Don Trump's Three-Month Run

| 11 Nov 2014 | 09:45

    Don Trump's Three-Month Run There was a lot of movement in the legitimate 2000 presidential campaign last week, but let's pause to consider the Outer Limits Candidates, the fringe men and women who provide an hilarious respite from the front-runners and their stalkers. While Bill Bradley and Al Gore spar about who will make America healthier, reporters ridicule George W. Bush's reading skills and Sen. John McCain relishes the gorgeous hagiography written on his behalf by Carl Bernstein in the Dec. Vanity Fair, a carnival of freaks is making loud noises on the sidelines.

    Hands down, Don Trump wins the Wacko Blue Ribbon of the week for his "I-thought-about-it-in-the-shower" economic blueprint that would impose a one-time 14.25 percent tax on citizens who've accumulated $10 million or more in assets. Trump, who's fast becoming the Abe Hirschfeld of national politics, and is given to bragging about his sex life on Howard Stern's radio show, is now, I believe, apt to be on the scene for at least three more months. At first, the hopeful speculation was that his insane trial balloon for the Reform Party presidential nomination was simply a ploy to sell more copies of his upcoming book. But on reflection, as Trump gives interviews to friendly inquisitors like Larry King and Geraldo, why would he endure constant ridicule and humiliating poll ratings just to unload a few more hardbacks? There's something else at work: his ego, of course, but probably a mental meltdown as well.

    Trump's economic centerpiece is so quarter-baked it doesn't deserve much comment, but let me offer a few snippets of reality to the great unwashed who, upon seeing the Daily News headline "Trump's Way-Out Plan to End Nat'l Debt? Soak the Rich!" exclaimed, "Right on, dude, you the man!" First, such legislation would never pass Congress, unless the House and Senate are overrun with David Bonior and Dick Gephardt clones a year from now. (The Kennedy family, it goes without saying, will keep their own counsel, oratorical sops to the lower classes notwithstanding.)

    Next: If such a draconian measure actually passed, dollars would sprout wings, jetting in a blizzard to offshore havens. Then the stock market would go woozy because all the paper million- and billionaires who aren't liquid would have to sell off assets to pay the government. That, in turn, would screw up the portfolios of the upper middle class, which would then cause massive layoffs at both small and large companies. What about the farmer whose business is valued at, say $20 million? He'd have to sell, just as the person who owns a chain of newspapers worth $100 million; one or two publications would be unloaded to meet tax obligations, which would lead to more unemployment.

    In a Nov. 10 New York Times article Adam Nagourney reports Trump saying, "The phones are going off the hook," in reaction to his plan. "I've never seen anything like this. Do you make Page 1 with this one?" The same day, the New York Post reported the flip side of the Trump persona, his alleged prowess with the gals. The article said, "Trump...told shock jock Howard Stern in a sex-drenched phone interview that gorgeous Melania Knauss could become Wife No. 3?'a potential first lady,' he said?and that he often 'mentally' feels her up in public." The Post's Andrea Peyser, the paper's third-largest embarrassment, behind John Podhoretz and Steve Dunleavy, wrote in her column the same day, quoting Trump: "Marriage is a great institution. Some of us just haven't gotten it right. The guilt lasts for about four or five minutes, and then you get over it."

    Peyser gets around to Trump's tax plan and throws in her opinion about the "Rolls-Royce set": "Just try to pry money out of their tight, greedy fists."

    Speaking for the rational, The National Review's Kate O'Beirne, appearing on CNN's Inside Politics just hours after Trump's?in Al Gore lingo?"risky tax scheme" was announced, said: "Presto, why didn't we think of that, Bernie [Shaw]? Maybe because it's utterly loony and it won't work. What he wants to do is impose a one-time 14 percent tax on people with assets over $10 million. Now, if the top one percent in income have only one percent of the nation's intelligence he might get away with this, but these people couldn't move money out of the United States fast enough. He would have to endorse Pat Buchanan's wall around America to keep rich people sitting still for this third-world dictator kind of confiscation of their assets."

    And, in another corner is Robert Kuttner, an op-ed columnist for The Boston Globe and coeditor of The American Prospect, a liberal biweekly. While dismissing Trump's arithmetic on the proposal, and employing a cliche?"Even a stopped clock is right twice a day"?to make sure readers don't storm his home and drag him off to an asylum, Kuttner, last Sunday, praised the spirit of the plan.

