“Rook to K3,” Professor Plum said as he walked into the mail room. When the staff noted that there is no row K in chess, he added: “We’re playing in Calabi-Yau space.”

In other words, he read the mail…. (More)

Ms. Scarlet took Professor Plum’s hand and they 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 was also playing in a folding space he euphemistically dubbed Jack Squat, as hand after hand included a Jack and a useless card. When he emerged as if by quantum tunneling to open the next pot with a raise, Chef gave him a long, skeptical stare and then folded her pair of Tens face up. He looked at his Kings, having won only the blinds, and began his plaintive mewling. Chef went for the kitchen to make Strawberry Rhubarb Turnovers, leaving your lowly mail room clerk to review the week’s correspondence….


Dear Ms. Crissie,

I know why the Obama administration admitted to the IRS scandal. There’s no doubt this was not a coincidence that they dumped this story on a Friday dump day. This is when they put their negative stories out. I was in that Benghazi hearing. I think the Obama administration is desperate to spin Benghazi, and they can’t. I think they saved this story up so that conservatives would focus on this admission. But conservatives can handle two shocking stories at the same time. Both are equally unconstitutional and call into question the very president.

Michele in MN

Dear Michele,

We applaud your ability to spin a controversy into a conspiracy of conspiracies. However, we think your multi-dimensional analysis has more than a few wormholes, and not of the Einstein-Rosen variety. As Salon‘s Alex Seitz-Wald noted, your theory proposes something on the order of wetting yourself to distract your classmates’ attention from your pants having fallen down. We suggest that a far more plausible explanation is that IRS official Lois Lerner knew the inspector general’s report on the targeting of political groups seeking 501(c)(4) status would be released this past week, and she wanted to get ahead of the story. We realize this isn’t as inventive, nor does it place President Obama in charge of the story’s release. On the other hand, there is no evidence that he was, except in the multiply-folded dimensions of your mind.


Dear Ms. Crissie,

Don’t be naïve. In fact, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) repeatedly pressed the IRS to investigate conservative groups falling under Lerner’s jurisdiction. What we have, then, is this: Under a Democratic administration, the IRS was under pressure from Democratic elected officials to investigate political enemies of the Democratic party. The agency did so. Its commissioner lied to Congress about its doing so. When the inspector general’s report was about to make these abuses public, the agency staged a classic Washington Friday news rollout at a sleepy American Bar Association tax-law conference, hoping to minimize the bad publicity. Lerner lied to the public about the nature, scope, and extent of the IRS intimidation campaign.

Kevin in NY

Dear Kevin,

We note that the Fox News article you cite showing that Sen. Levin asked the IRS to investigate conservative groups includes three details that undercut your thesis. First, the IRS review of Tea Party-related applications for 501(c)(4) status ended in May 2012, before Sen. Levin sent his letter in July. Second, Sen. Levin listed twelve specific groups, including two liberal and one centrist groups. And third, there is no evidence that any of the groups Sen. Levin mentioned has, in fact, had any additional IRS scrutiny. We conclude that if Sen. Levin’s July 2012 letter spurred an IRS policy that began in March 2010 and ended in May 2012, then the real scandal here is why the IRS haven’t shared their time travel technology.


Dear Ms. Crissie,

Okay, I’m completely lost about the K3 reference and Calabi-Yau chess. Also, how do I make Chef’s Strawberry Rhubarb Turnovers?

Metaphysically Hungry in Blogistan

Dear Metaphysically Hungry,

We apologize for the confusion. Modern chess books and problems use the Algebraic Notation, with vertical files lettered A through H and horizontal ranks numbered 1 through 8. Thus, the square in the lower left corner is A1, and the square in the upper right corner is H8. We assume that Professor Plum called out his move to K3 because a Calabi-Yau manifold – a mathematical model of the tiny, curved dimensions of an 11-dimensional space – is a kind of K3 surface. No, we don’t get it either.

Fortunately, Chef’s Strawberry Rhubarb Turnover recipe does not require the use of non-Euclidean geometry. First combine ¼ water, 1 pint of strawberries with their stems removed, ¾ cup of fresh rhubarb with the outer layer removed, and 3 Tablespoons of sugar in a non-reactive saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the fruit has broken down to the texture of thick jam, then let cool to room temperature and drain off any extra liquid.

Next combine 3 Tablespoons of sugar with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, stirring with a small fork until the sugar absorbs the vanilla. In a medium bowl, combine the strawberry-rhubarb compote with ½ cup cream cheese at room temperature, ¼ sour cream, 1 egg, 2 teaspoons of lemon zest, and ⅓ cup of chopped pistachios. In a small bowl, beat 1 egg with 1 Tablespoon of water to make an egg wash. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment and spread 2 sheets of frozen puff pastry. Cut each sheet into four squares, place ¼ cup of filling in each square, wet the edges of the square with the egg wash, fold diagonally into a triangle, and press the edges together with a fork.

Brush the tops of the turnovers with egg wash and sprinkle with the vanilla sugar, then bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Chef garnishes hers with sliced strawberries and confectioner’s sugar. Bon appétit!



Michele in MN; wetting your to distract your classmates; IRS inspector general’s report.

Kevin in NY; Fox News on Sen. Levin’s letter; IRS investigation timetable.

Algebraic Notation for chess; Calabi-Yau manifolds; K3 surfaces.


Happy Sunday!