The first two paragraphs of Maureen Dowd's latest column, "Banned in Boston":

BOSTON ? The Democratic convention stage has the hushed mahogany dignity of a Republican men's club: all dark wood paneling with maroon and faux marble trim. The podium has an ersatz presidential seal with a flag. Even the hoi polloi in the press are ennobled by the Eastern Establishment staging; the writing tables in the FleetCenter have mock blue marble tops.

"The preppy stiff," as other Massachusetts pols called young John Kerry, according to Newsweek, is not doing an outré interpretation of the flag, like Michael Dukakis's salmon, eggshell and azure stage in 1988.

The rest of the column is devoid of this pretension, choosing to replace it with the ancient error of mixed metaphors instead.