Professor Plum pulled the ground-penetrating radar into the mail room. “Excuse me,” he said. “I’m looking for foundation beams.”

He found the mail. (More)

The BPI Squirrel texted an apology. He’s been distracted with the baby heading off to an internship at the HEMMED Lab on the North Central Blogistan campus. We smiled and agreed that Empty Tree Syndrome is difficult. Professor Plum finished checking the mail room floor and headed off to join the resident faculty in the wine cellar library, where they spend the weekend drinking thinking on our motto of Magis vinum, magis verum (“More wine, more truth”). But the radar unit had already tweaked the local quantum field, or perhaps randomness simply returned to its usual state, as the Professor of Astrology Janitor’s run of good cards in the staff poker game came to an abrupt halt. He tried to bluff his way out of a missed flop, but Chef refused to fold her pair of Tens. When a third Ten fell on the turn, the Professor of Astrology Janitor made an uncannily inaccurate read and tried to bluff again. The rest, as they say, was his story repeating itself, complete with his plaintive mewling that sent Chef scurrying to the kitchen to make Eggplant Ragout with Baked Eggs. That left your lowly mail room clerk to review the week’s correspondence….


Dear Ms. Crissie,

President Obama is destroying the foundations of the U.S. economy one beam at a time. This President has destroyed the credit rating of the United States through his failed economic policies and his inability to control government spending by raising the debt ceiling. I call on the President to seek the immediate resignation of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and to submit a plan with a list of cuts to balance the budget this year, turn our economy around and put Americans back to work.

Michele in MN

Dear Michele,

We note that most foundations do not have beams. We also note that while S&P did downgrade the U.S. credit rating to AA, both of the other two major ratings agencies – Moody’s and Fitch – kept the federal government at a AAA rating. Moreover, we note that the principal reasons cited by S&P were your party’s use of default as a bargaining chip in debating fiscal policy, and your party’s refusal to yield on new revenues. In addition, we note that the debt ceiling applies to existing obligations under a budget already passed, and over which Secretary Geithner has no discretionary authority. Finally, we note that further spending cuts will depress our already anemic economy. In short, your understanding of construction matches your understanding of politics and economics.


Dear Ms. Crissie,

This country has put off for years the discussion of how are we going to pay for that. Let’s have the discussion. Let’s tax the rich, they say. All I’m saying is, I don’t know where we’re going to get the money. I won’t place one more dollar of debt on my kids and grandkids unless we structurally reform the way this town spends money.

Joe in IL

Dear Joe,

We would applaud your caring for the financial future of your kids and grandkids, were it not for the fact that you are currently over $100,000 in arrears on child support. While your attorney says you’ve had “no more problems with child support than the average guy,” we note a study by the Department of Health and Human Services finding that 11% of non-custodial parents account for a majority of total child support arrears, averaging over $30,000 each. We suggest you put your own house in order before you lecture the nation on fiscal policy.


Dear Ms. Crissie,

I thought your readers might enjoy a stroll down memory lane to see how our fiscal mess developed. What shoes do you recommend for strolling down memory lane?

Steve in VT

Dear Steve,

We agree that stroll down memory lane was refreshing. As for the appropriate footwear, we recommend jogging shoes.


Dear Ms. Crissie,

Hrmm. Memory Lane. Jogging shoes. Wait. Jogging the memory, right? Someone obviously had her coffee this morning. For the rest of us, how do we make that Eggplant Ragout with Baked Eggs, and will it go well with coffee?

Punnily Hungry in Blogistan

Dear Punnily Hungry,

We find that coffee makes it easier to monitor the staff poker game. As for the Eggplant Ragout with Baked Eggs, first dice one eggplant, place it in a colander, sprinkle with salt, allow it to drain for about 30 minutes, then rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Next heat 3 Tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, add the eggplant, and brown it on one side. Add two thinly sliced shallots, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, and a pinch each of freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until the eggplant is tender, stirring occasionally. Add 1 cup of roasted garlic tomato sauce and simmer until slightly thickened. Then pour the ragout into oven-safe bowls, make a small well in the center of the ragout, and crack an egg into each well. Cover each bowl with aluminum foil and bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes, until the egg white is set and the yolk is soft. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and serve warm on toast. With coffee. Bon appétit!



Michele in MN; S&P report; spending cuts.

Joe in IL; no more problems with child support than the average guy; HHS study.

Steve in VT.


Happy Sunday!