Sunday, September 30


Today marks a busy sports weekend: on the top of the list is Cal's defeat of Oregon at Eugene 31-24 in a thriller which ends with the Ducks fumbling a completed pass into the end-zone giving Cal a touch-back instead of a tied game. The Bears are 5-0 with a legitimate Heisman candidate in DeSean Jackson (11 catches yesterday for 161 yards) and will remain ranked at least fifth in the country. USC on November tenth looms large assuming, of course, the Bears don't cough up the season to a lesser team. Boy have we been there and done that.

Today is the Berlin Marathon, one of the world's fastest, and the great Haile Gebrselassie indeed breaks the World Record with a time of 2:04:26. That is 4:42 miling for 26 miles - God Damn! While lifting weights, I watch the inspiring Paula Radcliffe (pictured, photo from the WWW) take second to American upstart Kara Goucher in the Great North Run, which is the world's largest race with over 50,000 runners. Kara's first half marathon nets 67:45 - a new American record. That chick has got some legs under her. Closer to home, Eitan starts his Saturday at swimming practice then football, where he has advanced to an older, and better, group of boys - despite this, he scores a goal and is chosen "Player Of The Game." (Madeleine misses out as we bring the wrong shoes to the pitch). Finally, Sonnet is up at 6AM today to jog eight miles around Richmond Park. We are loving life.

Saturday, September 29

Eitan 7

Somehow we have a seven year old in our house, and to prove it we host a birthday party for 20. The theme is football - of course! - and the entertainer takes the kids through various games before the thing is turned over to twixes, chocolate cake, mini-sandwiches, sugary drinks and potato chips. The token carrot or vegetable forgotten - why bother? Drugged up on sugar the kids go bezerk and I take them into the joining sports field to run them around some more: "Dog pile on Samuel!" I shout as 20 kids go for it leaving the kid in tears. They chase me like the pied piper but with murder in their eyes - scary, really. At the end Eitan is flooded with emotion and tears as he realises his party is over. "Cheer up" I say. "Halloween is next month." Pictured clockwise from Eitan are Oscar, Tobais, Samuel, Harriet, Hannah and Imogen.

Madeleine: "Dad who is the second cutest girl in the world - after me?"

Eitan to Natasha, who is scolding him for walking away: "Blah! blah! blah!" (This gets him into plenty of trouble with Natasha and us)

Eitan gets a remote control tarantula as a birthday present: "This is what I've always wanted!"

Ashling, Joe-Y-H's mom, informs me that Eitan has been telling everybody at school that she is giving Eitan a Playstation for his birthday. Apparently, she tells me, Joe informed Eitan that Ashling would buy him one because "you and Sonnet won't."

Friday, September 28

Super 39

Katie turns a year tomorrow - bravo! (photo from Rob and Sloan's wedding) This has been a good one too: cover story in the New York Times, women's op-ed project, corporate trainings at Lehman Brothers, Stanford University, Merrill Lynch and others and a visit to Florida and Haiti to bring exposure and perhaps justice to one of Haiti's most notorious villains who was, strangely, a lottery ticket winner now living in America. Katie interviewed him last week in Haiti. My sister otherwise is an Upper West Side chick and has great friends in New York especially the women I've met who are writers, film-makers, philanthropists and trend setters- all are part of a cool crowd of sisters doing it for themselves. My sister's remarkable skills include an uncompromised view on fairness, a stubbornness to get things done the right way, an intolerance of dolts, an unbound generosity towards others especially her friends and a heart of gold. Oh, and she likes to have a pedicure every now and then. Happy birthday Katie!

"No wise man ever wished to be younger."
Jonathan Swift

The Definitive Wedding Photo

Here is the defining weekend photograph taken by pro Steve Wrubel. This week my blog has been filled with images of Santa Cruz and David and Sarah's wedding but how rarely do I have the chance to see everybody together and so festive? The last instance, I believe, was Jasper's wedding in Palm Desert two years ago. Somehow the stories get better, the kids arrive or get older and we observe each other with ongoing continued fascination.

Sonnet wraps up her NY Fashion Now this week, taking down the exhibition one piece at a time. Before it ends, Mary flies in from NY to see the show, God Bless Her. Sonnet also provides an evening tour for the school PTA and 25 women,
including Mrs Scotland, the Head Mistress, who glam it up from the neighborhood and spend an evening in the museum. Everybody has a great time, drinks too much wine and allows Sonnet to be charming. She raises £600 for the school. Our position in the community rises a notch or two. Go Sonnet.


Here is Jasper, another long-time Berkeley friend dating to at least seventh grade when he was adored by King Jr High's tweenie crowd for good reason.

