Thursday, December 11

Fergus Henderson

Fergus Henderson champions 'nose to tail' eating. Photograph: Suki Dhanda

England is offal. No other country treats organs and innards like a delicacy. Even the French, who know how to surprise with their haute cuisine, stay away from certain parts of animal or at least give the various bits sly names foie gras or escargots. Today, and a sign of the recessionary times: tongues, hearts and brains are experiencing a surge in popularity here, with sales up 67% over the past five years. They are also cheaper, you see.

Says Fergus Henderson, whose restaurant St John's is a favorite: "It was never a mission to start the offal ball rolling, it just seemed common sense, good eating." (Ferguson's cooking best-seller is "Nose to Tail Eating: A Kind of British Cooking"). 

Back in the day, I hated liver and became violently ill trying to force it down at my parents behest (at least I like to remember it this way). Eggplant was also gnarly, though I love it now. Eitan and Madeleine have foods they do not like but nothing repulsing; usually it is general complaint that drives every hard-working mother insane: "Aw mom, not this again." 

Back to the present: our neighborhood butcher, R Chubb & Son (and yes, it is a father and son affair) present selections which are frozen, prepared and cut on site unlike the groceries where meats pre-packed and from God knows where. Chubb is a portly, friendly fellow too - he gets me and Eitan tickets to Fulham matches which are particularly valuable when Fulham plays Chelsea or Manchester United. Chubbs hands and apron usually covered in blood and he moves slowly, considering a chop then - whack! - down comes his knife severing a joint or cutting flank. Bones bring out the saw. It is a gruesome affair, no doubt, but best to seen given where it goes.

"O! beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on."
Iago in Othello

Wednesday, December 10

Times Square

When I arrived in the Big Apple in '89 this place was a dump. Sure there was theatre and neon but it was also the centre of New York's sleeze business and every other shop was a dime store selling peeps. It was also a place of drug-dealers, gawking tourists, gospels and squeegee men who did your car windows for cash... or else. By the early or mid-1990s under Mayor Dinkins there was a clean up effort and eventually the cathedral became disney-fied and indeed I believe Walt put in an installation on the Southside but there are no traces of it now- maybe I'm mixing it up with the humungous Toys R US. Who knows. Most people know Times Square for New Years and in '89 I went to a party on 44th and Broadway - at Midnight spinning drunk I fell into the street to watch the ball drop. It was cold and raining - who cared? At 12:01, 1990, the exit scramble laid waste as we and everybody scrambled to our next destination.

Did you know that the intersection of Broadway and 42nd Street, at the southeast corner of Times Square, is the Eastern Terminus of the Lincoln Highway which was the first road across America? There's a nice piece of trivia.

The Professor

Kate and I join Ray for lunch at the local Greek nearby Columbia. Ray was a special professor when I was at the graduate school - his Modern Political Economy a classic, attracting the interesting sorts like Xia who was a dissident in China and at Tiannamen Square in '89. It was after the MBA that I got to know Ray outside school when we (and Katie) travelled into Kashmir's "disputed territories" between Pakistan and India, which has brought the countries war (Ka means "water" BTW and Shimir means "to desiccate". Hence, Kashmir stands for "a land desiccated from water"). Our trip via the Karakorum Highway or KKH that connects Northern Pakistan to Western China and China's remote muslims known as "Juegers" (there is plenty of tension between here and Beijing). Ray's first visit to Central Asia in '94 and he knows plenty of people by 1997 when we have our adventure. The story about Ray, however, that will convey not about the Karakorum mountains but rather a favorite moment I enjoyed in his class: somewhere in the middle of the semester our focus turned to John Kenneth Galbreath who was at Harvard the same time Ray getting his degree at the law school. On a snowy night driving to the library Ray almost ran over The Great JKG and says Ray today with perfect tone: "If I had killed him, rest assured we would not be having this lecture." Brilliant lead-in. I might not remember much about some of those economists but I sure do remember the fun I had in his class.

From lunch, Katie and I walk down-town where she has a meeting at the Empire State Building. Me, I take in the tall sites - I can never get enough as a visitor. Funny how I rarely noticed the surroundings when I lived in New York and now I find it awe-inspiring. Everything sprung from man's imagination, ingenuity and concrete. From the subway's gnarly pipes and beaten down tracks to the towering brick and steel skyscrapers. Wow. At 35th Katie and I say our goodbyes and I head to JFK for the overnight across "the pond" (I have always hated that expression and I don't know why certain idiots think it clever).

