Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I spit on you & your lemur. Stop it.

Very heartening to be able to name a post after an (admittedly) late period Idlewild album. (Actually, screw that. It used to be "The Remote Part", but I've since changed the title, after something I saw at Sub Pop. Much better.)

Much more heartening than my recent rate of posting. It's not so much that I haven't been up to much (cue parenthetical link-dump, for recent activities and japes), just that I haven't found the time during daylight hours to write it all up. In fact, the only decent chunk of out-of-school writing I have assembled of late is a long-ass mecha-gig review for Sugarzine.

But behind all this high-brow consumption has been a weekend spent communing with a sleek, expensive phallic symbol. No, not those ones. I am a recent purchaser of a Logitech Harmony 550 Universal Remote. Now, if you're responding with the same baffled "wha?" that Mrs. Cutesome evidenced when I brought it home, you might want to toddle off and wait for me to get out from under my dayjobpile and (yay!) freelancepile and hit the mid-level slope eateries.

But I must say, universal remotes are very cool. Even if one has only 4-5 devices, it's nice to be able to chuck all of the non-essential remotes into a draw for later use, and replace them with a slim, space-age object that glows blue in the dark. And there's something very appealing about taking an empty vessel, and filling it with commands, rather like I imagine (utterly stupidly) being a father might be.

The 550 is the second cheapest remote on offer, and also the slimmest. Fans of NY1's instant votes will notice that it only offers two spare buttons, marked A and B, and no C, although you can do what I did and assign another button to be C. It seems to have a decent range, and has that motion sensor thing that causes it to light up when you pick it up, although such a feature is available, with varying degrees of efficacy, on several other, cheaper remotes.

But the programming is quite a pain the ar*e. This cannot be denied, especially when my weekend doom-laying slowed to a trickle as a result of repeated engagements with the device. The most glaring issue is that the remote came with software two versions old. It could be that good old J&R was sat on an old one, but I think caution, and a prominent notice to download the latest software, would be key.

The software does crash abruptly occasionally, but so frequently as to ruin your day, and the latest version is a little cumbersome, but pretty clear. I'd say this it concentrates on taking the casual user through the process at great length rather than providing a fast and simple way to change the settings on your remote. But getting the balance of simplicity and intuitiveness (horrible word, I know) is a tough call, and Logitech is inching towards it.

But the necessary modifications are many, and time-consuming. You need to tweak what the different buttons do by hand, and walk your way through the different settings options every time. When it does work, though it's majestic, a feeling of omnipotence that every, um, less than omnipotent man craves.

Final note, there's some guy, or maybe more than one, going around the message boards claiming that it meets "the wife test", as if women, particularly spouses, lack the faculties to operate things with lots of buttons. Don't be fooled. They just don't care. It's like cats and tin openers - there are soooo many better things to do than learn how. A cellphone? Not so disinterested.

Picture up top taken, with much respect, from Atomische's flickr stream. It's of the lighting of the Grand Army Plaza Holiday display yesterday.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Never Darken The Doors Of North Ferriby With Your Dour Puritanism Again

OK, what with my schedule being eaten by wolves, and my weekend consumed by the Wolverines (Mrs. Cutesome was a tad grumpy about the Buckeyes' triumph) I have become hideously behind with what I like to call my core mission statement bullet points:

1) Reviewing mid-level Park Slope eateries
2) Hating on Marty Markowitz

With respect to number 1) first, I'll note that Picasso Asian Fusion, Apropos Cafe, and some weird food-flogging pub called Alchemy, not to mention a gratingly cheerful-looking West Indian joint are truly in my sarcastic sniper scope.

With regard to the second, I'll just note that some Brooklyn businesses are resorting to some truly desperate tactics to keep Marty out of their press releases. Whole Foods, for instance, stressed to the press (in this instance the NY Observer) that their new store in Gowanus would carry Egg Creams and Gelato. At least I prefer this explanation. The reality, that the waving around of such lazy faux-nostalgic signifiers has become de rigeur for getting by in Brooklyn, is too depressing to contemplate.

Oy vey, I'll try to muster some enthusiasm for the posting after the holiday, and wish you and yours the best of the holiday. It would for instance, be truly churlish of me to mention that the flight of the Pilgrim Fathers emptied Lincolnshire of some of its worst sort of religious deviants. No, really, you're welcome, since we have found that emptying Europe of such wackos has at the same time rid the continent of creationism and wide-shouldered suits, and those are really the only yardsticks of human happiness you need.

