The resident faculty left a sheet of paper outside the mail room with a penny placed between the words “Intelligence” and “Charisma.” Well duh…. (More)

First our thanks to last week’s writers:

On Monday, you shared your stories of offline political activism in Things We Did This Week and addisnana offered Christmas Spirit in Midday Matinee.

On Tuesday, Winning Progressive shared Crying Out ‘Help Me’: Nonviolence As An Alternative in Morning Feature and readers helped tell Tuesday’s Tale: Some Assembly Required in Midday Matinee.

On Wednesday, Winning Progressive brought us Wayne LaPierre: The Face of Today’s Conservative Movement in Morning Feature, the Squirrel asked if we should Ignore the First Amendment to ‘Protect’ the Second? in Furthermore!, addisnana mused on The Freedom in Change in Midday Matinee, and winterbanyan shared NOAA: State of the Climate 11/2012 in Our Earth.

On Thursday, we discussed why Budget Negotiations Are not a Game in Morning Feature, addisnana offered a toast To More Articulate Outrage in Furthermore!, and triciawyse brought us Fursdai Furries in Midday Matinee.

On Friday, we called on progressive bloggers to Support a More Progressive Dialogue in 2013 in Morning Feature and triciawyse brought us Frieday Critters in Midday Matinee.

On the weekend, we bade Farewell, 2012 in Saturday’s Morning Feature, Ms. Crissie was asked about Solving Non-Existence? in Sunday’s Morning Feature, Winning Progressive offered Weekend Reading in Furthermore!, we chuckled at Silly Sunday: Happy New Old Whatever in Evening Focus, and winterbanyan brought our weekly Eco News Roundup in Our Earth.

Note: Please share your stories of offline political activism in Things We Did This Week.

That leaves us with the obvious clue left outside the mail room as the resident faculty made their way from the wine cellar library where they spent the weekend drinking thinking on our motto of Magis vinum, magis verum (“More wine, more truth”) to the hot tub faculty lounge for their weekly game where the underwear goes flying planning conference.

The clue was a sheet of paper with a penny lying on it, between the words “Intelligence” and “Charisma.” As any Dungeons & Dragons aficionado would recognize immediately – after rolling a d20, or maybe a d10 or 2d6 or something – unless the clue were hidden by a spell, in which case said aficionado would need to cast a counter spell or use a magical item like the +3 Magnifying Glass of Genius, also useful for reading modern character sheets, whose print is so tiny that even the Squirrel’s son Regis often squints – “Intelligence” and “Charisma” are the fourth and sixth abilities for a D&D character.

As the fifth D&D character ability is “Wisdom,” this week’s clue was obviously an allusion to the common phrase “penny-wise and pound-foolish,” which premiered in 1607, probably in a discussion over a cup of coffee, which shows how foolish the people in that discussion were. If they’d saved their money rather than buying that coffee – what personal financial gurus call The Latte Factor – they might have died rich instead of leaving the world with only a mere phrase.

Or not, as freelance financial journalist Helaine Olen reveals in her new book Pound Foolish. Olen takes personal financial gurus to the woodshed and exposes their lucrative and often ludicrous advice for what it is: a way to make themselves rich while convincing you that you’re responsible for your financial insecurity – despite long-stagnant middle-class wages and an economy that increasingly heaps more wealth on the wealthy – because you waste money on a latte at Starbucks instead of investing it in markets that are rigged against you.

So that’s what the resident faculty will discuss this week, unless they roll a d8 or a d4, or don their +2 Helm of Insight, in which case they may mistake the staff for orcs and attack. Again.

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Happy New Year’s Eve!