Tuesday, December 9

Joe's View

I do what I normally do when I am in New York: run around and meet people. I start the day with Joe who is a self-made man and founder of a series of buy-out and hedge-funds representing >$7-billion. We met in '04 and toured around Europe in a private jet staying at five-star hotels which I learned from his secretary then is a hobby. Joe is a capitalist - he appreciates the value of a buck and how to make it, which often includes difficult decisions like down-sizing or management change. This environment is indeed difficult and he will do same. Eating salmon and drinking coffee, overlooking Central Park from the 46 Floor of CPW 1, we compare notes on our market and the difficulties ahead- amazing to him, New York has not changed which is to say people are out shopping and eating. Habits die hard. Joe's wife of >30 years reads the New York Times and occasionally enters the conversation to emphasize a point or add an addition. They work well together. From Columbus Circle, I lunch at the Greek Mylos which has the freshest seafood in Manhattan in my humble opinion. I eat some more salmon. In this instance I am with the world's second or third largest investor, AlpInvest, and here too we compare notes and again not much to be happy about (next to me several old biddies discuss foreclosures, which ruin the value of their $5-million Upper East Side condos). As goes main-street, there goes New York. And venture capital. And leverage buy-outs. And hedge-funds. And.. .and... and . . The day ends at 1880s chop-house Keenes on 36th and 6th Ave and a favorite of Teddy Roosevelt for its exhaustive whisky collection which remains more or less in place as far as I can tell. Like PJ Clarke's on the East Side, this place has seen old times and good times. I reunion with First Boston pals Kelly and Todd, who visits from Boston to present to HNW families+Katie, who joins from work. We end up at Kelly's fab apartment where I admire his hot-tub and drink red wine including a Monticello '97. Good year.

"Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit softly. "
Teddy Roosevelt

"I didn't grow up in the ocean -- as a matter of fact -- near the ocean -- I grew up in the desert. Therefore, it was a pleasant contrast to see the ocean. And I particularly like it when I'm fishing."
W., Washington, D.C., September 26, 2008

Sunday, December 7

New York Taxi

KT accidentally snaps this picture while jogging yesterday morning in Central Park. I think it is neat. This morning I hear it all from a cab-driver down on his luck: "I shoulda sold my apartment two years ago; I told the wife: sell-now! but she said whadya wanna do that for? I should uv smacked her then." He is from Argentina and lived in this country his entire life driving a yellow-cab: "And all this shit happening now when I'm gonna retire." Everything he blames on Bush who "fucked everything (every ting) up" and "somebody otta hang that mother-fucker by his balls." I ask him if he voted - of course not, I learn. I note this might have been his only way to extract some kind of revenge? but he doesn't want to hear it. "I told my wife that it don't matter who vote. The poor guy in the street- nobody gonna listen to him. No way." He does love Obama though- "my biggest fear is some son-of-a-bitch is gonna get him. Shoot him. You think that security can stop it? Look at Kennedy. Now he had security and they still got him." It is not an unpleasant conversation - fascinating really - and despite this guy's poor wife and bullying he has a twinkle in his eye, is not unitelligent and supports the right side. Maybe there is a lesson here. Or perhaps the worm has fully turned.

"Thank God for the rain to wash the trash off the sidewalk."
Travis Bickle, Taxi Driver (1976)

Brooklyn and Aquatics

Katie and I have dinner last night in Brooklyn, a place I admit to never knowing. My time spent in NYC from '89-'93 and then graduate school spent entirely on the Upper West and Mid-town, Manhattan, excluding my first year in Geenwich Village (Waverly Place and Sixth Avenue). Brooklyn's Prospect Park neighborhood goes on for as far as the eye can see but unlike Manhattan, there are no tall buildings. The energy and buzzy is equally intense yet it feels, like, totally different ya know? The underground subway is a straight shot from Katie's flat and despite traveling umpteen city miles we get there in good time if 22 minutes late. As anticipated, Anna-Marie and Jonathan are way interesting: she from Colombia and working for a foundation and he running an OEP business (outsourced human resources but I forget what the acronym stands for). Their condo is cool+they have a cute four-year old who is painted Spider Man. How I remember that phase, ah yes. While Kate and A-M discuss NGOs and Latin America (Katie and Jonathan met at NACLA years ago), Jonathan and I retred our understanding of the US crisis and how we find ourselves in such a mess. In a word: Bush. On the subway home I people-watch the styles and mixes then pick up the early addition of the New York Times - this always a wonderful head-start to a lazy Sunday. I wake up briefly at 6AM to find Katie sound-asleep on her couch, TV on.

