowl titles in 1981, '84 and '88. Along with Joe, my heroes were Ronnie Lott, Jerry Rice, Gene "Hacksaw" Reynolds and Brent Jones, whose end-zone grab in the final minutes of the '81 NFC Championships sent the Cowboys home. That was an era to be a part of.

Monday, July 30

He Must Be A Republican

Is there anybody dumb enough not to believe that Gonzales is serving as a shield for Bush? You can just hear the conversation: "Common Alberto, take one for the team. Heck, if it goes wrong I'll just give you a pardon."


Surprise! The kids up at the crack of dawn. We arrive yesterday evening and have dinner with Stan and Silver while admiring the mountain views especially pretty at sunset. Eitan and Madeleine have a tour of the Stanfill house and marvel at Silver's flag collection which includes Yugoslavia, Alaska, California and Britain - places where she has taught or studied (women's) literature. Tonight Uncle Marcus arrives from Seattle.


From La Veta yesterday we drive through beautiful country including Gunninson, which ain't much of a town but tucked inside the Rockies. We cruise by the Gunnison River, whose three dams make the Blue Mesa Reservoir and form the heart of Curecanti. The Blue Mesa is Colorado's largest body of water, and is the largest Kokanee Salmon fishery in the U.S. Morrow Point Reservoir is the beginning of the Black Canyon, and below, East Portal is the site of the Gunnison Diversion Tunnel, a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. It's pretty cool stuff but we power on to reach Montrose in time for dinner. Photo from Estes Park.

Sunday, July 29

Notes From the Road

This morning I talk to Jo, a neighbor at the La Veta Inn. Initially Sonnet had difficulties with Jo for smoking and late night drinking with her husband and 25 year old son who are in town to play golf and party. Otherwise she is from a small town outside Denver where the newest VA hospital is being built. Her brother served three tours in Viet Nam before being hit by a semi on a Florida inter-state (he survived and is in a wheel chair). "He was treated horribly on his return" she says. Our discussion turns to Iraq and the Bush government. She once supported the war and would have been proud to see her son there. No more. On Queda and Iraq, she says: bullshit. "We should have stopped in Afghanistan or maybe Pakistan" and "I can see my house on the Internet. Why can't Bush get Bin Laden?" She believes we should have gone in and done it right or "get the hell out of there." She also connects Iraq's failure to Iran, which could have nukes. "I cannot believe that I would see Viet Nam again. It (Iraq) is becoming the same thing." On the next President? She hates Hillary Clinton and says what our country needs is a black woman: "now she would kick some real ass."

When I See An Elephant Fly

We end the day in front of Dumbo. Remember that crazy scene when Dumbo's water is spiked and he and the rat see pink elephants dance? And the hobo negro crows who find them in the tree-tops? And of course the climatic finish when Dumbo tears around the Big Top. Eitan complains that the movie is too short and feels cheated. When it comes to cartoons, it would appear that quantity trumps quality.
Image from Disney.

The Ranch

Madeleine and Eitan have spent this week with Martine and Bill re-acquainting themselves with some old friends. This evening Martine prepares dinner for a Stanfill family reunion including Sonnet's aunts Beecher, Martine and Robin and their husbands Bill and Ray, cousins Whitney (and husband Frank) and David and their children Tess and Thea. David is in from New York to help Beecher and Frank add an extension to Beecher's already big house. David is a writer and carpenter and lives on B Street in Alphabet City with his girlfriend Nicole who owns a vintage clothing store. Way cool.

"I had a great time doing Vegas. It's just that it takes a lot of time."
John Elway

Saturday, July 28


We drive to Walsenburg to hit the waterpark. On hand are two three story water slides, one of which requires an inner-tube and is enclosed for darkness. Cool! Eitan and Madeleine are rightly scared but Madeleine bunches up her courage and goes for it: "whoopie dad! This is totally rad!" (OK, I gave her the expression). Eitan gets into the action and soon we are racing up the stairs umpteen times to ride the curves. The lifeguards are bemused by the accents and ask what football clubs we support (Eitan: Manchester United of course. Madeleine Chelsea and me Arsenal). Afterwards Sonnet and I sunbathe while the kids splash about. Tonight: BBQ at Martine's ranch. Rad!