    I call the following remarks socialism, the kind of sophomoric cant that went out of style right around the time that John "Power to the People" Lennon was baking bread in the Dakota. How about you?

    Kuttner: "[T]he billionaire developer has shed useful light on an important public issue. Wealth in America is concentrated as never before while social needs go begging. America can be divided into people who need to ask what things cost and people who don't. In large cities we see a new class of the very, very rich who have entire retinues of servants, as in the gilded age.

    "They are whisked through the streets in sleek limousines; their kids are taken from elite private school to private music and language lessons by nannies; they have personal trainers and personal shoppers and no worries about balancing household budgets. Given the litany of national needs going unattended?everything from health security to decent public schools?why not tax large concentrations of wealth?"

    I wonder if Kuttner's ultimate bosses at the Globe?the management of The New York Times?feel that way? Think Arthur Sulzberger Jr. would like to unload some family stock and ditch that "sleek limousine" to fulfill Donald Trump's weird fantasy? Over to you, Artie: e-mail me at

    A perpetual candidate for delusional figure of the week, Bill Clinton, ran a strong second to Trump, giving an interview to ABC?the newsworthy parts of which weren't aired, the chickenshits?in which he officially began the revisionist take on his legacy. This has to be a first. After all, poor Harry Truman was limited to one bourbon with branch water by the time historians figured out he wasn't a two-bit machine hack; and Dwight D. Eisenhower died before he was embraced by knowledgeable academics. (By the way, this reminds me once again, Mr. Douglas Brinkley, that you're a professorial fraud on two counts: one, the shameless parade of interviews you gave after John Kennedy Jr.'s death; two, the mind-numbing blowjob you administered to Al Gore in Talk a month or so back. And, to digress further, wasn't it disgraceful how the New York Post sullied the memories of Kennedy and his wife last Sunday with a scurrilous story about their alleged broken marriage? Even if the wild charges were true, the couple is dead.)

    Clinton, always starved for attention?must've been the child abuse that voters never heard about till last summer?told ABC correspondent Carole Simpson: "[Historians] will say I made a bad personal mistake, I paid a serious price for it, but that I was right to stand and fight for my country and my Constitution and its principles, and that the American people were very good to stand with me... I made a personal mistake, and they spent $50 million trying to ferret it out and root it out, because they had nothing else to do, because all the other charges were totally false?bogus, made up, and people were persecuted because they wouldn't commit perjury against me. People were indicted because they wouldn't."

    This isn't new territory, but since Clinton raised it so boldly let's remember a few facts.

    1. Ken Starr didn't spend $50 million on Clinton's "personal mistake"?which has a name, Monica Lewinsky?but rather on an entire web of deceit, dirty tricks and White House obstruction of justice. If Clinton hadn't been so shrewd, and Starr so inept at public relations, a different outcome might've occurred. Appearing on Fox News Sunday on Nov. 14, Starr said: "With all respect to him, I think he's just failed to come to grips with the findings, not of an independent counsel, not the views of a member of Congress, but the chief judge of his home district in Arkansas."

    2. Clinton was the first elected president to be impeached; prior to that action by the House, more than 120 daily newspapers called for his resignation. Let alone Starr and the Republican-controlled House, Judge Susan Webber Wright, hardly a partisan, said Clinton's testimony under oath was "false, misleading and evasive answers that were designed to obstruct the judicial process."

    3. Webb Hubbell, the Clintons' old buddy from the Rose Law Firm, was convicted of fraud, did time and said on tape recordings from prison, referring to Clinton, "I need to roll over one more time."

    4. Three days after Clinton's Aug. 17, '98 Monica speech, which was strident and combative, rather than apologetic, the United States bombed a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan for no other purpose but to change the news cycle.

    5. On the eve of the impeachment vote in Congress, Clinton waged war against Iraq, a blatant Wag the Dog tactic, and then denied it had anything to do with politics.

    Even The Washington Post, a liberal newspaper that stood with Clinton, ran an editorial on Nov. 11 that read, in part: "Historians will have to cope with the troubling question of whether an effort to corrupt evidence of an affair in a civil lawsuit warrants impeachment. But the White House's effort to protect Mr. Clinton will surely not be remembered for any nobility or higher purpose. The president dragged the country through months of trauma to fight allegations that were, at least in the main, true. His operatives smeared political and legal opponents. To this day, he has never acknowledged the harm he did. As to his behavior, there was nothing 'right' about it."