This morning I go to the Aquatics Center on 90th and York to find a bona fide 50 meter Olympic size pool - and it is clean! And the water the right temperature! And digital pace-clocks! And anti-wave walls! And well lit with plenty of deck space! Swimming in London is a misery - indoor yucky 33 meter pools built 40 or even 50 years ago and barely hanging on. How strange to find a modern pool in New York - I mean, it just doesn't come to mind. After marching a mile on the black line I lift some weights then go to Katie's bakery to bring Katie and us coffee, espresso croissants and raspberry brioches. My God they are good too. New York is just way fun to visit. Stim-u-lating.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly."
Woody Allen, speaking to under-graduates - date?

"A fast word about oral contraception. I asked a girl to go to bed with me, she said 'no'.
Woody Allen

Saturday, December 6


Katie's company - The Op-Ed Project - is blasting off and she is juggling all kinds of stuff, which sounds like growth to me. She's meeting the right people too like Mia Farrow last week and Teressa Heinz pointing to the ketchup in the diner where we brunch. This photo somewhere near Lincoln Center and I have been desparately trying to buy John Fitzgerald's "The Great Brain" for the kiddos - unfortunately neither Barnes & Nobles Super Store carries the classic in stock and I feel, well, a bit disappointed that the book has faded from its glory. Indeed, I read every one when I was ten or 11. Sonnet informs me that in London the kids enjoyed a football tournament (one goal for Eitan, unclear for Madeleine) and then to the school Christmas Fair. Mum gives the Shakespeares ten quid plus their allowance to blow on crapola - which they do with (wild) abandon. Eitan, I learn, spends his fortune on a toy which he gives to class-room chum Syrus which makes Madeleine feel, well, hurt. Madeleine and I discuss this for a bit on the phone but Eitan hovers and tensions rise. I guess these good old family dynamics start early, unfortunately. Irritated now, the boy refuses to speak to me (I tell Sonnet: "ask him if he wants to know how big the boat is that I got him" and even this doesn't get the usual rise). Katie and I are going to Brooklyn for dinner and I look forward to meeting some of her friends. Indeed, I am honored to be included.

"How small, of all that human hearts endure,
That part which law or kings can cause or cure."
The Traveller - Samual Johnson


Katie and I walk southward from the Upper West Side passing by Zabar's, H&H Bagels, Barnie Greengrass and eventually Central Park - pictured. I am back in New York and back online following yesterday's cross-country jump. California ended on a nice note with Christian, Sloan and Rob where we go to a tres cool Peruvian restaurant next to the Ferry House on da bay. Over Latino cocktails we talk about the financial markets, property values and Europe where Rob recently visited Munich for Octoberfest. It did not end well but that is a private story, if easily guessed. Oh boy and lucky him. I also lunch with David and learn about his new enterprise - an advertising technology company that projects images onto about any surface anywhere (the Union Jack, for instance, was displayed on Buckingham Palace for the Queen's Jubilee but this done by a French firm). I wrap things up with my pals at Industry but their fund remains open yet. We do not anticipate a surprise but in today's melt down, who knows? Stay tuned.

Madeleine: "Mom, would you rather have a feather or a cow as a pet?"

Eitan to Madeleine about something: "In your face!" (this gets the boy in trouble BTW)

"I want to thank my parents for somehow raising me to have confidence that is disproportionate with my looks and abilities. Well done - that is what all parents should do."
Tiny Fey in The New Yorker magazine

Tuesday, December 2

Katie In FL

Here's Katie over Thanksgiving in Ft Lauderdale with Mark and his family. The pool is at the Swimming Hall of Fame where there is a wax Mark Spitz whose hand, Katie notes, is chipped+he has a George Hamilton tan. That's not quite how I remember our Jewish hero. The museum has lots of swimming history that we grew up with+waaay back, including a full length woolen women's suit with skirt (ankles showing I wonder?); the first swims by men and women (hugely greased up) across the English channel and a few from Cuba to Florida. Johnny Weismuller's Tarzon promo shots are displalyed, as are East Germany's steroid enhanced swim-girls of the late 1970s and 1980s - '78 was the first and only year the American women failed to win gold though unlike the Germans they did not have to worry about shaving. Their backs. There is also a full-story high portrait of Janet Evans who began setting national records by age-11 then dominated the '88 and '92 Olympics+carried the flag in '96 (Atlanta). Many of Evans records stood until recently. Katie finishes her tour with a swim in the Olympic training pool- pictured- noting her 850 yards is hard work. And to think she once clocked ten-miles a day on the black line. Now those were hard yards. Each. And. Every. One.