So, let's see- after returning to the UK Monday, Sonnet and I caught Feist at the Shepards Bush Empire. Her voice grainy and memorable, hitting high octives easily while her songs tell interesting stories. I was pretty knocked out from the flight but we had a fun catching up date. The next morning I fly to Geneva and then Helsinki where the bulk of my week has been with investors for my French fund Astorg Partners.

In Geneva with several free hours, I visit Piscine des Vernets where I swam with Geneve Natation 1885 during my exchange year in 1983/84. It was a trippy experience - nothing has changed and the lighting and mood brought back old memories of what was, I now appreciate, a hard 16th year away from home which nonetheless I was fortunate to have. My exhaustion eventually catches up to me and the Hotel Kamp in Helsinki fails to honour my wake-up call as I rise, dazed and confused, at 10:50AM. Shit! Missing one meeting already, I blast out the door for the next (the Kamp, the best hotel in Finland according to Conde Naste, comps my room those bastards).

Thank goodness I am now at home - yesterday evening Eitan and Madeleine look up from the cartoons as I walk in the door - just for an instant- and give me their big smiles. What a good life.

Tuesday, September 25


As far as I am concerned, Heathrow Airport is one of the worst in the world despite being the busiest in the world. The airport has only two runways, compared to three at Frankfurt Airport and four at Paris CDG Airport. Heathrow Airport's runways operate at 98.5% of their permitted capacity so there is no room for error, which in fairness occurs infrequently. That said, getting to, around or through the airport can be a disaster and the continual ongoing construction is less than inspiring. Last year 68 million "guests" passed through Heathrow, which was meant to "process" only about 40 million. The new Terminal Five, opening sometime God Knows When should reduce the congestion and, we hope, make for a world class experience. Of course it will increase air traffic and void our efforts to reduce CO-2 - but so what? Weirdly there is almost always a largish group of people regarding the jets as they land - this photo taken by one of them. The wacko plane-spotters set up picnic parks as close to a runway as humanly possible for the jet crushing thrill of it I suppose.

London return

Tyler and his daughter Caitlin. I arrive in London yesterday morning and spend the afternoon unpacking and catching up on some minor work. The kids return in the late afternoon from play-dates and Madeleine sees me from down the block and comes racing into my arms. Her first words: "Did you bring my present dad?" Lucky me that I was able to find her requested walkie-talkie and Eitan's binoculars. Eitan is a bit more reserved when he spots me after a week apart but I happily hug him nonetheless. Aggie arrives at 7PM to babysit and I meet Sonnet in Shepards Bush for dinner and to see Feist, a great band that caps off a joyous return home.

Here is Ben Price who has been rolling with my camera- see below "Sunday." Ben is an icy kid and all-Berkeley meaning he is a Bears football fan - not surprising as Ben's father represents the Pac-10 and his grandfather is Vice Chancellor of UC Berkeley. Ben knows how to get laughs from his audience and announces that he wants to be the next Mel Brooks when he grows up. He is on the older side of the next Berkeley HS generation, which ranges from zero to 11.


Ten year old Ben Price receives full credit for this series- unfortunately I don't know who it is, but man he takes an interesting portrait. This is the morning after and we kick outside by the organic tomato fields which supply Chez Penisse restaurant. There is a lot of hangover going on and some did not sleep. The fall sun is splendid and I am reminded that the best Norcal weather comes in September and October. More beer and vodka is drunk but I abstain thinking about my return trip to London this evening. The honeymooners will honeymoon at the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, where Sonnet and I spent ours 11 years ago. The day has that sleepy feeling similar to the school playground after the final bell has rung.


Steve I have known since age ten at Camp K&J and then King Jr. High. He introduced me to the La Coste alligator - or was that Eric Price? Regardless, we later teamed up on swimming though Steve always preferred water polo where his power shot was legendary. He once snapped the arm of a defending goalie during a high school match. Since Berkeley, Wrubes has photographed cities, models, retail and us while pursuing his creative and professional media career (he received his degree from the Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara). In the mix, he and his wife Lucy spent two years in Rome living nearby the Pantheon; they now reside in Dallas, Texas with their beautiful, and beautifully photographed, daughter Stella. Steve frequently attends the Cowboys on Sunday and otherwise hangs out with the glamorous crowd. Life is good.

