Monday, May 28

Over 50 Years And Counting

Gracie is going strong
Eitan: "Is Tesco's open tomorrow?" [Dad's note: Tesco's is a grocery store. Tomorrow is a Bank holiday Monday].
Me: "You afraid we are going to run out of food?"
Me: "Admit it, you were."
Eitan, laughing: "Yeah, I guess so."
Me: "The kid's a furnace."
Sonnet: "Stop teasing him."
Me: "At this rate of food consumption I am going to have to work another five years."
Eitan: "Really?"
Me: "We might have to borrow money from your Grandfather. And buy a farm to ensure your meat supply."
Me: "Want to move to Iowa ?"
Eitan: "Ok Dad you can stop now."

Almost 50 Years And Counting

72nd and Broadway
Madeleine intently watches a movie at the kitchen table on her iPad with ear plugs. Unable to get her attention, I space-walk back and forth in front of her.
Madeleine: "Oh my God."

Sunday, May 27

In Pink

Eitan at 17
Eitan has his own look, which is expressed through limited options given the school uniform.

The boy looks good in a suit and here he demonstrates that pink is a solid option in the shirt rotation. I give him pointers on where the shoulder cut should fall, and the value of belt vs. buckle (English prefer latter) or the number of pleats (seven or none) and whether a serious man would ever wear roll-ups (cuffs) in Europe (Never). He takes it in like the wise man he is then ignores it all immediately.

Eitan selected Prefect, a position of leadership within the school. He wears a special tie.

Money Trail

Tokyo (from hotel room)
More than at any time before, I have travelled the world meeting friends and investors, anticipating our next fundraising for Astorg VII. The cities start to look the same, I must admit, and I have little time for museums or cultural activities still I get the buzz of a new place in my body and the privilege an insider's look through the people I am fortunate to know.


Sheehan and Eitan at Hampton recital, complete with full orchestra ensemble
So.. some time since my last blog. I am getting a few snippets of encouragement to continue ("Dad are you ever going to do that blog of yours again or what?" from the Shakespeares). So, since it is a bank holiday weekend (and thunderstorms too boot), I will try to catch up on some of the last half-year.

2018 means college applications, that thing over the long horizon and across the bounding fields and in the never arriving future. It's here. Eitan has taken the SATs and the ACTs and the British school AS exam in early modern history. The results are coming in and they are satisfactory.

Without football this season due to the torn left ACL, Eitan has thrown himself into choir, piano and theatre, where he will perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August. Otherwise, he busies himself with homework, college essays and his group of friends which provide him with great pleasure.

Sonnet and I crack wise about Eitan's social life for this blog entry.
Sonnet: "You know he can hear everything your saying through his open window."
Me: "Really?"
Me: "Eitan !"
Eitan: "Yeah ?!"
Sonnet: "You are so clueless sometimes."

Me, later in the kitchen: "Say something for updating the blog."
Eitan: "For the blog?"
Me: "Yeah, say something."
Eitan:  "Um, it feels like a good stage in life right now. Quite a lot of ahead of me. Cruising along at a fairly constant pace."
Me: "Say something not for your grandparents."
Eitan: "The knee is a bit of a setback. Uh.. I don't know." [Dad's note: Eitan blew out out his second ACL, this time the right knee.]
Me: "Anything else kid?'
Eitan: "Not really."
Me: "Thumbs up, middle or down?"
Eitan: "Middle I guess."
Me: "A carefree life."
Eitan: "Yeah. A bit."

Sunday, December 3

Cool Cat

Madeleine at 15. She's been here for ten years.

Today it is crunch time for our gal with the mock exams (known as the 'mocks') that prepare the Year 11s for the GCSEs, which arrive like a cold storm in May and lasts for five weeks. On the other side: relief, mainly. Eitan went through it last year and, now, the takes the A levels (the "As").

Mike Flynn turns like the worm he is, negotiating a sweetheart deal from special counsel Mueller that likely saves Flynn and his son from prison. Mueller gives Flynn a pass for evidence on Flynn's superiors and there are only two: Trump and VP Michael Pence.

"Democracy dies in darkness."
--Leader on the Washington Post

Monday, November 6

Skate Rats

One of the cooler things in London is the skateboarding that takes place in the undercoft beneath the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the south riverside. The skate boarders have their own thing and don't bother anyone.
Yet, they were nearly kicked out severals years ago to make way for a £120m refurbishment project.
The skaters balked, refused to vacate, and the ensuing battle with the Southbank Centre lasted 18 months. The skaters eventually won with support from the public and then-mayer Boris Johnson.
In reality, the Southbank Centre wanted to move the skateboarders 120 metres upriver to a space under the Hungerford Bridge but Lambeth council received more than 27,000 objections to the centre's planning application. 
Southbank lost the PR battle.

Monday, October 30

Strumm'n Pink Floyd

Madeleine teaches herself guitar and relays a few chords to me, which I hack on Eitan's guitar.
Our gal was once a determined trumpet player which has not progressed into adulthood; our house sadly misses the loud blasts of sound that once descended upon us from her bedroom.
Deep down I miss the trumpet for it connects me to her childhood and it was demonstrative of her determination and uniqueness. Same as the pink cowboy boots.

Saturday, October 28

Eitan Hits The East Coast

Eitan continues his tour hitting Harvard, Brown, Columbia, Penn, Georgetown, Tufts and Princeton. He is accompanied by Sonnet and together they see Katie, Marcia and Larry, Sharon (team KKH), Diana and Simon (team ex London, saving Virginia from politics and the USA from Democracy), relatives and others.

