Tuesday, September 2

Change Alphie Can Understand

"The fundamentals of our economy are strong." John McCain, last week

· The economy has lost jobs each of the last seven months, and over the past seven and a half years job growth has been weaker than in any economic expansion on record. In July, the economy lost another 51,000 jobs, bringing the total jobs lost this year to 463,000. Over the past seven and a half years under President Bush, job growth has been weaker than in any economic expansion on record. [Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008]

· Families have lost an entire decade worth of raises, as real weekly earnings fell below their August 1998 level. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this month that weekly wages adjusted for inflation were $272.85 in July 2008. That is below the $273.54 level of real weekly wages in August, 1998. [Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008].

· Working-age households have lost more than $2,000 under President Bush. The Census Department reported this week that real incomes for working families fell from $58,555 in 2000 to $56,545 in 2007 – a decline of $2010. This is the first economic expansion on record where household incomes have fallen in real terms. [U.S. Census, 2008]

. Inflation reached a 17-year high. This month we learned that prices jumped 5.6 percent in July over a year earlier. That is the largest year-over-year increase in inflation since January 1991, when the economy was in recession. [Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008].

· Housing prices have fallen a record 15.9 percent over the past year. Last week the respected S&P/Case-Shiller index showed that housing prices in 20 major metropolitan areas fell 15.9 percent over the past year, the largest one year drop on record. More than 2.5 million homeowners are expected to face foreclosure this year – an average of 7,000 per day.

Eight Is Enough

The GenX block, presumably men and women being courted by Palin, will remember 1977's Braden family, pictured, which aired on ABC until 1981 and was tight with "Love Boat" and "Fantasy Island." I was glued every Wednesday and always felt sorry for poor Tom, who somehow kept his job despite the house falling down around him. The question as to whether Sarah Palin is capable of being President given her large and growing family is legitimate- America has never had a woman in the high-office and why wouldn't a voter be curious? In my opinion, it is not about the glass-ceiling but rather the evolving model of family structure - Palin is square in it, and presents herself as a conservative and guardian of "family values" like the sanctity of marriage and pro-life (here is the definition of conservative: "disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change. " ) Why important? Sonnet demands. Well, imagine Palin placing her country before her offspring? Having observed close-quarters how the mother-child relationship works and assuming Palin a "traditionalist" mom this just is not going to happen no way. I fully appreciate and admire the work-family-struggle women must make continually. Palin could work around it as we all do but this is not what I want in our Commander-In-Chief. Sonnet loves her job, but she would never put her job before the kids. Hillary I would have supported- she does not have similar demands. Should the US face a crisis I want our President to be without distraction. I push Sonnet further: would one rather have Sarah Palin with five kids and a grandchild or without? The answer seems clear to me anyway.

It is also not cool BTW how the Palin news came out: Did McC know, and if so why not disclose it before the bloggers forced Palin's hand? If he did not know, well that is worse.

"It's a private family matter. Life happens in families If people try to politicize this, the American people will be appalled by it. It used to be that a lot of those smears and the crap on the Internet stayed out of the newsrooms of serious journalists. That's not the case anymore."
Steve Schmidt, chief strategist of the McCain campaign

Monday, September 1


Eitan and Madeleine take some week-end boxes and build a city. They are mortified when I suggest a dump-run but those are the breaks, kid.

Douglas Cooper describes Cubism in his seminal book The Cubist Epoch: In cubist artworks, objects are broken up, analyzed, and re-assembled in an abstracted form—instead of depicting objects from one viewpoint, the artist depicts the subject from a multitude of viewpoints to represent the subject in a greater context. Often the surfaces intersect at seemingly random angles, removing a coherent sense of depth. The background and object planes interpenetrate one another to create the shallow ambiguous space, one of cubism's distinct characteristics.

BTW I check with our school to confirm we are not considering a finger-printing system.

We agree to a set of jobs so the kids can earn some pocket money. I make it clear that a job is something the Shakespeares may choose not to do while a chore offers no choice. Jobs include the bathroom (even the toilet? Etian aks), gardening, vacuuming... in short, the tried-and-true. Madeleine tries to weasel payment for bed-making, table-clearing and Kumon - she is no dummy.


