Adaptation

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"We've never been 'Stay the course' … We're constantly changing tactics — constantly changing tactics." Thus spoke previously steadfast President Bush on the eve of midterm elections, and last week it was easy to tell that change was in the air. Republican Senate hopeful John Spencer speculated that Hillary Clinton had altered her once-unattractive face with "millions of dollars" of plastic surgery; an aide later clarified that position, noting that Clinton was merely "ugly — as a person." Chauffeur-scandal-plagued State Comptroller Alan Hevesi did a U-turn and agreed to a last-minute debate against challenger Chris Callaghan, but not before shoo-in Democratic gubernatorial candidate Eliot Spitzer backed away from his formerly unswerving support.

Upper East Sider Michael J. Fox morphed into a national political player with a single ad for a Senate candidate in Missouri. (Rush Limbaugh accused Fox of being "either off his medication or acting," then sang a different tune and apologized.) The New Jersey Supreme Court declared that same-sex couples deserve the same rights as heterosexuals. Changeling Madonna went on Oprah to defend herself against the ever-varying allegations from her newly adopted son's father. The 2007 Michelin guide saw some minor mutations in the city's restaurant cosmology; Mario Batali's Del Posto snagged two stars, and Danube fell to one.

Foxy Brown changed her mind about her August guilty plea for punching two manicurists, telling a judge, "I was tired! I felt rushed! It was late in the day." (The plea stood, unmodified.) Ex-Yankee Kenny Rogers — who throws a nasty changeup — was on camera at the World Series remodeling his fastball with a little pine tar. Taxi riders could expect less change from a twenty after the Taxi and Limousine Commission passed a fare hike. And those who might be considering recasting themselves as a member of the opposite sex received good news when a settlement was reached that allowed transgendered patrons a choice of bathrooms at MTA rail stations.