The Bride

David's bride Sarah moments before the deed is done. We love her. On Santa Cruz: the city has a population of aprox. 54,000 and is tucked into the northern edge of the Monterey Bay. In 1791, the Mission Santa Cruz was established - the twelfth in California. A university was built with a 'banana slug' mascot. Then, in the 1950s, surfing was discovered and the sleepy hollow became a mecca for surfers and middle-aged water hippies who arrived from the world over. Classic spots include Steamers Lane and three and four mile points - simply that distance on Highway 1 from the Santa Cruz lighthouse. Barnies are not welcome. Farther north at Pillar Point Harbor near Half Moon Bay are Mavericks which, on a good swell out of the Pacific, crest at 50 feet or higher. The break is caused by an unusually-shaped underwater rock. Mavericks Point was discovered by Jeff Clark in 1975 and he surfed the Giants for 15 years before the world caught up with him and them in 1991. The story is recently documented in Riding Giants. Driving to the wedding I see the Mavericks on a deserted day - rocky cliffs, kelp and angry froth greet the suicidals who revel in this action. Me, I prefer boogy boarding closer to a sandy shore.

"Surfing, alone among sports, generates laughter at its very suggestion, and this is because it turns not a skill into an art, but an inexplicable and useless urge into a vital way of life."
MATT WARSHAW, Maverick's: The Story of Big-Wave Surfing

Monday, September 24


Guests begin to arrive from all over and Friday evening is spent drinking, eating, telling and re-telling fabled stories and more drinking. We retire around midnight - quite a feat given the number of parents (I'm solo and not complaining!). Some sleep in tents, others in hotels or with each other while I bunk up with Tyler and Sheila, Erica and Paul and Mike and Andrea plus their nine kids ages three to 11. It is not quiet. Molly, pictured, belongs to Tyler and is one gorgeous kid. She's bashful so I have to take a few quick snaps as she ducks behind her mum.

“There are two major products that came out of Berkeley: LSD and UNIX. We don't believe this to be a coincidence.”

Jeremy Anderson

The Mighty Citroën

David in his vintage Citroën , which has been lovingly refurbished by him including plush interior seating, a new sound system and restored original body work. The Citroën hangs remarkably low to the ground, perhaps only four inches, and when I comment on this Dave hops into the car to show me the hydraulics. The car miraculously raises about one foot into the air providing plenty of air space for depressions or bumps in the road. It is all class and perfect for the honeymoon get-away. Here is what I know about the Citroën: the company was founded by Andre, a Jew, in 1919 and is today part of the French Peugeot Group. It was the first car company to mass-produce a front-wheel drive car and its cars somehow just feel Frenchie. Famous models are 2CV ("The Duck"), the DS ("Goddess") and the CX - pictured.


I drive south on HW 1 Friday afternoon following a morning with Industry Ventures and Walden VC. Often The Great Highway is washed out or chunks have fallen into the Pacific but this trip is uninterrupted and in any case always spectacular. David Ultan is getting married. David and I have known each other since the fifth grade back in the day at Longfellow Elementary. Our teacher, Mrs. Riles, was an obese black woman who loved us and all her kids which included Boat People who had arrived from Asia barely speaking english. Ah, Berkeley - that would have been 1976-78. David and I at different times in our adult lives returned to Longfellow to find Mrs. Riles but she has since long gone. I arrive at the wedding house in the Santa Cruz mountains during the set up, which gives me a few free hours with the groom as we hustle food and booze to various strategic locations and David takes calls from his homies who are coming in. The food is prepared by former Chez Panise cooks and man is there a spread. It is all good.

Friday, September 21

Will Quist

Will recently joined Industry Ventures following a year playing professional water polo in Hungary (I have been helping Industry source investments and capital from London). Before that, he was an All American swimmer and H20 player at Cal where his 200 yard freestyle time of 1:37 qualified for the NCAA's. Will trained with Nort Thorton who still coaches Cal after all these years - I swam with Nort my senior year of high school when legends Matt Biondi and John Mykennan (silver medalist 400m '84 Olympics) were there. Now Will stuffs himself into some Banana Republic clothes and sources secondary deals for the fund. This photo of Will taken at the Industry Ventures offices of 750 Battery Street.

Bay Bridge

The Bay Bridge is the bluecollar bridge connecting the East Bay's Oakland to San Francisco and the peninsula. Unfortunately for the 280,000 daily drivers, the regions affordable housing is on one side and Silicon Valley and jobs the other - there are only three bridges and everybody drives at rush hour creating the second worst traffic zone in America trailing only horrible L.A. The Bay Bridge opened in 1936 while the western crossing (pictured), from San Francisco to the island, consists of two suspension bridges end-to-end with an anchorage, plus three shorter truss spans connecting the San Francisco landing to the western cable anchorage located on Rincon Hill. The eastern span between Yerba Buena Island and Oakland consists of a double-tower cantilever span, five medium-span truss bridges, and a 14 section truss causeway. These east bay structures are scheduled to be replaced by an entirely new crossing now under construction though for the life of me I have never seen a construction worker during my umpteen visits these past five years. My photo taken this morning from Christian Wright's flat.