On swimming, I jump a plane this morning in London and end my day at the Spieker Aquatics complex at Cal. This is a pool I hold dear having competed in the Nor-Cal high-school championships, watched Matt Biondi set a national high-school record in the 50 yard freestyle (20.04) and lapped with Nort Thorton who coach the Cal Bears who I trained with my Senior year of high-school. Tonight, as always before, I change on deck - no grimy indoor pool here - just me and the stars. It is a cold night but I quickly warm up in crystal clear water and am quite happy to be free of the usual early-morning Richmond lap swimmer who somehow conveys a since of grumpiness despite the milieu. Or maybe I am the one grumpy. Moe BTW cooks seared salmon with avocado, shrimp and mango salso as I write. It is good to be home.

Sunday, November 30

Man Of Action

Pokémon I see you!

Surf And Turf

The last time Halley and Sonnet together in May, when with Catherine they met in Rome to celebrate 4-0 (am I allowed to announce that?). For our families it has been one year or Thanksgiving '07. In between there has been some growth (I hope) and plenty of family travel. We, of course, had our marvelous time in Colorado and California for the summer while Halley and Willem visited India and Australia (Willem, who is head of Exeter University's Psychology Department, had some work relateds) and Halley took her children to Maine for July. She, in my mind, is the quintessential New Englander - sensible, pragmatic yet mischiefous with an eye-twinkle (oh, I hope she reads this). Of course she went to school at an all-women's college; of course her favorite protection is duck-shoes and anything from LL Bean; of course her brother could be Governor of Maine one day. Her wedding was a lobster extravaganza on a Maine lake where we young skinny dipped after the drinking and dancing. I, being wet and drunk, stumbled from the water unable to find my glasses which somebody had kindly returned to the main house. Nobody wants to play part of some guy and his lost glasses but happily mine returned the next morning allowing me to enjoy the celebration. Now I ask Halley if she eats lots of lobster non-stop during her annual trips home; to my surprise it is only once or twice - "you get rather tired of it quickly" she notes. Pardieu! It is my favorite meal and I already look forward to New York next week when I will go to Mylo's for the lobster salad.

So anyway, here I am blogging away when I should be packing for America since my flight leaves tomorrow morning early. Over and out.

Beach Boxes

These cheerful boxes are found on the beach in Exmor. This time of year the beaches empty of bathers but full of walkers - and dogs, including Fozzywho goes nuts with excitement to our amusement (Madeleine BTW is desperate for a dog and she spends her free moments stroking or cuddling Fozzy). The season here is from May until September when the British seaside comes to life. No, it is not Santa Monica or Laguna but there is real charm to the chippies and arcades that line the beach-road inviting middle-class and overweight Brits to their fried up meal and touch of gambling. I always feel transported back to some magical time when the British went to the British seaside for holiday instead of Portugal or Spain. We are not too far from the British Riviera which Sonnet and I visited some years ago - think cobbled stones, family pubs and beach-umbrellas sheltering the brave from the wind and cold. Now this is the England I love - stiff upper lip, and all. On this theme, we stop for lunch at The Little Chef and in the washroom and bloke comments on the weather: "piss'n down on us mate." I reply: "It's our choice to be here" which gets a welcome cackle. We are all of the same spirit when the weather comes down.

"Yesterday, you made not of my -- the lack of my talent when it came to dancing. But nevertheless, I want you to know I danced with joy. And no question Liberia has gone through very difficult times.
W., speaking with the President of Liberia, Washington, D.C., Oct. 22, 2008

Saturday, November 29


Zoe is the precocious child of Halley and Willem. Several years older than Eitan - she was born the year after we arrived in England - she is that awkward cross between teenager and kid. Zoe carries herself with confidence and owns her space - and while she is sometimes silent one is always aware of her presence. She describes to me tectonic activity and mountains, which she now studies in school. Madeleine, of course, fascinated and a bit intimidated by her older friend yet Madeleine's curiosity not reciprocated. As only natural, it is one's elders that glean attention. Zoe recently took her secondary exams and it is pins and needles until January when her scores come home. Under consideration is one of England's top grammar schools requiring exceptional numbers to gain a place. Given Willem's two PhDs and Halley's Smith, I think expectation are deservedly high; yet there is no untoward pressure as I often see in professional families. We all know it will work for the best wherever Zoe goes.

