“I’m too gob-smacked to even have a joke,” Professor Plum said as he walked into the mail room.

He read the mail…. (More)

He 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”).

The Professor of Astrology Janitor, Chef, and the Squirrel must have read the mail as well, as they seemed too gob-smacked to focus on the staff poker game. Your lowly mail room clerk was sure of this when, after Chef dealt out the King and Seven of Diamonds and the Ten of Clubs on the flop, the Professor of Astrology Janitor turned over his King of Hearts and called out: “Uno!”

Chef declared the hand dead and the Squirrel tapped at his Blewberry: “No! I have two Diamonds. I was about to go out!”

“I don’t think poker works that way,” Chef said, “but I guess we can make whatever rules we want.”

The Professor of Astrology Janitor began his plaintive mewling and Chef went to the kitchen to make No Rules Breakfast Pasta, leaving your lowly mail room clerk to review the week’s correspondence….


Dear Ms. Crissie,

The President of the United States can never be guilty of obstruction of justice. The President not only has unfettered statutory and Constitutional authority to terminate the FBI Director, he also has Constitutional authority to direct the Justice Department to open or close an investigation, and, of course, the power to pardon any person before, during, or after an investigation and/or conviction. Put simply, the Constitution leaves no question that the President has exclusive authority over the ultimate conduct and disposition of all criminal investigations and over those executive branch officials responsible for conducting those investigations.

John and Jay in New York

Dear John and Jay,

We are, well, gob-smacked. We shall set aside the fact that the federal obstruction of justice statute you rely on in your argument has been superseded by a later act of Congress. The core of your argument – that “the President has exclusive authority over the ultimate conduct and disposition of all criminal investigations” – would replace the rule of law with rule by executive fiat.

Put simply, to borrow your phrase, you argue that federal law is whatever the God-King declares it to be, case by case, according to his personal whim. If he thinks something – or, more precisely, someone – is criminal, he can order investigations to be launched and indictments to be requested. If he thinks something – or, again, someone – is legal, he can order investigations halted or charges dropped. Yes, federal felony indictments must be approved by grand juries, but the prosecutor explains the law to the grand jury. Thus New York judge Sol Wachner’s now-famous phrase: “If a district attorney wanted, a grand jury would indict a ham sandwich.”

Your absurd claim would submit our entire federal criminal justice system to the whims of the God-King, regardless of statutes or evidence, at least until a case reaches a judge and a jury. Were your argument accepted, we have no doubt the God-King would quickly claim authority over judges and juries as well.

We conclude that David Frum summarized your attitude quite well:


Dear Ms. Crissie,

Is lip-smacking anything like gob-smacking? Is Chef’s No Rules Breakfast Pasta lip-smacking good, or gob-smacking good? Oh, why is it called “No Rules?” And before I forget … how does she make it?

Whisker-Smacking for Breakfast in Blogistan

Dear Squirrel,

Lip-smacking and gob-smacking are only vaguely related. The former refers to smacking or pressing one’s lips together in anticipation of a delicious treat, while the latter derives from the astonishment of being unexpectedly punched in the mouth. Chef says her No Rules Breakfast Pasta is lip-smacking good, but not gob-smacking good, unless perhaps one tries to eat from someone else’s plate. And even then, we think the person whose plate was pilfered would likely be too gob-smacked to gob-smack the pilferer.

As to your other questions, Chef says it’s called “No Rules” because pasta is not usually considered a breakfast dish, but in truth there are no rules for breakfast dishes. And she uses the recipe at the link below. Bon appétit!


Photo Credit: Joe Lo Scalizo (Getty Images)

John and Jay in New York; federal obstruction of justice statute … superseded by a later act of Congress; Sol Wachner.

Lip-smacking vs. gob-smacking.

No Rules Breakfast Pasta.


Happy Sunday!