Thursday, June 30

Eat Cake

Eitan decides to bake one cake a month - pictured, May : double layer yellow cake with strawberry jam and whip cream topping. Being Eitan, he makes a list for each month.

Me: "Ok, Madeleine, it's 9PM. What does that mean?"
Madeleine: "It doesn't make a difference to me."
Me: "Bedtime?"
Madeleine: "Yes. It doesn't make a difference to me."

Eitan, from the back seat, with Jack, on our way to a football match: "Just don't do anything to embarrass me, Dad."
Me: "Embarrass you? Why would I ever do that?"
Eitan: "Don't do that stretching you always do. Like when you sit down and point your arms out."
Me: "Why do you care?"
Eitan: "Just don't do it."
Me: "I'll do it if I want to."
Eitan: "Dad!"
Jack: "Does your dad always do stuff like that?"
Eitan: "I wish he wasn't my Dad."
Me: "You should be glad that I take care of myself. At least I'm not smoking cigarettes and watching TV."
Eitan: "None of the other dads are, like, lying on the ground and pulling their legs up."
Me: "Sorry, kiddo, you're stuck with me."
Eitan: "And whatever you do, don't speak."
Me: "Don't speak?"
Eitan: "Yes. It is embarrassing."
Me: "Well thank you for the feedback from the peanut gallery."
Eitan: "See?"

Wednesday, June 29

Rusty @ Sunset

Me, Dumbo

Eitan: "There are ten sardines left."
Me: "Studying the environment, are we?"
Eitan: "I read so in a book."
Me: "Where did they all go?"
Madeleine: "Sharks."
Eitan: "Pollution and stuff."
Me: "Hey, did you see the school sex-ed video?"
Eitan: "Yeah, so?"
Madeleine: "I saw that in, like, Year Three."
Me: "Well, did you see the stork?"
Eitan: "Stork?"
Me: "Who drops off the baby before flying away."
Eitan: "Yeah, we saw Dumbo too."
Me: "Who's Dumbo?"
Eitan: "The elephant with big ears. The stork delivers him. We saw that."
Me: "Really?"
Madeleine: "So busted, Dad."

Ben & Jonah

I share a private moment with Ben and Jonah before Eric and Simona's wedding. Jonah plays the ukulele.

Eitan's teacher, along with 220,000 other teachers in the UK, will strike tomorrow over pensions.
Eitan: "I am going to see Transformers 3. With Joe and Cyrus."
Madeleine: "What?! That is so unfair!"
Me: "And why are we doing this, may I ask?"
Eitan: "No school, Dad. It is a holiday."
Me: "It is not a holiday. It is a strike."
Madeleine: "Eitan gets to do everything."
Eitan: "I am going to sleep in."
Me: "No, you are not. We agreed that tomorrow is a work day so you are going to work."
Eitan: "What!?"
Me: "Story. Five pages. Before Transformers."
Eitan: "That is so unfair."
Madeleine: "Does he have to do front and back of the page?"
Me: "Before the movie. Or I will call it off."
Madeleine: "Make sure he writes normal, Dad, and no big letters."
Me: "Madeleine you let me worry about this. Do we have a deal or not?"
Eitan, grumbling: "Okay."

Runaway Train

I check out this cool dude at Rotterdam Central on my way to Amsterdam. Above all, I love the trainers.

So .. Greece is do or die today as government confirms further austerity measures in return for more .. debt. That they will never repay. The Greeks, who are a joke, riot but the alternatives unimaginable : cessation of public services, the end of their country. It would likely trigger the end of the euro and maybe the eurozone. Here is how we got here (compiled by wiki) :

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%

Initially currency devaluation helped finance the borrowing. After the introduction of the euro in Jan 2001, Greece was, at first, able to borrow due to the lower interest rates government bonds could command. The 2007-08 financial crisis had a particularly large effect on Greece. Two of the country's largest industries are tourism and shipping, and both badly affected by the downturn with revenues falling 15% in 2009.

