“Twenty-nine fifty or fight!” Professor Plum announced as he strode into the mail room. He read the mail. (More)

Ms. Scarlet noted that the 1846 battle cry for the Oregon Boundary Dispute was “Fifty-four forty or fight,” referring to the northern latitude border demanded by President James Polk under the expansionist policy that New York Morning News editor John O’Sullivan dubbed “Manifest Destiny.”

Professor Plum applauded her historical accuracy, but replied that he was referring to his cell phone plan. They then left to join the resident faculty in the wine cellar library, where they’ll spend the weekend drinking thinking on our motto of Magis vinum, magis verum (“More wine, more truth”).

In the staff poker game, the Professor of Astrology Janitor looked at his pair of Jacks, saw Chef scratch her ear, and confidently pushed his last stack of chips into the center of the table. Chef quickly called and turned up her pair of Kings, prompting the Professor of Astrology Janitor to mutter that Chef only scratched her ear when she was bluffing. Chef replied that she was bitten by one of the first mosquitoes of the season, and that he must have misremembered the Squirrel’s tic of pawing his ear tufts. The Professor of Astrology Janitor nodded and began his plaintive mewling. Chef left for the kitchen to make Korean Rolled Egg Omelets, leaving your lowly mail room clerk to review the week’s correspondence….

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Dear Ms. Crissie,

I highly doubt North Korea will kill us. They’ve been trying to kill us since Pearl Harbor and they still have not succeeded. I’m focused on North Korea getting revenge for Pearl Harbor. They’re still mad about Pearl Harbor. And the U.S. has been waiting to get for Pearl Harbor. North Korea does not lie when they say they’ll bomb. Prime example: Pearl Harbor.

Tumblring Around in Twitteria

Dear Tumblring Around,

We are pleased that you remember the phrase “Pearl Harbor.” However, we would be more pleased if you remembered that Pearl Harbor was the site of an attack on the U.S., carried out by Imperial Japan. North Korea had nothing to do with it. Indeed we note that the country of North Korea did not exist in 1941. That said, we take comfort in the knowledge that you are random Americans sounding off online, and not university historians who might be taken seriously.

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Dear Ms. Crissie,

The Korean crisis has now become a strategic threat to America’s core national interests. The best option is to destroy the North Korean missile on the ground before it is launched. The United States should use a precise airstrike to render the missile and its mobile launcher inoperable.

President Obama should state clearly and forthrightly that this is an act of self-defense in response to explicit threats from North Korea and clear evidence of a prepared weapon. He should give the leaders of South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan advance notice before acting. And he should explain that this is a limited defensive strike on a military target – an operation that poses no threat to civilians — and that America does not intend to bring about regime change. The purpose is to neutralize a clear and present danger. That is all.

The North Korean government would certainly view the American strike as a provocation, but it is unlikely that Mr. Kim would retaliate by attacking South Korea, as many fear. First, the Chinese government would do everything it could to prevent such a reaction. Even if they oppose an American strike, China’s leaders understand that a full-scale war would be far worse. Second, Mr. Kim would see in the American strike a renewed commitment to the defense of South Korea. Any attack on Seoul would be an act of suicide for him, and he knows that.

A war on the Korean Peninsula is unlikely after an American strike, but it is not inconceivable. The North Koreans might continue to escalate, and Mr. Kim might feel obligated to start a war to save face. Under these unfortunate circumstances, the United States and its allies would still be better off fighting a war with North Korea today, when the conflict could still be confined largely to the Korean Peninsula. As North Korea’s actions over the last two months have shown, Mr. Kim’s government is willing to escalate its threats much more rapidly than his father’s regime did. An unending crisis would merely postpone war to a later date, when the damage caused by North Korea would be even greater.

China’s role in a potential war on the Korean Peninsula is hard to predict. Beijing will continue to worry about the United States extending its influence up to the Chinese border. If armed hostilities erupt, President Obama should be prepared for direct and close consultations with Chinese leaders to negotiate a postwar settlement, in a larger multinational framework, that respects Beijing’s legitimate security interests in North Korea. The United States has no interest in occupying North Korea. The Chinese are unlikely to pursue an occupation of their own.

Destroying the North Korean missile before it is launched is the best of bad options on the Korean Peninsula. A prolonged crisis would undermine regional security and global efforts to stop nuclear proliferation. And a future war would be much worse.

Jeremi in TX

Dear Jeremi,

Apparently we spoke too soon. We concede that history professors often claim one cannot study history until at least 25 years have passed. But we note that you also teach public affairs, which should cover more recent events. Regardless, we suggest a short drive down I-35 for a visit to the San Antonio Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center, where you can see first-hand what happened the last time someone from Texas rushed our nation into a preemptive war “before it’s too late.”

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Dear Ms. Crissie,

Is that Korean Rolled Egg Omelet also called Gaeran Mari? If so, I had it once and it was yummy. How do I make it?

Gaeran for Breakfast in Blogistan

Dear Gaeran for Breakfast,

Yes, a Korean Rolled Egg Omelet is also called Gaeran Mari. To make it, finely chop half of a small onion and half of a small carrot, then whisk them into a bowl with 3 eggs until well-combined. Pour the egg mixture into a large, lightly-greased skillet and heat slowly over low heat until the eggs are almost cooked through, then place a sheet of Korean roasted seaweed (Gim) over the eggs. Use a spatula to roll the eggs around the seaweed in a tight roll and allow the omelet to rest for a few minutes, then use a sharp knife to slice into 1″ pieces. Chef serves the pieces on edge, with the cross-sections showing. Bon appétit!

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Oregon Boundary Dispute.

Tumblring Around in Twitteria.

Jeremi in TX; San Antonio Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center.

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Happy Sunday!