"I don't know if I like being the sentimental favorite."
John Elway, Denver Broncos

Dawn Patrol

Eitan and I go for a walk as the sun rises over the mountains. We are the first up accept for the church-goers who prepare a $5 pancake breakfast on the High Street. Bacon and coffee included. According to Robin, the evangelicals have arrived in La Veta and are preaching their tupper-ware to the influencables. A main recruiting ground is the public Middle School where community pressure has allowed the congregation to prosper. This being the United States where Church and State or supposedly separated, a 16 year has taken it upon herself to write the only (so far) dissenting op-ed in The Pueblo newspaper.

Madeleine I find by our door step this morning shooing her ant "Polly" from her cage. Madeleine captured Polly last night, entrapping her in a clear-plastic crayons case complete with grass, dirt and food-stuff. Fast friends from the start, Madeleine showed Polly to the locals (who would listen). As for Polly's release this morning: "I want her to be free" says Madeleine.

Friday, July 27


Beecher with her grand gal Thea. After spending a morning in Cuchara, we return to La Veta so Eitan and Madeleine can get a cone at local grocers Charlie's. At $1 a scoop, a bargain. Afterwards we visit Aunt Robin and Ray, who have recently completed their home and work studio nearby. Robin is an artist who focuses on large and small stones, beads, feathers and crafts. It is never boring. Her work is sold locally and in places like Taos, Telluride and Santa Fe. I try on several pendants but she is now focused on women, so I will have to wait.

I ask Madeleine if life is good or bad. "Well, it is both" she says.
Me: "Why is it bad?"
Madeleine: "Because people die."
Me: "And why is it good?"Madeleine: "Because the sun is shining."

Red Neck

I practice my look for the summer in this self-portrait. We spend the morning in Cuchara with Beecher, Whitney and her kids Tess and Thea who is now about one year old and just begging to walk. Cuchara is 8,600 feet altitude and we are happy and dehydrated by morning's end, which includes hide-and-seek, tag, swings and other outdoor mountain activities. Beecher's cabin was a gift from a wealthy Texas family. It is nestled in the firs next to a brook, open fields and of course mountains.

Thursday, July 26


Sharon is one of Katie's best friends from Harvard. She famously travelled with us along the Karakoram Highway (KKH) in 1997 which took us from Islamabad, Pakistan to Kashgar, China and beyond. Here Sharon is with her daughter in a more natural habitat - New York City where she was born and raised. At school, Sharon was a scholar-athlete and played some mean stick - she represented the USA on several international field hockey teams.
Katie's picture taken in Central Park.

La Veta

Here is where we be. The Inn was built in 1876 (photo from the Inn)

History of the town

Colonel John M. Francisco (1820 – 1902) and Judge Henry Daigre (1832 – 1902) formed a partnership and purchased land under the Vigil-St. Vrain Land Grant in 1868. The land was located on a Native American trail used by the Ute tribe (and earlier the Comanches). They built a plaza known as Francisco Fort to supply the Denver mining camps with products from ranching and farming. Ranches and farms like that of the Bela and Fain families were located nearby.

In Spanish, La Veta, translates as “the mineral vein”, which is apropos, given the town's association with mining claims; like the abandoned mining camp of Ojo which is located a few miles from the town. The concrete foundations of the camp can still be seen upon close inspection. Hiram Vasquez said that the town was named by Mexican settlers from a vein of white mineral which they called “La Veta Tierra Blanca”.

By 1876 the Denver and Rio Grande Railway Company -- later theDenver & Rio Grande Western Railroad - built a narrow gauge railroad through a right-of-way to the plaza and 200 acres for a town site donated by Francisco and Daigre. The tracks continued over what is known today as “Old La Veta Pass”, completing a trek up to an elevation of 9582 feet to a depot built by1877 in a place known as “Uptop”.