Ministers are encouraging schools to spend >£20,000 on finger-printing systems for library books, registration and payment for school lunches. Children as young as five are having their prints taken without parental consent. Many parents believe, as reported in the Sunday Times, that this is one more step towards a surveillance society and are "understandably furious." Made worse, the education and Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) cannot become involved unit it is clear that the school has failed to respond to a complaint, like "don't you dare finger-print my child!" Now there is a bureaucratic administration I do not trust. Ultimately, a parent's recourse is with her MP to the parliamentary ombudsman. In short - my kids - no way. I will take them from the school first.

"Religions get lost as people do."

"Evil is whatever distracts.
Franz Kafka


From Sarah Palin to Kate Moss - I think fair as Palin, the runner-up "Miss Alaska" in '84, must appreciate the power of her vagina. Same for Kate who, here, gives us her all. "The Siren" will
go on display this October in the British Museum's Greek gallery, alongside other sculptures by leading British artists. Kate is billed as "the largest gold statue since ancient Egypt" and the first of five statues of the supermodel by Marc Quinn, who says she "shares the Egyptian Sphinx's mystery" (Quinn's nude statue of pregnant disabled artist Alison Lapper is on a plinth in London's Trafalgar Square. It is disturbing but I love it). Eventually Kate will be on display in New York and so that much closer to the next possible VEEP. Oh her reaction, I wonder? Photo courtesy of the BBC.

Google has a new tool "Google Insights" that presents global search data around trend-lines and regional-interest (It's cool: www.google.com/insights/search/). Of course certain outcomes are both surprising and not surprising: type "sex" and Pakistan is number-one, then Bangledash and Sri Lanka (surprising). But type in "water sports" and it is the UK (not surprising - perverts). Enter "McCain" and the US pops #1 followed by Iraq (not surprising and surprising). Enter "Obama" and Kenya is first followed by Uganda, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania then the United States. Wow.

You Go, America

As a tactician, McCain beats Obama hands down. His selection of Sarah Palin is bold, risky, daring - within 12 hours of Obama's speech of a lifetime, Obama is off the front-pages. Palin ticks a number o Hilary boxes - A) she's a woman; B) she's a woman and C) who cares? She shoots guns and is pro-life+she is viewed as fiscally responsible after 18 months as Alaska's Guv. From Alaska, she cannot be tagged as the "Washington problem" defined so elegantly by Obama in Denver. She aptly confirms McCain's renegade nature. Palin also balances McC's age and shores up his conservative, religious base, perhaps bringing along a few female voters to boot. He only needs a few points swing, Dear Brother, in today's 50-50 Republic. Classic tactician. On the other hand, I wonder if the majority of Republicans feel insulted? Palin may look good (literally) but she has no experience suggesting Presidential capability and after all, McCain is the oldest nominee in the history of the US elections - it is a real possibility that he may die during office. Don't these Republicans, who have tried to hammer Obama on his experience-failure, get that their VP choice could seriously harm America should she rise in office? These are not, like, easy times at home or abroad and even if they were - she would still be a problem.

"She's really a perfect selection."
Darla St Martin, Co-Director of the National Right to Life Committee

"I'm looking at him right now, and I see perfection," Palin said. "Yeah, he has an extra chromosome. I keep thinking, in our world, what is normal and what is perfect?"

Sarah Palin, Dakota Voice, August 29, 2008

"He [Obama] actually said in his speech last nigh -- the audience sort of looked a little stunned. He said, 'I am my brother's keeper.' He actually said it. His brother lives in a hut!"
Rush Limbaugh

“The McCain campaign’s slogan is ‘country first’. If it were your decision, and you were putting your country first, would you put an untested small-town mayor a heartbeat from the presidency?"

David Frum, President George W Bush’s former speech-writer

Friday, August 29


Here is Natasha's dog - no surprise the kids have fallen in love with her especially Madeleine who has been begging for a pet for - like -ev - er. Alphie is six months and will get a lot bigger then this.