    Clinton doesn't give a damn about the Constitution or the United States of America. He's the ultimate me-me-me miscreant, the kind of person graffiti artists have in mind when they scrawl "Die Yuppie Scum" on city walls, bridges and telephone booths.

    Pat Buchanan, the former GOP stalwart who's attempting to win the Reform Party presidential nomination, didn't touch Trump or Clinton last week for aberrant behavior, but the chardonnay populist did his best. In accepting an endorsement from Lenora Fulani, the former New Alliance Party member and associate of Louis Farrakhan, Buchanan said at a Nov. 11 Washington press conference: "Your pitchfork has been assigned."

    The Water Rat also agreed to meet with Al Sharpton, the New York City huckster whose sheer tenacity has led the media to take him seriously against all better instincts. Speaking about that odd coffee klatch, Buchanan said: "In diplomacy, you have to do some things that are very unpleasant to get along. I will be happy to talk to Mr. Sharpton and?say what I believe and hear what he believes, because I'm confident in my views. As Lenora has said, if we're going to build a coalition in this country, we've got to talk to those we profoundly disagree with."

    Who said the sky wasn't falling?

    Fulani, who promised to bring Buchanan to Sylvia's for lunch in Harlem, said, "We're going to integrate that peasant army of his. We're going to bring black folks and Latino folks and gay folks and liberal folks into that army." As for Jews, the impression left was they need not apply for membership in the Buchanan/Fulani/Sharpton Brigades.

    Hillary Withdraws By New Year's Day? Now let's dive into the phantom Senate race in New York between Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton. As I've written many times in the past, I don't believe Clinton will actually run: she's behind in the polls; she was an inexplicable no-show at the World Series; the home she bought in Westchester is apparently built for one, since her husband will no doubt be chasing all the 23-year-old tail he can get once out of office; and she's in dire straits with conservative Jews over her mind-boggling silence last week as Yasir Arafat's wife claimed Israel was using poison gas against Palestinian women and children. Clinton claimed the translation was faulty as she sat on the dais and so didn't fully comprehend the anti-Semitic remarks that Suha Arafat, whom she had hugged prior to the address, was making.

    (The New York Post had a dilly of a headline on Monday about the Mideast flap: "Muzzle Tov! Angry Ehud Rips Yasser Over Yakker.")

    Giuliani, a political and social jaguar under much less serious circumstances, wasted no time in condemning the First Lady's behavior. Last Friday, the Mayor said, "I certainly wouldn't have embraced the person who said it, hugged them and kissed them. I wouldn't embrace a person who said that afterward, because I would understand that by embracing someone, you approve."

    Howard Wolfson, Clinton's press secretary for her still-undeclared campaign?and who should receive double-time pay for all he has to endure?countered, "Hillary Clinton isn't going to put New York Senate politics in front of the Middle East peace process. We will leave that to the Mayor." Nice try, Howard, but what in the world was Clinton doing in the Mideast but trying to curry favor with a segment of New York voters? She fucked up; you have to clean up the mess.

    But Hillary's cordial meeting with Suha Arafat?during a trip she shouldn't have made?actually pales in this country against a far more serious breach of ethics: her political ads now running upstate, paid for with "soft money," the bugaboo that Democrats (except Patrick Kennedy and Dick Gephardt) rail against each and every day. As does honorary Democrat John McCain, presumably when he's not flying in a corporate jet. Even The New York Times editorialized against the series of soft money ads that the "exploratory" Clinton campaign is airing; an especially brazen act since she hasn't even announced her candidacy. The Times said on Nov. 11: "The ads recall one of the worst fund-raising abuses practiced by President Clinton in his own 1996 re-election campaign. Mrs. Clinton should withdraw them or pay for them entirely with money raised under the federal election law ceilings, as Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has done with his first run of ads."

    The Times must be in a quandary. It's a given that they'll endorse Clinton for Senate over Giuliani?should the match-up actually occur?but how the paper will justify her questionable behavior is a mystery to me, especially if the Mayor doesn't avail himself of "soft" money. There has been a lot about the Times in the news recently, mostly because of the clumsy firing of their former executive editor Abe Rosenthal, and Alex Jones' and Susan Tifft's excellent book The Trust, but I don't know how they'll justify their hypocritical editorial policies. Bill Clinton has been the most corrupt president since Richard Nixon, yet the paper never called for his resignation, instead trying to barter a censure in its pages. And now, his wife is engaging in the same tactics that its editorial board supposedly abhors: as usual, there's one set of standards for Democrats and another for Republicans.