In 2009, the government revised its deficit from an estimated 6% to 12.7%. In May 2010, the Greek government deficit estimated to be 13.6%, one of the highest in the world relative to GDP. Greek government debt estimated at €216 billion in January 2010. This, mind you, a country of 11 M. Accumulated government debt was forecast to hit 120% of GDP in 2010. The Greek government bond market is reliant on foreign investors, with some estimates suggesting that up to 70% of Greek government bonds are held externally. They're done. Game over.

Estimated tax evasion costs the Greek government over $20 B per year.

So here we are.

Tuesday, June 28

Think Bigger, Dude

BT call center.

British Telecom's newest add cajoles us : "Bigger Thinking." (British Telecom = BT = Bigger Thinking. Get it ?) I consider this as I walk through Heathrow - I mean, WTF ? Are any of these slobs flying commericial capable of . . bigger thinking? Most of us getting through the day or, at least, to our terminal. BT informs me usefully: "Beyond the hype. You don't need hype. You need reality." As if.

Meanwhile, I recall financing the Europe's first video-on-demand service in '97 - VideoNetworks - dependent on BT's telecom platform to deliver to households movies, football, porno and whatever. BT did bugger-all to make their network rates viable despite VN increasing traffic, and income, to British Telecom (VideoNetworks went bust). So, today, BT tells me and others : "Beyond efficiency. Beyond Productivity. Beyond customer service." All these things beyond BT for sure.

In Rotterdam for dinner at Amarone, a Michelin star.

Monday, June 27

Sunday, June 26

Ticket Bagel

Madeleine at the national Olympics swimming facility in Bath, June 2005.

I finally learn our 2012 Olympic tickets allocation : Men's and women's final football; a football qualifying round and one morning session for swimming. No athletics nor Bolt 100 meters WR. No Phelps vs. Thorp 200-meter freestyle final. Ditto gymnastics and women's volley ball. Still, we are happy given that two-thirds of ticket bidders got a bagel including London Mayor Boris Johnson.

London learned from Athens when many events failed to sell-out embarrassing the host country before a global audience. So... the organisers harnessed the hype by forcing an application period while withholding tickets for later rounds or insiders. In short : over-bidding, frustration and even anger but .. the venues sell out. More galling to us citizens paying for the games : better odds to get tx outside of Britain via resellers. Oh well.

Eitan, doing homework: "Would you say the moon is about the size of Africa?"
Eitan: "How long do you think it would take me to run around the moon?"
Me: "You mean hypothetically?"
Eitan: "Yeah, whatever, just how long would it take?"
Me: "Well, it depends on the variables."
Me: "Like, how big is the moon? How fast can you run?"
Eitan: "Just guess."
Me: "Not scientific, dude.
Eitan: "It would take a week."
Me: "How did you get to there?"
Eitan: "I estimate that the moon is one-tenth the size of earth. And I can run 6 minute miles."
Me: "No way."
Eitan: "Yes, way. I did that 5-mile race in 38 minutes and there were hills and stuff. I could have easily done 6 minute miles."
Me: "For seven days straight?"
Eitan: "Yeah, but I'm just saying if I ran it at the same pace."
Me: "I can live with that."

White Carpet

Sonnet on the French Riviera.

Madeleine has her sites on a lizard and we discuss the various breeds : chameleons, dragon lizards, geckos . . .. As with all things pets, she usually gets her way BUT before she wins me over I tell her : research. Our dear single-finger types away on the macbook, asking the occasional question ("do you like meal worms or crickets more, Dad?") or stating some fact ("Gecko's live twenty years! We'll be having that for a long time"). Another positive : Madeleine motivated to work the computer; Eitan way ahead on this one.

We attend Sophie's bat mitzvah celebration at the Chiswick yacht club overlooking a full river on a beautiful London evening.