Me: "Look, I've got the the Instagram app." [Dad's note: Madeleine and I are in a night taxi].
Madeleine: "Yeah, so?"
Me: "Are you going to let me join your Instagram?"
Madeleine: "No."
Me: "Why not?"
Madeleine: "I want to keep my life private."
Me: "Damn that's cold g." [Dad's note: Madeleine was calling me 'g' in her texts; she stopped but I continue to use it with her].
Me: "Hey, have you ever heard of Snapchat?"
Madeleine: "Yes, Dad, I've heard of Snapchat."
Me: "How 'bout Facebook? That one is pretty cool."
Me: "The best app though is Vodafone."
Madeleine: "Vodafone?"
Me: "Vodafone. Like, no typing."
Me: "Why would I want to spend all that time typing? When I want to call my homies I just dial and talk. No typing."
Madeleine: "OK, whatever."
Me: "Typing is so last year. I thought you would now it, a 15 year old like you."
Madeleine: "Are we almost there yet?"

Sunday, October 22


It is a blustery fall day and, since Madeleine with friends and Sonnet/ Eitan in Bronxville, it is me and the dog, who I walk in Richmond Park - the largest of London's Royal parks.
Richmond Park was first founded by Charles I who, in 1625, got the hell out of London during a plague. He needed some sport so built a royal lodge (now the Royal School for Ballet) and, in 1637, enclosed 2,500 acres with a brick fence to contain red and fallow deer, which he and his guests hunted for pleasure (fence and deer remain today). It also kept the riff raff out.
Well, old Charles I was executed and the custodianship of the park passed to the Corporation of the City of London. A bunch of back and forths took place with the monarchy until 1872 when public access to Richmond Pk was assured by an Act of Parliament.
As commoners we enjoy it.

Saturday, October 21

Korean Joint

Sonnet and I go to a totally legit Korean restaurant behind Waterloo station on an unloved and gritty street. It's a bolt-hole with a line out front and a family operation that does not offer much english. I stumbled on it a couple months ago and glad to be here with Sonnet.
I photograph this young women before she meets her friends.

Eitan and Eric

Eitan splits for the East Coast to check out some US colleges - in Boston he stays with Eric and Simona, who roll out the red carpet for our hero. I imagine Eitan will have a different view on his father following the visit.
Scott and Cindy take care of Eitan for Brown. Scott was on the Board of Trustees at Brown for many years and I imagine he enjoys picking up Eitan at Wilson Hall following the campus tour.

Soutine's Portraits

Sonnet and I visit her alma mater The Courtauld to hear the opening remarks from the curator of Soutine's Portraits.
Chiam Soutine was a Jewish Russian-French painter who made a major contribution to the expressionist movement while living in Paris. He was dirt poor and nearly destitute until Paul Guillaume, a highly influential art dealer, bought and championed his work. The exhibition shows paintings of hotel bellhops, cooks and servants which was an unusual subject for the time (and now).

Sonnet heads for Pittsburgh PA to open the V&A's "Underwear" exhibition at the prestigious Frick Museum. The evening party allows for sexy models, men and women, to mingle in their skimpy knickers with the guests. 

Friday, October 20

Life From The Top

My first visit to Hong Kong was in 1994 with HTWS when the airport was still a scary drop into the centre of the city. Now the island is a thing of concentrated efficiency with roads and walkways inter-connecting the hotels, office skyscrapers and, farther out, condominium towers that allow 7m people to work and live on a postage stamp or 690 persons per square kilometre.
I strain my head on the late night taxi-ride from the airport to get a sense of this enormity. What is equally striking: the highrises are lit up like Christmas trees. Nobody ready for sleep despite the late hour.
It is clear that Asia is the future.


I arrive in Hong Kong from Melbourne following a ten-hour northbound flight. Greeting me in HK is Justin, also on a world tour for business, and departing at 2AM. We connect in the hotel bar at Midnight for a drink then he is off to somewhere else. The day-night rhythm doesn't really exist here.

Sunday, October 15

Sydney Opera House

This Dog's Life

The pooch gets a couple good walks a day but otherwise, during the week, he is solo during the daytime other than the dog walker.
What he really wants is to be on a farm running after a tractor or some sheep, rolling in deer shit and pissing in the tall grass. Living in the moment.


Well, the news these days is diabolical : Napa and Sonoma counties in flames; 3.5 million American Citizens in Puerto Rico left on life support; major US cities destroyed by hurricanes and a President who does not care nor understand any of it.
Then there is the derailing of NAFTA, Las Vegas and still no gun-control; the un-funding of UNESCO obligations, North Korea madness, killing the EPA and destroying Obamacare and the US health insurance market with it. All the while weakening the free press, which is about the only thing that holds the US 'democracy' together.
While the White House's actions damage all American citizens, they harm the Trump supporters the most, these morons. The blade goes in deep between their shoulders.
Still, with young people and Eitan and Madeleine I have hope for a future. May they unplug and rise up as a generation before did in the 1960s.

Sunday, October 8

Little Arc

The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel is located between the Louvre and tuilleries gardens. It was built between 1806 and 1808 to commemorate Napoleon's military victories from the previous year. The big arc (Arc de Triomphe de L'Etoile) was designed the same year at twice the size, but not completed until 1836.
Looking west, a straight line passes perfectly through the big and little  arches, aligned with the Obelisk in the Place de la Concord and threaded by the Champs Elysees.
The colour of the Little Arc is not red or orange but a kind of white with maybe a golden tint. In the sunrise the arc, and the clay ground surroundings, have a beautiful hue.

Beautiful Paris

As my running days are mostly behind me, I am up early to power walk tuilleries, which opens before sunrise. I now mostly take the 8e for granted - the Louvre, I.M. Pei's striking pyramids, the Seine, place de la Concorde and always the Eiffel Tower reminding us it is no ordinary city.
This morning is no different but for the sunrise.