I would also entertain you with tales of The Stuffing Wars, whereby I try and bring a little bit of Delia to Thanksgiving, and Mrs. Cutesome decides that our kitchen needs but one goddess. It's all about the bread, apparently.

But that would be wrong. What Mrs. Cutesome needs right now is Rate My Kitten, not some hideous screed that exposes my meager culinary education to the interwebs' scrutiny.

Here's something for later in the week. You might have heard of Brian Atene. He is famous for two things - being the most recent post at Miguel's place, and making an ass of himself in an audition tape sent to Stanley Kubrick 20 years ago. He's young, and seemingly arrogant, and no-one quite knew what became of him.

Well, he's back. He's in his 40s, and age has not mellowed him, it's only made him more bats. And he's got Youtube to play with, and what he suspects is a readymade audience. To be frank, the latest vid to surface lacks the pacing and coherence of the original. He also thinks that he can use the power of the internet and overacting to launch Christopher Reeve's charity into the stratosphere.

Better than jogging for money, I dare say.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hardcore harry

I scored 119 points on the TONY "Essential NYC" Quiz! What about you?

Which was, I will grant you, rather poor. But I got a review of Sheep Station in MUCH earlier than Times

Normal posting will resume shortly.

[Welcome, Jack Shafer readers, to one of the worst posting droughts in ages. Been a while since I wrote anything horrible about Jacob Weisberg either, though]

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Crass Stereotypes 'R Us

From an otherwise lacklustre New York Times article on the new Domnino's Brooklyn Pizza campaign. Something that made my head explode. Figuratively. The Times went to Totonno’s with a slice of the Domino's pizza and indignancy (A real word? Actually the new version of Firefox, with built-in spell-check, it says no) ensued. So far so hometown.

Then they ask hackneyed Brooklyn stereotype-monger Marty Markowitz what he thinks of the company's use of hackneyed Brooklyn stereotypes. And he says something amusing and insulting about the owner of Dominos:

That kind of imagery just grinds at Marty Markowitz, the Brooklyn borough president.

“It’s a multinational right-wing company, mass marketing the Brooklyn attitude with obsolete ethnic stereotypes, not to mention flimsy crusts,” he said through a spokesman.

Mr. Markowitz has yet to taste the Domino’s pizza. But that didn’t stop him from offering an opinion: “To our sophisticated palates, Domino’s is about as Brooklyn as Sara Lee Cheesecake is Junior’s.”

The right-wing reference is to Domino’s founder, Thomas S. Monaghan, who sold the company in 1998. He has supported the anti-abortion organization Operation Rescue and earlier this year announced his intention to build a town called Ave Maria in Florida based on strict Roman Catholic principles.

Sort of like a cage-fight between Pol Pot and General Stroessner, it's probably best to watch this one from the sidelines. But right up until the Junior's reference (shut it about the cheesecake, already!) I was kind of rooting for the clown.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Onderdonk Overview

A couple of weekends back I determined to go exploring in the no man's land between Brooklyn and Queens. There's something about the area, which encompasses the Newtown Creek, a post-industrial wasteland, and a crap-load of cemeteries, that enchants me. And I had to be up at La Guardia that evening to meet Mrs. Cutesome off a flight from Miami. So I packed a throw-away camera, and prayed for good weather.

I sodded around most of the morning before scooting over to the G train, and then changed at Grand for the L. Took the L to Jefferson Ave stop, in the Bushwick/Ridgewood part of the borderlands. I had a bit of an ambitious itinerary - take in Newtown Creek, the Cypress Avenue Historic District, and the Onderdonk House.

Ridgewood Warehouse

In fact, after tootling past the warehouses on Flushing Avenue (above), I only made it as far as the Onderdonk House. The Vander Ende-Onderdonk House, to give it its full name, is located at 1080 Flushing Ave, just before Onderdonk Avenue, and is a pretty whitewashed stone house that is utterly out of place in its present environment.

It was built in 1709 as a farmhouse (the original builders, whose name escapes me, had a much less Dutch-sounding name), and managed to struggle on into the 1920s, as much of the neighbourhood changed round their ears. Industrialisation of the 1880s variety was the cause of much of the changes to the neighbourhood, and by the 1960s, widely regarded as the area's nadir, it was already stranded.