Choices, So Many

Me: "Do you worry about anything?"
Madeleine: "Yeah, sometimes."
Me: "Like what?"
Madeleine: "Like war."
Me: "Really?"
Madeleine: "I worry that England will be at war with some one."
Me: "Let's hope not."
Madeleine: "I worry that a bomb will drop on us every month, every week, every day, every hour, every minute, every second."
Me: "That's a terrible thing for a kid to have to worry about."
Madeleine: "I also worry about secondary school."

Sunday Walk

Sonnet takes Eitan to a swimming gala and Madeleine and I head for Richmond Park.

Me: "What do you think that fence is for?"
Madeleine: "I don't know."
Me: "Probably to keep out the dinosaurs."
Madeleine: "There are no such thing as dinosaurs, Dad. They died a long time ago. Accept for eagles. Eagles are dinosaurs."
Me: "Yeah?"
Madeleine: "Once I saw an eagle on some one's arm and the eagle ripped his arm off."
Madeleine: "Blood and guts and veins."

Madeleine: "We've walked four-point-five miles."
Me: "What does the point-five mean?"
Madeleine: "Mean?"
Me: "Like what distance?"
Madeleine: "How should I know?"
Me: "Well, does the point-five equal a fraction?"
Me: "like one over two, for instance?"
Madeleine: "Or 25 over ten?"
Me: "Okay. So what does one-over-two equal?"
Madeleine: "A quarter? Three fourths ?"
Me: "How about one-half?"
Madeleine: "Sounds good, Dad."
Me: "So how far have we walked if we have walked four-point-five miles?"
Madeleine: "Can we talk about lizards or something?"

Friday, June 24

Red Tape

Eitan's school has their annual sports-day and the boy runs the long-distance or six times around the green. He wins handily. His team, The Reds, don't fair as well : last place.

Court 1

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.


Madeleine's creation : "It is an ice cream cone. With hair."

Our dear is a creative and her imagination spread across her bedroom - post-card collection, legos in various constructions, a loom (maybe one day I will get my scarf), trumpet . . . bugs (in jar), microscope, dinosaurs, a fish (named "Stig"), Harry Potters, mound of stuffed animals, a few marbles and the hamster. Sonnet grinds. Once a month or so, Sonnet clandestinely fills a large black garbage bag to its top and sneaks away to the dump. It is not fair, no doubt, but usually the crapola not missed. And we can open the door to her room.

A Shot Of A Shot

Another action shot from Eric and Simona's wedding, this time by the official photographer. Notable #1: Eric remarkably calm given ceremony inside an hour. Notable #2: I am going bald. No denying my mother's father's hairline.

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.

So Greece wins consent from international lenders and the bail out is "on." Not surprisingly, since the country has little chance of avoiding default, German bonds slump. This one not going away dude but, at least, the bankers have a year or so to figure out the mess.

Alte Nationalgalerie

I visit the Old National Gallery on Berlin's "Museum Island" and see this beautiful fresco.

I am in the German capital for an investor AGM including a boat ride up the river Spree to the Federal Chancellery where I meet the Minister of State, Eckart von Klaeden. Interesting moment, to, given Greece - fair to say the Germans think the Greeks a bunch of lazy welfare whores. And so they are but then again : GD benefits hugely from the Eurozone and its low interest rates+stable currency as the world's 2nd largest exporter after China and before the US of A. One guy tells Eckert : "they don't deserve our money." Dude doesn't realise this not the issue.

If we fail the Greeks , Europe risks a run on Spain, Italy and Ireland so the collapse of the Euro and disintegration of the union followed by a global recession. And the US? Like AIG, US banks own credit-default swaps, or insurance to owners of Greek sovereign debt, which could create trillions of immediate liabilities. The Greeks will never repay their obligations BTW so the proposed €110 B loan package a stall so the bankers can get their house of cards in order. Greece, which is less than 2% of the European economy, has strong negotiating poker hand.

