Thoughts — 15 December 2010 Includes travel notes on the latest in Bermuda

From the top: Karen and Ivan at the Ocean Club in Nassau; Jeremy in school; Elizabeth ready to party; various scenes in Bermuda and at the Reefs Hotel in Bermuda 

We are glad to be at the end of this year. Karen’s been quite busy at work this year dealing with a scandal that involved an FBI investigation. Like living through a year-long episode of Law and Order starring yourself.  Imagine coming in to kiss your wife on your anniversary morning and finding her in bed on the phone with the local FBI agent. I thought I’d send her roses signed, Love, Fred and the FBI….

While I was away with Elizabeth one weekend in Florida attending a family party, Jeremy decided that he wanted a date with his mum that Saturday night. He threw his dinner including his plate in the garbage and said he wanted to go to a restaurant for pizza. He’s doing better at talking; he told his therapist last week that he had lost his voice and that she should go home now…So now already he dispenses with the help….I found Elizabeth playing “hotel” with Jeremy and she assigned him the role of concierge. …We went out to eat this week and we are actually beginning to get past the kiddie menus. How quickly the phases come and go! But if somebody could please explain to me why Elizabeth thinks Squash is Disgusting while she Loves Pumpkin (and some species of these items are indistinguishable), I’m all ears!

We are leaving this Friday to Ozzieland; our kids have Australian passports and it is time for them to visit their family there. Elizabeth will be 5 years old the day she arrives for her first visit. We will be away for 3 weeks and visiting Auckland New Zealand, Sydney Australia and Honolulu Hawaii. Notes to follow next month.

This past month Karen and I went to the Ocean Club in Nassau to chill out for a few days away from everyone. I had been there a year ago by myself and liked it a lot. We both had the same experience together and will return there with the kids in February. We checked out Atlantis and it took Karen about 45 minutes there to figure out that we do not want to stay in that chaotic place but that it would be good to spend a few hours there at the water park; you really can’t do much of the water park until a kid is at least 40 inches tall anyway. If you stay in the Ocean Club, you are permitted entry to Atlantis. The Dolphin encounter looks interesting too… We also went with the kids to The Reefs in Bermuda over Thanksgiving weekend. We stayed in these timeshare units that were spectacular except that they don’t allow repeat stays in those units. The hotel itself was friendly, food was good, the site itself is spectacular and its beaches are as beautiful as anything in the Caribbean (although a bit cooler in late November at approximately 72-75 degrees). We walked 20 minutes to the lighthouse and climbed up to the top with the kids; we went to the skirling ceremony (scottish bagpipes and drums) at Fort Hamilton on Monday at noon; Marks and Spencers has basically shut down its children’s department; and we enjoyed the Royal Dockyards for an hour or two on a Sunday. The Italian restaurant in the Southhampton Princess was pretty disappointing; dinner in the Lido at the Elbow Beach resort was excellent, and the restaurant in the Reefs hotel was also excellent. It’s a bit far from town so we tended to eat on site 2 of the 4 nights we were there. We would return to that hotel in a few years because with little kids it is a bit scary since everything is at the top of a cliff and you don’t have to walk far off the beaten path to fall off the side of a cliff. I wouldn’t recommend it to people with kids under 5.  If you can’t get the Residences, the beachfront junior suites and suites are quite decent and even the standard rooms are OK but you wouldn’t put a family of 4 into just one of them. We also visited the Tuckers Point hotel, which is the newest 5 star hotel in Bermuda that sets the standard. We were disappointed; found it cold and sterile and the adults were snarling at our kids. We also found lunch there very mediocre and pricey. We’ll leave the place to the Bloombergs and the Perots..

A few thoughts about some items in the news and then I’m outta here.

The Bipartisan commission’s plan to balance the budget is very close to what I’ve been suggesting on Global Thoughts for the past few years. Maybe they are reading this site….You might have noticed that in the new tax bill the hedge fund managers still are getting taxed at 15% on their income; this was one of the biggest outrages that people wanted to kill last year. Evidently they are a very effective lobby for themselves.

During late September I had a discussion with someone from a major Jewish organization that deals with legislative advocacy of domestic issues such as school vouchers for private schools. One of the outrages here is that people have to pay taxes to support public education and get no tax break for sending their own kids to private schools at the same time which means that the other taxpayers get a free ride on their kids. I was told there will not be support for vouchers coming from the Christian community who you would think also supports private schools. He says that Catholic schools are supported by the church anyway and the rest of Christians don’t really send their kids to religious private schools. Most of America basically sends their kids to public schools.

This WikiLeaks stuff of course is great reading and it is good to see it in print. We are not really learning anything we didn’t already know but at least it is keeping the system honest. Perhaps there will be fewer stuff written down and people will bypass the state department but those in the know always have anyway….I can’t wait to see how Henry Kissenger talks himself out of the revelation in the latest release of Nixon tapes that if Russia gassed its Jews it would not be an American concern….

Curious fact: An editor of Der Spiegel, a German news magazine, said that if they have a slow news week but put a picture of Hitler on the cover they sell an extra 100,000 copies?

Curious fact that will bedevil business school students for a generation: An Indian company thought it would revolutionize the small car market by selling a car that would hold a family of 4 for about $2,500. Before it was released, it had a huge waiting list. In October in all of India, after being on the market for awhile, the Nano car sold 509 units. It seems that was good in the marketing mind didn’t quite pan out in practice. People didn’t like that you couldn’t find a place to park it in a slum; it used too much gas per gallon so it wound up costing the same to use as a two-wheeler (which it was meant to replace); and it didn’t help that the cars were catching fire every so often. People also wanted to aspire to a better car if they actually afford it.

Happy End of the Year to One and All!

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