Professor Plum entered the mail room clutching a long-obsolete video player to his chest. “I’m embracing my Beta,” he said.

He read the mail. (More)

Ms. Scarlet then took Professor Plum’s free hand and led away to join the resident faculty in the wine cellar library, where they spend the weekends drinking thinking on our motto of Magis vinum, magis verum (“More wine, more truth”). Meanwhile, the Professor of Astrology Janitor was trying to limit his beta in the staff poker game by playing more cautiously. When he looked down at a pair of red Queens, for example, he made only a modest opening bet. Rather than build the pot still more after Chef raised, the Professor of Astrology Janitor just called. When the flop brought the King and Queen of Clubs and the Eight of Hearts, the Professor of Astrology Janitor bet rather than give Chef a free card if she held two Clubs or a Jack-Ten. Again, his was a modest bet and, again, Chef raised. And, again, rather than build the pot, he simply called. The Four of Diamonds on the turn seemed harmless, but as Chef seemed determined to make it a high-beta pot, the Professor of Astrology Janitor checked. Following her pattern, Chef put in a substantial bet and the Professor of Astrology Janitor called again.

The Eight of Clubs on the river seemed ideal, completing a flush if Chef had two Clubs, while giving the Professor of Astrology Janitor a full house of Queens and Eights. Now he hoped Chef would raise his modest bet. When she did, he doubled her raise with his reraise. Chef pushed in the rest of her chips, and the Professor of Astrology could hardly contain his glee as he called … until Chef turned over two red Kings for a higher full house. The Professor of Astrology Janitor began his plaintive mewling and Chef left for the kitchen to make Carrot Cake Oatmeal, leaving your lowly mail room clerk to review the week’s correspondence….


Dear Ms. Crissie,

I can’t believe what Josh Marshall wrote in his post Speaking for My Tribe as a “non-gun person.” Dude, embracing your betahood is just plain sad. Seriously, how do you feel actively renouncing your duty as an American to defend your family, community & Constitution? I don’t expect the likes of Marshall to bear arms to defend anyone. I do expect the common courtesy of respect for those who will. Single, non-lib ladies, Marshall won’t touch guns & disses those who do. Assuming he looks OK, would such a guy ever have a shot with you? I even asked him directly: why you consider yourself exempt from your duty to bear arms to defend yourself, your family & the Constitution? He asked me where that duty was found in the Constitution. He, however, refused to address how he’d defend his community. He wouldn’t. And that’s pathetic. So I told him: You kind of are living in a fantasy, one where someone else will always be there to do what you, as a citizen & dad, ought to. So Ms. Crissie, why do you liberals refuse to ensure you can effectively protect your family & community?

Kurt in CA

Dear Kurt,

We applaud your probably unintended honesty, if little else. Like most Americans, Marshall protects his family, community, and Constitution by paying taxes to support a government. No, that government cannot and does not prevent every bad act. But neither does owning a gun. In fact, owning a gun makes it more likely that someone in your family will be killed by a gun. The data show gun owners and their family members are 43 times more likely to be killed during an argument, an accident, or by suicide than to kill an intruder in self-defense. The data also show that the states with the loosest gun laws also have the highest rates of gun deaths, and that states that adopt ‘stand your ground’ laws see higher rates of homicide but not lower rates of the crimes that ‘stand your ground’ laws supposedly deter.

But as gun industry backers prefer anecdotes rather than evidence, consider that yesterday – on “Gun Appreciation Day” – five people were injured in shootings at three different gun shows. Consider that this past Monday a former police firearms instructor, hired as a school security guard, left his weapon in a school bathroom used by students.

But neither the data nor the stories will change your mind, because you started this debate with Marshall at the core of your argument. For you, this is about your moral and sexual superiority as an alpha male. We’re confident your resolve stiffened and your patriotism hardened as you spurted your essence … on Twitter.


Dear Ms. Crissie:

Will Chef’s Carrot Cake Oatmeal help me embrace beta carotene?

Beta Get Breakfast in Blogistan

Dear Beta Get Breakfast,

We’re confident that Chef’s Carrot Cake Oatmeal will boost your beta carotene intake. To make it, boil 4 cups of water in a large saucepan, then stir in 1 cup of steel-cut oats and reduce heat to simmer. After about 10 minutes, when the oats begin to soften add 1 peeled, cored, and chopped apple, ½ cup of shredded carrot, ½ cup of raisins, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon each of ground nutmeg and ground ginger, and a pinch of salt. Simmer for another 20 minutes, until the oats are tender. Meanwhile, toast ¾ cup of chopped pecans in a skillet with 1 Tablespoon of butter until the nuts are fragrant and lightly browned, then sprinkle on 1 Tablespoon of brown sugar and stir until the sugar is melted and coats the nuts. Serve the oatmeal in bowls, each topped with 2 Tablespoons of roasted pecans and a dollop of plain yogurt. Bon appétit!



Kurt in CA; Josh Marshall, Speaking for My Tribe; gun owners and family members 43 times more likely to be killed during argument, accident, or suicide than to kill an intruder in self-defense; states with loosest gun laws have highest rates of gun deaths; ‘stand your ground’ laws higher rates of homicide; five people injured in shootings at three gun shows; security guard leaves gun in school bathroom.


Happy Sunday!