The Vander Ende-Onderdonk House

How do I know all this? Not, for once, from mere googling, but from the awesomely chatty and friendly Arthur Kirmiss, the house's artist-in-residence and curator. By some kind of freak miracle I had stumbled up to the place during the four hours a week it's open to the public. And Arthur proves to be keen to explain the history of the place and the area.

The house still has a garden that slopes gently uphill, and features a boulder, the remains of glacial activity, that once served as a boundary marker between Queens and Brooklyn, before being buried for much of the 20th century. Ridgewood, the name for the house's environs, forms an awkward buffer between Newtown and Bushwick, and the border is rarely clear (see Forgotten NY, which I am clearly pinching, for more).

We were just traipsing up the slope in the garden, when (and I swear I'm not making this up) a hipster leaned out of a next door warehouse, and yelled "Hey, are you with the building inspectors?" at us. Arthur replied that he, too was an artist, before launching into an account of the indignities that industrial architecture, including the above warehouse, had inflicted on the old farmsteads.

Onderdonk Garden

It's rare to find someone still railing at what the hipsters want to gentrify. Lord knows how Arthur and the proprietor of Gowanus Lounge would get on. But the strange and varied architecture probably takes all sorts, though I would likely draw the line at fans (are there any?) of the execrable MetroTech Center.

Inside, the Onderdonk House has a collection of artifacts arranged a little haphazardly (the house isn't the best place to go for an indepth anthropology lesson), and some art. The current exhibition is Vernederlandsen, a set of paintings that juxtaposes scenes from classic Dutch paintings with the more prosaic reality of today in the Netherlands. It's meant to highlight some of the concepts of cultural identity that accompany being Dutch, a construct that is a little nearer to the ideological basis for Americanism than to the basis of, say, Frenchness. Or Englishness for that matter.

The House is great for a 15-minute stroll around, and for a much longer chat if you're able to engage the erudite Mr. Kirmiss in conversation. The location is a wee bit out of the way (see below for the view from the subway), but if you're an obsessive explorer of secluded history, you'll have quite the party.

Bushwick Vista

Petal Pushers

Parking Ist Verboten
Originally uploaded by Gringcorp.
I have many email accounts; some of them, like the one I use for this blog, which do not contain information that would trace back easily to the real me. I've never been subjected to one of those angry Malkin-esque blog mobs that threaten to expose me to my employer, nor have I had much experience of anger full stop. But barring some kind of formal opinion from me boss about its permissibility, and remembering that anonymity DOES allow me to be more intemperate, I'm happy with the status quo.

In fact, some of my email accounts have kind of lapsed into a senescence leavened only by new and interesting kinds of spam, and these I torment by changing the profile names. Now let's remember that I never, ever, send emails from these accounts, and my Yahoo address is only used to receive mailings from the Film Forum and Kill Henry Sugar.

Now one of the things I do with my orphaned fake email accounts is change the name attached to them. Were I the sort of guy that used such an account for spamming or death threats, this would be a problem. But in the case of Yahoo I did it so that the greeting page would meet me with something incongruous. Thus, Yahoo has been trained to greet me with such epithets, at various times, as "You Brute", "You tosser", "Killer" and "Gorgeous".

It is the last that need concern us, since I had only had that one going - full name "Gorgeous T. Petal" - for a little bit before Mrs. Cutesome pointed out it was a bit weird, and I forgot about it. And then I started getting spam to the account addressed to "Petal", but I had forgotten that I had once called myself that name and assumed it was colourful West African argot.

It was only this morning that I got something addressed to "Gorgeous T Petal" that I made the connection. And I can come to but one conclusion, and that is that Yahoo got truly hacked about a year back. Interesting, eh?

The picture up top is of a no parking sign on Fourth Avenue before the marathon, which I snapped after leaving a new bar on the east side at St Marks called, wait for it, the 4th Avenue Pub (scroll). It's sort of a more grown-up counterpart to the Cherry Tree opposite, and has 24 beers on tap. Toll! Been open about five weeks now, so I won't be so crass as to claim it for Blighty.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Welcome To Brooklyn, Ya Limey Fruits

You poor, poor, sods. I have been rather remiss in posting about this, but I've been trying to get my head round the news for a little while now. Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President, Gumby Fresh hate object, fool, and probably the most ludicrous product of the New York City democratic machine ever, has been in London wasting either the taxpayers' or Marriott corporation's money on a specious tourism initiative.

