Friday, November 30

Robot Love

Chrome Dinette a San Francisco synth band from the early 1980s or right about when I was tuning into music.  In 1982 they put out a 12” single (Robot Love and Can’t Live Without You) and tried to get a record contract. When the label didn’t come, the band broke up, never to be heard from again.

Chrome Dinette played Berkeley's long-gone Key Stone theatre, which I consider whenever driving along University Ave towards campus and my parent's house.  It was a big night when the band in town, across the bay, no ID for alcohol.  Robot Love a pretty good song, too, which holds up even now : there are traces of the Police's Zenyattà Mondatta or the Comateens.  But I was too young for permission to concerts so I listened to my friends' enthusiasms (they being sophomores and juniors in HS). Getting older couldn't come fast enough.

And now, thx to the Internets, I can listen to Chrome Dinette again. The music hasn't changed, either, but everything else has.

Sonnet, Friday night: "This is the centre of excitement. 45 York Avenue, rock'n out."

Run Eitan Run

1.5 Km course in Richmond Park near Pembroke Lodge

Eitan competes in the Richmond borough cross country race for Hampton School. He finishes second (of about 60) and the top nine runners qualify for county championships some time next year.

Madeleine has term-end exams and butterflies: first marks on the permanent record.  The school informs me (at the the parent-teacher evening) that the children not meant to feel "pressurised" but, rather, to enjoy learning. Me, I see the mums at the morning drop-off and they are here to compete.

I ease into Friday taking the afternoon to work from home; Rusty snoozes as I blog.

Madeleine text to Sonnet: "Exam was hell "

Thursday, November 29

Oxford St

Young couple near Bond Street 

Oxford St the busiest High St in the West End and, indeed, the busiest shopping street in Europe.  Its 1.5 miles stretch from Marble Arch to Centre Point and hosts 300 shops mostly of the throw-away fashion : H&M, French Connection, HMV, Look and so on and so forth.  The road blocked to car traffic, excluding the double-decker red buses, and crammed with young shoppers from everywhere.  Me, I sometimes dip into Selfridges or Uniqlo but mostly I try to stay away : too much, too many.

F-35 And Primrose Gets It

This is what you get for $396 Bn

The Pentagon's all-in cost for designing, building and maintaining 2,443 F-35s fighters, to be delivered in the late 2030s, runs at $1.4 to $1.5 Tn. So far I and the US have committed $396 Bn to the plane. The F-35 program is 4X costlier than any other weapons system built or imagined. (source: NYT; photo from LMTAS).

Harvard University's Program on Education Policy and Governance reports in July that foreign students are outpacing their American peers academically. Students in Shanghai who recently took international exams for the first time outscored every other school system in the world. In the same test, American students ranked 25th in math, 17th in science and 14th in reading. Further, six percent of U.S. students performed at the advanced level on an international exam administered in 56 countries in 2006. That proportion is lower than those achieved by students in 30 other countries.


Me: "So have you finished the Hunger Games series?"
Madeleine: "Yes."
Me: "Tell me what happened ! I need to know .. ."
Madeleine: "It's too long to explain."
Me: "Please, I'm begging you."
Madeleine: "Primrose burst in to flames."
Madeleine: "And dies."
Me: "That's pretty cool."
Madeleine: "I guess."
Me: "Was it sad?"
Madeleine: "No, not really."
Me: "So it was a happy ending then?"
Madeleine: "Not for Primrose."

Wednesday, November 28

Merry Tills

The British holiday shopping season mirrors the US - Thanksgiving to Boxing Day.  Oxford Street and everywhere dolled up for the cash machine and no wonder : UK retail is 8% GDP and the year-end rush 25% of annual volumes.  Throw in Hanukkah from 9 December and life is looking rosy.