Switzerland becomes the first city in the world to give heroin to its hardened addicts. In today's referendum, 68% voted for the pioneering government programme following ten-years of data indicating drugs crimes fall markedly when users given their fix. In the late 1980s Zurich offered 2,000 needles and 800 condoms daily to combat AIDS in Platzspitzpark or "Needle Park." The police grew frustrated with the over-crowding and abuse by 1990, when then they pulled the plug.

Halley prepares a 10 lb turkey and we stuff ourselves with all the trimmings. Bravo! My favorite "traditional" straight from Maine is is the sweat potatot mash covered with marshmellow. The kids spend the night allowing Sonnet and I an unexpected night to ourselves. Heaven.

Sea Snail?

We spend the afternoon at Exmoth - here the kids and Zoe and Ava scream "the tide is out!" racing from the boathouse onto Lyme Bay. Due South is the English Chanel and West, across Devon, is the Atlantic Ocean. The high-tide is perhaps six feet above Madeleine while the sea comes in fast and hard: high-tides today are 7:38 and 19:57 while the low-tide now 13:30. In February, 2004, 23 Chinese shellfish hunters drowned not far from here at Morecambe Bay's cockle beds. They were eight miles out on foot. The other thing about this time of year is the bitter cold, not helped by the kids lack of wellies which I fail to bring despite Sonnet's urging. Within moments Eitan - who refuses jacket and scarf - is pink from the cold yet he refuses to relent: "I will not wear that jacket," which is a shame because not only warm but rather fashionable it is - I bought the damn thing in Paris. What can I do? After several hours of snail and crab hunting we end up at a true-grit caf which is one of the only locals remaining in an area undergoing rapid development. Willem tells me that most of the condos going up own by Londoners who spend little time here - consequently, the old fishing yards being deserted.


We awake at the Barcelona Hotel in Exeter and there is only one thing on the kiddos minds: buffet! Sonnet goes for a run on the River Exe and I stumble downstairs with the Shakespeares to have breakfast where they load up three or four times. Me, I drink coffee and watch them stuff their happy little faces. Speaking of stuffing, we will do so again shortly celebrating Thanksgiving. I hope beforehand we will do some walking or visit the seaside - Devon offers some of Britain's most scenic pictures and we have gotten to know it well. In fact, Sonnet and I walked the Northam Burrows in Dartmoor when she was seven months pregnant with Eitan. In fact, Devonshire is home to part of England's only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Dorset and East Devon Coast, known as the Jurassic Coast for its geology and geographical features. Along with its neighbour, Cornwall, Devon is known as the "Cornubian massif". This geology gives rise to the landscapes of Dartmoor and Exmoor, both national parks today.

Friday, November 28

Stonehenge From Car

I photograph Stonehenge at dusk from the A31. Yes, I am driving but traffic slow. Besides half the driving population seems to be tapping away on their blackberry or iphone so why not me just as stupid? We're on our way to Devon to visit Halley and Willem for a late Thanksgiving - which has become our tradition the last five years or so. We have a lot to be thankful for too - healthy and happy family, Sonnet's job+my work, Barak Obama (or better: Bush-Cheney gone). We avoid the M3 and other major routes opting for lesser-roads that cross traditional English countryside. Green and wet. All in, the drive takes four hours including one pit-stop at "the Little Chef" which is the equivalent of Howard Johnsons. Ghastly. I warn the kids they are allowed five "are we there yets" and we debate whether this for each child or collective. It goes downhill from there.

Madeleine sees Stonehenge:
"Are we gonna climb it?"

Madeleine, in a robot-like voice:
"We are from outer-space. We are here to marinate your planet." (I think she means "exterminate.")

I tell the kids to keep an eye out for ware wolves as we cross the Wiltshire dales in foggy dark conditions. Eitan worriedly:
"do you promise that you are not lying? Cross your heart and say it again."

