“I’m not a facultist,” Professor Plum said as he walked into the mail room. “I just want people to assimilate into the faculty culture.”

He read the mail…. (More)

“You understand,” he continued. “They should dress like faculty, talk like faculty, adopt faculty values. So I don’t know there’s anyone on campus who isn’t faculty.”

He winked 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 brushed off his coveralls and took another peek at his hole cards. Chef had opened with a small raise and, after the Squirrel folded, the Professor of Astrology Janitor decided to lay a trap by just calling with his Ace of Spades and King of Diamonds.

The flop brought the Nine and Eight of Hearts and the Five of Clubs. Still laying his trap, the Professor of Astrology Janitor checked and then called Chef’s half-pot-sized bet. The Six of Diamonds on the turn made any Seven a straight, so again the Professor of Astrology Janitor checked. This time Chef checked behind.

The Ace of Diamonds on the river gave the Professor of Astrology Janitor a pair of Aces but, again, any Seven made a straight. He checked and Chef put in another half-pot-sized bet. Did Chef have a Seven, for that straight? Might she have Ace-Five, betting bottom pair on the flop and making Aces and Fives at the river? Could she have only a Ten-Nine suited, betting top pair at the flop and now hoping he would fold an Ace? Might she have a smaller Ace-blank: Ace-Queen, -Jack, or -Ten? Or was this a bold bluff?

The Professor of Astrology Janitor realized he misplayed his hand from the start. By not raising before the flop with his Ace-King, he had no idea what Chef had. Back then, a raise would have gained useful information. But now, a raise would only be called by a better hand. With so many hands that beat him, simply calling with top pair made no sense, even at three-to-one pot odds. He sighed and folded.

“I thought I was good unless you had a Seven,” Chef said, flashing the Ten and Nine of Clubs. “You’d have raised with an Ace.”

The Professor of Astrology Janitor began his plaintive mewling and Chef went to the kitchen to make Halal Chicken Sausages with Tomatoes, leaving your lowly mail room clerk to review the week’s correspondence….


Dear Ms. Crissie,

I’m not a white nationalist. I come from a house with very strong values. And some people keep trying to change our values. Like, I love Mexico, but I don’t want to be in that place.

But if you change the nature of a place, then everything changes. I don’t want to see the nature of the culture I’m used to having be changed. I mean, it’s already changed enough.

It’s Christians here who feel embattled. Muslims are not assimilating. That’s the problem. It’s just for Christians, the culture of America that we’re a part of is sort of being usurped. It can make some people uncomfortable is all I’m saying.

Christopher in TX

Dear Christopher,

We applaud you and your friend David for meeting with Ali and Tameem to have a calm, civil discussion about Islam, sharia, and culture. We hope your lunch meeting, documented by reporters for the Washington Post, will offer others a blueprint for productive, cross-cultural dialogue.

That said, we ask you to reconsider your comments about white nationalism, values, and assimilation. Perhaps without realizing it, you seem to imagine an Ideal America dominated by whiteness and Christianity. In that Ideal America, persons of color and persons of other religious or non-religious backgrounds should “assimilate” … like the owl in Art Wolfe’s photograph at the top of this page.

In that Ideal America, it’s fine for Others to have ‘their culture’ at home. But in public they should dress and talk like white Christians. Their places of worship should have no minarets or other indications of not-Christian-ness. If white Christians have to see people of color, of other religions or no religion, LGBTs, or others who don’t fit “the culture of America that we’re a part of,” then white Christian culture is “being usurped.”

In that Ideal America, other faith communities should not offer marital counseling, mediate disputes among members, or issue annulment rulings in accordance with their religious principles. Such services may be routine in Christian churches, but when Muslim communities do that then it’s “creeping sharia” that makes Christians “feel embattled.”

And in that Ideal America, every person of color, every person of another religion, every LGBT must monitor all persons of color, all persons of that religion, all LGBTs. White Christians can’t be held responsible for “lone wolves” … but all persons of color, all persons of another religion, and all LGBTs should have noticed and reported any turned-to-be bad actor among them. White Christians are only responsible for their own individual actions. But all others face collective guilt, because “we [white Christians] don’t feel safe.”

We take you at your word that you feel no affiliation with the KKK or torch-wielding neo-Nazis in Charlottesville. However, we note that an Ideal America dominated by whiteness and Christianity – into which others should “assimilate” like the owl in that photo – is the essence of white Christian nationalism … the same white Christian nationalism that the KKK and those torch-wielding neo-Nazis advocate.

We conclude that it is not enough to merely reject their tactics. To be “not a white nationalist,” you must also recognize that their Ideal America is only ideal for white Christians, and reject it as not fully respecting all of “We the People.” You took an important first step along that path toward “a more perfect Union” by meeting for lunch with David, Ali, and Tameem. We hope you will continue that journey, and we wish you well.


Dear Ms. Crissie,

How does Chef make Halal Chicken Sausages with Tomatoes?

Hoping There’s a Tomato Left Over in Blogistan

Dear Squirrel,

Yes, Chef will set aside a tomato for you and your family. Chef used the recipe at Yvonne Maffei’s My Halal Kitchen, linked below, although Chef substituted Roma tomatoes because heirloom tomatoes are not in season here. Bon appétit!


Photo Credit: Art Wolfe Photography

Christopher in TX.

Chicken Sausages with Tomatoes.


Happy Sunday!