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Runaway Train

There's a thrill that comes from taking a few days off from the blog that comes from the inflated sense of importance it gives me. After a day and a half, I start receiving emails wondering if anything is wrong. And when I don't answer them, the internet is soon a-buzz with theories as to what's happened. But when the police came to my door to check up on me, the necessity of my posts to my readers was really driven home. Thanks to both of you for your concern.

An excuse I thought I would use for my absence is that my TV service has been resumed. I tried to shut it off back in December, but the clever person in the call-center convinced me to just switch it off for awhile. And now it's back. Possibly I could have been spending the past few days getting reaquainted with an old friend -- but this is an excuse no one would believe. If anything, TV has gotten even worse in six months. Vacuous, repetitive, unimaginative crap -- and the non-news shows are pretty bad too.

The American stations were shocked -- Shocked! -- that dogs had been used to intimidate prisoners in Iraqi jail. This was implied to be some sort of scandal, though they didn't really explain why. Newsworld -- or al-Gorezeera as some internet wit named it -- was covering their coverage of their obsession with the non-issue of abortion in the Conservative campaign with immense dedication. I got to see one clip of an earnest young woman, newly emerged from the bubble she's been trapped in for the past twenty years, ask yet another abortion question at a campaign stop. The sound from the crowd was a groan and a soft clunk as their eyes collectively rolled back in their heads. Her indignation sensor was obviously calibrated far too sensitively, so she started throwing out accusations that she was being heckled. To the person she was asking the question to. It's a wonder how Harper kept a straight face. Can this really be the state of the professional media today?

I'm going to keep the TV going until the end of the election, then off it goes. My children will grow up deprived. Too bad. Let them whine to their therapists about it.

The campaign here in Pontiac is going better than expected. I can't say I've been a big help -- I've done a few updates to the website, and helped with a couple of technical issues -- but mostly I've been on the sideline. But I've been to the meetings and am enjoying watching how a campaign is run. The big thing I've learned is that politics really is local. You can't just put up signs and go around shaking hands in the town center to get elected. You need to know people who know people. You have to earn the trust of those people. Communities are complex networks of people that take cues from others. Winning support of influential citizens goes a long way to winning the votes of the majority. We're doing quite well here as our candidate has deep roots in this area. As well, many of the former organizers for the Liberals here have lost their faith in the party and are angry at the way the incumbent was treated. They're working for us now. Can we win? Well, I'm feeling pretty good about it.

Hey! It's Mama's and my tenth wedding anniversary today! That's a really long time -- just imagine, double digits. And we've been together much longer, almost eighteen years. It's one of those milestones that makes you reassess your vision of yourself -- no, you're not a young man who's life is just beginning, you're a middle-aged guy for whom anything is no longer possible. I hope to delay my mid-life crisis until the kids are in nursery school.

And how about those kids! Three weeks ago Max was still crawling and Talia was much slower. Now .... well, it's crazy around here. Max tries to get into everything. Doors, latches, drawers, windows -- they all fascinate him. His standard response to the word 'no' is an evil smile and a chuckle. Talia is not quite such a terror to objects, but she's a fast mover has has very many strong desires. She's also absolutely incapable of sharing, and one of her strong desires is of whatever it is that Max is holding at any moment. And she's also learned how to scream, did I mention that? Just for fun, she'll let out a blood-curdling, ear-splitting scream for no reason at all. If you live within 50 miles of here, you're probably already aware of it.

But they're fun little guys. I spent the other day inflating a small pool for them to frolic in on hot days. I had lots of time to relect as I did it, and thought about all the other fathers, in the past, present and future, that spent their time assembling some mass-manufactured outdoor playstructure for their kids. This is one of the father's special roles -- mothers don't set up the swingsets or fill the sandboxes -- and I felt a strange bond of solidarity with those other men. And yet I've always felt somewhat isolated from the main currents of human experience. I've always been an outsider, or so I thought, living in a different world.

But I'm not. Fatherhood is the most normal thing in the world. Who would have thought it would feel so wonderful?


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Bruce, Michelle. Feliz aniversario, les deseo muchos decenios mas.....andrew

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