I introduce Astorg to Diageo regarding a portfolio company that makes premium glass bottles.  Diageo the world's largest producer of spirits including Johnie Walker, Jose Cuervo and Kettle One.  And also Captain Morgan rum, based on the 17-th century Welsh swash buckler Sir Henry Morgan who cheers "To Life, Love and Loot!" Afterwards I show one of my Astorg friends around Kew Gardens where we have lunch at the Orangery. A nice afternoon, even if grey, away from the 8e.

Tuesday, November 27

Three Photos Of Paris

Inside the Jeu de Paume

Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré

Hôtel Costes

Sunday, November 25

Madeleine Cranks

Today the first time I see Madeleine in action with her new club the Barnes Eagles who take on Crystal Palace - tops in the league. The gals play with heart but lose 5-1 (2-1 at half) while three Eagles' strikes  should have found net. Madeleine the youngest on the squad by a year as this is U12s. She plays valiantly and physically: nobody notices her age.

I have never been at a hotel where everybody knows my name and that is how it is in Paris. There is a great scene in The Graduate where Benjamin takes Elaine to the hotel where he has been bedding Mrs. Robinson and Elaine notes that the staff know him (Benjamin denies it of course).

And, as I seem to be a preferred guest, I am upgraded to the player's suite complete with black animal skin lounge chairs, multiple media and a stylish shag carpet. Mrs. Robinson would be right at home.


A dude at Waterstone's

No High Street in Britain without bookseller Waterstone's, which operates 295 stores across the island. The company's flagship on Piccadilly, where I am last week, reading Graham Greene, awaiting my next meeting, in the the Simpsons-Of-Piccadilly building.

Eitan, Madeleine and Zara race from the dinner table.
Me: "Stop! Dishes, please."
Madeleine: "What? We have a friend over!"
Me: "Zara you can help, too."
Madeleine: "That is so unfair."
Me: "Those are the breaks. You're mom and I have been working all day."
Madeleine: "Yeah, right Dad. Taking a nap."
Me: "I walked right into that one."
Madeleine: "We just want to go and play. Zara: don't do any dishes."
Me: "In this house, if you are under 11, you are doing the dishes."
Madeleine: "What about Eitan?"
Me: "Sorry, kid, and if you keep complaining then I can think of some other things for you to do."
Madeleine (under her breathe): "Just wait until I turn 12."
Me: "And, as the maker-of-rules, I just may raise the under-11 to under-12."
Madeleine: "You are so cruel. You actually enjoy this, don't you?"
Me: "These are the best moments. By far."
Madeleine: "Just wait and see when I turn 12."


Joseph Emberton the architect Simpson's (now Waterstone's) a multiple-floor Modernism building and the first shop in Britain to have an uninterrupted curved-glass frontage. This new style made possible by arc-welding a wide-span steel frame, rather than earlier techniques that used bulky bolted joints. The interior designed with rooms conforming to domestic proportions arranged around an open staircase.

The building notable for the 42-foot spans of its welded steel framing, which produced one of the most elegant shop interiors of the decade or any time, although the purity of the concept compromised as a result of interventions by the London County Council. It was faced in Portland stone as required by the landlord to be consistent with the neighbourhood.

There was a men's toilet between the ground and first floors perfect for an emergency leak but, probably owing to popularity, it closed last summer.

Saturday, November 24

Re Take

Eitan before Saturday football practice

Sonnet and the kids home from swimming - Friday night - to find me in the kitchen so we dance to MGMT.

Sonnet prepares dinner, Eitan gets a head start on homework; Madeleine watches TV.  How rare for our together on a week night.  Growing up my family nearly always at the table : Moe picked me and Katie up from the King Jr High pool (or, later, I would drive) at 5:30 or 6PM - he could do this since he was the first in his office (after dropping me and Katie off for morning practice, of course).  Grace there to greet us with dinner and a warm house. I think of these things often enough as my adult memories began to gel around Eitan and Madeleine's age now.  Family a big part of it.