Wayward Bound

Here we are in Chicago, on our way to Colorado for July and August. The day starts with an 0530 pickup and ending at 1400 in Le Veta. Please note that the time difference is +7 hours, making this a looong trip. We and the kids hold it together and when compared to earlier travels at sub 3 years, this seems like a snap. Both Eitan and Madeleine proudly keep their back-packs and "buddies" closely held in the Tesco bag. We stay at the Le Veta Inn. The town has a population of 900 or so including local cowboys and urbanite yuppies. While I'm not able to buy the New York Times, there is excellent coffee at the local bakery (open four days a week) and the Denver Post gives me the baseball scores. Today the kids go to Martine and Bill's horse ranch to see their pals Praline, Buckwheat, Charlie and others.


Madeleine checks out the turbo-trampoline and we can see she is in capable hands - not. The kids beg for a go and the thing catapults them 30 feet in the air. The more advanced do loops and summersaults while show-boating for their (girl)friends. Eitan tries first and while not so daring, has a blast. Madeleine is surprisingly timid and requests to come off after several moments. Usually it is she that thrives on this kind of thing - no fear, grrr.

Summer UK

My faithful five: apologies for being offline for the past week. I write from Le Veta, Colorado, in the Colorado Rockies. But more on this later.
This photo taken in Brighton-By-Sea, where I return with the kids last week. We lucked out with good weather as the summer has otherwise been the wettest in 75 years. Flash-flooding across England has left 1,000s without water, electricity and home. The worst towns are where the Thames and Severn Rivers meet, unable to absorb the hillside run-off. Earlier this month we saw Sheffield, home of the Arctic Monkeys, washed out. But back to us: Brighton was once the seaside town for which these Brits pined before modern travel whisked the wealthy (and now the pint drinking, cigarette smoking) set to Southern European locals setting in motion the the second British colonisation: low-cost, beach-front condominiums. God bless the herd mentality of this people. Our day otherwise is unspoiled following a train-ride from Clapham Junction to Brighton station. We enjoy the rocks, eat greasy chips and vinegar and check out the boardwalk. A fun day spent while Sonnet prepares for the summer Bon Voyage.

Tuesday, July 24

This one makes me (and Wayne) proud - from IHT

Devanand's eyesight and livelihood were saved through the efforts of an innovative microfranchise program developed by the Scojo Foundation, a nonprofit social enterprise based in New York that uses market solutions to distribute inexpensive corrective glasses in the developing world (picture and story from the IHT).

Worldwide, according to Scojo, more than 700 million people who make less than $4 a day suffer from presbyopia, limiting their ability to make handicrafts, read a newspaper or find insects on crops and separate seeds. Sufferers face the dark prospect of diminished productivity and greater poverty.

Scojo does more than just sell glasses. Operating in six countries, the foundation has trained more than 1,000 people to become microfranchise owners, or "vision entrepreneurs," who conduct basic eye exams, sell affordable prescription glasses and refer those who need advanced eye care to clinics and hospitals. According to Scojo, many of the microfranchise owners have doubled their income, and thousands of farmers, craftspeople and merchants have been able to return to work.

Using 5 percent of profit from the for-profit luxury eyewear company Scojo Vision, and grants from organizations like Open Society Institute of George Soros and the Acumen Fund, the Scojo Foundation addresses the most basic eye-care needs of local communities. It also trains its entrepreneurs to refer those in need of serious medical treatment to organizations like Orbis, the global anti-blindness charity.

In Ghana, Fan Milk has sold 8,000 people the bicycles and dairy products to become distributors, and in India, Hindustan Lever has trained nearly 31,000 women in its "Project Shakti" network to sell consumer products like coffee, laundry detergent and toothpaste.

Since its inception in 2002, Scojo has joined forces with more than 20 private companies and nongovernmental organizations in Bangladesh, India, Ghana, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico to train microfranchise owners, often linking up with existing networks of health workers, peddlers and shopkeepers.

In April, Scojo began collaboration with the nonprofit health organization Population Services International to distribute glasses throughout sub-Saharan Africa. In five years, Scojo has sold more than 70,000 pairs of eyeglasses to the poor across the globe.

Friday, July 20

That Hat

A photo from the archives - this one taken November 2003 at three years old. The flapper was a Christmas present from me to Sonnet when we lived on the Upper West Side. "Flapper" referred to a "new breed" of young women from the '20s who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, listened to unconventional music and flaunted their disdain for what was then considered "decent" behavior. The flappers were seen as brash in their time for wearing excessive makeup, drinking hard liquor , treating sex in a more casual manner, smoking cigarettes, driving automobiles, and otherwise flouting conventional social and sexual norms. God how we miss 'em.