Madeleine: "What would you prefer? That I have a lizard or a bunny?"
Me: "We are not getting a lizard."

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.

In my industry, private equity, I would guess that <20% Senior Officers or partners female which, as Katie says, "excludes half the smartest minds." When I began my career at First Boston half the Analysts women while I could count on two hands the number of female Managing Directors (fewer black). Pyramid not working, dude. Mary tells me that Boston Consulting, the top strategic consulting firm, has 600 partners of which 25 women; some web research show 33% of the 4,300 consultants female. Columbia Business School's student body aprox. 30% women which is one of the highest ratios for an elite business school.

Hope changed when Madeleine hits the work force.

@ 44

If 44 not middle-age, I don't know what is. I am probably a few years beyond the center point but why be exact? And any ways : life repeats itself, you just don't know it until you reach 40. So, feeling a bit blue about it all as I usually do on my birthday, I come home to find Sonnet making dinner and Madeleine a birthday cake, which she hides in the refrigerator (she: "whatever you do, Dad, do not open the 'fridge.") She also gift-wraps (w/ an A4 sheet) a chocolate bar and a pair of Daffy Duck socks (today: "What socks are you wearing?") . Eitan gives me a birthday hug and Rusty jumps all over me. Industry Ventures receives its final commitment on Fund VI, which happens to be one of my guys, and the partnership closes. We watch Wimbledon (Murray wins!) then The Wire and to bed. In all, a nice day.

Thank you, everybody, for your emails, cards and etc's!

Me: "How old am I."
Madeleine: "44."
Me: "How old do I look?"
Madeleine: "How should I know? You're an adult."

Monday, June 20

Miss US of A, Y'All!

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!

Happy Faces

Julia And Arnaud

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).

Arnaud and I have known each other five years meeting through work and seeing each other in France (Arnaud a vrai Parissiane) or London socially - once, famously, consuming four martinis each at the Lanesborough - but this for another story. Arnaud at Adams Street, one of the most successful private equity fund investors in the world; he became their youngest partner when promoted at 33.

This is Arnaud - in dark suit w/ jacket -->

S. France

Sonnet dries her nails in Cannes.

We are to Arnaud and Julia's wedding which is on the Côte d'Azur, the French Riviera, covering 560 miles of coastline and one of the first modern resort areas in ze world. It began in the 18th-century as a winter health resort for the British upper classes daring beyond Bath; with the railway came the British, Russian, and other playboys and aristocrats like Queen Victoria and King Edward VII; in summer, the Rothschilds took over the place then came the artists: Picasso, Matisse, Edith Wharton, Somerset Maugham and Aldous Huxley who came to tan themselves. In '46, the film festival and '57 - Bond.

Cannes, where we stay, is a crowded busy spot with low brow next to high-end : on seemingly back-end streets there is a .. Gucci store next to .. Dolce & Gabbana. Fat dudes stroll the promenade, sans shirt, smoking cigars. Red Ferraris everywhere, bunched before the Grand Hotel so famous in the post cards. But it is the yachts, Dear Reader, that catch thine' eye : enormous, ostentatious, idle - birthed at sea for everyone and me to oggle : so big the smaller yachts must service them. At night their parties and disco dancing cast a halo along the flat water, otherwise still, surrounded by the glorious hillsides.

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.

Eitan returns from the Isle of White and Sonnet and I will miss him until Sunday as we are off to the South of France for our 58th wedding.

Wednesday, June 15

Isle Of White

Eitan on the Isle of Wight with chums Luke and Ariane - pictures from the school website. Otherwise, no word. The kids are alright.

Madeleine, over my shoulder: "So. Jealous."