    Everyone in political circles, if not the country, knows that the Clintons are frauds. On last Thursday's Hardball, Chris Matthews, a onetime aide to Tip O'Neill who nonetheless slammed the President during the Lewinsky scandal, was aghast at these ads. He said: "You know, if that isn't a campaign ad, I'm Mother Goose. That is a campaign ad aimed at helping Hillary Clinton get elected in New York state. And Janet Reno, if she ever watches a program like this, ought to pay attention to that ad."

    Former Clinton flunky, and Talk contributing writer, George Stephanopoulos raised doubts about the First Lady's campaign on Sunday's This Week, claiming that some New York Democrats want her to give it up. He said: "They see that she's five points behind in the race and they know, you know, it's become a joyless campaign. There's not a lot of momentum and energy. I think all of the people around her say there's no way she's going to get out. But there's a lot more people in the Democratic Party now who wish she would."

    Meanwhile, Al Sharpton wants Hillary to give an audience to him and his "people." Last Wednesday, Sharpton said on Hardball that he's pissed Clinton hasn't kissed his ring yet. "I've not endorsed her yet," he insisted, "I've said that Hillary Clinton, like any other candidate, should come before the community, answer questions, and based on that, we would make our support. Just because we're anti-Giuliani...does not mean that we have forfeited our right to question and hold accountable his opponent."

    As for Giuliani, his latest predicament came courtesy of the actor Danny Glover, who loudly, and justifiably, protested the discrimination he faced when trying to hail a taxi two weeks ago. Because Glover's a celebrity the newspapers played up his complaint and so the Mayor quickly reacted with a sting operation to discipline cabbies who don't pick up every passenger they see on the street, or who refuse to take people to destinations like Harlem.

    It's a tough call. On the one hand, it's obvious that anyone hailing a cab should be granted a ride, regardless of the color of their skin. But playing devil's advocate, if you were a cabby, trolling the streets at midnight, would you pull over for a black, or white, teenager who was sloppily dressed and, frankly, scared you? I wouldn't. There have been enough murders and robberies of cabbies and livery drivers to make people think twice. Let's be honest, readers, especially those on the Upper West Side: If you were a taxi driver, what would you do?

    The Times, in a Nov. 12 editorial, gave the Mayor a half-thumbs-up for his action, but lectured it just wasn't good enough. The writer said: "Beefing up the 'refusal squad' is a good thing to do. But the Taxi and Limousine Commission also needs to scrutinize its driver training program and its disciplinary system for opportunities to better educate drivers, many of whom are new to America, about the damaging and mistaken stereotypes under which some of them operate."

    Can you say "Ivory Tower"? You know those annoying seat-buckle messages that sound off when you enter a cab? They suck. Who wants to hear Rod Gilbert, Jackie Mason or Joe Torre blather about taxi protocol when you're on the way to work? But the most annoying current commercial is from Al Franken, who says he hasn't been in a cab for 12 years because Hollywood provides him limos. That's what this Times edit reminds me of. When was the last time Artie Sulzberger actually entered a cab? And as far as "educating" the drivers, I'll tell you what happens: a new guy, from whatever country, shows up at the mess hall and a compatriot shows him the ropes, probably saying don't pick up questionable fares if you want to stay alive.

    I'm not saying this is a tolerable situation. But, as Beltway pundits are fond of saying this year, quoting JFK, "Life is unfair."

    The Newspaper Racket When a person needs relief from constipation, the usual course of action involves either a diet of prunes, bran or apples, or maybe over-the-counter medicine like Ex-Lax. A cheaper laxative, I think, is a forced reading of New York Times editorials, cheap in the print version at 75 cents, less expensive still over the Internet. This is not a new thought?among people of even ordinary insight, Times editorials have been ridiculed for decades?but rather one that occurs almost every day.

    I was particularly nauseated upon reading the paper's solemn words about the Los Angeles Times fiasco, in which the paper's business side secretly shared ad revenues from the paper's Sunday magazine with the subject of an unusually large section, a new sports arena called the Staples Center. A very flagrant and unwise abuse of its readers' trust, who were conned into thinking the stories about the complex were objective. When the arrangement was revealed by Los Angeles New Times, a weekly newspaper, there was an understandable revolt in the Los Angeles Times' newsroom and jokes around town about how much it would take to buy a front-page story in the paper.