Me: "Did you take the bread out of the oven like your mother asked?"
Eitan: "No."
Me: "Did you put it in the oven?"
Eitan: "No."
Me: "How old are you?"
Eitan: "Is that a trick question?"

Thursday, November 22

Happy Thanksgiving

Eitan recites (picture from Aisling)

We have hosted London Thanksgivings for as many as 25 American expats while this year it is us and the Shakespeares and celebrated on Sunday; we are grateful.  Of course we miss our extended family  in Berkeley, Manhattan, Montrose, Medina, St Louis, Portland, Santa Monica, Bronxville, Akron, Denver, La Veta and Atlanta and our friends, wherever you may be.

While Europe barely shrugs over the Second Biggest Holiday Of The Year, for me it feels like a slow-down day.  Half my emails won't be returned, no cross-Atlantic calls to make.  Home away from home though Sky not showing the Houston-Detroit, New England-NY Jets nor Washington-Dallas games (that would be real football, thank you very much).

Top Marks

View from Sonnet's hotel room in Florence

I attend Madeleine's first parent-teacher review at Emanuel and, since there are multiple classes each with a different teacher across various forms, the school hall filled to capacity with stations by subject : maths, sciences, history, etc.  Biscuits and tea dutifully served up.

I get five minutes per teacher and am impressed by their serious natures (esp. English : already Madeleine has had to redo an assignment).  Each encouraging and love our gal's intelligence and enthusiasm ("a pleasure to have in the class" and "always up for it" and so on and so forth).  Madeleine rather nervous upon my return home ("It was really bad, wasn't it Dad?") and more relieved than anything that her marks are more than sufficient. Me, I could not be more proud.

Wednesday, November 21


Women smokes outside the National Portrait Gallery

I am across London for meetings and find time to see the Flowers.  My afternoon ends with Jan at Dukes, always a dangerous thing, but we keep it to one martini.  Probably the right number.  

Walking to the 337:
Madeleine: "There is a candy store, Lundi's, where all the kids go to get their treats after school."
Me: "Oh?"
Madeleine: "They have everything, too."
Me: "I bet. What are your favourites?"
Madeleine: "Yesterday, Peter gave us these sour candies that almost made me cry. But nobody could spit them out."
Me: "Yeah, I hate that.  Do you know who Reggie Jackson is?"
Madeleine: "Who?"
Me: "Reggie Jackson. He was a baseball player who hit three home-runs in one game of the '77 World Series.  At one point he was as famous as David Beckham."
Madeleine: "Or Michael Jackson."
Me: "Exactly.  Any ways, when I was a kid, there was a "Reggie Bar" which was, like, caramel, nuts and chocolate. It was so good."
Madeleine: "Was that your favourite?"
Me: "One of them. I also loved the 'Marathon Bar'. They said it was so slow you would miss saving the girl from the train because you were eating it."
Madeleine: "Whoa. I also like Starbursts and gummies.  Didn't you have 'Now-and-Laters'? Weren't they sour?"
Me: "Kind of, depends which one.  And 'Bubble Yum,' in cherry or grape or regular flavor.  Some kids chose 'Bubblelicious'.  Half the kids chewed 'Bubble Yum' and other half 'Bubblelicious'.  Like Coke v Pepsi.  We were like "Ohhhh you chew Bubblelicous. You think you're so cooool."
Me: "Fights would break out over this stuff."
Madeleine: "You sure like candy, Dad."

Tuesday, November 20

Pucci And Gucci

Eitan on iPhoto

I walk into the living room this morning, pitch dark, and am startled by Eitan : "Hi, Dad, I am having a nap." On some evenings he is home from swim practise at 9:30PM so with dinner and down-time, he may put himself to sleep at 11PM.

Sonnet visits Pucci (Emelio Pucci a Florentine Italian fashion designer and politician whose eponymous company are synonymous with geometric prints in a Kaleidoscope of colours. 2010 revs about $50M) and Gucci (founded by Guccio Gucci in 1921and today Italy's biggest selling brand with ca.€5 Bn of revenues per year).  Nobody does fashion like the Italians.