Rusty bites on a squeaky toy animal.
Me: "You know, he likes that because it mimics a dying animal."
Madeleine: "Not true."
Me: "True."
Madeleine: "Prove it."
Me: "How?"
Madeleine: "Look it up on the Internet."
Me, reading: " 'One theory on why dogs like squeaky toys is the nature of the squeak. In the wild, an injured prey animal would emit similar squeaks and cries, thereby revealing its position and condition. The noise generated by a rubber or plush variation on a prey animal can be just as satisfying to a dog.'"
Madeleine: "See, that's just a theory, Dad."


I observe three girls at the Munich airport (Sonnet has nothing to do with my photographs). They seem to be on their way to university as others on the plane wear Oxford sweatshirts. Most interesting is the body language which changes like the wind : excited, focused, defensive, nervous . . not easy being a teen-ager nor being in the bubble; and soon we will have our own. Something to think about for tomorrow. White trousers arrives late and disrupts the dynamic of two : there is now a competition for attention's center.

Madeleine: "Why do people shrink when they get older?"

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."
--Imelda Marcos

Bon Voyage

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.

Me: "Miss your brother, Madeleine?"
Madeleine: "Is that a serious question ?"

Madeleine douses an omelet in ketchup.
Madeleine: "See, you can put ketchup on everything."
Me: "Yeah?"
Madeleine: "Eggs. Pizza. Pasta. Chicken, Fish, Salmon. Pretzels. Rice, burgers."
Aneta: "Fish . . "
Madeleine: "Toast, bagels, steak . .."
Aneta: "Potatoes . "
Madeleine: "Crackers."
Me: "Crackers?"
Madeleine: "Yes, Dad."
Aneta: "You can put ketchup on everything."

Monday, June 13

Mr Cool

<-- Chas

Chas and I go way back to College Pro Painters where I owned the Providence RI franchise and Chas the Production Manager (Eric being the "labour"). Some of my best stories from that era : like the time Chas and I took a 32' ladder and broke into a dude's second-floor apartment to retrieve papers he was using to .. blackmail me. But that is for another time, Dear Reader. Chas's reptilian nature meant he was cool under pressure - nothing bothered him : damaged property ? No problemo. Stolen equipment ? We'll deal with it. Over budget on the job ? You're fired. I often wonder if Chas, Eric, Roger and I will come together and start a company but I think it is ever less likely as we have settled into different cities, routines and lives.

I walk in the door following the red eye (Sonnet goes straight to work): "Hey, guys - I'm home!"
Eitan, Madeleine: "Dad! "
Me: "Did everybody do their chores?"
Madeleine: "See, Dad, you are here for five minutes and already you have to ruin it."
Me: "Well, did you?"
Eitan: "Yes. Well, sort of."
Me: "I don't see 'checks' by the jobs you were supposed to do."
Madeleine: "That's because it was raining."
Me: "How about the stuff inside?"
Madeleine: "The cleaner is coming."
Me: "Wrong answer."
Madeleine: "You can't expect us to do everything can you?"
Me: "How about if you just do what's on the list?"
Me: "You are not leaving this house until you vacuum the living room."
Madeleine: "You mean I don't have to go to school?"
Me: "You are not watching television until you vacuum the living room."
Madeleine: "That is so unfair!"

r = e ^sinØ - 2cos (4Ø ) + sin^5 (2Ø -π/ 24)

Eric and Simona and the cake.

The title equation from the wedding invitation - it creates a "butterfly curve" which, Eric explains, suggests the butterflies he and Simona experienced on their first date.

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.

Wizards And Corbusier

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.

Katie adds: "The carpenter center is the art building, where I spent most of my time, on my major and thesis. The code to the building lock for years was 451, the temperature at which paper burns. The center was notoriously horrible temperature wise, for its purpose - always way too cold in winter (because of the structure it was hard to heat), so all the art students fingers froze, and poorly ventilated and thus hot in summer. "

Eric Gets Hitched

Sonnet and I to Eric's wedding in Cambridge. I arrive Friday and Sonnet several days earlier to speak at the Costume Society's annual conference in Boston. I get my first glimpse of the bride, Simona, at dinner and am pleased, very pleased, that Simona is everything Eric says and more. They are, like, totally all over each other, too, which puts me and everybody in a festive mood. Love is in the air. Sonnet and I dance to great '80s beats before turning in at a reasonable 7AM GMT.

