“Outside of a dog,” Professor Plum said, wiggling his eyebrows and adjusting his mitre, “a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”

Except for the mail…. (More)

Professor Plum then took off his mitre, carefully folded from the latest edition of This Week in Macademia, and left with Ms. Scarlet 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 found himself in a club that would not have him. He had opened the pot by raising with the Ace and Jack of Clubs, and Chef called. The King and Six of Clubs fell with the Jack of Hearts on the flop, giving him a pair of Jacks and along with the Club flush draw. He bet and, again, Chef called. The Deuce of Diamonds at the turn seemed innocent enough, but Chef raised after the Professor of Astrology Janitor’s bet. Now concerned that she had a King, or perhaps a pair of Sixes or Deuces for three of a kind, he paused for a long moment before calling. The Seven of Spades at the river gave him no help. He checked and Chef bet half the pot. The Professor of Astrology Janitor folded and began his plaintive mewling. Chef went to the kitchen to slice her Marx Brothers Cheesecake, leaving your lowly mail room clerk to review the week’s correspondence….


Dear Ms. Crissie,

I’m worried about Pope Francis. Up until this, I have to tell you, I was admiring the man. I thought he was going a little overboard on the “common man” touch, and I thought there might have been a little bit of PR involved there. But nevertheless, I was willing to cut him some slack. I mean, if he wants to portray himself as still from the streets of where he came from and is not anything special, not aristocratic, if he wants to eschew the physical trappings of the Vatican – OK, cool, fine.

But this that I came across last night – I mean, it totally befuddled me. If it weren’t for capitalism, I don’t know where the Catholic Church would be. Now, as I mentioned before, I’m not Catholic. I admire it profoundly, and I’ve been tempted a number of times to delve deeper into it. But the pope here has now gone beyond Catholicism here, and this is pure political. Now, I want to share with you some of this stuff.

“Pope Francis attacked unfettered capitalism as ‘a new tyranny.’ He beseeched global leaders to fight poverty and growing inequality, in a document on Tuesday setting out a platform for his papacy and calling for a renewal of the Catholic Church. In it, Pope Francis went further than previous comments criticizing the global economic system, attacking the ‘idolatry of money.'”

I’ve gotta be very caref– I have been numerous times to the Vatican. It wouldn’t exist without tons of money. But, regardless, what this is – somebody has either written this for him or gotten to him. This is just pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope. There’s no such – “unfettered capitalism?” That doesn’t exist anywhere.

Rush in FL

Dear Rush,

We’re sure Pope Francis appreciates your gracious decision to “cut him some slack” on his decision to continue living and acting as a pastor, rather than as a head of state. That said, we note that his denouncing the “idolatry of money” is grounded not in Das Kapital but in Matthew 6:24, which quotes Christ saying “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

We note this is not the only such injunction in the New Testament. The Gospel of Luke records John the Baptist teaching “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same,” and Christ’s teaching in the Gospel of Matthew concludes with the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, warning that God will judge based on how well we care for “the least of these.”

We further note that none of the Gospels records Christ discussing birth control, but the Gospel of John records that he refused to condemn a woman of ill repute, telling the crowd “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” We conclude that Pope Francis is teaching the wisdom of the Jesus in the Gospels, not the Jesus on conservative talk radio.


Dear Ms. Crissie,

I’m not here to beat up on the pope. That’s not my job. But I can read. I can read this document. I can see what he is saying, and I can tell you right now that this is a very, very disappointing document, and it makes me wonder about the future of the Roman Catholic Church in this world and what they’re heading towards. There is a Marxism problem here, and we’ve got lengthy reports and documents that go into that…. I’ve got videos up on that website … demonstrating where the Roman Catholic Church is headed.

Cliff in MD

Dear Cliff,

We have no doubt that you have videos on your website purporting to document Marxism in the Catholic Church, just as you have videos purporting to document dozens of other conspiracy theories including Marxist and/or Muslim plans to take over the U.S. through the United Nations. However, your fevered imagination aside, we see no evidence for the claim that Pope Francis is a Marxist. The more reasoned claim is that the pope’s economic theory was shaped by Karl Polyani, who argued that economic markets exist to serve human needs, rather than humans existing to serve economic markets. We hope you sleep in a very tall bed, as you seem to need plenty of room for all the monsters lurking beneath it.


Dear Ms. Crissie,

Did the Marx Brothers really invent a cheesecake recipe? If so, how do I make it?

Rather Have a Cheesecake in Front of Me than a Frontal Cheesecakeomy in Blogistan

Dear Rather Have a Cheesecake,

We’re sorry to inform you that the joke you paraphrased, while often attributed to Groucho Marx, was in fact told by Fred Allen. We also note that Chef’s Marx Brothers Cheesecake recipe comes not from Groucho and his siblings, but from the world-renowned Marx Brothers Cafe in Anchorage, Alaska. To make it, first rub the bottom and sides of a 10″ springform baking pan with 2 Tablespoons of butter, then sprinkle ½ cup of roasted pecans and 1 Tablespoon of finely ground pecans onto the bottom of the pan, turning it to spread the pecans evenly. Next mix 2 cups of graham cracker crumbs with ¼ cup of butter in a small bowl, and press into the bottom of the pan. Then use an electric mixer to beat 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese at room temperature until softened, and beat in 2 cups of sugar, 2 large eggs, 3 large egg yolks, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract until smooth. Fold in ½ cup of sour cream and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 250°F for about 90 minutes, until a knife inserted 2″ from the center of the cheesecake comes out clean. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in the oven for 20 minutes, then move it to a cooling rack until room temperature, and refrigerate overnight. Transfer the cheesecake to a platter and slice for serving. Bon appétit!



Rush in FL; Matthew 6:24; John the Baptist in Luke; Parable of the Sheep and the Goats; woman of ill repute.

Cliff in MD; dozens of other conspiracy theories; Marxist and/or Muslim plots to take over U.S. through U.N.; Karl Polyani.

Fred Allen joke; Marx Brothers Cafe; Marx Brothers Cheesecake recipe.


Happy Sunday!