My Saturday night. Ms. J and I watched Elf—a very funny tearjerker, with great roles for elders Bob Newhart as Papa Elf and Ed Asner as Santa—with our daughter. We ate very fine stupid good homemade pizza. No bragging intended, but this was really, really good pizza. And the tricks?

First, I was inspired by Three Champagne Pizza Recipes at I’m not a bubbles aficionado, whether the bubbles are in soda, beer, or wine, but my yeast likes beer and champagne. A lot. And happy yeast makes for very nice bread stuff. (I’m almost ready to simply substitute beer… Continue reading

RIP, Stephen C.!

A famous man died this past week. He looked like he was about 50, often acted like he was a toddler, and celebrated his ninth birthday this past October.

You won’t find any reference to the passing on the obituaries page of any major newspaper. You can, however, see the “funeral” right here, in full or part.

When I first started watching Stephen Colbert at The Colbert Report I thought he was more than a little “out there.” I favored Jon Stewart, with a more polished, traditional approach to skewering those who need a poke in the eye… Continue reading

Taking Off!

I am taking Saturday off this week. Apologies, but I have work-work to do, and nothing worth saying right now. There may be another day or two when I take off over the holidays. Look for slightly semi-regular posts, as well as a minor face-lift soon!


Cuba! It’s certainly a touchy topic, but it’s no longer ignorable, or a topic which can wait. So, I’m all in here.

Formal relations with Cuba do not exist. The signal feature of the relationship, however, is the embargo on trade. The embargo had as its purpose forcing Fidel Castro and his Communist regime from power. It began on October 19, 1960, under President Dwight Eisenhower. It has lasted for more than 54 years, albeit with many exceptions. (Several MRW readers have been to Cuba in the recent past, traveling from Miami on cultural exchanges.) Ten successors to President Eisenhower—Kennedy,… Continue reading

The Wednesday Curator – 12/17/14

Gosh golly, only two more Wednesday Curator posts in 2014, and they fall on Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

I re-read this article, Paul Ryan’s Obsolete Thinking About Poverty, a few days ago. David Frum wrote it for The Atlantic back in late July. It was worth reading then, and again after the November elections. For all of the problems Mr. Frum—a pretty conservative fellow—finds in a decent first draft of a poverty program written by a group of people who think family and charity are enough to help anyone, the rhetoric is much worse now. Doing away with… Continue reading

The Supreme Court: Secrecy and Extrajudicial Activities

Two weeks ago I read The Great Paper Caper, written for The New Yorker by Jill Lepore. Professor Lepore teaches history at Harvard, and is also a staff writer for the magazine.

The piece tells a great story about missing papers from the files of Justice Felix Frankfurter. Seemingly, through poor record-keeping and controls, someone walked the papers out the doors of the Library of Congress. (The article includes a “who’s who” of prominent men from the 1930s through the 1970s, and the story proves yet again that clerking at the U.S. Supreme Court advances careers.)

An over-arching theme… Continue reading

Holiday Hodgepodge

It’s holiday hodgepodge time! TBT, this is very much a free-association post, and for careful readers there might be brain mapping—watching my brain bounce arounds—and baking opportunities.

Let’s start with Hanukkah aka Chanukah, etc. (Joe Maller offers Sixteen Ways to Spell Hanukkah.) It starts at Sundown on Tuesday. The holiday has limited significance in the Jewish religion. It’s a historical holiday, coming after the Torah was written, and definitely matters in the USA because of Christmas.

Robert Siegel offered up a report on Hanukkah on Friday, December 12. Hanukkah’s Real (And Imagined) History features Simon Schama, author of The… Continue reading

Chicken Hawks and Blowhards!

The War Hero and the Chicken Hawk appeared on my screen early Tuesday morning. Written by Timothy Egan for the New York Times, it is—in the word of Mona Lisa Vito (Lisa Tomei) in My Cousin Vinny—“dead on balls accurate” in explaining why, on torture, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) is right, and former Vice President Richard Cheney is not.

About chicken hawks. There are three conditions for being one:  1. You had a chance to fight; 2. You did not fight; and 3. You’ve never met a war you did not think America should fight. Famous chicken hawks include …… Continue reading

Chinese Food-Gate

Chinese Food-Gate has hit the Internet. Here are the facts, more or less:

Ben Edelman teaches at the Harvard Business School. He has a degree from Harvard Law School and is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association.

Sichuan Garden is a Boston-area Chinese restaurant with a location in Woburn. The manager—who may also be an owner—is Ran Duan.

Professor Edelman bought Chinese food from Sichuan Garden. He—and others—enjoyed the food. However, he noted a $1.00 per item discrepancy per dish, between website pricing and actual prices.

Professor Edelman sought a refund, and wanted treble damages pursuant to Part I… Continue reading

The Wednesday Curator – 12/10/14

Wednesday again! Here goes:

Conservative pundits might like Obama more if he really were a caudillo, by Matthew Yglesias for Vox on November 24, nails the hypocrisy attendant to calling President Obama a tyrant, a dictator, or a king. The Republican Party has, for a century or more, aligned itself with executive power, whether in the United States, Central America, or elsewhere. Alas, it seems evident that it’s only their executive power which they favor.

I read Eric Lipton’s major exposé, Energy Firms in Secretive Alliance with Attorneys General, in the December 7 Sunday New York Times. Attorneys… Continue reading

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