Thursday, July 19


These lovelies are from the cover of Surreal Things which is on display at Sonnet's museum. We attended the opening in April and the curator, Ghislaine Wood, wore an Alexander McQueen butterfly print dress mirroring the 1937 version by "Schiap." While the most known works are by Dali (of course), Andre Breton, Joan Miro and Man Ray, my favorite is Alberto Giacometti's unexpected pottery including "Tutankhamun' lamp in 1933. I have only admired his bronzes and so a real treat to see his weirdness in clay.

Wednesday, July 18

2007 is really 1984

In a document mistakenly released by the Home Office Tuesday and reported by Fleet Street, U.K. police may be given access to the details of journeys taken by millions of British motorists collected by road pricing technology for congestion charging in London and elsewhere. The data would include license plates and individual targeting of suspected terrorists and potential criminals and criminal-like behaviors, whatever this means. There is yet considerable opposition to the plan and I listened to our new Home Secretary Jacqui Smith dodge the question on Radio 4 this morning claiming she would like more information before rendering her opinion. Britain has the infrastructure for the Orwellian plan: 2,640 "smart" cameras in operation and pilot-less camera "drones" now being tested in areas like Manchester. The 21st Century started yesterday.

Tuesday, July 17

He Must Be A Republican

Senator David Vitter for 16 hears staked out the moral high ground where he has challenged the ethics of other Louisiana politicians on same-sex marriage while depicting himself as a "clean-as-a-whistle" champion of family values. Says he: “I’m a conservative who opposes radically redefining marriage, the most important social institution in human history,” Mr. Vitter, a 46-year-old family man and yes, Republican, wrote in a letter last year to The New Orleans Times-Picayune. Well, His Holy now admits that his phone number is in a list of clients’ numbers kept by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who is accused of running a prostitution ring in Washington (Vitter missed major votes on Iraq in the Senate and made no public appearances as accounts of other prostitutes multiplied in the New Orleans news media). Vitter now says he committed "a very serious sin in my past.” No shit mister. What are the odds he voted for Clinton's impeachment? Would YOU take that bet?

Adding to the road kill, in 2000 Vitter's wife Wendy was asked: If her husband were as unfaithful as Bill Clinton, would she be as forgiving as Hillary Rodham Clinton? “I’m a lot more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary,” Wendy Vitter told Newhouse News. “If he does something like that, I’m walking away with one thing, and it’s not alimony, trust me." Recall that Lorena Bobbitt cut off her husband's dick with a kitchen knife when she found out he was having an affair.

Madeleine 24

Here is Madeleine at Day One of life. As any parent says: time goes by fast so enjoy the moment. I can say: when this photo taken time did not go by fast but there was enjoyment. Madeleine had lungs like a bull-horn and a stubborn personality from the git-go. She had no problem wailing for hours until given the midnight nip or a little comfort from mum. This holds remarkably true today where our little girl sets her mind to something and works hard for it - or screams murder otherwise. This morning, for instance, Eitan and I work out various clock times. Madeleine, who has not done this in school, sits on the side-line chirping her guesses: "1:05? 15:36? 100:45?!" She's not ready to call it quits when we move on to something else and I promise her that we will get the hours and minutes sorted out together.

Monday, July 16

Mel Ramos

The notorious and "utterly questionable" pop artist Mel Ramos has surfaced in the West End - pictured. The W1 showing is a first for the artist most famous for his 1960s sexy nudes and naked B-movie stars draped around over-sized cigars, cigarette packs, tooth-paste tubes and other familiar 1950s house-hold products. At the same time Andy Warhol was trolling pop culture with his Elvises and Marilyns, which netted greater introspection and long-lasting attention. Unlike Warhol, Ramos did not fuse depth and pop trash - he was only trashy and so objectionable to the critical masses. I, lighter than air, intend to ogle the great ogler.