Obama's DNC speech has been well covered in Britain, finding the front page of several newspapers. He is regarded as America's savior - or at least a friend to Europe. By contrast, when McCain visited London in March for a fundraiser I recall his meeting Super Gee as awkward, but then again - Gordon Brown
is awkward. PM-in-waiting, Tory David Cameron, kissed McCain's ass - they seemed attached at the hip. I was not in London more recently when Obama was here in July, but it is fair to say he has this and other European cities enthralled - especially France who hate George Bush, mon Dieu! Il est une merde. Obama has it about right that the United States needs the Europeans to take on the Ruskies and China and global-warming, something the Bush administration has failed to do with gusto. I just cannot imagine "Old Europe" and especially the younger generation here embracing McC... he is, well, too old - put bluntly.

Bring It On, Brother

Obama's got our attention. I watched his last night's speech on YouTube and thought it direct and efficient- clearly he is going on the attack after waiting many months. A nice strategy. Obama speaks a bit like a preacher with similar hi and low-tones, emphasizing a point on a down-swing (usually it is the other way around). Also he places short and barely noticeable pauses between words giving them greater strength. Here are some key notes:

“It’s not because John McCain doesn’t care. It’s because John McCain doesn’t get it.”

“America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.”

“You know, John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin Laden to the gates of hell, but he won’t even follow him to the cave where he lives”

"Next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Chaney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look just like the last eight. On Nov. 4, we must stand up and say: ‘Eight is enough.’ ”

“We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job — an economy that honors the dignity of work.”

And here is John McCain's response:
“Tonight, Americans witnessed a misleading speech that was so fundamentally at odds with the meager record of Barack Obama."
Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for McCain.

Thursday, August 28

On Pakistan

Madeleine contemplates. Do note her "buddy" placed purposefully in the photograph.

From the airport the other day, I meet a Pakistani (who I will call Iqbal) and we discuss the Punjab and being a foreigner in the UK, which he has been for thirty years. Iqbal has strong features BTW and a large mustache - like our famous Jauquab Shaw. Iqbal moved to the England to earn a better life and repatriate funds - which is common - and eventually moving his wife to London. He has two children, born here, who attend University; he has extended family in Asia Minor. Iqbal and his family spend several weeks to several months in Pakistan each year, and he informs me that he believes himself "to be Pakistani-British" while his children are "British Muslim." They wear jeans and trainers to school or outside but in home they are mindful of the family customs including how they dress "though sometimes they do not care" he says. The Punjab BTW a region between India
and Pakistan where the "Five Rivers" meet: Beas, Ravi, Sutlex, Chenab and Jhelum which are each tributaries to "the mighty" Indus. It is also a religious cross-roads for Sikhism, Hinduism and Islam. Iqbal tells me that people "get along and are happy" in this region despite religious differences, and further: there are more muslims in India than Pakistan and a large Hindu population in Pakistan. His greatest lament is "the younger generation" who no longer listen to their elders. "We muslims respect others and our world. We are not selfish, we do not do only for ourselves. The youngsters today have a different view." I ask him about sex, drugs and rock and roll, and Iqbal says "we are in Pakistan each year so our children know what are values." And how do they feel about attending Western Universities? "Well, they are now British. Pakistani, for sure. But British too."

Wednesday, August 27

Keeley Is Gold!

And this Olympics summary from today's Sun:

"SEXY Keeley proves she’s a golden girl.

The gorgeous Page 3 babe was spray painted to mark our British Olympic heroes' success at the Beijing Games.

The Team GB athletes returned home yesterday after they shined at the games – winning an amazing 19 gold medals.

Our winners included triple gold-winning cyclist Chris Hoy and double gold winning swimmer Rebecca Adlington.

Keeley, from Bromley, Kent, said: "To go to the Olympics and win so many golds was brilliant. All our athletes have made the nation feel great again.

"And it was made even sweeter because we finished so far ahead of the Australians. It really was a 24-carat gold achievement."



There are many things I missed during our summer away and Fleet Street one of them. Today, the newspaper that brought us the Max Nazi Race Cars Orgy reports that underwear model Katie Green, pictured (photo News Of The World) once modeled, well, without underwear. Surprise! Katie recently signed "up" (ar ar- get it?) with Wonderbra and me thinks the brand would have googled her at least once - go on, do it yourself Dad. One quickly finds the scandalous hot-tub pics with two other bare skinned women. The News Of The World was so outraged that they forgot to "censor" one of three photos that appeared in today's "journal." It is good to be home.

