We understand that Professor Plum has a special fondness for the game Clue, and for the movie. And we know Big Joe Turner’s “Shake, Rattle and Roll” was used in the end credits for the film. But we still cringe when Professor Plum belts out his rendition, especially during the staff poker game. (More)

He did that this morning as the resident faculty made their way to the wine cellar library to spend the weekend drinking thinking on our motto of Magis vinum, magis verum (“More wine, more truth”). Whatever Professor Plum’s intentions – mostly to let us know he’d found the mail – what he calls singing and dancing shook and rattled the Professor of Astrology Janitor, who mistook Clubs for Spades and we hardly need to explain what happened next. Chef hardly waited for his plaintive mewling before heading off to the kitchen to make cinnamon rolls. So the echoes of Professor Plum’s ‘singing’ had hardly faded when your lowly mail room clerk turned to this week’s correspondence….


Dear Ms. Crissie,

I need some advice. Everyone made fun of me this week when I said that $20 billion claims fund was a Chicago-style shakedown of BP. Even my fellow Republicans said that was insensitive and offensive. So here’s where I need your advice. What is a less offensive phrase for “Chicago-style shakedown?” Would “protection racket” work, since the president talked about protecting the environment? Or how about “bootlegging,” since the cleanup guys wear those rubber boots? And should I compare the president to Al Capone, Hymie Weiss, or Bugs Moran?

Joe in TX

Dear Joe,

We suggest you stop looking for ways to compare the government to organized crime, and focus more on those who perpetrated this disaster by all-but-bribing regulators to look the other way while BP cut corners on safety. There is a disaster of the first magnitude here, but that disaster is 11 human beings and countless fish and waterfowl dead, thousands of small businesses facing collapse, and an ecosystem stressed to the breaking point. Making BP pay for those damages isn’t a disaster; it’s justice. Please try to shake that into your awareness.


Dear Ms. Crissie,

That’s not fair to my distinguished colleague from Texas. BP shouldn’t let themselves be played for chumps and get fleeced to pay for perpetual unemployment. Obama always makes corporations out to be evil so he can seize more power.

Michele in MN

Dear Michele,

We suggest that when even Bill O’Reilly disagrees with you, as he did when you were on his show this week, it’s time to glance up at the cliff you’ve just gone off. Your claim that President Obama threatened criminal prosecution in order to get money from BP is simply false. Paying for the damages, as BP must do, will not prevent prosecution if the Justice Department finds evidence of criminal acts. As for government “seizing power” by enforcing law, we have a question … when you nod, do you hear a rattle?


Dear Ms. Crissie,

That’s just offensive. Folks, Joe Barton was right. The U.S. government may as well be a branch of organized crime. This is a shakedown. Obama is going to take money from BP and redistribute it to ACORN. Why can’t you liberals see that I’m defending the U.S. Constitution, the American way of life, American exceptionalism, and everything that made this country great?

Rush in FL

Dear Rush,

Thank you for that explanation. We had assumed your proportions were a product of diet and exercise habits. We now understand that your proportions had to expand to contain your ego. There is no way President Obama could “redistribute” money from the escrow account to ACORN, because ACORN no longer exists. But we would not expect you to let facts stop you from blowing that racist dog-whistle. As the younger generation would say, that’s just how you roll.


Dear Ms. Crissie,

Gee, thanks for that ear-worm. Now I will be hearing “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” in my head all day. Unless the cinnamon buns would make that go away. How does Chef make hers?

Humming For Breakfast in Blogistan

Dear Humming For Breakfast,

The cinnamon rolls may not help your ear-worm, but they are delicious. First dissolve 2½ teaspoons of yeast in 1 cup of warm (110°F) milk. Next mix in ⅓ cup melted butter, ½ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 room-temperature eggs. Add 4½ cups of flour and mix well, then knead into a large ball. Place the dough in a bowl, cover it with a moist towel, and let it rise for about an hour until it doubles in size. Then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover, and let it rest for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine 1 packed cup of brown sugar and 2½ tablespoons of ground cinnamon. Then roll the dough into a rectangle of about 16×21″. Melt ⅓ cup of butter and brush it over the dough, then sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon evenly. Roll the dough lengthwise (i.e.: the finished roll should be 16″ wide) and cut into 12 rolls. Place in a lightly-greased 9×13″ baking pan and let rise for about 30 minutes, until doubled in size. While the rolls are rising, preheat your oven to 400°F.

Bake the rolls in the preheated oven until golden-brown, or about 15 minutes. While the rolls are baking, make the frosting by beating together one 3-oz package of cream cheese, ¼ cup of softened butter, 1½ cups of confectioner’s sugar, ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. When the rolls are finished baking, turn out upside down onto a plate and frost them while they are still warm. Bon appétit!



Joe in TX.

Michele in MN; O’Reilly disagrees.

Rush in FL.


Happy Sunday!