Christian, sporting his John Terry England T and England top, and I go to see the Brit-pop band The Editors last night at the Filmore. We follow our usual tradition of a five course meal at Delfina's on 18th and Valencia in San Francisco. The waitresses all know Christian and dote upon him making us feel well loved. The band is most excellent and reminds me a bit of The Cure with lead Tom Smith sporting a goofy curly hair thing that he places particularly throughout the show. Afterwards we hit the 24 hour donut shop and watch the England-Russia football game from last week (England wins - again - 3 to nil).

Wednesday, September 19


Adam, his business partner Scott and I have dinner at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station. Adam and Scott are in New York by invitation to a film market to promote their new documentary "Satan and Adam." The film traces the blues duo of Sterling "Mister Satan" Magee and Adam Gussow, who were a fixture on Harlem's sidewalks in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Magee sings in a style that fuses blues with elements of soul and rap, plays electric guitar with withering intensity, and uses both feet to stomp out polyrhythms on a homemade percussion setup that includes hi-hat cymbals topped with tambourines and maracas. Gussow plays amplified harmonica in an equally fluent and original way. Together, Satan and Adam have, as journalist Richard Skelley noted, "redefined and shaped the sound of modern blues so much that 'I Want You' from their Harlem Blues debut was included on a Rhino Records release, "Modern Blues of the 1990s."

The balance of my day is spent walking around Mid-Town, meeting people at tall buildings with nice views. I catch-up with business school friend Spencer Wells whose hedge fund Silver Point now manages $9.4 billion and employs 250 staff. Spencer was the six guy and made Partner last year. Bravo!

Tuesday, September 18

Times Square

I have a busy day running around Manhattan but the best part is drinking a martini with Katie and Jeremy at Cafe Luxemberg on 70th and Broadway. Katie and I usually go there solo and sit at the bar eating bar food. Tonight I have a hamburger and onion rings then catch a cab to the W to grab my camera and take some shots of Times Square. I like the Evil Eye, pictured, looking down on it all. I now blog and watch a Soprano's re-run. About Times Square:

In the early 1900s, New York Times publisher Adolph Ochs moved the newspaper's operations to a new skyscraper on 42nd Street in Longacre Square. Ochs persuaded the mayor to construct a subway station there, and the area was renamed "Times Square" on April 8, 1904. Just three weeks later, the first electrified advertisement appeared on the side of a bank at the corner of 46th Street and Broadway.

The New York Times moved to more spacious offices across Broadway in 1913. The old Times Building was later named the Allied Chemical Building. Now known simply as One Times Square, it is famed for the "ball" which "drops" from a tower on its roof every New Year's Eve.

Monday, September 17


I have dinner with Steve Diprima and his family on the Upper West Side where they live next to the Museum of Natural History. Steve and I worked m&a together and I have known him since 1991 which is hard for both of us to believe, really. Steve split Wall Street finance to get his J.D. from Columbia and is now a Partner at Wachtel Lipton. We share running and he was on the cross-country team at Wesleyan. His marathon time is irritatingly faster than mine- 3:04 at Big Sur vs. my 3:11 at London - and we spend a lot of time discussing who is really the superior athlete. Steve's two kids Dominic and Tea are into football, baseball and music. Dominic plays the electric guitar and puts on a bright red afro to show me how to jam like Jimmy Hendricks or White Slip, a metal band I've thankfully never heard of. Steve is a Mets fan and happy about his prospects: the Mets lead their division by three with 17 games to go. Life is good.

Sunday, September 16

JFK Express

I leave for New York this morning, saying a sad good-bye to Sonnet and the teary-eyed little Shakespeares. Brightening things up a bit, Eitan and Madeleine send me off with a presents-list: Eitan asks for pair of binoculars and a play-dough maker while Madeleine wants a "grown up ring" and a walkie-talkie. "It's for both of us," she confides to Eitan. I'm staying at the five-star W Hotel in Times Square which is decidedly cool, if average. Feel'n kind of gay. It's a perfect time to be in the Big Apple as the weather is cool with a touch of autumn and bright sunshine, lazy clouds. I jog Central Park with my camera and take this shot of the Time Warner Building; a crazy man yells at a crowd watching a rapper rap: "All sinners - and that means you mister! - are all going to hell," yells the man.