Fleet Street is fun and a diversion similar to Marx's religion, oh brother. Also reported in today's rags: A) the average house price in England and Wales over $350,000 requiring two years salary to equal a down-payment; B) Britain set to be Europe's most crowded nation as immigrants swell population to 77 million within two generations; C) Government loses another 2 million account records and data including signatures and D) Medvedev announces Russia prepared for another Cold War. Oh, and Manchester United loses to Porchester and has yet to win a game in the Premiereship's early season.

Eitan jet lagged and up at 1AM again (Madeleine sleeps right through - 12+ hours each night, so far): "I am sooo bored" and "maybe the sun is coming up soon?" He ponders this last thought with Sonnet.

Tuesday, August 26

Football & Radcliffe

Autumn officially arrives with football season and when, perhaps, I miss the US the most. Especially Game Day at Memorial Stadium when, for us Bear fans, hope mourns eternal. We kick off against Michigan State this Saturday.

While on sports: Paula Radcliffe finished 23rd in the Olympics marathon despite owning the World Record by over three and one half minutes (2:15.25 at London, 2003) making her one of the the greatest athletes ever. She has won many world-class competitions including The Wold Championships (marathon, '05), Commonwealth Games (5,000 meters, '02); World Cross Country Championships (01' and '02)+marathon victories (NYC 3X, London 2X and Chicago). Unfortunately this year Radcliffe had a stress fracture which threw off her training and delivered yet another agonising Games - tears and all - which has become familiar to the Brits, oh boy. I recall watching Radcliffe place out of the money in Sydney '00 in both her 5,000 and 10,000 meters, where she held a gutsy lead before being overtaken in the final 200 meters by the Africans. By Athens in '04, she switched to her specialty the marathon yet broke down and dropped out by mile 23. . Radcliffe is a well known sports figure in the UK but the general view is she must earn her status with Olympic Gold- silver or bronze simply won't do. Her visible grief has netted scorn from the nation which can do without the the emotion, thank you very much. In many ways the Brits are used to rooting for the under-achieving favorites: we have England Football, after all. The country's best graces come forward when their team is the underdog... and we still get trounced. I am aware of the symptoms, dear father, rooting for Cal since 1970.

This is why we love American football:
"When I see guys doing cartwheels in the end zone, I'd like to get out there, like we did in the old days, and see how many cartwheels they'd be doing then. When you got hurt, you didn't bury your head in the Astroturf and wait for cameras to focus on you so you could take off your helmet and run off the field. You dragged yourself off the field before giving your opponent the satisfaction of knowing you were hurt. I'm not sayin' football was better then, I'm just sayin' the attitude of the players was more to my liking."
Dick Butkus, Chicago Bears 1965-1973

Monday, August 25

Outta Here

Our flight leaves 8PM so we burn our last Denver afternoon at the movies - "Space Chimps." Yes, it is as awful as it sounds but the kids love it. At one point the chimps make bottom shaking movements and the movie theatre erupts, oh boy. I try to discretely read news-feeds or anything on my Blackberry.

We are at the airport watching my kids run amok -
"Stop it!" comes quite naturally by now, Dear Reader. Eitan flies by on the moving escalator.

Madeleine on airplane food: "Is this food, dad?"

Madeleine requests, ad nauseum, for a "buddy" (stuffed animal). I tell her she will be in for it should she ask again. With fingers, she signs "b-u-d-d-y."

Sunday, August 24

Last Blog 'Til London

The last day of this moving circus awaits: over-night return to London and the normal routine, whatever that means following this endless summer. We celebrate a gorgeous day by the pool until the kids scrape - I watch from the start to finish as they move from joyful play to annoyance to fisticuffs. In this instance, Madeleine throws the first timid slap then thrown-goggles, fists and finally Eitan twists Madeleine's swim suit until she screams murder and I am forced to put my book down. I order them banished from the water and each walk off in a huff. I return to our room to find Madeleine standing in the hall-way glaring. I remind her that she, in fact, raised the stakes by "going physical" (which she denies, of course). I think everybody tired and ready for their own bed after a fabulous family holiday.

