“HELLO…Hello…hello,” Professor Plum said as he walked into the mail room. “How are YOU…You…you?”

He read the mail. (More)

Ms. Scarlet took his hand…hand…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 wondering if it was possible for a well-shuffled deck to produce echoes. He had been dealt and had folded Jack Squat – a Jack with a Five or smaller card of another suit – several hands in a row. So he was perhaps too relieved to see the Ten and Nine of Diamonds, hardly a strong hand but at least not Jack Squat, and he raised. Both Chef and the Squirrel called the Professor of Astrology Janitor’s raise, and the flop brought the Queen and Eight of Diamonds along with the Ten of Clubs. This gave the Professor of Astrology Janitor a pair of Tens, plus a Diamond flush draw. A Jack would give him a Queen-high straight and the Jack of Diamonds would give him a Queen-high straight flush. With stars or at least diamonds in his eyes, he offered a pot-sized bet, and both Chef and the Squirrel called. The turn brought the Six of Diamonds, which completed his flush, so the Professor of Astrology Janitor checked. Chef bet half the pot and the Squirrel folded. The Professor of Astrology debated whether to raise and decided to merely call.

The Squirrel’s tail twitched as the Six of Spades came on the river, and both the Professor of Astrology Janitor and the Chef noticed. The Squirrel had obviously folded a pair of Queens, correctly recognizing that his three of a kind was losing to a Diamond flush and not wanting to call on the slim hope of making a full house. A full house that would, indeed, have come. More important, because the Squirrel had folded a pair of Queens, the Professor of Astrology Janitor knew Chef did not have Queens full. But she might still have a pair of Eights, and there was a minute chance she held the other two Tens. More likely, her bet at the turn was an attempt to bluff a Diamond flush. The Professor of Astrology Janitor counted out his chips and put in a half-pot-sized bet.

Chef called and turned over her Ace and King … of Diamonds. The Squirrel tapped at his Blewberry, confirming that he had indeed folded a pair of Queens. The Professor of Astrology Janitor began his plaintive mewling, and Chef went to the kitchen to make Echo Fruit Salad, leaving your lowly mail room clerk to review the week’s correspondence….


Dear Ms. Crissie,

I know you usually reply to letters from conservatives who’ve said something absurd, and that has begun to bother me. The thing is, the progressive media spend most of their airtime and online space critiquing conservative absurdity. Back in October it got so bad that I began to wonder if MSNBC stood for Mandatory Sarcastic Nagging By Cruz. But they finally moved on … to critiquing other conservatives’ absurdities.

Conservatives know how to get media attention, and they use the same tactics again and again. Some conservative says something absurd. The progressive media point out its absurdity. The conservative media circle the wagons, defending the absurdity as if it were profound truth. Round and round it goes, building ratings and page views on both sides, ringing up the ad revenues. But whether it’s the conservative media supporting conservative absurdity or the progressive media rebutting conservative absurdity, they’re both echoing … conservative absurdity.

I realize that Ask Ms. Crissie is a Sunday Morning Feature tradition. But since conservatives already have such a big echo chamber, could you maybe change it? Plus I would enjoy Chef’s breakfast recipes more without the heartburn. Oh, and how do I make Echo Fruit Salad?

Heartburned in Blogistan

Dear Heartburned in Blogistan,

We understand your concern. Too often it does seem that the conservative and progressive media are merely opposite walls in the right wing echo chamber. That said, we note that most BPI stories do focus on progressive ideas, and we try to limit the critiques of conservative absurdities to Sunday mornings, although the Squirrel sometimes rants about conservative absurdities in Furthermore!

Still, your concern is well-founded, so we’ll ask the BPI community if they would rather the Ask Ms. Crissie format changed to something less … echo-ish.

As for Chef’s Echo Fruit Salad, it’s very simple. She stirs together whole peeled mandarin oranges, whole ripe plums, grapes, melon balls, and fresh blueberries, so the different sizes represent the echoes. Bon appétit!


Happy Sunday!