“I thought someone might sneak an extra muffin,” Professor Plum said as he walked into the mail room. “So I snuck an extra one first.”

He read the mail…. (More)

Ms. Scarlet tsked and took Professor Plum’s extra muffin, 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 wished he hadn’t taken an extra card. Chef opened the pot with a raise, and the Professor of Astrology Janitor called with a pair of red Tens. The flop brought the Ace of Diamonds and the Nine and Four of Clubs. Chef checked and the Professor of Astrology Janitor considered betting, but he suspected Chef had at least an Ace in-hand and was setting a trap. So he checked as well.

The Ten of Clubs fell on the turn, and again Chef checked. The Professor of Astrology Janitor had to bet his three Tens, but Chef promptly replied with a pot-sized raise. Did she have two Clubs for a flush? Might she have a pair of Aces for a higher three-of-a-kind? Or was she bluffing, caring him to call with a possible flush board?

He folded and Chef flashed the Ace and Queen of Clubs. The Professor of Astrology Janitor began his plaintive mewling and Chef went to the kitchen to finish her Blueberry Muffins with Cinnamon Crumb Topping, leaving your lowly mail room clerk to review the week’s correspondence….


Dear Ms. Crissie,

I was afraid the machine would change my vote from Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton. I wasn’t planning to vote twice. It was spur of the moment, because the polls are rigged.

Terri in IA

Dear Terri,

We admire your capacity for rationalization. That said, we doubt a judge or jury will buy your excuse.

Specifically, we note that Iowa uses optically-scanned paper ballots, and those machines are both calibrated with known ballot samples before voting begins and spot-checked with hand-counted ballots after voting ends. Each machine does its own count, and election workers at each precinct tabulate the counts from their machines. The precinct workers send their data to county election officials, who collate the data from all precincts, publish the results at their county election website, and send the data to state elections officials. Precinct workers verify that results published at the county website match the data from their precincts, and county officials verify that state results match the data from their counties.

With so many safeguards in place, we conclude there is no reasonable way to rig the machines used in your state. But your paranoia will likely cost you a stiff fine and perhaps a jail sentence … as well it should.


Dear Ms. Crissie,

Are there safeguards to ensure that cinnamon crumb topping doesn’t crumble off while I’m eating my muffin? Oh, and how do I make them?

Crumblingly Hungry in Blogistan

Dear Crumblingly Hungry,

To guard against crumb crumbling, Chef recommends both a plate and a napkin. To make these muffins, combine 1½ cups of all-purpose flour, ¾ cup of white sugar, ½ teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of baking powder in a bowl. Next pour ⅓ cup of vegetable oil into a 1-cup measuring cup, then add 1 egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix the liquids with the flour mixture, then fold in 1 cup of fresh blueberries. Pour the batter into a lightly-greased muffin pan. Make the crumb topping by fork-mixing ½ cup of sugar, ⅓ cup of flour, ¼ cup of butter cut into cubes, and 1½ teaspoons of cinnamon. Sprinkle the topping over the muffin batter and bake at 400º for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Chef likes to partially slice the top of her muffin, tuck a pat of butter into the slice, and let the butter melt through the muffin before eating. Bon appétit!


Photo Credits – Rote Holding Sign: Leigh Munsil; Rote Mugshot: Des Moines Register; Composite: TheGrio

Terri in IA; Iowa voting machines; county election website.

Blueberry Muffins with Cinnamon Crumb Topping.


Happy Sunday!