Our hotel is poised and cocked with Demo greeters at reception. I greet them and we discuss politics - Denver is excited, oh boy. The last time the Rocky Mountains hosted a national political convention BTW was in 1908 when Denver held the DNC (despite the buzz and all, there is nothing more deserted than a hotel on a Sunday at mid-day when the sun is shining - which of course, Dear Reader, is where we are and trying to make a get-away). I learn that the convention brings >50,000 delegates, politicians, media and political enthusiasts and circus animals from, like, everywhere. The city has 38,000 hotel rooms with nearly 17,000 rooms held for convention week so presumabely some of these folks will shack up together. The lucky ones at least. The hottest ticket in town is Barack's acceptance speech at Mile High Stadium - the DNC received >60,000 ticket requests within 24 hours of their availability, according to the Denver Post. Bring it on, baby. Bring it on.

Dream Team?

Barack and Joe, together at last (pic from the Chicago Tribune). Here is a quick web troll on Deleware's Roman Catholic Senior Senator:

"Currently in his sixth term in the Senate, Joe has served for the sixth-longest period among current senators (fourth among Democrats) and is Delaware's longest-serving senator. He is the chairman of the Foreing Relations Committee in the 110th Congress. Joe has served in that position in the past, and he has also served as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Joe unsuccessfully sought the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 1988. He again ran in 2008, but withdrew after the Iowa in January.

My close (conservative, Texas)friend Dale says: "optimistic for the first time this year." Dale sends me a NYT report from September 22, 1987, which I produce below in its entirety. This is what the Dems are up against - I mean, 1987?

Biden Admits Errors and Criticizes Latest Report


LEAD: Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. issued a formal statement today acknowledging that he had misstated several facts about his past last April in a campaign appearance in New Hampshire.

Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. issued a formal statement today acknowledging that he had misstated several facts about his past last April in a campaign appearance in New Hampshire.

But the Delaware Democrat insisted today, as he had Sunday night in an interview with The New York Times, that some of the disputed statements were true and that his misstatements were the product of a faulty memory and the fact that he lost his temper.

Mr. Biden, whose Presidential campaign has been shaken by news reports about his unattributed use of speeches from other politicians and a plagiarism incident while he was in law school, said in The Times interview that he was ''frustrated'' and ''angry as hell'' over the reports.

Mr. Biden was going through his political agony even as he presided over hearings tonight on the confirmation of Judge Robert H. Bork to the Supreme Court. Exhausted top aides found their attention constantly torn between the crucial hearings and their principal's political future.

Intends to Stay in Race

Late tonight, for example, Mr. Biden called a meeting of his senior staff to discuss the effects of the recent developments on his campaign. But senior aides said they did not know if it would even take place as the Bork hearings dragged into the night. Although a high-level aide denied that Mr. Biden was contemplating withdrawing from the race, several Washington politicians here said they believed he was considering this possibility.

On Sunday night, Mr. Biden said emphatically that he intended to remain a candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination. ''I think if I can get by the next week, I can pull out of this if I can just get my story across,'' he said.

Most of Mr. Biden's statement was in response to a report in this week's issue of Newsweek magazine on a tape recording made by the C-SPAN network of an appearance by Mr. Biden at a home in Claremont, N.H., on April 3. It was a typical coffee-klatch style appearance before a small group. The network regularly records and broadcasts such events as part of its coverage of the Presidential campaign.

The tape, which was made available by C-SPAN in response to a reporter's request, showed a testy exchange in response to a question about his law school record from a man identified only as ''Frank.'' Mr. Biden looked at his questioner and said: ''I think I have a much higher I.Q. than you do.''

He then went on to say that he ''went to law school on a full academic scholarship - the only one in my class to have a full academic scholarship,'' Mr. Biden said. He also said that he ''ended up in the top half'' of his class and won a prize in an international moot court competition. In college, Mr. Biden said in the appearance, he was ''the outstanding student in the political science department'' and ''graduated with three degrees from college.''

Comments on Assertions

In his statement today, Mr. Biden, who attended the Syracuse College of Law and graduated 76th in a class of 85, acknowledged: ''I did not graduate in the top half of my class at law school and my recollection of this was inacurate.''