Logan's Run

I watch Logan's Run and am taken back to 1976 in an instant. For then, the movie was a big-budget, sci-fi spectacle before Star Wars changed everything. Based loosely on Albert Huxley's "A Brave New World," the story finds the human civilisation in the 22nd century existing in a pod, living their pleasures and guided by computers, secure from the world's outside contamination. In return, they are exterminated at age-30 preventing over-crowding (a crystal on the right-hand notifies your time up). Naturally some resist - "runners" - who are tracked down and executed by Deep Sleep Operatives or "Sandmen" (way cool). Logan 5 is a Sandman whose time stricken so he can locate "Sanctuary" or the heart of the future's underground railroad. Facing death, Logan runs. He's accompanied by Jessica, pictured, played by the gorgeous Jenny Agutter who is still making films today and did a tour on my other favorite sci-fi: "The Six Million Dollar Man." Other sideshows are Farah Fawcett Majors who is Holly or a mad plastic surgeon's assistant and Peter Ustinov who is the old-man-on-the-outside who becomes The Messiah. Brilliant stuff. The '70s production is chalked with funky fashion, space-boots and futurama consistent with "Space 1999" and "2001: A Space Odyssey." The impact of the movie ultimately lost due to timing, but for a ten-year old like me dropped off at the movies (UA Cinema, Shattuck Avenue) it was, well, nirvana.

Thursday, November 27


The turkey was almost our national symbol, after all. Apparently it is rather clever bird. Here in England I have to be careful about wishing anybody Happy Thanksgiving because, of course, the British lost the colony. I make a point of telling cashiers or service providers "thank you, my dear."

I ask Eitan, whose guitar has gone missing, if it could be at school. Replies he:
"Yes, that is a distinct possibility."

Madeleine to me: "If you start annoying me I'll never kiss you again."

Eitan gets a football magazine which comes with 3-D glasses. He happily wears the glasses down the high-street asking me: "Do you think anybody will notice me, Dad?"

Madeleine on Thanksgiving: "Aw, Dad - do I have to eat turkey?"

Madeleine to Natasha on being scolded for climbing a tree. Madeleine: "Natasha, somebody is going to come over and tell me off. They are going to go blah-blah-blah and then it's over. So what?"

Madeleine, conspiratorially: "Natasha, let me tell you: never get married."

Eitan practices his in-house football skills whilst wearing Madeleine's pink slippers.

Wednesday, November 26

Pickles Orenstein

Madeleine snapped in June 2004. Man these kids change and fast! I used this photo on a party-invitation hosted by my parents in Berkeley that summer. The gang and others were there and a warm memory.

The kids and I discuss nick-names and we crack up when I suggest "pickles" for Eitan, as in "Pickles Orenstein". It kind of has a ring to it, don't you think? From there we talk logistics about lunch Friday at Giant Burger and decide that it may be too complex. Eitan tells me: "you are the opposite of Einstein." I should be offended but, hey, it is a pretty darn good insult coming from the boy.

Beat It

It is easy to forget the brilliance of Michael Jackson (and Motown) given his decline, most recently settling a lawsuit filed against him by the prince Sheik Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa for $7-million but not before tantalilsing us with the possibility of a live appearance in a London court (Jackson spent the prince's money but failed to do a concert). I think about Jacko this morning during my power-walk listening to "Thriller" which has sold >100 million albums since '82 (the runner-up BTW is AC-DC's "Back In Black" at 42). Thriller continues from '79s "Off The Wall" but slicker, groovier and in perfect tune. There's not one bad song and even the doo-wop silliness "The Girl is Mine" with McCartney does well (Ok, not great) >25 years later. There's no doubt Jackson is a narcissist - who can ever forget his 5-story statue floating down the Thames to promote his '95 album "HIStory"? - but his self-love has given us some of the creepiest (Billie Jean), over-produced (Thriller), and pop-tastic (Beat It, Wanna Be Start'n Somethin') of all time. The year of Jackson's moon-walk in '83 I was in Switzerland but man did I get an earful from my friends. It was the coolest thing ever seen on TV and targeting us, a teen-age music-listening audience. Overnight Jackson changed everything uniting style, theatre, dance, costume, pop and rock and roll. It was also the peak of Motown - but really, how could they have gone higher?

While on Motown, I bought Stevie Wonder's "Talking Book," "Songs In The Key Of Life," "Music Of My Mind," "Innervisions," and "Fulfilingness' First Final" which he recorded during a magical period from 1972 to 1975. The upbeat and soulful music is all the more amazing given the pain and inequality experienced by the African-American community following expectations set in the '60s. A lot of brothers must have made it through by listening to Stevie.

"My goal in life is to give to the world what I was lucky to receive... the ecstasy of divine union through my music and my dance."
Michael Jackson