Hey, it's a young Karen Allen for Bleat soda!

When you swing a healthy four-year old up in the air and carry her up a hill with one arm, you’re going to strain your pectoral muscles. Either that, or I’m having a very lazy heart attack. Can’t be bothered to radiate – now, I’ll just sit right here and twinge off and on. It’s actually a familiar pain; I used to get it from pinball. Or from carrying my briefcase. Or from sleeping. Bottom line, I am one tightly-wound person. My default mode is muscular contraction. The only way I can get a good night’s sleep is by standing outside with a beer bottle, shouting at the neighbors, and waiting for the cops to show up so I can goad them into tasering me. Never works.

This will be short, since A) I have a column to do tonight, B) I have jacques merde to say about anything, and C) I was up late last night working on that interminable Bleat, and followed it with 30 minutes of an intriguing movie called “Equilibrium.” Very odd. Minority Report meets Gattaca meets Brave New World meets 1984. I kept expecting it to bore me, but it has so far failed to meet my expectations. I went to sleep late, woke much later than I expected to a quiet house: my wife had slipped off to work, and Gnat was still sleeping. Ah. Perfect. Went downstairs and opened the windows, expecting the thin fall chill – but no. No! It was warm, and it the breeze had promise. Perfect for our annual trip to the Rose Garden.

It’s an annual trip because, well, we do it every year at the end of summer. I’ve videotaped two visits, and that means that I must conclude every summer DVD with a trip to the fountains and flowers, if only to chart her growth. Today was – well, you choose the word. We went up the big hill, explored an enchanted forest (true! A thicket with tunnels big enough for me to stand erect “It’s an adventure,” Gnat said. “We’re having an adventure.”) We observed spiderwebs with actual captured flies, threw coins in the fountain, ran back up the hill then rolled down like logs. Best day ever.

“What are we going to have for supper?” I asked as we laid in the shade, looking up at the sky.

“PIZZA!” she shouted. “P –I – Z –Z –A!”

And so we did.

I can’t add a thing to the forgery controversy, even in my capacity as a lily-gilder. The efforts of the Powerline guys and Charles Johnson speak for themselves, and you ought to read them before you make up your mind.

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t know what I mean? Possible. It’s the old non-contiguous information stream issue again. I mentioned the story to someone today – a friend who has his ideas about politics, of course, but doesn’t follow the braided strands of intrigue that thread through the blogosphere. He’s an independent. Ventura voter. He’d heard about the latest round of National Guard stories, and he couldn’t care less. I told him about the forgery rumors; he was amused. Did it change his opinion of CBS? Not really, because he didn’t care for them one way or the other. Dan Rather’s news was the Daily Show without the laughs.

Anecdotal evidence, of course, take it for what it’s worth. But I think the number of people who regard the evening news as straight truth delivered by disinterested observers, can be numbered in the high dozens. Blogs haven’t toppled old media. The foundations of Old Media were rotten already. The new media came along at the right time. Put it this way: you’ve see films of old buildings detonated by precision demolitionists. First you see the puffs of smoke – then the building just hangs there for a second, even though every column that held it up has been severed. We’ve been living in that second for years, waiting for the next frame. Well, here it is. Roll tape. Down she goes. And when the dust settles we will be right back where we were 100 years ago, with dozens of fiercely competitive media outlets throwing elbows to earn your pennies.

In retrospect, TV looks like a big smothering quilt: it killed the afternoon papers, forced the survivors to consolidate; it reshaped the news cycle to fit its needs, shifted the emphasis to the visual. It fed off the Times and the Post and other surviving papers, which had institutionalized the Watergate and Vietnam templates as the means by which we understand events. The old-line media, like its Boomer components, got old, and like the Boomers, it preferred self-congratulation to self-reflection. And so the Internet had it for lunch, because the Internet does not have to schedule 17 meetings to develop a strategy for impactfully maximizing brand leverage in emerging markets; the Internet does not have to worry about how a decision will affect one’s management trajectory; the Internet smells blood and leaps, and that has turned the game around, for better or worse. So we’re back to where we were in 1904 – except that the guys on the corner shouting WUXTRY, WUXTRY aren’t grimy urchins selling the paper – they’re the people who wrote the damn thing, too.

I repeat my earlier obvious advice to middle-market newspapers: go local.

And yes, I carried a briefcase in college. I also wore a tie all the time. This is why it doesn’t hurt if people call me a dork now. Oh, I think. You have no idea.