As for receiving three degrees, Mr. Biden said: ''I graduated from the University of Delaware with a double major in history and political science. My reference to degrees at the Claremont event was intended to refer to these majors - I said 'three' and should have said 'two.' '' Mr. Biden received a single B.A. in history and political science.

''With regard to my being the outstanding student in the political science department,'' the statement went on. ''My name was put up for that award by David Ingersoll, who is still at the University of Delaware.''

In the Sunday interview, Mr. Biden said of his claim that he went to school on full academic scholarship: ''My recollection is - and I'd have to confirm this - but I don't recall paying any money to go to law school.'' Newsweek said Mr. Biden had gone to Syracuse ''on half scholarship based on financial need.''

Says He Also Received Grant

In his statement today, Mr. Biden did not directly dispute this, but said he received a scholarship from the Syracuse University College of Law ''based in part on academics'' as well as a grant from the Higher Education Scholarship Fund of the state of Delaware. He said the law school ''arranged for my first year's room and board by placing me as an assitant resident adviser in the undergraduate school.''

As for the moot court competition, Mr. Biden said he had won such a competition, with a partner, in Kingston, Ontario, on Dec. 12, 1967.

Mr. Biden acknowledged that in the testy exchange in New Hampshire, he had lost his temper. ''I exaggerate when I'm angry,'' Mr. Biden said, ''but I've never gone around telling people things that aren't true about me.'' Mr. Biden's questioner had made the query in a mild tone, but provoked an explosive response from Mr. Biden.

'Legitimate Questions of Press'

As for the continued, minute probing of his past, Mr. Biden told The Times: ''I guess every single word I've ever said is going to be dissected now.''

In his statement today Mr. Biden acknowledged that inevitability, saying:

''However trivial, I certainly believe these are legitimate questions of press inquiry. And I will be as responsive to these and other inquiries as I possibly can.''

Mr. Biden's campaign staff met this weekend in Wilmington, Del., in an effort to come up with a strategy in face of the building controversy. A senior adviser to the Biden campaign dismissed speculation that he would withdraw from the contest. ''Of course he's going to stay in,'' the adviser said, dismissing the recent reports on Mr. Biden as ''random press frenzy.''
The adviser said the latest troubles might ''free'' Mr. Biden to ''get into being himself'' and to campaign as an aggressive ''populist, anti-Establishment'' candidate and a defender of the interests of the American middle class.

Saturday, August 23


We make one last splash and dash before leaving Pueblo county which BTW bills itself as "the gateway to the Southwest." Sonnet and I roll our eyes but then, truth, Walsenberg is on HW25 which goes straight to Santa Fe. This area is popular with Texans for its altitude, skiing and forestry. But here we are now as I write - at La Quienta - a family style hotel in Denver on the eve of the Democratic convention. Unfortunately for us, the traffic is terrible and access to Denver's museums almost impossible, we are told by the hotel. The convention centre is across the street from the Libskand MOMA, which Sonnet and I would like to see. Barak chose Biden for his VEEP- a good second fiddle and qualified white guy for the elections. It would have been cool to have an all-black ticket - LeBron James anyone? Biden has raised something like $8MM to Obama's $102MM so far this year (and it is all about money) so it is clear who is and will be in the driver's seat. Biden brings on foreign policy experience I guess, though he voted against NAFTA which ain't good. He seems fiesty and willing to take the fight. I would have liked to see Virginia Gov Kaine or Senator Jim Webb, also VA, on the ticket - who can forget Webb telling Bush to more or less stick it up his ass when Bush asked about Webb's serving son? Ah, el Presidente - do you think the Ruskies care as they bed down in Georgia?

Madeleine waxes philosophic on our hotel (it is 2 hours past bedtime): "A desk. A computer. A boy with a big fat bum."