Saturday, September 15


Eitan tries out, and succeeds, for the Wandsworth SC. Thanks to his lessons with Vortec, he is as good or better than most kids on the young squad. The kids race back and forth doing crawl, kicking and back-stroke. Eitan breathlessly tells me that he wants to be a "swim racer." Football remains the sport but he's giving swimming a go. Us parents sit in the stands fiddling with the Blackberries or reading. An 0830 start time is a luxury, for Pete's sake - it ain't swim practice unless it starts at 6:30AM, right dad?

I prepare for America leaving tomorrow from Heathrow. I will be in NY for several days then the Bay Area for David Ultan's wedding. Lucky me I will also see Katie in the Big Apple, Grace and Moe in Berkeley and other friends along the way. I will do some work but who ever remembers that?

Sonnet tucks Eitan, age 3, into bed: "I'm so lucky that I have you."
Eitan: "I'm so lucky that I have ice cream."

Madeleine from the back-seat: "I know a mosquito can't suck your bones, but what if it could?"

Madeleine, walking home from football: "Dad our side lost one to nothing but I still scored two goals."

Madeleine contemplates our relationship:
"I used to not like you dad. But now I do."

Pitch perfect

Eitan and I are up early for sports. We walk early to the Bank of England sports club in Richmond where Eitan has joined the swimming team. From there we have an hour before football so we pack tennis rackets and do some drills in Palewell Park. Finally his favorite - football! - and he plays well following the summer break. All the boys, and us dads, are happy to re-unite and talk about the summer and property values. Middle age, baby.

I find my giant Snicker's bar in Eitan's candy chest. I ask him how it got there and he sheepishly tells me that he took it from the freezer. I say that if he can steal my candy, I can steal his - unless, of course, I find the Snickers bar returned to its place. He contemplates this seriously: is a giant Snickers in hand worth two from the pile? He wisely puts it back.

Eitan: "I want to play for Manchester United when I grow up!"

Before Madeleine's first try at Stage Coach, a performance art class, I tell her it's going to be great. Says she matter-of-factly: "It might not be, dad."

Thursday, September 13

Lads Victorias!

England wins a crucial '08 European Cup qualifier against Russia last night with a commanding score of 3-nil. The star is Michael Owen, pictured, who scores twice - adding to his brilliant goal against Israel on Saturday and bringing his life total for England to 40. The record BTW is held by Bobby Charlton who put 49 into the net. It's hard to remember that 14 months ago Owen was painfully out of the World Cup with a busted metatarsal. The other surprise success this week is striker Emile Heskey who has returned from retirement, played brilliantly and received two standing ovations at Wembley- while pushing age 40! I recall watching Heskey play in the '02 World Cup in Korea at 7AM GMT due to the time difference. The locals drank breakfast beer, smoked fags and chanted"Donkey" every time Heskey was on the pitch. It wasn't pretty. Ethnic dislikes aside, England coach McClaren is going to have a difficult staffing decision to make when stars Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney, Owen Hargreaves and David Beckham return from injury. Logic might suggest: don't tinker with a good thing. Photo of a younger Michael Owen by the World Press.

NB Eitan and Madeleine are allowed to watch the first 30 minutes of the game, which otherwise begins past their bed-time. Eitan is desperate to hear the results this morning and dances when he learns the outcome.

Wednesday, September 12


When he's not kicking a football, Lars is running his hedge fund Holte Capital which he started in 2002. He is a multi-talented Dane whose skills include risk-management and ball control - Lars tells me his hackey record is 300 kicks. I've known Lars in London since 1999 when we played poker (his gambling habit moved to full-time). He was educated at Harvard undergrad and Harvard MBA - I tell him this is like having crab for your appetiser and main course.

Madeleine and Eitan had a school assembly yesterday where they learned about protecting our planet. Starting now, we will no longer use plastic bags for
anything. The children were told that a plastic bag carelessly tossed into the Thames was found on a sea lion at Clacton On Sea - fortunately the fisherman took the bag off the poor fellow's head before he suffocated. Now, you see, it is personal and Madeleine wales: "The sea lions dad! You're going to kill them!" when she catches me red-handed at the groceries.

Inside St Paul's

I have a free hour and pay a visit to the Wren Cathedral (my photo from underneath the grand basilica facing the paupet). The present St Paul's dates from the 17th century and is generally reckoned to be London's fifth St Paul's Cathedral, although the number is higher if every major medieval reconstruction is counted as a new cathedral.

The task of designing a the current structure was assigned to Christopher Wren in 1668, along with over 50 other City churches. His first design, to build a replacement on the foundations of the old cathedral, was rejected in 1669. The second design, in the shape of a Greek cross (circa 1672) was rejected as too radical, as was a revised design that resulted in the 1:24 scale "Great Model". The 'warrant' design was accepted in 1675 and building work began in June.

