“Y’know,” Professor Plum said as he walked into the mail room, “not a lot of professors come out of Clue characters.”

He read the mail…. (More)

Professor Plum then 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 wondered how many Deuces came in a standard deck. Of course he knew there were only four, but it seemed every hand he was dealt included one of them. He was almost relieved when he peeked at his next hand and saw two – the Deuces of Clubs and Diamonds – and he called Chef’s opening raise.

The flop brought the Ace of Spades along with the Jack and Deuce of Hearts, giving the Professor of Astrology Janitor three of a kind. He checked and then raised after Chef put in a half-pot-sized bet. To his surprise, Chef reraised all-in. Did she have a pair of Aces or Jacks for a higher three of a kind? Might she have Ace-Jack for two pair and think he was bluffing a bare Ace? Or perhaps she was semi-bluffing with the Ace of Hearts and another Heart, giving her a pair of Aces and a flush draw?

Perhaps it was merely impatience, but the Professor of Astrology Janitor told himself it was Bayes Theorem. There were twelve possible ways Chef could have a pair of Aces or Jacks – the hands he feared – versus nine possible Ace-Jacks and ten possible Ace-other-Hearts. So he led 19 of Chef’s 31 likely holdings and, while she might still outdraw his three Deuces, he might also find that fourth Deuce.

The Professor of Astrology Janitor pushed in his chips and winced as Chef turned over two black Jacks. The Six of Spades fell on the turn, and Chef patted the table in sympathy. But then the Deuce of Spades came on the river.

“Well that was … unlikely,” Chef said, trying to conceal her disappointment.

The Professor of Astrology Janitor offered his plaintive mewling and Chef went to the kitchen to make Cuban Breakfast Sandwiches, leaving your lowly mail room clerk to review the week’s correspondence….


Dear Ms. Crissie,

People shouldn’t trust Ted Cruz. Everything I say, he agrees with me. No matter what I say. So mostly he’s just copying me, except for oil. But I understand it. Oil pays him a lot of money. He’s got to be for oil. I’m not like that. I’m self-funding. I have no oil company. I have no special interest. I have no lobbying. I’m going to be working for you folks. I do like Ted Cruz, but not a lot of evangelicals come out of Cuba, in all fairness. It’s true, not a lot come out. But I like him nevertheless.

Donald in NY

Dear Donald,

We understand your need to attack Cruz, now that he has leapfrogged you in Iowa. The most recent Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll shows Cruz with 31% support among likely Iowa caucus-goers, giving him a 10-point lead over you. And while the GOP winner of the Iowa caucus rarely wins the party’s nomination, a victory there might cement Cruz as your ‘insider’ rival, a prospect Josh Marshall sagely describes as “a perfect storm of awful for the GOP.”

However, we note that you have committed what statisticians call the ecological fallacy, drawing inferences about an individual based on attributes of a group. Statistically, it’s true that not many evangelicals come from Cuba. But it’s also true that not many Cuban-Americans were born in Canada. It makes no more sense to doubt Cruz’s evangelical affiliation than would to doubt his place of birth. Each is what it is – for Cruz – regardless of the statistics for Cuban-Americans.

We note this because you claim to be “the smartest man in the room,” no matter what room you occupy. As we trust statisticians’ definition of the ecological fallacy, we conclude that your “smartest man in the room” claim is mere pompous bluster. To quote Elizabeth Bowen’s description of Aldous Huxley, we consider you “the stupid person’s idea of the clever person.”


Dear Ms. Crissie,

Didn’t Paul Krugman coin the phrase “a stupid man’s idea of what a smart man sounds like” in his 2011 description of Newt Gingrich?

Also, how do I make those Cuban Breakfast Sandwiches?

Hambre de Desayuno in Blogistan

Dear Hungry for Breakfast,

Paul Krugman did use that phrase, but he credited Ezra Klein as having used it to describe Dick Armey and in December 2011 The Atlantic’s James Fallows noted that Joshua Friedman had found the earliest recorded version of this now-common adage.

To make Chef’s Cuban Breakfast Sandwiches, slice a loaf of Cuban or French bread lengthwise and then cut into four pieces. Fry 4 eggs until the yolks are set, then place an egg on the bottom half of each sandwich along with slices of thinly-sliced hard salami, ham, and Swiss cheese. Place the top half on each sandwich and grill them for 2-3 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Bon appétit!


Photo Credit: Helen Thomas (Popdust)


Donald in NY; leapfrogged you in Iowa; “a perfect storm of awful”; ecological fallacy; “the smartest man in the room”; “the stupid person’s idea of the clever person”.

Paul Krugman did use that phrase, but he credited Ezra Klein as having used it to describe Dick Armey.

Cuban Breakfast Sandwiches.


Happy Sunday!