    The Times' former publisher, an eccentric man named Otis Chandler, who is a member of the family that ran the paper for a century, sent an angry letter to the newsroom that said, in part, "I am sad to see what I think may be a serious decline of the Los Angeles Times as one of the great papers in the country."

    Times Mirror chairman Mark Willes has suffered extraordinary criticism because when he took his post in L.A. he came from a nonnewspaper background, specifically General Mills. On his watch, Times Mirror stock has tripled, a fact that Chandler dismisses as a result of the robust economy. Willes is a smart and innovative leader who happened to make a monumental error in this case. His publisher, Kathryn M. Downing, however, appears to be somewhat of a moron, apologizing to the staff and admitting her "fundamental misunderstanding" of journalistic ideals. She certainly didn't make matters better when she characterized the popular Chandler as "angry and bitter and he is doing a great disservice to this paper." Downing, it would seem, should be fired, at least as a deserving scapegoat.

    Editor Michael Parks told The Washington Post: "We entered into a business relationship, including revenue-sharing, with an institution we were covering. That's a major problem. It suggests to a reader that we can be bought. We cannot be bought. But there's an appearance of an ethical breach."

    Parks was spinning as best he could, but, in fact, the paper was bought, and there was an ethical breach. Case closed. In a typical corporate example of extreme overkill and bureaucracy, the paper's media critic, David Shaw, has been assigned to write an investigative article about the controversy. I could do that right now, in 10 seconds rather than the months it will take Shaw: Willes, Downing and other advertising executives at the paper fucked up.

    Still. There's nothing worse than the sanctimony summoned by journalists when the problems of another newspaper become public. So back to The New York Times. In a Nov. 8 editorial, the paper solemnly declared: "Under competitive pressure from broadcasting and the Internet, all such newspapers have to find new ways of making money... Otis Chandler told his former colleagues that 'respect and credibility for a newspaper is irreplaceable.' He can hope to be listened to at the paper he once led. He can be sure he will be heeded in other newsrooms and circulation and sales offices throughout the industry."

    I wonder. After all, when The New York Times introduced its Thursday "Circuits" section, I don't think management had its readers as first priority. It's an advertising vehicle, just as many of the special sections that make the Times so fat each day are. Granted, none of this is as blatant as the L.A. Times breakdown of the editorial/advertising wall, but large parts of The New York Times, as well as scores of other daily newspapers, are for commercial purposes, and the scorn heaped upon the L.A. Times reeks of hypocrisy.

    As Slate's Timothy Noah reminded me last week, what were the women's sections of dailies years ago but vehicles to snare department store advertising? And this breakdown of ethics is by no means confined to newspapers: Remember in the early 90s when so many glossy magazines essentially sold their covers by featuring fashion designers in order to solidify that very lucrative category of advertising? Today, Talk magazine doesn't even make a pretense of separating its editorial and advertising content. And as the current film The Insider trumpets, companies like CBS aren't immune to interfering with the news-gathering side of their operations. I'd like to think Mike Wallace and Don Hewitt would have the grace not to publicly gnash their teeth about Mark Willes and his minions, but somehow I doubt it. I'm sure at dinner parties in the city last week?maybe attended by oaf New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr.?the L.A. Times was the butt of many jokes. (Although the honest media executives would at least mutter to themselves, "Thank God it wasn't me that got nailed!")

    As for pundits who live on high horses, The Washington Post's Richard Cohen contributed the stupidest column I saw concerning the Los Angeles Times. As if his own paper were pristine when it comes to the Chinese Wall of editorial and advertising, Cohen lashed out at Willes and Downing on Nov. 11, ridiculing the notion of Times Mirror hiring the CEO "to punch up the stock." What an odd notion, Richard! He continues: "But in their own lingo, they ought to know that they have diluted their paper's reputation and weakened the brand. If greatness could be crunched into a number, they would know what to do?quit. As long as they remain, so will questions about the Times' journalistic practices. That, as they might say, is the bottom line."

    I'd counter that as long as Richard Cohen continues to be on the payroll of The Washington Post so, too, will people question the journalistic intelligence of the DC Clinton administration organ.