The first stone of the cathedral was laid in 1677. The cathedral was completed on in 1708 or thirty-two years and three months after a spark from Farryner's bakery caused London to burst into flames.

Monday, September 10

Katie, Sharon and Noa

Here's a cute photo live from the Upper West Side. I'm in Paris today following a scramble out the door to catch my 0700 train. Why is it that your bill-fold and keys always disappear when you need to get the fuck out the door? Between meetings I manage to sneak in a five-miler from Le Crillon up the Seine, circling La Cité and The Dame returning through the Louvre and Jardin des Tuileries - a run I have done many times before but always special. The Parisiens have resurrected their giant feris wheel at Concorde looking straight up the Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe. It is a beautiful city.

I discover that Eitan or Madeleine has stolen my cuff-links leaving me in a pickle for tomorrow morning. I am aware that the kids are hoarding their treasures which includes, among other things, twine, crystals, a hackey sack, last Halloween's candy (Eitan), coins in various currencies and a dvd player which no longer works. Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. And so too is value.

At Le Faubourg I watch the film "Anaconda" with J Lo and Ice Cube. Awaful but fun - I kinda want to see which celeb gets it first.

Sunday, September 9


Dakota turns two and we celebrate in Primrose Hill with her and a bunch of happy kids from the neighborhood and around town. An entertainer plays "pass-the-monkey" which I understand is a favorite of all English children but somehow missed our house. Dana prepares cupcakes to perfection and after all the action, we head for Primrose Hill for the view from the top.

At the party, I meet Stephen Robinson who until last year was a main editor at the Telegraph newspaper since 1986 and covering U.S. politics from Washington D.C. for seven years. Fun! We discuss the State of the Union, Conrad Black and the British tabloids which continue to tail-spin as readers and advertisers dessert. "The problem of course" says Stephen "is that there are too many broadsheets. But this is why consumers love Fleet Street- the selection." Stephen is taking the year-off to finish a biography for February '08.

Friday, September 7


Erik departs this morning on his Harley Davidson (one of three) with his arm held high. The kids simply squeal with delight as the machine belts out noise that rips into the morning quiet. From there I take Eitan and Madeleine to school as Sonnet bolts early for London's Fashion-in-Motion, which this time showcases the work of Manish Arora - one of India's most talented designers. Erik and I stay up drinking beer the last three nights and swap funny First Boston memories including, for instance, the time our colleague Dan Albert Fedex'd the board of Philip Morris (which BTW includes a former president) a presentation mis-spelling the company's name. That was a doozy. Or Vice President Brian Barrington forgetting to include tax calc's on his divestiture of Esso Imperial in Canada (doh!). Or despised Associate Linda Huber being fired by a client and calling us from her hotel because she had no one else to talk to. Boy those were good times.



Almost half of Britain's mosques are under the control of a hard-line Islamic sect whose leading preacher loathes Western values and has called on Muslims to "shed blood" for Allah, reports today's Times on its front-page. Riyadh ul Haq, who supports armed jihad and preaches contempt for Jews, Christians and Hindus, is in line to become the spiritual leader of the Deobandi sect in Britain (NB the Deobandis formed following the 1857 suppression of the Indian Mutany when a group of Muslims set up a seminary in Deoband as an act of defiance against Imperial rule). The ultra-Conservative movement, which gave birth to the Taliban in Afghanistan, now runs more than 600 of Britain's 1,350 mosques, according to a police report. In the U.K. it is a felony to preach hatred or violence.

i. "I bear witness that there is no God but the Almighty God and that Mohammad is a messenger of God."

ii. "For God hath said, 'Take not to yourselves two Gods, for He is one God.'"

iii. "Verily God will not forgive the union of other gods with Himself."

The first phase of the Declaration of Faith in the Koran

"What are we willing to sacrifice?... When called upon we will consider it an honour and a privilege to shed our blood."
Riyadh ul Haq, London, 2005


I pick up Madeleine yesterday evening and we head to the pool (Eitan has a play-date). Madeleine's swimming has come a long way and she is able to touch the pool floor on the deep-end - 3.5 meters. She is also adjusting to her new classroom with teacher Ms. Reynolds, who taught Eitan last year. I tell Ms. Reynolds at drop-off this morning: "Same family, different personalities" and she chuckles. Already Madeleine says class is boring: "all we do is sit around all day." Well, anyway, yesterday she learned that a bear lowers its head when it is angry and ready to charge and that bear cubs are defenseless, a word she asks me to explain to her. Madeleine also works on her "summer journal" pasting photographs into her hand-made scrap book complete with descriptions only she understands.

