“I looked at the restroom mirror,” Professor Plum said as he walked into the mail room, “and I wasn’t there.”

We hope he read the mail…. (More)

“Have you become a vampire?” Ms. Scarlet asked with a playful wink.

Professor Plum shrugged and continued. “I don’t think so. I was by the hand dryer, down at the end, so I was looking at an angle. All I saw was the reflection of the end stall doors.”

“At least your hands are clean,” Ms. Scarlet said before taking his in hers.

They 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 wondered if his hand were mirrored. The Squirrel opened with a raise and, after Chef folded, the Professor of Astrology Janitor called with the Ace of Hearts and King of Spades.

The flop brought the Ace of Diamonds and the Six and Three of Spades. The Professor of Astrology Janitor checked and the Squirrel put in a modest bet, which the Professor of Astrology Janitor called.

The Ten of Spades on the turn gave the Professor of Astrology Janitor a Spade flush draw to go with his pair of Aces, so he led out with a half-pot-sized bet. The Squirrel thought for a moment and called.

The Seven of Spades fell on the turn, completing the Professor of Astrology Janitor’s King-high flush. Once again he bet half the pot … and the Squirrel raised.

Did the Squirrel have the Ace of Spades for the nut flush? The more the Professor of Astrology Janitor considered that possibility, the more likely it seemed. Still, he couldn’t fold the second-best-possible hand. “I have to call,” he said.

The Squirrel turned over the Ace and Queen of Spades, not quite mirroring the Professor of Astrology Janitor’s hand, but still a winning Ace-high flush. The Professor of Astrology Janitor began his plaintive mewling and Chef went to the kitchen to make Grilled Ham and Cheese Breakfast Squares, leaving your lowly mail room clerk to review the week’s correspondence….


Dear Ms. Crissie,

From my own anti-abortion perspective, saying that women who have abortions should be hanged makes Kevin Williamson an extremist. But my pro-choice friends endorsing Williamson’s sacking can’t see that his extremism is mirrored in their own, in a system of supposedly “moderate” thought that is often blind to the public’s actual opinions on these issues, that lionizes advocates for abortion at any stage of pregnancy, that hands philosophers who favor forms of euthanasia and infanticide prestigious chairs at major universities, that is at best mildly troubled by the quietus of the depressed and disabled in Belgium or the near-eradication of Down syndrome in Iceland or the gendercide that abortion brought to Asia, that increasingly accepts unblinking a world where human beings can be commodified and vivisected so long as they’re in embryonic form.

Ross in NY

Dear Ross,

We hardly know where to begin with this mishmash of irrelevance and myth.

First, we note that pro-choice advocates do not misunderstand public opinion. Polling by Gallup, Pew Research, and PerryUndem Research all find solid majorities of Americans supporting a woman’s right to choose. Gallup’s poll found that 79% of Americans believe abortion should be legal in some or all circumstances, while Pew Research found 57% believe it should be legal in all or most cases.

The more detailed PerryUndem poll found that 72% of Americans do not want Roe v. Wade overturned, that 56% overall and 65% of reproductive-age women believe abortion can be “the best option for you or a partner,” that 64% of Americans think getting an abortion should be similar to any other medical procedure, that 88% said a woman who has an abortion should be supported by her loved ones and 84% said she should not be punished, that 60% think the woman and her doctor should decide what procedures are appropriate while only 8% think politicians should decide … and that 65% of reproductive age women but only 36% of men have spoken with someone who has had an abortion, which may explain their finding that anti-abortion advocates’ ideas of who has abortions and why are wildly at odds with actual data. Finally, that poll found that 78% of Americans agree that “Women should be able to make their own decision about abortion without the government interfering.”

These, not cherry-picked findings from the push polls you cite, reflect “the public’s actual opinions on these issues.”

Yes, choice advocates support abortion “at any stage of pregnancy,” because we know how few women choose late-term abortions and we know – from personal conversations and published interviews – that those women had sound reasons. Again, the PerryUndem poll found that few anti-abortion activists have ever spoken with a woman who had an abortion. Instead, anti-abortion activists trade myths about women ending pregnancies that are “inconvenient” and using “abortion as birth control.”

We note that you present zero evidence that choice advocates have any influence on which philosophy professors get tenure at which universities. You simply found a Princeton professor who supports infanticide and euthanasia and pretend that most if not all choice advocates agree with him.

As for “the quietus of the depressed and disabled in Belgium,” the article you cited notes that most Belgians who ask doctors about assisted suicide ultimately change their minds. That article focuses on the ‘plight’ of a man who is outraged that he was not consulted when his estranged mother chose to end her life, as if he – not she – should have made that decision. More’s the point, as with “the near-eradication of Down syndrome in Iceland or the gendercide that abortion brought to Asia,” you seem to believe that women’s rights in the United States should be predicated on tangential events in other countries.

Finally, we note that you perpetuate the myth of Planned Parenthood selling fetal tissue for profit in claiming that “human beings can be commodified and vivisected so long as they’re in embryonic form.”

You seem to believe yourself a “moderate” because you stop short of wackos like Williamson, but your entire argument is grounded in misinformation and outright myth. Most centrally, it is grounded in the unstated premise that women are not competent to make informed, moral decisions about pregnancy. We conclude that you may not be a wacko, but you are still … an extremist.


Dear Ms. Crissie,

What are Grilled Ham and Cheese Breakfast Squares, and how does Chef make them?

Mirroring Breakfast in Blogistan

Dear Squirrel,

Chef said this recipe is based on a tasty treat she made for lunch this week. She spreads a thin layer of dijonnaise on rye bread, then adds a slice of baked ham, shaved Swiss cheese, and thin slices of Roma tomato. She stacks the sandwiches, butters both sides, and grills them on a griddle until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted. She finishes by quartering them into breakfast-sized portions, roughly 3″ squares. Bon appétit!


Photo Credit: Stephen Crowley (New York Times)

Ross in NY; Gallup; Pew Research; PerryUndem Research; assisted suicide in Belgium; myth of Planned Parenthood selling fetal tissue for profit.


Happy Sunday!