Notable & Quotable: Aug. 8, 2017

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Maureen Dowd of The New York Times writes, "Bobby Sticks It to Trump" in a column about special counsel Robert Mueller III and Donald Trump.

We are in for an epic clash between two septuagenarians who both came from wealthy New York families and attended Ivy League schools but couldn't be more different - the flamboyant flimflam man and the buttoned-down, buttoned-up Boy Scout. (And we know the president has no idea how to talk to Scouts appropriately.)

One has been called America's straightest arrow. One disdains self-promotion and avoids the press. One married his sweetheart from school days. One was a decorated Marine in Vietnam. One counts patience, humility and honesty as the virtues he lives by and likes to say "You're only as good as your word."

And one's president.

Mueller is taken seriously as Mr. Clean Marine, a Republican willing to stand on principle even against other Republicans, as when he and James Comey resisted W. on warrantless wiretapping. Mueller is seen as incorruptible, so his conclusions will most likely be seen as unimpeachable.

Trump does not yet seem to fathom that Mueller is empowered in a way no one else is to look at all sorts of things. This isn't some tiff over a casino, where Trump can publicly berate opposing counsel and draw him into a public spat. Mueller won't take the bait.

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The Wall Street Journal's Jason Gay asks, "How Much Will You Pay For That Body?"

Every month, I set fire to a small pile of cash to belong to a gym I do not go to. You may think this is a terrible waste of money, but I enjoy the ritual. In my mind, I'm always going to go to the gym.

(I never go to the gym.)

This, of course, is a longstanding business model in the fitness world. There are many gyms around the country collecting a hearty monthly fee from lazy-butted customers like me who never - or seldom - walk through the doors. It's brilliant and paradoxical, like a subscription cupcake bakery for people who never come in to pick up their cupcakes.

Mmmmm, cupcakes.

But the gym business is being disrupted.

The Journal's Rachel Bachman has been chronicling the rise of "specialized fitness" in America - the trend away from big-box gyms with a zillion exercise machines and toward smaller, boutique-style companies that offer narrower, more focused philosophies.

The Big Gym You Never Went To is under siege from The Tiny Gym You Actually Go To.

It makes sense. In exercise, as in weddings, 50 percent of success is just showing up. And specialized fitness - CrossFit, SoulCycle, Orangetheory and their countless cousins - is a far more effective workout than wandering into a gym, sitting down on a recumbent bicycle and pedaling slowly while reading Facebook on your phone.

But it's also expensive. It isn't uncommon for monthly memberships to boutique fitness operations to cost $200 or more or for individual classes to cost $30 a class.

$30 a class! You are now permitted to scoff. Seriously, scoff away:

For $25 I'll chase you around the block with a stick!

Notable & Quotable is compiled by Graham Osteen. Contact him at graham@theitem.com.