The Queen's annual swan count began yesterday at Sunbury and the whole country is a-twitter. Passing through Berkshire to Abingdon in Oxfordshire, a boat of loyals (dressed in their scarlet uniforms) and children count, weigh and ring each bird while checking for signs of injury and disease. The ceremony dates from the 12th Century when the Crown claimed all unowned mute swans in Britain to ensure a ready supply for banquets and feasts. Nowadays, the Queen retains the right to ownership on some stretches of the River Thames and tributaries. For the record and the most recent data I could find, in 1991 there were 116 cygnets and in 1992 the total number of new cygnets marked was 136. There is as yet, no answer to the problem of those that are strangled by fishing lines. Photo from Londondiary.com.

Sunday, July 15


Eitan and I go to Eddie Katz's this afternoon. EK offers kids a giant play area complete with slides, bouncy castles, hockey, video games and other must haves for a six year old (Madeleine is at a birthday party). On the way home, we discuss cigarettes and I ask Eitan if he understands a craving. "Is it like sucking my thumb?" he asks adroitly. We then touch on addiction: "only when I suck my thumb I can stop" he adds. We compare TV and chocolates to smoking and I use our car ride to touch upon drugs. "Some kids, even your friends, will want you to take pills and you will have to decide" I say. Eitan comments on a school story about a boy and an apple. If eaten, the apple will bring a long life of unhappiness.. I ask if he would eat the apple. Eitan: "No, I'd rather die now but happy."
Photo from the WWW.


Yesterday is the final day of football as the summer break is upon us (Kids last day of school: Wednesday). Eitan and Madeleine play in tournaments and each's team takes second place in their division. Eitan scores a terrific side-post goal that makes him visibly happy as the other kids high-five him. For the record, Madeleine enjoys footie, effectus, but is now aware that she is one of two girls on the pitch. Some discussions have taken place about swim-club and tennis, which I would enjoy with her later on. Stay tuned, dear reader.

The artist formally know as "the squiggly thing" angers the high street by giving away his latest album In today's Sunday Mail - Prince will play 30 gigs in London this August. The Mail paid Prince £500,000, a small figure for His Purple Squire, but the stapled controversy has produced enormous free publicity feeding concert attendance as each show has sold out. Sonnet and I will probably see him in September, though I generally shy away from big venues like the 02 center, formally known as the Millennium Dome.

Friday, July 13


Here is yesterday's sporting result where Madeleine takes first and second place in her races. This photo is from my mobile camera as I forgot the DSLR - but I think it gets the point accross. Picture taken on the school grounds, post pick-up.

Thursday, July 12

Sports Day

I arrive from Copenhagen in time for Sports Day at our primary school. The kids are organised by class and compete in heats - events which include the full-on dash and the obstacle-challenge. The children wear their PE outfits and School Colours, which takes place on the green field. Eitan wins his two races while Madeleine takes a first and second. There must be over 200 parents and they all buzz about MY kids performance: "Eitan won his race! Madeleine is sooo fast!" I explain it must be the Saturday football but deep-down I know the kids compete.

Sonnet begins an early freak-out for our five weeks in the US'A. Clothes, swim suits, cowboy boots, goggles and other crap litter our bedroom to be organised, packed, re-packed and finally stuffed into suitcases and an over-sized duffle bag. I stay away from this hurricane, BTW. It is only trouble for me and the kids.

Madeleine saves a spider, racing outside to deposit the creature on a leaf next to a lady bug.

Eitan cuts his hair to have a "spikey look" like his class-mate Joe-Y-H (there are two Joe's in Eitan's class with the same first and last name- go figure). In honesty, it doesn't look bad. Madeleine follows suit and this morning cuts her bangs - Sonnet finds clumps of hair but in the morning rush refuses to put two-and-two together. The last time Madeleine self-inflicted was 2004. Aggie is aghast. Sonnet and I threaten consequences but really I find it funny. Let the kid do what she wants when style-related. Why not?

Wednesday, July 11


This is a picture of Katie's cat who is very cosmo. My day starts in Amsterdam, peaks in Munich and I now write from Copenhagen. Hans and I have a number of meetings with pension funds and money managers, which we hope will pay off later in the year when Industry Ventures raises their fifth fund. I am helping Industry bring in the dough while also a Venture Partner sourcing deals in Europe. Tomorrow we return to London and Sonnet and I have a dinner-date in town, assuming we can work out the baby sitter. Gordon Brown has only worn a BLUE tie since becoming Prime Minister. As the Echequer, he only wore a RED tie. Is something going on here?