The long-time reader might ask why I find the concept so ludicrous, since I have stressed on more than one occasion that Markowitz is more like an overpaid and rather inadequate chief tourism officer that should be at best granted a grotty corner of Mayor Mike's bullpen. And I do, since in any less dysfunctional city Markowitz would not have risen above the rank of town crier, a position that might have been invented for humanity's rotund loudmouths.

Markowitz set himself the task of taking in a show and trying to push package holidays with Brooklyn-themed content to my countrymen. I was trying to get a feeling what kind of angle our dearly-beloved arch-Clown was pushing on the Anglos. The above-linked Daily News article is a tad vague, but summons an unholy combination of "Spike Lee movies, Jay-Z videos and Coney Island" to the fore.

I suspect that that trifecta is likely to be much more coherent than anything that Markowitz put forward that trip. Because if there's anything likely to bring out the inconsistencies and barrenness of the Markowitz aesthetic, it's trying to explain the Borough's charms to a heterogeneous crew like the traveling Brit. The Beep's imaginary childhood Brooklyn, all egg creams, Dodgers and Junior's cheesecake, is likely to be met with little more than a forest of raised eyebrows in Blighty.

The better track is, yes, to highlight the crucial role of Brooklyn in the development of African-American culture. But it's unlikely that he'll be able to communicate this aspect to foreigners any better than Made did. More likely he'll fall back on some unholy Outer Borough persona not far removed from the recent Domino's Brooklyn Pizza adverts (don't even get me started on this nonsense).

Because Markowitz is a clown, let me try and suggest some ways in which he could market this fair Borough in a worthwhile way.

1) It is a perfectly serviceable dormitory option. Most every limey I've had over has liked the idea of a quiet, leafy, and accessible base from which to explore the city. Not great for Central Park, etc, I'll grant you, but now the subway's sound as a pound, this presents little worry.
2) The rock scene. New York's place in US music crazes is like the US' place in the Olympics. It hosts every other one, with the rest of the map struggling for the remaining 50%. Williamsburg and points south is capturing more and more of this.
3) Shopping. You'll probably find with a very small amount of effort that you could promote the boutiques of Williamsburg and Fifth Avenue as some kind of spiritual counterpart to Portobello road. Some of the houses are almost as pretty.
4) Making a concerted effort to pretty up the area around the Red Hook cruise terminal, if necessary through a small but twee retail development. I doubt that "Last Exit..." nostalgia is going to cut it.
5) Nineteenth century grandeur. Brooklyn has preserved this much better than Manhattan, as you can see from Grand Army, Clinton Hill, Cypress Ave and so forth.

It's not an exhaustive list, and it will always be difficult to drag the Brits away from Times Square, skyscrapers and Lower Broadway.

Moreover, Markowitz, in an unholy alliance with a real estate lobby, has done almost everything possible to wee in his own bed. He persists, like his counterparts in Manhattan, in favouring condo over hotel development in the Borough, in downplaying the extent to which Brooklyn is connected to the other Island, and in ignoring or belittling the creative professionals (rappers, magazine editors and hipsters, the lot) that are the only reason the Borough retains its cultural prominence.

I should probably bring up the Atlantic Yards project at this point, because it's going to cut off downtown from the Park area in much the same way as the Barbican cut off the City of London from points west. It's going to be hugely ugly, yes, and also make it even more difficult to get around and into the Borough. But that's alright, because proud Marty thinks Brooklyn can stand in glorious isolation.

Fraid not. Marty should take another walk over the Manhattan Bridge, and see what greets the traveler arriving in Brooklyn from the city. We have, in order, a fatuous sign with his name on it, a traffic jam, and the Metrotech Center/Downtown, site of Brooklyn's last failed bid at dirigiste, developer-dictated, development. Could we please, pretty please, learn something this time?

K, rant over, but I did like this line from the news article:

the last time a borough president left the country on business was in 1999, when Howard Golden went to Kingston-upon-Hull, 200 miles north of London.