I pick up the original 'Twilight' from the library to watch with Madeleine - an unusual treat for a Monday night.  She has done most of her homework and Eitan at swimming.  Aneta joins us.  Similar to Harry P, I feel like this youthful phenomenon moved without me.

Monday, November 19

Early Bird

Madeleine commutes (Photo from Sonnet) 

I am on the bus with Madeleine - top level front offering a panoramic sweep of road before us and the dawn crescent : London comes awake in the most intense way.  Taxis, cars, people fight for any free space in the onward rush, rush, rush! to their work slot.

Being with Madeleine a pleasure and we practice spelling words, discuss the swimming gala, talk about play dates and school.  I tell her about my 6:00AM walks with Moe at around her age : he to the bus, me to swim practice.  Eventually I got wise and convinced my father to drive us and Katie to the pool (where Moe also swam laps).

Usually Sonnet takes Madeleine to Emanuel en route to the museum (making Sonnet's inward commute sometimes two-hours) but today she is to Florence.  I (and au pair Aneta) solo with the Shakespeares so I receive emails and texts from Sonnet not yet at the airport (last night, we had a sit-down pow wow to overview the schedule).  Given the logistics of separate schools, multiple sports, teacher's conference (Madeleine), choir (Eitan) and trumpet solo (Madeleine) , work is like a holiday.

Me: "Have you ever missed the bus?"
Madeleine: "Yeah, sometimes, so we have to take the train. Once there was vasaline all over the poles and people were, like, that is so gross. They put bags on their hands to hold on."
Me: "Teenagers."
Madeleine: "Yep. Why would they do that?"
Me: "Who knows but it is kinda funny."
Madeleine: "I guess so, Dad, but you weren't on the train."

Me: "Are you looking forward to Christmas?"
Madeleine: "Yes. And seeing Gracie and Moe and Auntie Katie."
Me: "Me, too."
Madeleine: "It would be terrible to have your birthday on Christmas."
Me: "Oh?"
Madeleine: "You would miss out on all the gifts!"
Me: "Good point. But it would be the best Christmas gift ever for the parents."
Madeleine:  "No kid wants their birthday around Christmas, Dad. April is the best month since there is time between Christmas.  But Marcus has his on April 1 - April fools."
Me: "So, like, hey Marcus - here are your presents. April fools!"
Madeleine: "Yeah. That would be terrible. I feel sorry for him."
Me: "I bet, poor kid."

Sunday, November 18

Red Blood Cell

Eitan spends the afternoon making a red blood cell for his biology class.  He uses red paint, CD discs, a sponge, super glue and "a pen to label everything".  All this laid out on his work space, the kitchen floor.

Sonnet prepares Thanksgiving dinner as she will be in Italy on Thursday and next week end the kids have a swimming gala. The tree leaves have finally turned, and fallen, and the colours are bright orange, yellow and red. Not quite as dramatic as New England but it is not as cold triggering the sudden dramatic colour changes (planetary factoid: A 27 year old has never seen a month of below-average temperatures. Source: Nature).

Eitan's All Stars clobber the Lyne Lions 11 or 12 to 3.  Both kids also compete at the Borough Swim Championships Saturday and Sunday : Eitan the 200 breastroke (3:26), 200 fly (3:15), 100 freestyle (1:08) and the medley relay; Madeleine the 66 meter free, 200 breast stroke and 200 freestyle (3:15 seconds).  Eitan was to run the London cross-country championships on Hamstead Heath but left his cc shoes at school.

Friday, November 16


Sonnet writes Xmas cards while watching Mad Men

Another Friday upon us.  This an unusual week with Paris in the middle putting me off my rythme.  But not Sonnet nor the kids : up before dawn, out the door 6:55AM (Sonnet and Madeleine) and 7:25AM (Eitan).  Me, I catch the early train for a breakfast on Berkeley Sq, a smart part of town (Anchorman Kent Brockman on the Simpsons, which we watch now: "Childhood obesity: It's not funny anymore.")

