Two gems from Sunday's New York Times Opinion section. Thomas Friedman exhorts voters to choose the heir of George H. W. Bush, the 41st president.

So as we approach this critical election of 2004, my advice, dear readers, is this: Vote for the candidate who embodies the ethos of George H. W. Bush - the old guy. Vote for the man who you think would have the same gut feel for nurturing allies and restoring bipartisanship to foreign policy as him. Vote for the man you think understands the importance of facing up to our fiscal responsibilities for the sake of our children. And vote for the man who has the best instincts for balancing realism and idealism and the man who understands the necessity of using energetic U.S. diplomacy to make Israel more secure - by helping to bring it peace with its Arab neighbors, not just more tours from American Christian fundamentalists.

It's a bit kooky (Friedman often is), but it works.

Also kooky is Susanna Clarke's "work of halloween fiction," Antickes and Frets, a interesting tale suggesting that Mary, Queen of Scots' machinations to steal the English throne from her cousin Elizabeth were thwarted by the Countess of Shrewsbury. It was relatively entertaining, but its focus on needlework reminded me of another of Clarke's stories, The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse, which involves the Duke's adventures in the land of Faerie.