“I am the ultimate setup guy,” Professor Plum said as he entered the mail room. 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 tried to be the ultimate bluffer. Chef opened the pot with a modest raise and the Squirrel called. The Professor of Astrology Janitor looked at his Seven of Diamonds and Deuce of Spades – the worst possible starting hand – and put in a pot-sized reraise. Chef thought for a long moment and called, and the Squirrel called behind.

The flop brought the Queen of Spades and the Deuces of Hearts and Clubs. The Squirrel checked and the Professor of Astrology bet his three Deuces, hoping it would look like a standard follow-through play. Chef called and the Squirrel folded, tapping at his Blewberry: “Oh well.”

The Ace of Hearts fell on the turn. Now the Professor of Astrology Janitor checked, hoping Chef might bet a hand like Ace-Queen. Instead, she checked behind.

The Four of Clubs on the river didn’t seem to change anything. Hoping to squeeze a bit more out of the pot, the Professor of Astrology Janitor put in a pot-sized bet. Chef pondered only briefly before adding a pot-sized raise.

Did she have a pair of Queens, for Queens-full? Might she have slow-played a pair of Aces pre-flop and then slow-played Aces-full at the turn? Would she have checked two pair at the turn and now bet Ace-Queen, perhaps thinking he was overplaying Ace-King or a weaker Aces-up? The Professor of Astrology Janitor felt trapped by his own bluff. Unable to fold three-of-a-kind, even lowly Deuces, he called.

“I hope you don’t have what you represented,” Chef said as she turned over her two red Queens.

The Professor of Astrology flashed his Deuce-Seven and began his plaintive mewling. Chef went to the kitchen to make Kimchi Scrambled Eggs on Toast, leaving your lowly mail room clerk to review the week’s correspondence….


Dear Ms. Crissie,

People should stop griping that the president will meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. The president is the ultimate negotiator and dealmaker when it comes to any type of conversation, and we feel very confident in where we are.

Sarah in DC

Dear Outhouse Sewer Spewer,

We agree that meeting with Kim is better than launching a catastrophic war with North Korea. That said, we suggest that the past 13 months of failures with Congress have shown that the God-King is hardly “the ultimate negotiator and dealmaker when it comes to any type of conversation.” Perhaps he believes it will be easier to bully Kim, but others have tried that tack before and it hasn’t worked. Nor can we see any carrot or stick that would convince Kim to “denuclearize.” As Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall put it:

It is critical to understand that it is very, very hard to imagine that North Korea at any time in the foreseeable future will give up its nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons delivery capacity. President Trump does not seem to realize that. Why should they? One thing that is clear in the post-Cold War world is that states with nuclear weapons do not get attacked or overthrown by force of arms by the U.S. or anyone else. Nuclear states are the “made men” of the 21st-century global order. The North Korean state leadership may be paranoid. But they do have enemies. Critically, they are the only communist state based on a Cold War-era national division which has survived the fall of the Soviet Union. And power vis a vis the outside world is a centerpiece of the Kim family’s legitimacy within North Korea. (People I listen to who really know these issues often remind me that the Kim family’s calculus is driven not by calculations about the U.S. or South Korea but with the internal logic of regime stability.)

We predict that these talks – if they happen – will produce little more than vague commitments for more talks, a return to the Bush-Obama status quo. Again, that is a far better outcome than the catastrophic war that the God-King has threatened since his inauguration. But merely walking back one’s own bellicose stupidity, with no meaningful gains, is hardly the hallmark of “the ultimate negotiator and dealmaker.”


Dear Ms. Crissie,

So if I understand this right, to put it in Asian cultural terms, the God-King hopes this meeting will help him “save face?” That’s okay, I guess, and better than the alternative. Still, it reads like a scam artist inventing a threat that he then defuses, to foster an illusion of competence and power.

Anyway, I took a tiny nibble of kimchi once and it made me even redder than usual. Will Kimchi Scrambled Eggs start a stampede to the water cooler? How does Chef make them?

Stampeding for Breakfast in Blogistan

Dear Squirrel,

We agree that this reads like a classic create-and-defuse scam. We also agree that authentic kimchi is exceptionally spicy. However, Chef says the intense heat of the kimchi is muted by the milk and eggs, so the blend is easier on the palate. Even so, it’s still far too spicy for squirrels so she put out an extra bowl of macadamias for you. Oh, Chef used Michael Lewis’ recipe, at the link below. Bon appétit!


Photo Credit: AFK/Getty Images

Sarah in DC; Josh Marshall.

Kimchi Scrambled Eggs on Toast.


Happy Sunday!