We are BTW at the Harvard Faculty Club which, conveniently enough, is where the ceremony and reception take place. The HFC a cozy brownstone surrounded by leafy trees in the middle of the Harvurd campus. There are imposing portraits hanging from the galleries; when I ask about the building I am handed a two-side, densely typed, narrative which does not get read, saving you, dear reader, the potted history of the place.

For many of us, Eric's wedding anticipated since July '10 when he and Simona met. I know Eric to be enthusiastic when it comes to spring love and watching him navigate the perils of true love, well, a harrowing experience for all involved. He, and Simona - and I - come through it and, now, joy.

Thursday, June 9

Kate Bush

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."

--Edmonton Journal, 1987

Wednesday, June 8


The dog worth his weight in middle-age therapy sessions.

Sonnet away to Boston, leaving this morning, where she will speak at a conference.

We walk the dog after dinner.
Me: "Come on, Madeleine, I am tired of asking you to walk Rusty."
Madeleine: "Can I get an ice cream at the ice cream truck?"
Me: "Sure!"
Madeleine: "Really?! Wow, Dad, that is so nice!"
Me: "In fact, why not two?"
Madeleine: "Are you serious? Really? You have never done anything like that before!"
Me: "Pssst. Three!"
Madeleine: "The ice cream truck isn't even there, is it Dad?"
Me: "Well, let's go find out. Now get the leash."

Madeleine grapples with relativity.
Me: "There's Jenny."
Madeleine: "Who's that?"
Me: "Jenny. She used to be Jackson's nanny - you know her."
Madeleine: "Well, that was like two years ago."
Me: "Yeah, so?"
Madeleine: "Well, for you that is like nothing but for me, it is almost my whole life."
Me: "What's your point?"
Madeleine: "I don't know."

Tuesday, June 7

Self Portrait XVIII

Me trying to look like Don Draper. Katie points out that I need a cigarette.

Madeleine: "I met a new friend in art yard. His name is Hudson, like the river."
Me: "Cool name."
Madeleine: "Yeah. He's on crutches though."
Me: "Why's that ?"
Madeleine: "I think it's because blood is not going to his ribs or something."
Madeleine: "We played dominoes."
Me: "Thank goodness the strain didn't kill him."
Madeleine: "Oh Dad."

The Vaccines

Christian sends me this photo from the Vaccines concert at a small club in San Fran -- in the UK, they are coming up off a first album that hits.


Katie sends a smooch from the Upper West Side.

I take the kids to their tutor Stephanie and have an hour free-time with each. Eitan and I go jogging along the Thames, starting around the Putney peers, which is a treat for me to have his companionship. The boy is a good runner, too. Afterwards, Madeleine and I head for Waitrose so she can talk me into buying her some "Strawberry string" (yuk). I give her one pound and tell her : "go for it." Sonnet works late on her next majah expo : Italian fashion, which is up for approval later this month.

Madeleine, out of the blue: "Dad would you have your wedding at the Putney Pool?"

Madeleine at Waitrose: "Look, Dad, the Jelly Beans Eitan got."
Me :
Madeleine: "And here it's 80p and he paid six pounds."
Me: "Sounds like a bad deal for him."
Madeleine: "Can I buy some?"
Me: "If it's less than £1, sure."
Madeleine: "Look at this one. It is one pound and 1p."
Me: "Mmmm"
Madeleine: "Can I have one p?"
Me: "Nope."
Madeleine: "You are so cruel, Dad."

Madeleine: "You're the math guy and mum's the literacy girl."