I notice that most of the people in Mayfair are younger than I am or, at least, those bustling about the grey London streets.

Me: "How was school ?"
Madeleine: "Fine."
Me: "What did you do?"
Madeleine: "Not much."
Me: "Care to add more?"
Madeleine: "No."
Me: "Four words. That may be a new record."
Me: "Don't lose your discipline kid."

Thursday, November 15

Pre School

Eitan off to school.

I am back from Paris : the last two weeks, including Canada, Astorg and I have met with 18 investors representing private equity programs of $117 Bn. This is where the rubber meets the road. Fundraising by private equity firms remains well below the peaks of 2007 - last quarter was about 10% of Q2 2007 - but some partnerships, including Astorg, attract attention. This month Advent Intl closed their seventh fund at €8.5 Bn, the largest since Lehman flatlined, at the 'hard cap' - they turned away interest.

So what does it all mean? In France, investment has surpassed fundraising by €5 Bn for three years bringing the capital surplus 'overhang' to €19 Bn or about two years of deal-making which, in theory, should bring prices down for primary transactions.  So far, though, this has not been the case.   The market clinched thanks to Hollande's tax proposals where sellers need clarity on how their capital gains to be treated. For now it is a moving target.

Wednesday, November 14

Op-Ed Go

Katie's staff map out 2013

Katie's business continues to grow : in the next couple of weeks The Op-Ed Project has seminars with PwC, Arizona State University, Depaul and NYC.  Her ongoing programs are Yale, TWU, Emory, PwC, Dartmouth and Northwestern.  Then there are the various many success of Op Ed alum in Slate, Huffington Post and the New York Times.

The thing about growth for most businesses is that it is not linear but exponential : once it grows, it takes off.

Monday, November 12

Jog On

Madeleine reads in the kitchen

It is tough to arrive in Paris, late, and 'Alien' on the television.

Christian and I get one last run in - which reminds me of our final loop in Central Park when he left NY for Chicago and Sonnet and I split for the unknown.  That was 15 years ago in May 1997.  Christian and I (with Adam) jogged along the waterfront in San Francisco before my first date with Sonnet in June 1993.  We ran the NY Marathon in sub-freezing temperatures listening to the Smashing Pumpkins to get fired up - 1996.  He and I have logged countless miles on Wild Cat Canyon Road and Nimitz Way in Tilden park.

Sunday, November 11

Sunday Evening

Madeleine devours "The Hunger Games"

Christian and I take Eitan to his match against Melbrook FC, with their Inter-Milan kits, who travel from "Croydon way" to join us. The All Stars win the non-league, Surrey Cup match 9-2.

Madeleine begins her career with the Barnes Eagles and, while her side loses 11 to 3, our gal plays the second half with enthusiasm.

Christian brings gifts : Cal swimming and soccer t-shirts for the Shakespeares, Peet's coffee for Sonnet and Michael Chabon's "Telegraph" about Berkeley, purchased at Moe's bookstore, a Berkeley institution for over 50 years. Moe's across the street from the once-great Cody's Books, which closed in 2008 leaving a physical and emotional hole on Telegraph Ave. Cody's , founded in 1956, " a pioneer in bookselling, bringing the paperback revolution to Berkeley, fighting censorship, and providing a safe harbor from tear gas directed at anti- Viet Nam War protesters throughout the 1960s and 1970s" (says KQED).  

Saturday, November 10

Betty Draper

Sonnet multi-tasks

Paul and Camilla over for lunch and we reminisce about our walks. Eitan returns from a Hampton match in school coat and tie, though Saturday, as required for away-games (1-1 draw, school undetermined); Aggie picks up Madeleine (hereself home from football ) to practice netball in the common while Christian checks out M83 on youtube.  Aneta pops into the kitchen and does a turn-around given the crowd.  Rusty jumps up and down on Camilla with excitement until I let him in the backyard where he leaps after a squirrel. It could be a song by the Beatles.

