“Trick or treat,” Professor Plum and Ms. Scarlet said. We noted it’s not yet Halloween. “But the TV said it’s all month,” they replied. (More)

They must have been watching the SyFy Channel, which began their 31 Days of Halloween yesterday, and we must admit their costumes were imaginative. We would never have thought of Jabba the Hut holding Princess Leia captive, on Wall Street. But they made it work. So we gave each of them a little bag of M&Ms and they left to join the rest of the resident faculty in the wine cellar library, to spend the weekend drinking thinking on our motto of Magis vinum, magis verum (“More wine, more truth”).

Still, it’s absurd to start Halloween this early. Of course, the staff are not easily gulled by television marketing ploys. Okay, Chef bought a knife sharpener. And Pootie the Precious insisted on that cat condo. And the Squirrel set up the TIVO to record ads for macadamias. But your lowly mail room clerk is not easily swayed. We needed that desktop organizer.

So while the Professor of Astrology Janitor was unimpressed that Mike Huckabee might, possibly, maybe, be reconsidering a 2012 presidential bid, the Janitor Professor of Astrology was intrigued. After a brief discussion, the two of him agreed to present an idea during the staff poker game. The rest of the staff were curious enough to try it, so we turned off the lights, put a DVD of Ghosthunters on the TV with the sound muted, held hands and paws around the table, and began to meditate.

When your lowly mail room clerk awakened, Chef was in the kitchen preparing Ghost Cakes and the week’s mail had arrived….


Dear Ms. Crissie,

I’m thinking of joining the 2012 Republican presidential field. The other candidates talk about me so often I’m practically running anyway. Plus I campaigned against Medicare back when it was first being proposed, so I think I’m best qualified to campaign for repealing it now. And I’m still popular, judging by all the schools and highways and airports named for me. Do you think I could win?

Ronald in Beyond California

Dear Ronald,

We concede that you are still very popular among Republicans. However, we suggest that’s because most of them have forgotten your record. As Governor of California, for example, you signed pro-choice laws and supported and expanded Medi-Cal. During your first term as president, you signed a bill giving amnesty to undocumented immigrants, allowing millions of new Americans to gain legal residency. You also spent $165 billion to bail out Social Security, and raised taxes in seven of your eight years in the White House. Even with the tax increases, you increased the federal payroll by 60,000 workers and the national debt ballooned from $700 billion to $3 trillion. In summary, we fear you would be far too liberal for today’s GOP.


Dear Ms. Crissie,

I agree. Republicans need a real conservative, and that’s why I should run. While my name has been unfairly linked to the Great Depression, my “rugged individualism” speech would resonate with the Tea Party base. I even cut taxes as the stock market was crashing in 1929, in an effort to boost public confidence. I think I would be a winner today, don’t you?

Herbert in Beyond Iowa

Dear Herbert,

We agree that you have been unfairly maligned as Nero-esque, doing nothing while the nation spiraled into the Great Depression. In fact you supported public works projects like the Hoover Dam to stimulate the economy, and your Revenue Act of 1932 raised the top income tax rate from 25% to 68% to pay for these projects. In that same year, you signed the Norris-La Guardia Act that protected collective bargaining and barred federal courts from issuing injunctions to break peaceful strikes. Even your “rugged individualist” speech included this paragraph:

Nor do I wish to be misinterpreted as believing that the United States is free-for-all and the devil-take-the-hindmost. The very essence of equality of opportunity is that there shall be no domination by any group or trust or combination in this republic, whether it be business or political. It demands economic justice as well as political and social justice. It is no system to laissez faire.

Based on this evidence, we regret to inform you that today’s Republicans would consider you far too liberal.


Dear Ms. Crissie,

As I was the nation’s first Republican president, and struggled to hold our house together against those who sought to divide it against itself, I should be the Republican Party nominee for 2012. I think my message that government exists to do for the people what needs to be done, but which they can not, by individual effort, do at all, or do so well, for themselves, would appeal in the 21st century as much as it did in the 19th. And the 21st century Tea Party would applaud my belief that the foundation of justice is the proposition that each man should do precisely as he pleases with all which is exclusively his own. Do you think I could win?

Abe in Beyond Illinois

Dear Abe,

We join (almost) all Americans in gratitude for your heroic leadership in the struggle to hold our nation together. Alas, we fear those in that parenthetical (almost) are a dominant force today’s Republican Party. Even worse, by modern Republican standards, you said this:

Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.

You also created the personal income tax, federalized paper money and the banking system, used federal property to create a nationwide system of public universities, and increased the national debt from $65 million to $2.7 billion. Again, alas, we regretfully conclude you are far too liberal for today’s Republicans.


Dear Ms. Crissie,

This is why the staff should have listened to me, instead of the Janitor Professor of Astrology. When I agreed that today’s Republicans are all about channeling “dead presidents,” I used that phrase as a metaphor for money. Now we look like we fell into the SyFy Channel’s 31 Days of Halloween marketing scheme. By the way, how is Chef making those Ghost Cakes?

Professor of Astrology Janitor in South Blogistan

Dear Professor of Astrology Janitor,

Apparently we misunderstood. Still, we do not think this week’s mail was entirely motivated by Halloween marketing. We could have waited until October 30th to hold the seance, but that is only one day before the filing deadline for the Florida and South Carolina primaries and we thought this morning’s correspondents should have time to weigh their options.

As for Ghost Cakes, Chef uses the same recipe as for Silver Dollar Pancakes, except she spoons the batter into lightly buttered cookie cutters shaped like ghosts and tops the finished Ghost Cakes with whipped cream rather than maple syrup. Bon appétit!



SyFy Channel 31 Days of Halloween.

Mike Huckabee might, maybe, possibly be reconsidering a 2012 presidential bid.

Ronald in Beyond California; schools and highways and airports; record.

Herbert in Beyond Iowa; 1929 tax cut; Revenue Act of 1932; Norris-La Guardia Act.

Abe in Beyond Illinois; labor is the superior of capital; personal income tax, etc.


Happy Sunday!