Madeleine: "Are you going to be a butcher?
Me: "Um. ."
Madeleine: "Didn't you say you were going to learn how to be a butcher so you can cut up a cow?"
Me: "Right, good memory - I was thinking about a class for that earlier this year but I don't think I am going to do it."
Madeleine: "Good because I don't want you to bring home a dead animal."

Monday, June 6

Silvio Undone ?

Last week Il Cavaliere lost Milano, something unheard of for his PDL party and not inside 20 years. And let us remind ourselves of the final straw:

In November 2010, teenage Moroccan belly dancer and alleged prostitute Karima El Mahroug (better known as "Ruby Rubacuori") claimed to have been given $10,000 by Berlusconi at parties at his private villas. The girl told prosecutors in Milan that these events were like orgies where Berlusconi and 20 young women performed an African-style ritual known as the "bunga bunga" in the nude. It was also found out that, on 27 May 2010, El Mahroug had been arrested for theft by the Milan police but (being still a minor) she was directed to a shelter for juvenile offenders. However, following two telephone calls by Berlusconi to the police authorities (in which, in particular, he falsely indicated that El Mahroug was a close relative of President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt), the young woman was released and entrusted to the care of PDL regional counselor (and Berlusconi's personal dental hygienist) Nicole Minetti. The investigation of Berlusconi for extortion and child prostitution regarding Karima El Mahroug has been referred to as "Rubygate". MP Gaetano Pecorella proposed to lower the age of majority in Italy to solve the case.
Source : New Yorker and The Times

Stephan And Barbara Get Married

The Catholic ceremony in German and so I tell the groom congratulations, noting that I have no idea if they are actually got married.

The Shakespeares with Aneta. I leave them a page of chores and a stern address: done by my return. Or else. To ensure compliance, each completed item to be "checked" with a thick, black, marker. Just like my banking days.


The post-ceremony reception located in the mountains overlooking the lake and Tegernsee. Photo from a private dining room next to the dining hall.

Stephan and Martin

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.

So we meet John first : John at Proctor & Gamble selling "chemical products" which I think means hair and beauty products. He tells me of his time in Cincinnati which amuses him as much as me. No doubt, a lot of drinking involved. His girlfriend, Alex, at the Gagosian which is London's most important art gallery. Then James in Manhattan who started a nuts business now in 600 stores across the Big Apple. James's wife in Singapore trying a case for the United Nations, where she works "with a smile on her face" , James tells us (before that, she was at the fearsome Latham & Watkins Law). Esther, from Scotland, had to change her honors thesis on the Middle East thanks to the Second Intifada in '00, which forced her to re-write several chapters ("it could have waited a year" she says); more recently Esther trekked across Iran and before that, investing money for one of the world's richest men. Ryan flies in from Portland, Oregon, where he is @ WebMD and Magnus, from Singapore. I don't know what Magnus does but he reminds me of The Matrix. Martin received his PhD from St Andrews and adds a further quiet elegance to the group.


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.

Upon arrival in Munich, we catch a train from Munich Central on the BOB to our destination - Seehotel Luitpold on the lake - with just enough time to change for an Oktoberfest themed get-togteher at Gebirgsschutzenhutte in the mountain forests. The suggested attire "Lederhosen" but I demure - in fact, no way, Dear Reader, am I getting into leather knee-length breeches and Timberland boots. I draw my age-appropriate limits at tapered jeans and Converse "All Stars."

It is a loud, raucous, and happy evening which Stephan begins by tapping the keg. And off we go.

"If a playwright tried to see eye to eye with everybody, he would get the worst case of strabismus since Hannibal lost an eye trying to count his nineteen elephants during a snowstorm crossing the Alps."
--James Thurber

Friday, June 3

Wimbledon Club

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.

Another Day, Another Sunset

Ah, the spring of '11. Memorable. I now expect the morning sun which is when it gets dangerous.

Thames at Putney.

Thursday, June 2

Yo, Groceries

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.

Photo from

US house prices down 33%. This worse than the decline during the Great Depression.