Hull is, I fear much closer to what Marty, and Elliot Spitzer, and all their real estate friends have in store for us. Take it from this nasty Brit.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Biscuit's (Baby) Back

Biscuit's back
Originally uploaded by Gringcorp.
I have had a couple of things to celebrate recently, between the green card, and an actually unrelated small pay rise. So, I did what any rock pig would do - scoot down to Blue Ribbon Sushi and get nasty on high-end Sake and fish.

But Park Slope's fashionable Fifth Avenue does not make this voyage a simple one. The restaurant row has now reached a level of saturation that will be familiar to my spiritual counterparts in Carroll Gardens. Slightly tasteful, but disturbingly generic, signs now murmur incessantly at the passerby from every corner.

I was prepared for the appearance of the whimsically-monickered Apropos Cafe on Fifth and Sackett, right next to the tired and lazy Lobo. This is a sandwich joint and is not exciting much comment right now. Plus it seems to be enjoying a soft and gentle opening. (N.B. Any references to obscure cross-streets can be checked here, though the site's listings struggle to keep pace with gentrification.)

But when we got to the corner of President and Fifth, Mrs. Cutesome pointed out that the sign above unloved high-end restaurant Night And Day had changed. It now features a star, and says "BBQ" in large letters. A format change, we assumed, the latest in a series of lurches from Night And Day's unfortunate owners.

Drawing closer, we began to make out the word "Biscuit" on the awning. This was encouraging, since it meant that either the owners had brought in the proprietors of the much-lamented Biscuit on Flatbush Avenue, or they thought that it was worth aping in their bid to recover their mojo.

Plastered on the front was the explanation: a heartfelt piece of self-abnegation that made me feel rather sorry for the Night and Day crew. Basically the owners of a rather upscale eatery brought in the purveyors of budget comfort food after exhausting the alternatives.

The inside, as far as I can tell, has been pretty heavily done-over, with some explicit nods to Biscuit's former home. There is, however, a rather spacious bar that doesn't quite conjure the smokehouse spirit. But it does mean you can drink sweet wine with your ribs, should you so desire.

There's an awkward balance between the high and the low-end still apparent in the Biscuit experience. So, the entrees are probably four bucks more expensive, but the menu's printed on your placemat, and you get paper napkins (probably for the best in a BBQ place, even if they also give you wet wipez). The serving staff are really VERY, perky, though.

So, we got the biscuits, which the usual flaky and buttery marvels, and I got the half rack of ribs with mac n' cheese and potato salad. The ribs were dryer and leaner than the ones I remember from the Flatbush joint, and judging from some of the comments at this Brooklynian post most of the purists would like them that way. I must say a light drizzling with cider vinegar suited me just fine.

Mrs. Cutesome had the BBQ chicken, and got through most of it, and seemed to approve of the vegetable medley. The pair at the table next to us demonstrated the deep fired chicken, and to my eyes it looked to be done to a T. For me the place does it pretty well, though I'd hesitate to put it up there with Blue Smoke.

But it's got two demographics going for it. The drunk crowd would probably swarm there, although it lacks convenient subway access the way the old place did, and is a teeny bit more expensive. And then you've got the kidz. This place seems tailor-made to appeal to the same crowd that goes to Two Boots. It's pretty unpretentious and the food is pretty uncomplicated. I can see the childs loving it. And before you say that Fifth Ave does not have sufficient monsters to support such an enterprise, I will point out that the Fifth Ave bedlam on Halloween, while a shadow of that on Seventh, was still pretty bad. We got you strollers. Oh yes.

Judging from the buzz, DINKY twentysomethings should probably amble over to The Smoke Joint in F Greene. Though I have not visited it.

More reviews, done less pretentiously:



Which means that I can't really say I own this joint. But that dubious-looking fusion joint going up on the corner of Prospect and Fifth. That's f***in' going to be mine. Same for the Jamaican place.

This weekend we have the Black Keys at the Nokia Theater, and maybe massive geekery. Nice.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Happy Migday Redux

I am really very late with this little aural prezzie, since I spent last week in Houston, and much of the weekend in a state of Migra-fear. I have been minded to present it to El Migramente for some months, but as these things go, the date in question passed me by. Anyway, this slice of big camp, incestuous blog-on-blog ass-scratching comes from Orbital and Sparks. I'd hardly call it rare, or even good, although it does do what it says on the tin.