Tuesday, July 10


This ghastly photo of Rotterdam was taken after the German army invaded the Netherlands on May 10, 1940 (I am now with Hans Swildens of Industry Ventures) Germany I learn forced the Dutch army to surrender on May 14, 1940 with the Bombing of Rotterdam by the Luftwaffe, and threats to bomb other cities. The heart of the city was almost completely destroyed, 800 people were killed, about 80,000 others were made homeless. The City Hall - pictured - survived the bombings.

Monday, July 9


At the arts college, Sonnet has a pow-wow with the kids asking them what instrument they would like to play. Both reply: "Guitar!"
Sonnet: "You may have to play different instruments. "
Madeleine: "Trumpet!"
Sonnet: "What if there is no trumpet?"
Madeleine: "Drums!"
Sonnet to me: "There is no way in hell Madeleine will play the trumpet or the drums in this house."

Sunday, July 8

Tour de France

Yesterday the 2007 Tour de France began in Hyde Park blocking traffic for those foolish enough to venture into town. Today the pelaton left the Capital for Canterbury. The race will take on its familiar settings from tomorrow when the bikers will rev their wheels in Dunkerque. The race continues for twenty days ending famously on the Champs-Élysées. Sloggi "the young underwear brand for boys and girls" capitalises on the excitement with several well-placed billboards - pictured - along the route. Dear reader, I will report to you if this add increases traffic to this website.

Madeleine rides her bike and tells us that she is very proud of herself. With determination and a little push, off she goes no problem. Eitan experiments with his roller blades and he too has success.


Nobody likes a snitch and unfortunately the UK has a lot of them. Grinding yet further towards Big Brother, last year the Inland Revenue opened a line, staffed 24/7, to anomalously receive data on island tax evaders. In its first year of operations over 200,000 Brits ratted on their neighbors, colleagues and friends raising £26 million for the government on a private target of £107 billion (which Fleet Street exposed via the Freedom of Information Act). While of course I pay my 40% and am against those rat dodgers, turning Britain into East Germany for a couple hundred million quid or less than .01% of Inland receipts seems far and away short-sighted. Breshnev would be so proud.

Saturday, July 7


It's hard to miss Wimbledon which brings excitement to London's southwest. This has been a paricularly wet year and at least one match was played over five days (Nadal's five set win over Soderling). Things have mostly caught up with players being forced to play at the ungentlemanly hour of 11AM. The finals are this weekend and Venus Williams wins her fourth title beating French 18th seed Marion Bartoli 6-4 6-1 with a commanding performance. Tomorrow is a rematch of last year's finalists Nadal and Federer. This photo taken by Ray Giubilo of Federer on Center Court. FYI SW20 is Wimbledon's poste code.

Friday, July 6

School Drop

I take this photo of Madeleine at 0900 this morning in front of her classroom (Eitan hamming it up in the background). As one can see, there is a lot of action on the playground and this is the power-center of the neighborhood where the moms share gossip and information while administering their influence over the school community. Unless you're in - you're out. Clawing my way on the edges via the PTA, I host a post Summer Fair gathering at the nearby caf, post-drop, to wrap things up and receive feedback. The Class Reps and other volunteers are happy and nobody can argue with the rake, which was about the same last year at £15,000 despite the ghastly weather. My Big Initiative is to put all instructions etc. on the PTA website (and to pawn the Fair off on the next unsuspecting bugger).

We have been interviewing a new nanny now that Aggie is required part-time and has an office job. Sonnet extends an offer to Natasha from Macedonia who is otherwise earning her Masters degree in London. She speaks four Slavic languages along with perfect English. Natasha appears adequately serious yet relaxed and comfortable with the kids, who are happy she will join our family.

