Okay, this doesn’t count. I’m on vacation, dammit! What am I doing? Well, I’m not doing anything with the story I linked to yesterday, because I value my sanity and my time; I have no desire to stay up until 1:15 stomping on some stupid biased AP wire story. Better to go outside, pour Sterno on the anthills and flick lit matches at the glistening slick. But since I had to write a column tonight I figure this isn’t a real vacation day; that starts tomorrow. Somehow. Monday was just my birthday.

And a fine one: it began, as I knew it would, with a pre-dawn whispering visit from Gnat, who couldn’t wait to give me her hand-drawn card. My gift was simple: an expansion pack for Medal of Honor. (I am not heartened by the screenshots on the box, which seem to indicate I will be charging a tank with a rifle, but this is not exactly a realistic game.) The best part was Cake, at least for Gnat, who foresaw a great search through the city for our perfect confection. I managed these expectations downward until the trip to Byerly’s for a frozen cheesecake sounded like some exotic expedition fraught with mystery and wonder. We hit the Play Place before the store; I read “White City” while she clambered around the multi-story warren, then I joined her by the Climbing Wall to help her scale a plastic rock-face studded with ersatz fossils. It was cold outside – late September weather, really. Horrible. I read 20 pages, maybe 25. I had to cook my own dinner. At 6:25 I was bent over in a neighbor’s yard picking up Jasper Dog’s offal, a portion of crap almost identical in hue and width to the bratwurst I fed him the other night. Talk about skillful repackaging.

Best birthday ever. Really; life has never been better. Maybe it has, but I doubt it, and I’m disinclined to prove that assertion.

Did some rote work while listening to the Hewitt show; I was assembling thoughts for my weekly editorial column, and I realized that I couldn’t write about Christmas in Cambodia. Not possible. The news cycle for editorial pages sometimes takes a week; it is a stately procession with the pundits atop their floats doing the queen-wave. Here comes George Will! Here comes Maureen Dowd! Oh, I love a parade. It’s the summation of the conventional wisdom! In sequins! This doesn’t work in this fresh century, when news cycles are banging and revolving like pistons in a lawn mower. In a few years the editorial pages will be much like the newsweeklys, primers for those who haven’t been paying attention. You’ll have editorial boards, which will convene on Monday and assign someone the SwiftVets edit for the big showpiece Sunday page – while people are getting text-message updates six times an hour on their cell phones.

(20 minute gap while I tried to get Gnat back to bed. Criminey. WHERE is the DUCT TAPE.)

I apologize if my comments last week on the SwiftVets were indistinct, or seemed dismissive – not my intention. I don’t know what I meant to say, other than Vietnam as an issue has no particular resonance with me, and that my own past makes me disinclined to parse the details of the worthiness of Kerry’s medals. I think the charges are relevant and deserve scrutiny, but as I said, I leave that to others; I’m more interested in how the story does or does not bloom and blossom in the elephantine media. Christmas in Cambodia was finally mentioned Monday on Fox news, which may be the tipping point. The other channels are now free to discuss the issue by discussing the controversy, which is the standard excuse. For Fox to break a story – well, it’s like Paris Hilton hiking up her skirt to show a new tattoo that depicts details of a planned Al Qaeda attack. Consider the source! But the tattoo seems unusually detailed, and coincides with reports from other sources. Perhaps that’s the food chain of the future: Drudge > blogs > Fox > CNN > New York Times > Maureen Dowd. A relay race with a lit stick of dynamite as the baton. Can she bury it in a pail of sand in time? Stay tuned!

Seriously: I’m on vacation. Later. I’m GONE. DONE. Oh, and the cake was Eli’s Cheesecake: 28 grams of carbs for a nice slice. You want to know the good thing about giving up sugar? Eating sugar again.

I will compensate by eating nothing but salami for a week.

I’m on a health kick, you know.


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c. 1995-2004 j. lileks