Thursday, September 6


Here's Sonnet in Barcelona on top of Casa Mila sometime in 2000. Casa architect Gauda was from Catolonia, Spain, and belonged to the Modernisme movement - he was famous for his unique style and individualistic and wacko designs (he died in 1926). Gaudí's first works were designed in gothic and traditional Spanish architectural modes, but he soon developed his own distinct sculptural style. French architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc, who promoted an evolved form of gothic architecture, proved a major influence on Gaudí. But the student surpassed the master architect and contrived highly original designs – irregular and fantastically intricate. Some of his greatest works, most notably La Sagrada Família, have an hallucinatory power. The church is trippy.

Eitan is distressed this morning as his white Izod is too small and the alternatives are in the wash. At first he refuses to leave the house for school, but in the end we compromise and he wears his winter coat. It's 13 Celcius but so what?

Madeleine: "Can I ride Erik's motorcycle around the block?" (presumably Erik would drive but this unclear)

Madeleine wraps medical gauze tightly around her ankle. When I ask why, she very solemnly says: "Dad, my bones have rubbed together."

Wednesday, September 5

Olympics 2012

OK, it is a little premature but Eitan is trying out for the Wandsworth Swimming Club this Saturday (Madeleine is too young). Unfortunately for me and my unfulfilled athletic aspirations, London is not a swimming friendly town unlike, say, Mission Viejo or Fort Lauderdale. Most U.K. pools were built sometime around or shortly after The War and many are 33 meters (vs the standard 25 or 50m) and indoors - yuk. Despite this, England's squad has produced some recent world class competitors including David Davies (14:45 in the 1500m) and Christie Balfour (1:07 in the 100m breast-stroke). For the Olympics, lottery dollars are going into sports generally including swimming so there is a chance the home advantage will produce results (unlike the England football team). Eitan's sport is football anyways, which is perfectly sensible considering the tedium of laps and the 0500 wake-ups. Photo of Michael Phelps from U.S. Swimming.

Erik Zehender arrives yesterday from Stuttgart after ten hours on his Harley Davidson motorcycle. Erik and I have known each other since The Mighty First Boston, beginning our first after-college jobs in 1989. After First Boston, Erik collected his MBA at Chicago and went to Goldman Sachs in Frankfurt where he learned German on the job (Erik has always been tougher than me). The past four years he has travelled the world climbing mountains in every continent excluding Antarctica, and including the Alps, Himalayas, Tien Shan, Andes, Alaskan and Patagonian ranges. His goal, he says, was to climb the prettiest peaks in each of these ranges. He stays with us in London while checking out neighborhoods and next finance jobs in the City.

Tuesday, September 4

Le Big Mac

I read in today's Le Monde, of all places, that it is the 40th birthday of McDonald's Big Mac (image by Andy Flesses). The original recipe was stirred up (ar ar) by Jim Delligati for his Pennsylvania franchise and is now part of the cultural heritage of America (hear the French snigger). Today, a Big Mac is sold in 30,000 restaurants in 100 countries - none of which have gone to war with each other. The Economist magazine, famously, began using the Mac as a price index between cities: the average in the USA is $2.69 compared to $4.17 in Europe and $1.45 in China. We went just the other day, where the sandwich sold for £1.94 or about $4.00 49% more dear than America. What's up with that, Ronald?

St Paul's

I take this photo of Wren's Dome during intermission at The Globe, which spills onto the Thames embankment. Hidden by the dark are the cranes, which blight the skyline and seem to be everywhere - confirming London's growth, wealth and status (I fear the city becomes sanitised like Manhattan). My friend Tim Jackson once said: "Cities become beautiful 200 years into their decline" which holds mostly true for Europe, anyway. The crossway is the Millennium Bridge.

Sonnet double-books a private tour of her Fashion Now for Eitan and Madeleine's school and the deaf. Unfortunately both have been announced to the public publicly and the show ends September 23. What to do? What to do.

Today is the first day back to school. Eitan is up at 0600, dressed in his school colours and in our bedroom raring to go. Madeleine sleeps in - just another day, ho hum.