Orbital - "Acid Pants"
Buy the "Blue Album" here. Is no browner, but "You Lot" is rather cool

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Alimentary, My Dear Watson

You poor sods, what did you do to deserve three posts in one day? Well, this isn't really a proper one. Just a teensy note to say that I have a new music column up at Sugarzine, and it's pretty tightly argued and well-considered, as these things of mine go. I think the second paragraph could do with an additional "of" in the last sentence but beyond that I wouldn't tart it up much more. We'll see whether the subjects come round and kill me. And then whether they feast on my innards. What's it about? It's a review of Playing Dead's "Autopsy"

Bush Rangers

It wasn't when I consulted my gmail account for details of a forthcoming Federale (warning, myspace page*) show that I realised that Park Slope, whether its nether reaches or no, was never going to become Rock City. Sure, there's the delightful Southpaw, or the mostly harmless Union Hall*, whose downstairs I almost graced for a Goes Cube show before fatigue overtook me.

But what the area lacks is an edgy hinterland inhabited purely by scenesters. Young and silly people do not move to Sunset Park or Gowanus, and they sure as hell don't belong in the Slope proper or Cobble Hill, where late twentysomethings with bitter laughs and unruly facial hair stalk the land. But Greenpoint and Bushwick, though, that's quite the locale, something the Times has only dimly registered.

Now, if you're a very sly individual you may be sensing that I've been trying to turn a hideous display of my own myopia into a marginally solid trend piece. And it's true. Unlike (I'm fairly certain) such a noise gourmand as Miguel (though the repeat Optimo post should earn him at least a small spank), I have never been a guest of Todd P. I'm now very curious about it.

The man seems prepared, in exchange for the publicity necessary to sustain a long-term club empire, to set up an entire music festival on his own, albeit one fashioned entirely from bands in town by virtue of the CMJ cockfest. Still the man's schtick of pressing strange Bushwick spaces into service as gig venues, tickles me. It reminds me of the sixteenth century habit of pressing merchantmen into warships whenever the French came knocking (God, you're a tosspot, Gari)

Almost makes you want to get on a B38 bus. Almost. I'll be in a suit the evening of Thursday 2nd. But this post does serve as a segue into the ramblings round Ridgewood I experienced last weekend, and upon which I will report if my pictures have been developed.

*New Gumby Fresh policy is, I think to clearly include myspace pages among the category of links that makes browsers go screwy. I include in this elite category pdfs, flash pages and .wmv files.
**Between the opening of Union Hall, about which I visibly hyperventilated, and last night, when I almost went to a show, I had soured considerably on the place, a factor largely of the debased SoBro*** clientele. Tuesday night before CMJ, though, they were a pretty amiable bunch. Except for two guys who both dressed up as Wally. Twats.
***South Brooklyn. Did I mention already the tosspot thing?

Ah, It Was All Looking So Good

Ooops. John Kerry took the perfectly good frame in which we have been discussing politics (Iraq, corruption, messing with pages, the unitary executive, it was pretty pimped out, I can tell you), busted it to pieces and replaced it with the one that looked hip in the nineties and early part of this century (Democrats are stuck-up, pointy-headed elitists). But it's kind of daggy and dated.

But damn it if it doesn't look strangely familiar to our friends in the media. You might listen to the readers of Talking Points Memo, who believe, variously, that John Kerry mangling a sentence to utter something that sounded condescending to soldiers is no big deal, or is going to doom the Democrats in military districts. Gilliard sez deep breath, as does the the Bunchster.

Kerry has come out fighting, saying that he does not insult the military, and is more on their side than the president. Which is quite possibly true. And to be honest, if Kerry had come out and said that given what the US has subjected its soldiers to of late, kids with bright futures really should look twice before joining the army right now, he'd be fine ("It breaks my heart to see what the president has done to our wonderful military").

But he didn't. He came over as snooty. He provided a gaffe-driven process story to a media that has struggled to stay awake covering death, violence, racism, and the usual mechanics of a 21st century campaign. There's probably a find-and-replace macro in the newsroom of the Washington Post that can update stories from Kerry's 04 utterances and get them up in seconds.

It's a stupidly easy remark for the press, and the president to seize upon. Bush looked more animated saying "our soldiers are plenty smart" than he has all year. More importantly, this nonsense is leading on New York Frickin' One as I type this. If Kristen Shaughnessy can get her head round this, you can be sure the meme is zinging round the coffee tables that Democrats are pointy-headed elitists. Is not good.