    Caught 'Em All Last Saturday was Pokemon Day at the MUGGER household, with the boys counting the minutes till the 11 a.m. showing at the United Artists theater at Broadway and 13th. That multiplex, by the way, is the coolest in town: not only is it adjacent to a Virgin store where you can buy videos, books and CDs while waiting for a film to start, but inside the theater is fairly trippy, with strange lighting, video games and, my favorite, a yellow vending machine devoted almost solely to M&M's.

    I was counting the minutes until the damn movie was over, but Junior and MUGGER III, who are expert traders and collectors of Pokemon cards and other paraphernalia (Forbidden Planet and Chameleon Comics have been the main beneficiaries of their obsession, guaranteed to be over within four months), had a grand time. And so did all the kids at the theater, it seemed, as even strangers gabbed about the virtues of various Pokemon stars like Ash, Pikachu, Squirtle, Mew and Bulbasaur. It was a genuine preteen happening, as we used to say in the days before Art Sulzberger Jr. further ruined The New York Times and the Post's John Podhoretz sat on Dad's knee and listened to Gershwin.

    So film reviews of Pokemon: The First Movie are largely irrelevant. Doesn't matter what was thrown up on the screen, the movie was bound to be a hit, a fact borne out by its enormous first-week gross receipts around the country. I was amused to find Mark Jenkins' critique in The Washington Post actually discussing Pokemon as if it were supposed to be more than an extension of the Nintendo-owned franchise. Jenkins, a music and film writer (he's definitely lost his fastball in the former category) who at one time contributed to Baltimore's City Paper, is a smart guy, but... He wrote on Nov. 10: "In the annals of cinematic warfare, this listless clash is no competition for The Seven Samurai?or even for the PG-13 Princess Mononoke, which is to Pokemon what Bob Dylan is to Pokemon soundtrack stars Baby Spice, M2M and Christina Aguilera."

    Spare me. Any highly anticipated event that caused New York City school kids to come down with Pokemon Flu so they could skip school and go to a movie theater (Rudy Giuliani can't complain since he encouraged kids to play hooky for the Yankees parade), and a Burger King in Los Angeles to run out of Pokemon toy giveaways, creating havoc among parents and children alike, needn't be reviewed as if it were an Iranian film classic.

    A Reuters story on Nov. 12 told of a sixth-grader in Lakeland, FL, who might be expelled from school after a row with his teacher, who'd filched his Pokemon cards. The kid tried to get them back, the principal was called in, and then the kid was bounced. You'd think a day's suspension, with a note of apology to the teacher, would suffice. I don't quite understand the expulsion fad that's taken hold in the 90s: what are the parents supposed to do now, put the boy to work on a chain gang? All over a bunch of trading cards?

    The best story I read about the Pokemon craze recently was by Slate's David Plotz on Nov. 12. He explained the genius of the Pokemon creator, who, unlike past kids' phenoms like the Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, masterminded an extensive web of Pokemon products, including the trading cards, video games, tv show, books and posters.

    Plotz also informs readers of the incredibly narrow-minded critics of Ash and his buddies. He writes: "A San Diego law firm just filed a class-action suit against the Pokemon card manufacturer alleging that Pokemon is illegal gambling. By seeding packs with a few high-value cards, the manufacturer is encouraging kids to buy Pokemon cards like lottery tickets. Kids buy again and again in hopes of finding that rare holographic Pikachu." Reading such nonsense makes me feel like I just swallowed a ball of horse hair. I don't remember any lawsuits in the 60s when Topps "seeded" baseball card packs with utility players so that kids would buy more to get Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle.

    Finally, apropos of nothing in particular, The Weekly Standard's deputy publisher David Bass wrote last week to bitch about my preference of Gulden's mustard. In a ham-handed manner, he attempted to diminish the spicy sauce's awesome flavor. Bass wrote: "I sir, happen to be a certified condiment gourmand and arbiter of all things moutarde. And taking ever so seriously L'art des condiments, no sooner would I slather that childrens' condiment to which you refer on a knockwurst, hot dog, pastrami or corned beef sandwich than I would dress my breakfast cereal with beer. The aforementioned comestibles are well served only with Grey Poupon, or Maille if you must. In finer Parisian clubs, with cheddar, one is served a dollop of a golden substance which I am afraid would leave household MUGGER in tears. This my friend, is mustard. Gulden's is an aberration."

    David's a swell guy, and works for one of the nation's classiest magazines, but he doesn't know shit about eating. Or maybe it's just a case of his tastebuds going on vacation or the aftershocks of one too many focus groups. I assume my New York readers agree with me on this one.