“So I can’t decide,” Professor Plum said, holding up a doughnut, “whether to munch or fast.”

He read the mail. (More)

Professor Plum and Ms. Scarlet shared the doughnut, 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 was having a feast-or-famine night, folding long strings of unplayable hands only to see everyone else fold when he was raised with big pairs. The Jack and Ten of Hearts seemed a nice change of pace and he called Chef’s big blind. The Squirrel folded and the flop brought the King and Queen of Hearts and the Nine of Spades. The Chef checked and the Professor of Astrology Janitor cagily checked his King-high straight. The Ace of Hearts on the turn gave him a royal flush, but again both the Chef checked. The Professor of Astrology Janitor bet half the pot, hoping Chef would think he was bluffing. Instead she folded and he won the smallest possible pot with the best possible hand. The Professor of Astrology Janitor began his plaintive mewling, and Chef went to the kitchen to make French Market Beignets, leaving your lowly mail room clerk to review the week’s correspondence….

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Dear Ms. Crissie,

I tried marijuana in high school with friends, except for one who became a full-on stoner, like the vast majority of people who try drugs, we aged out. We left marijuana behind. I don’t have any problem with somebody who gets high from time to time, but I guess, on the whole, I think being stoned is not a particularly uplifting form of pleasure and should be discouraged more than encouraged.

Laws profoundly mold culture, so what sort of community do we want our laws to nurture? What sort of individuals and behaviors do our governments want to encourage? I’d say that in healthy societies government wants to subtly tip the scale to favor temperate, prudent, self-governing citizenship. In those societies, government subtly encourages the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature, and discourages lesser pleasures, like being stoned.

In legalizing weed, citizens of Colorado are, indeed, enhancing individual freedom. But they are also nurturing a moral ecology in which it is a bit harder to be the sort of person most of us want to be.

David in NY

Dear David,

We applaud your support for the arts and nature. That said, we note that you did not mention the threat of arrest or imprisonment among the reasons that you and most of your friends stopped using marijuana. Might that be because you and they were white and, unlike people of color, had little reason to fear being arrested on marijuana charges? We agree that laws profoundly mold culture, and never more so than when trivial and commonly-ignored laws allow arbitrary and racially-biased enforcement. You could become the sort of person you wanted to be because your use of marijuana did not saddle you with a criminal record. Legalizing marijuana is not about encouraging its use. We suspect that most Colorado teens who try marijuana will eventually set it aside for the same reasons you did. The difference is that fewer will see opportunities denied because they were arrested for toking while black.

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Dear Ms. Crissie,

I began a fast on Saturday the 21st of December; and will continue the fast until the State of Utah exercises its right of nullification. I will go without food or drink, but will continue to drink water, and take weekly vitamin supplements.

On Friday the 20th of December, a federal judge overturned the State Constitution of Utah and ruled against and its restriction against same sex marriage. In so doing, Article 1 Section 8 and the 10th Amendment of the U.S Constitution were violated. Even worse a law voted on by a strong majority of the people of Utah was rescinded, thus robbing the people of their voice in government. And if this law remains, the natural rights of free speech and religious freedom, vouched safe by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, will be violated.

This has nothing to do with hatred of a group of people. I have friends and relatives who practice a homosexual lifestyle and I treat them with the same respect and kindness that I would anyone. This is about religious freedom, and an out of control federal government.

Trestin in UT

Dear Trestin,

We wonder how, exactly, your state recognizing marriage equality would infringe on your religious freedom. We also note that the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause, with the federal court cited in the marriage equality, expressly forbids discrimination in the enacting and enforcement of state laws. Religious freedom is a shield, not a sword. The First Amendment Free Exercise Clause protects your right to believe as you wish, but not your claimed right for the state to enforce your beliefs on others. That a majority of Utah voters once agreed with you is no more persuasive than that a majority of voters in many states once agreed to ban the Mormon faith. Both majorities violated the First Amendment Establishment Clause and the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause. We conclude that the state of Utah has no “right of nullification,” and your deeply-held religious opposition to marriage equality is no more entitled to state enforcement than were deeply-held religious arguments for white supremacy. Your church is not the state, and your Bible is not the Constitution.

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Dear Ms. Crissie,

I haven’t been toking anything but those French Market Beignets sound yummy. How does Chef make them?

Breakfast Munchies in Blogistan

Dear Breakfast Munchies,

First stir one packet of dry yeast into 1½ cups of warm (105°) water in a large bowl. Let it stand for 5 minutes, then add ½ cup of granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 beaten eggs, and 1 cup of evaporated milk. Blend thoroughly with a whisk or electric mixer, then add 4 cups of all-purpose flour and beat until smooth. Add ¼ cup of shortening, and then gradually blend in 3 more cups of all-purpose flour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator overnight. Roll the dough on a floured board to eighth-inch thickness, then cut into 3-inch squares and deep fry at 360° for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned on both sides. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar. Bon appétit!

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Sources:

David in NY; racially-biased enforcement.

Trestin in UT; Fourteenth Amendment; religious freedom is a shield, not a sword; First Amendment.

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Happy Sunday!