Top Of The World

Eitan makes a new friend, in this case Arthur who is the son of Sabine, the brother of Paul who is the brother to Bridgette who is married to Shelton who is brother of Stan and father of Sonnet. Any case, Arthur is a "special needs" child - mainly, he is too smart of his public school and so causing stress for his parents. Public schools no doubt cater to the lower end which is unfair to the talented youngsters who otherwise might not have an outlet. But this is someone else's battle - oh boy, as I beg and cajole Madeleine to do her Kumon. She's like weeks behind ("I'll do five tomorrow, I promise" which makes me think of Popeye's Wimpy: "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.") I tell Madeleine if she does not get her asthmatics under control it will only get harder. Her reply: "It is not my fault, dad." Hmmm. Eitan is not Scot free either as I inform him he will feel the fool for not doing his summer-journal, as required, which rests, Dear Father, mostly blank. He rolls his eyes - "what me worry?" - but I am happy to report he opens the book sans bullying to do some writing. As today is officially the last day of holiday, he has a lot of remembering to do.

We have dinner this evening at a surprisingly good Italian near our hotel by the airport. It is Sopranos style, columns and all - a pianest plays on a stage with a movie screen back-drop of a fireplace and fire. Classic.

Whitney And Her Gals

Bill and Martine host a BBQ at their ranch, and I am surrounded by a large number of Sonnet's family from everywhere. Sonnet's cousin Whitney, pictured with Tess and Thea, arrives Thursday to stay at the family cabin in Cuchara, where Beecher hosts at least 14 and I think 18 this weekend. I first met Whitney in London when their was only Eitan, and I recall walking the Grand Union Canal in Maida Vale not far from our then flat. She is a cool chick and a disciplined mother - I see similarities to Sonnet fer surz. Martine makes her famous beef brisket and onions, which are slopped on sandwich rolls with straight-up BBQ sauce. I have three of them. Also on offer - Bill grills shish-kabobs while the youngsters make ice-cream the good old fashion way with a crank. Meanwhile, Eitan and Madeleine get horse rides from Nugget and Honey, accompanied by Maire who surprises us with her visit from Denver. Maire was our first nanny, you see, bravely living with us when Eitan five-months and Sonnet back to work. She has a special style and is groovy with the kiddos who clearly adore her. I wonder if children imprint like ducks? Possibly maybe but regardless ours have good fixtures.

At Banana Republic Eitan bursts into tears: "I am sooo bored" (a handsome little boy is a sexy accoutrement or do I discover the obvious?)

Waiting for Sonnet at the mall I make the mistake of getting the kids a sugar cookie. They go mad and I am unable to contain them. A security officer directs them to "sit or leave!" Rest assured I keep mum.


The West Spanish Peak, pictured and nearby Le Vita Inn, is the higher of the two Spanish Peaks, two large igneous stocks which form an eastern outlier of the Culebra Range, a subrange of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Though not a fourteener, it is the twelfth most topographically prominent peak in the state.

Due to its position well east of the Culebra Range and on the edge of the eastern plains of Colorado, West Spanish Peak enjoys great local vertical relief in almost all directions. For example, it rises over 5,200 ft (1,585 m) in less than 4 miles on both its north and south flanks.

While the Spanish Peaks have the appearance of volcanic cones, they are actually stocks, remnants of an igneous batholith which formed underground around 25 million years ago. They are surrounded by radiating dikes, up to 14 miles long, made of the same material. This feature makes is unique and draws geologists from around the world. It ain't a bad place to spend some time.

Friday, August 22


I take an enthusiastic Eitan for a power-walk this morning, 0705h. The girls sleep (Sonnet set her watch alarm for 6AM to run but didn't happen).

I go to Frenchs Barbershop in Walsenberg while the kids at the water slides. Inside I ask the barber for the usual "number three" which, Dear Reader, any fellow will tell you is the number-three blade on an electric shaver. It is generally understood that such ratings are the same throughout the world. When I go to The Turks in Richmond I get the same cut each time - number three - and every time it is exactly the same. Number three. I have been chopped in Mayfair - number three - same. Tony's in Berkeley - same. Rockefeller Centre - same. In Colorado, however, The Three equals a razor shave and boy do I get it. The kids instantly crack up after reading my expression ("is dad pissed?" I can almost hear them think). Sonnet soothes: "Don't worry honey. It will grow back." And then worried: "when is your next meeting?" I tell Eitan he is lucky as By God the boy needs a haircut. We giggle that I look like a "French poodle, dad." Great.