Seduced By Art

Christian and Sonnet on the lower-level of the Sainbury Wing

We join Scott and Cindy for Friday late-night at the National Gallery. On show : a view of the old master paintings through the camera lens, the first time the museum has exhibited photography .

Afterwards we have dinner at the National Cafe which has a series of Friday night socials , mostly for young Londoners, showcasing a renown chef. Last night, it is Chef Patron from Michelin-Starred Murano and Angela Hartnett MBE, one of Britain's most successful chefs, serving tagine, family style (at closing Angela mingles with the singles).

Scott and I recall, amongst other things, a dinner from ten years ago in Belgravia where we were seated, by coincidence, next to Sean Connery and his wife who, we thought for a blissful moment, was Ursula Andress for the ultimate Bond Reunion.  Alas it was not but fun nonetheless.

Friday, November 9

Christian And M83

Post concert, Brixton Academy

Christian arrives from San Francisco and we converge at 45 following my return from Paris to pick up Sonnet and Lorena to head to Brixton (I say a quick 'hi' to Eitan, who is buried in homework while Madeleine at swim practise).  We see M83, a French electronica band, which is de la mode : a big concert that opens with a goblin-like monster emitting green lasers from its fingers before a sonic blast of sound overwhelms the crowd. Levitation.  It is mind bending.

Sonnet, mind you, up at 5:55AM this morning to ensure the kids to school and this afternoon speaks at a conference.  Christian counts the minutes to the first martini at Dukes.

Tuesday, November 6


Obama by Terry Richardson

Remarkably the elections down to a razor's edge.  Europeans don't understand it but my sister explains: Americans own their individualism which is more Romney than Obama.  Nobody wants to be associated with a handout.  Owning a gun enters the equation, as does gay marriage and Wall Street. Religion, too, but weirdly there has been no exposee on Mormonism which would not be so if the Republican a Jew or Catholic.  As Bill Clinton notes, it also about the arithmetic - Romney lies about balancing the budget while cutting taxes and increasing military spending and etc.  Trickle down hasn't worked since Harding and it didn't work very well then, either.

Ever since I started wearing cufflinks 15 years ago, it is 50:50 that I get the outside cuff link correct, which means taking off my shirt and re-threading the damn thing (usually when running late).  But now it strikes me : match the forearm button to the outer button and, voila, problem solved.

Monday, November 5

Back-To-School Monday

Belated Hallowe'en

Sonnet at Buckingham Palace for a cocktail soiree honouring Judy Kelley whose recent book about Her Majesty's jubilee wardrobe.  Since Monday, the Queen not in residence, which makes plenty good sense to me.  Sonnet sashays with fashion historians, book publishers and members of the Royal Household inside the Royal paintings gallery where hangs Reynolds, Ruebens and van Dykes.  I have chili con carne with the kids.

Me: "Good day back at school ?'
Madeleine: "They gave us loads of homework.  I had to write an essay about a Roman who was, like, 90 years old, and he died. It was 200 BC which is ages before the Tudors."
Me: "What was his name?"
Madeleine: "I don't remember."
Me: "You don't remember?"
Madeleine: "Yes, Dad, I don't remember."
Me: "I'll give you two treats."
Madeleine: "Cornelius Nepos."
Me: "Well done."

Eitan has trouble setting up his iPod.
Me: "Didn't it come with instructions?"
Eitan: "What good would that do?"

--Rusty, in the office, while I am on the phone

Sunday, November 4

Richmond Pk Ferns


Madeleine wants a family walk and here we are Sunday afternoon. It is properly autumn - cold and blustery also wet.  The dog happy.  Tomorrow Guy Fawkes and, for the first time in eight years, I am not manning the BBQ pit.  There are not too many things I have done for so long.  The times are a-changin.