A Pound of Flesh

Sonnet and I go to The Globe last night to see The Bard's "Merchant of Venice" - my third of the season, lucky me. For those who don't recall their 10th grade Cliff's Notes, this is the play where merchant Antonio borrows 3,000 ducats from the Jewish money-lender Shylock. In place of interest and to prove his (villainous) friendship, Shylock excepts a bond for his principal plus a "pound of flesh" taken from nearby Antonio's heart. When Antonio's ship does not come in he must represent the bond.... Shylock and Antonio meet in the courts for settlement. Initially it appears that Shylock will have his revenge against the Christian Antonio, who has before treated him poorly. But as the blade is about to fall on flesh, Shylock's court fails him and he is told that "not a drop of blood" may be lost from the cutting (considered un-Christian) and any amount more, or less, than a pound must then be taken from Shylock. Finally, as Antonio's outcome is most certain death, Shylock is accused of murderous intentions and so must forfeit not only his bond but also his house and money which are split equally between Antonio and the state. This play raises the serious argument that Shakespeare was an anti-semite. Initially I was impressed that Shakespeare showed Shylock's ill-treatment and gave Shylock recompense through the courts - even if gruesome. In the end, Shylock is mocked by his daughter and assistant who leave hiim, his business associates and finally the Venetian court which fails Shylock and itself. The play was considered by Shakespeare to be humorous but the outcome raises questions from then and now.

"I am a Jew/ Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs/ dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with/ the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject/ to the same diseases, heal'd by the same means/ warm'd and cool'd by the same winter and summer/ as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?/ If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you/ poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?"
Shylock, The Merchant of Venice

Sunday, September 2

Sunday Walk

I am a bit knackered this morning having stayed up to listen to the Cal Bears play Tennessee in their season football opener at Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, which we win thrillingly 45-31 and so redeem ourselves from 2006's same-day fiasco. Cal's DeSean Jackson, a bona fide Heisman Trophy candidate, returns a punt 77 yards - his first touch of the ball this season and his fifth such return (the NCAA record is eight and Jackson is only a Junior). Go Bears!
I pick up Camilla for our Sunday morning walk (Paul returns from Boston today so cannot join us). Camilla seems to have grown a head since early summer and the kids are happy to be outside on a lovely morning. We climb a few trees then I take them through a pretend army drill, assigning various action roles and requesting a hand-salute and crisp "Sir!" from them the eager privates. The ultimate target is the Ice Cream Truck at the entrance to the park, and not surprisingly - Mission Accomplished.


We see the Tydemans yesterday and Gil (pictured with Natalie and Zak in the background) is the spitting image of his dad including his thoughtful contemplation of his life's surroundings like: "hmmm, I wonder if that birthday party has a proper permit?" We picnic at the Princess Diana playground, which is its usual buzziness with sand-castle-diggers, rope climbers and pirate ship explorers all. Afterwards we go into Hyde Park for hide-and -seek and other various exhausting games. The Tydeman's three children range from one to four and are all remarkably well behaved. Even Zak, the youngest whose birthday is this month, gently taps his mum's shoulder, clearing his throat and exclaiming a short "ah-hem" when he wishes her attention. OK, it's not quite like that but compared to Madeleine's lungs at the same age I wonder if we missed a trick or something. Justin busies himself with a new Nikon camera and otherwise has settled into the new ownership of his company, Selecta, which was bought by Allianz Capital Partners in July (Justin remains Chief Executive). Other then different time pressures, it seems to be business as usual and no stress to Justin.

Madeleine adopts a pineapple, naming it "perfect piney". I ask if she is upset when Sonnet cuts it to slices and Madeleine looks at me like I'm nuts.

Madeleine cries fowl when Eitan steps on her finger while they tree climb. I tell her she can either move her hand or I can yell at Eitan. She, whispering conspiratorialy: "Dad, I want you to yell at Eitan."

Saturday, September 1

Bon Fuck'n Jovi

Here's a chestnut from August, 2000, taken on our way to the last concert ever at Wembley Stadium - Bon Jovi, dude! I organised a group of 30 fans and friends and on a lovely summer's evening we meet at The Globe pub on Baker Street then catch the underground to the sold-out show. The band opens with 'Living On A Prayer' and never looks back, only slowing when Jon Bon Jovi talks. I mean, who really cares that he starred in 'Young Guns II,' which he and us agree totally sucked? Otherwise they rock. I am happily pictured with Verena a Senior Executive at AOL who now lives in Germany, and Puk a fashion designer .

Madeleine, from the back-seat of the car: "If a mosquito could suck on a bone, would he like to do it? Answer it now Dad!"
Eitan prepares to jump from the pirate ship at the Princess Diana Playground (about 10 feet) until I scream at him. Says he: "Aw Dad, you're just thinking of yourself!"
"Weve got to hold on to what weve got
cause it doesnt make a difference
If we make it or not
Weve got each other and thats a lot
For love - well give it a shot"
From Living On A Prayer by Bon Jovi