Snow Boarding.

A few days ago, my five year old daughter told me that she was snowboarding at school with her friend I. I told her that was neat. I know that she and her friends take their sleds (called toboggans in Canada, I learned the hard way*) up a small hill, built by a parent equipped with a light-duty snow pusher, and then slide down. How would she possibly know about snowboarding, an exercise in craziness where adults slide down hills standing up?
Apparently, I. was shown how by a friend of hers how to snowboard on kids’ toboggans and then I. showed my daughter how to do it. Today, at a hill near her future school, Maeve stood up on her plastic purple toboggan, put her feet perpendicular to the path, shuffled herself forward, grabbed the rope at the front and slid down the hill, balancing herself all the way until the end when she fell and, on cue, laughed! I literally could not believe me eyes. She was snowboarding, comfortably, balanced on her tobaggan, straight down the hill. No fear. One year ago, this was not possible. Six months ago, this was not possible. It was beautiful.
* A few years ago, upon my initial intro to Canadian culture with my friend M.M., I was shown a tobaggan chute in a Winnipeg park where every kid in the area tobaggans. I was amazed because, in the States, a tobaggan chute is generally the property of competitive bobsledders, who speed down hills at 75 miles per hour without brakes on their sleds. In my naivite, I asked M.M. “Have you ever tobogganed?”

Giving Up On Email.

I so want to do what journalist Tom Hodgkinson did. He just told everyone he’s done with email. End of story (more or less). No spam, no checking email at night and in the early morning. No anticipation of emails. No file size attachment issues. No longing for past contact with people electronically. Just the phone, the mail, and the sweet sound of silence.
P.S. I’m not actually going to do this. Unfortunately, that sound of silence would also be the sign of starvation.

House of Cards.

Libby is going to jail. Bush is sending more troops to Iraq. Cheney may resign in the coming days. Military hospitals, the Katrina clean-up and Middle East affairs are being run poorly. The house of cards built by the Bush family and their supporters in 2000 and 2004 is starting to crumble under the weight of its own ineptitude and hubris. Even more importantly, it’s falling because the administration has, since January 2002, demonstrated a careless disregard for the people it governs. History will likely be more ruthless to this administration than any other; as many have noted, even Nixon’s reign will look okay, in retrospect. As my own dad would say, “It couldn’t have happened to nicer people.”
Thomas Friedman has a thoughtful, if reductive, piece in today’s Times. It’s called Don’t Ask, Don’t Know, Don’t Help, but the last part of the headline should be “Don’t Care.” This is the best three paragraphs in the column:

From the start, the Bush team has tried to keep the Iraq war “off the books” both financially and emotionally. As Larry Diamond of Stanford’s Hoover Institution said to me: “America is not at war. The U.S. Army is at war.” The rest of us are just watching, or just ignoring, while the whole fight is carried on by 150,000 soldiers and their families.
In an interview last Jan. 16, Jim Lehrer asked President Bush why, if the war on terrorism was so overwhelmingly important, he had never asked more Americans “to sacrifice something.” Mr. Bush gave the most unbelievable answer: “Well, you know, I think a lot of people are in this fight. I mean, they sacrifice peace of mind when they see the terrible images of violence on TV every night.”
Sacrifice peace of mind watching TV? What kind of crazy thing is that to say?


I turned forty yesterday.
Everyone I know has an opinion about turning 40, which seems to be a critical year in the life of a modern human being. In their responsivness to the issue of turning 40, there seem to be three main groups of people:

  1. Those who say “It’s just a number.”
  2. Those who say “You look great for your age.”
  3. Those who say “It’s better than the alternative.”

Here’s the thing: they’re all right. And I’m feeling alright.
My wife treated me to a wonderfully relaxing, enjoyable and thoroughly memorable weekend. No surprise parties, no question-and-answer periods, no pressures. Just the joy of knowing that I was loved and that I’m an extremely fortunate individual. I counted blessings all weekend. Here are forty of the more publishable ones:

  1. Being alive.
  2. Being known.
  3. Being healthy.
  4. Being wealthy.
  5. Being wise.
  6. Being a father.
  7. Being a husband.
  8. Being self-employed.
  9. Being awake.
  10. Being Jewish.
  11. Being wordly.
  12. Being on earth.
  13. Being honest.
  14. Being trustworthy.
  15. Being sane.
  16. Being of medium build.
  17. Being technical.
  18. Being productive.
  19. Being in Canada.
  20. Being able to read.
  21. Being able to write.
  22. Being able to think.
  23. Being able to create.
  24. Being able to own.
  25. Being able to fight.
  26. Being able to form.
  27. Being able to fantasize.
  28. Being able to run.
  29. Being able to rest.
  30. Being able to rat.
  31. Being able to spent.
  32. Being able to save.
  33. Being able to decide.
  34. Being able to be wrong.
  35. Being able to resist.
  36. Being able to recognize.
  37. Being able to realize.
  38. Being able to blog.
  39. Being able to bleed.
  40. Being able to ride.