Madeleine: "I finished my book."
Me: "Oh? What are you reading?"
Madeleine: "Beowulf."
Me: "Cool, tell me about it."
Madeleine: "It was about a man named Beowulf."
Madeleine: "Okay. Okay. It is an old English story about this guy Beowulf, and he fights Grendel, a monster, who has been killing all of Hogarth's men in a big hall."
Me: "And then what happens?"
Madeleine: "He tears off Grendel's arm so he bleeds to death and so Grendel's mom seeks revenge and pulls Beowulf into an underground cave below some water but Beowulf kills her too."
Me: "Sounds fierce."
Madeleine: "It was. Then, later, Beowulf is King and he has to fight a dragon after someone stole the dragon's goblet and gave it to Beowulf as a gift. Beowulf didn't know it was the dragon's goblet but it didn't matter because the dragon scorched everything. So Beowulf had to kill him."
Me: "That was excellent Madeleine. And what do you admire about Beowulf?"
Madeleine: "I admire that he was brave and killed lots of people."

Marcus And Adrianne

Sonnet in East London

In Toronto I see Marcus and Adrianne who cross the border for dinner at an excellent hole-in-the-wall Chinese : Toronto has one of the largest Chinatowns in North America, second to San Francisco. The honeymooners enjoy themselves : Marcus takes classes at Niagra University where Adrianne oversees grant writing and development; next year Marcus will take a course on this subject taught by .. Adrianne. We each agree : interesting.

Three Essays And An iPod

Madeleine does some homework

Today the last day of the two-week half-term and so the kids scramble to do what they have put off : my three essays.  They cry, complain and bemoan their circumstances which, in the end, requires a direct command - sit! - at the kitchen table and get it done.  It takes maybe 45 minutes work and, for the amount of resistance and procrastination misery, it seems hardly worth it. But oh yes it is, boy.

And with one-click^tm of a mouse, Eitan has an iPod.  He cracks his safe-box (disguised as a photo book) and hands me his hard-saved allowance.  The boy has done his research and knows what he wants : white, 8 gig and wi-fi. We discuss Spotify, iTunes and ripping CDs.  . . This is how a middle-aged man bonds with his son these days.  Moe and I used to toss a football.

NB : Our policy on computers is downstairs only and no gaming. Eitan's purchase catches us out. I am more liberal - trust the little animals - but Sonnet knows better: "I don't want to be the bad guy telling you that you cannot play on your iPod" and of course she is right.  The rules stand.

Saturday, November 3


Montreal's Olympic Stadium (photo from the web)

I return from several days in Canada starting in Montreal and ending in Toronto.  I travel with AFIC, the French venture capital association, to convince Canadian investors of the merits of French private equity.  Despite the European crisis, questionable Euro and Hollande tax scheme which initially aimed to tax carried interest at 95% in France, we put our best chin forward, meeting with a number of the Canada's largest institutional investors.

Montreal a French city (the French drop the "t" from the city's name so "Monreal") and I am happy with my tongue which holds up through travel fatigue and multi-course dinners. I enjoy speaking to my friends in their mother language.

Europeans love Montreal for its size, aethetic and sensibility.  It is like Boston and San Francisco : a managle place.  Once Montreal the city of Canada but when the seperatists took control in the '70s, wanting to split Quebec from the country, Big Business split for Toronto, which has grown to five million people while Montreal has stayed about the same size. The '76 Olympics didn't help much, either, bankrupting Montreal and taking taxpayers 30 years repay the debts.

Madeleine (after we watch the film Litte Big Man): "Are there any Indians left?"
Me: "Yes. Do you remember New Mexico? 
Madeleine: "Do they kill rabbits?"
Madeleine: "To eat. Do they?"
Me: "I guess so. I had not thought of it."
Madeleine: "Yeah, I thought so."