Thursday, July 5

Green Grass

The kids romp around in the park. Gordon Brown's first Q&A in parliament the other day was universally panned by everybody - no sharp tongued Tony he. David Cameron of the opposition party walked circles around our new PM leaving the fellow tongue tied and grasping on several awkward occassions. Still, it is refreshing that within his first five days, Brown moves to introduce a modern British constitution to rebuild voter trust in politics following the Blair years (I remember 1997's failed pledge: "whiter than white!"). In a new constitution, Brown proposes, among other things, to move the war decision from him to it thereby reducing his own powers of state. What would Dick Cheney say to this I wonder? (but not really)

Wednesday, July 4

Happy Birthday

Of course the Red Coats got their ass kicked so the perspective over here is a tad different. It is the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that is special (in my opinion): "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."(
(Photo by Morgan Webb, taken at Eagle Lake, Michigan)

Eitan and Madeleine receive glowing reports from their teachers in Hedgehogs and Squirrels, respectively. Eitan's first line from Mrs Reynolds: "Eitan is a kind, considerate and friendly child whose behaviour is exemplary at all times." While Mrs. Seddon says of Madeleine: "I have loved having Madeleine in my class this year and I will miss her shy, sweet smile."

I learn that we have made it to the final round of bidding for a $40MM life sciences secondary deal.

June sets the U.K. rainfall record dating from 1814: 135 cm.

Tuesday, July 3


Madeleine, age three. I recall this photo taken during a rare London snow storm which put an inch or two on the ground. According to cab drivers, London used to get two or three feet of snow as recently as the 1970s. Now it is either draught like or wash-out, which gives the Islanders something to talk about. My French intern comments on the English: "Beer drinking, happy-go-lucky, drunk."


London's most famous department store - pictured. Harrods was established in 1834 in London’s East End when founder Charles Harrod set up a wholesale grocery with a special interest in tea, which he moved to Knightsbridge to escape the filth. Today, the store is owned by Mohamed al-Fayed who bought it for £615MM in 1985. Separately that year, Fayed was involved in the cash-for-questions scandal having offered the Conservative MPs Neil Hamilton and Tim Smith money for asking questions in Parliament, in what some observers saw as a sting intended to incriminate ministers in a government that had deemed him to be unsavoury. Fayed, despite also owning a London football club and other interests in the UK has begged for British citizenship- only to be endlessly rejected. His son Dodi dated Princess Diana and died in the Paris car crash ten years ago August.


This photograph taken from my mobile phone yesterday after I pick up the kids from school and Eitan football. They know all rules are off when Dad is the Sheriff and indeed we go for ice cream and a run around in Richmond Green until it starts pouring rain. Still, they love it and we get home in time for dinner and bath. BTW Eitan's cone is milk chocolate and Madeleine experiments with orange sorbet.

Sunday, July 1

Thames Sunday

After seeing Shrek 3 we stroll to the river bank in Richmond, where Eitan and Madeleine busy themselves collecting stones and ground glass to make a nice neat pile (I keep an eye that they don't go in). Otherwise the afternoon has turned warm with large fluffy clouds floating by - which look, in fact, like the shape of Britain (think: Yellow Submarine). We are not far from the Richmond Bridge which was built in 1777 and the oldest still in use. Before the bridge a ferry operated by the Crown was used frequently by King Henry VIII and his daughters, who spent much of their time at Richmond Palace.

Love British Style

Marriages in the UK fell to 244,710 in 2005 - the lowest figure per population since 1897, according to The Sunday Times. The popularity of marriage has been declining since 1972 when there were 426,241 weddings. The proportion of married people in the adult population is 50.3%. In the 1970s the figure was over two-thirds. The decline means more children born out of wedlock and, according to the ONS, 327,000 children were born to unmarried parents last year, nearly half of all births or about 43%. Two out of three of the babies outside marriage will be born to couples with one eye on the benefit authorities, according to the think tank Civitas. These children will more likely be single parents themselves. The average cohabitation couples last three years, while the average marriage lasts 12. This ain't good.


Another dreary day in London sees a white, overcast sky. Madeleine and I go for a walk to buy the Sunday papers and have a coffee/ treat at Cafe Costa on the high street. Madeleine spots: "teenagers, dad!" and we discuss what they are up to and why they are delaying the queue. I send Madeleine on an infiltration and she returns breathless with the after-action report: "love!" I ask what else: "kissing!"

Madeleine shows off her work from The Art Yard. She says art is her favorite thing.