Dear Michael,

Will there come a day when…

“Drop that laptop!”

“Don’t shoot! Take it, take whatever I have – it’s yours.”

“You said it, Bubby, and don’t you forget it.”

“My muse! How merveilleuse you look!”

“There goes half your hoard of French.”

“I wish you wouldn’t talk that way.”

“People might get the right idea.”

“You’re feeling your hops today. What right – or should I say wrought? – idea has brought you to town?”

“The talk of the town.”

“I take the accolades as they come. May I borrow your pen?”

“You’re using a laptop.”

“You don’t want my autograph?”

“You prima donna, I’M the diva. You’re out of costume.”

“It’s at the fitter’s.”

“You’re being fitted, I hope, for an iron maiden.”

“I’m AWFULLY busy and, as you know, a lady never overstays her welcome.”

“Who you calling a lady?”

“Sorry, it won’t happen again.”

“First I engineered your escape from your maximum security crypt, and…”

“You’re imagining things.”

“And I suppose I imagined your leaking our off-the-record tete-a-tete to that hundred-eyed hunger for pillow talk and turning me into a common entertainment.”

“Common? Never! My muse is the most UNcommon, UNdemotic…”

“Don’t try to slither out of my clutches into your Attic.”

“I wouldn’t DREAM of trying to slither out of your clutches into my Attic.”

“Ha. Ha.”

“May I borrow your word play?”

“You’ll return it, slightly soiled, after you’ve blabbed it from here to Babylon? Your promo will run to the tune of a wild Western: HAVE PUN – WILL TRAVEL. Take my Attic play, you gonniff; you’ve ‘borrowed’ everything else of mine. You know what you are?”

“Why, everyone knows I’m your chosen vessel.”

“And just my luck to have chosen one that leaks. But who am I to kvetch about one of the world’s eight wonders?”

“I wouldn’t go THAT far. Which one?”

“The Colossus of Rats.”

“Oh, that is just your jet lag talking. I’m no rodent, and that’s a promise.”

“A promise. You’ve abused that word so often you should be wearing a bracelet.”

“You’re doubting the word of a gentleman.”

“You, a gentleman? That dub would be a prime example of grade inflation. Your promises aren’t worth the paper they’re lightly penciled on.”

“I swear…”

“You SWEAR? Skatey-eight-thousand times you’d sworn off letter-writing, and here I catch you in flagrante. I feel like a battered housewife.”

“Why didn’t you say so? I’ll rub your back.”

“And THAT will make it all better. You’ve already rubbed me the wrong way.”

“Well, if I’m to be waterboarded…”

“Waterboarding’s too good for you. I’ve half a mind to have you tickled to death.”

“Please, not that. Consider my widowed kids, my starving wife…”

“Your widowed kids, your starving wife. Get off your knees, you lying worm; you’re prematurely squirming. Ever heard of Hecate?”

“Who hasn’t? Can’t say I know the man personally.”

“Perhaps you will.”

“Any friend of yours is a friend of mine.”

“First we’ll need to clear away some underbrush. Styles change. Sister Clio, who keeps the books, can tell you no member of our immortal family has undergone a metamorphosis in EONS: Hecate is not now, nor has she ever been, a man. That said, unless there is something to which you are privy and I am not…”

“I’m already on record as having stated that Clio has dated every body and every thing. Who am I…”

“Precisely: who are you? As for Hecate, she’s barking mad about your serial broken promises – promises to which you’d sworn on the River Styx. Her hounds having served me with her summons, I groped my way through her unlit cave to have the pleasure of being read the riot act: ‘He’s giving us gods a bad name. You tell that Hebrew to swear by his own sacred river.’ ‘The Hebrews swear by their one god.’ ‘One god? Who ever heard of such a thing?’ ‘Allowances must be made, Hecate; they’re a mashugana people.’ ‘Mashugana?’ ‘Peculiar – their one god’s term for them, and who are WE to gainsay HIM?’ ‘I’d like to have a talk with him, god to god. What mountain does he reside on?’ ‘Good question. I’m told he’s around and about, but nobody’s actually SEEN him. Before The Great War…’ ‘Those thieving Trojans!’ ‘…having come down from Mount Sinai he thundered MOUNT ZION! – and, just as Aeneas shouldered his father Anchises after Troy was run over by the wooden hearse, for forty years the one god’s Chosen People shouldered his carriage – his chariot, they called it – through the wilderness.’ ‘Didn’t carriages have horses?’ ‘Not theirs.’ ‘A horseless carriage? Who ever heard? And chariots had wheels.’ ‘Not theirs.’ ‘Why, they were living in the Dark Ages!’ ‘In No-Name’s telling…’ ‘No-Name?’ ‘The name of their god.’ ‘His name is No-Name? My child, you’re making this stuff up.’ ‘Hecate, you can’t make this stuff up. In No-Name’s telling, his Chosen People is a bunch of noisy, stiff-necked ingrates, nothing but tsuris.’ ‘Tsuris?’ ‘Aggravation.’ ‘Getting involved with a mortal is bad enough, but a HEBREW! Whatever possessed you?’ ‘Alas, the lure-of-forbidden-fruit syndrome.’ ‘A SYNdrome, no less! What won’t they think of next? Your father Zeus never sat you muses down on his knee and told you the tale of Pandora?’ ‘No, he packed us off to dancing school and paid our tuition, so I suppose we shouldn’t complain. Did you know the Hebrews claim authorship of the original tale?’ ‘Do tell.’ ‘I can’t recite it, chapter and verse – there’s graphic material.’ ‘What harm in a peek?’ ‘That’s all you’ll get – the rest you can well imagine. One evening, just before bedtime, the Hebrew began to read me a story starring a luscious apple and a creepy talking serpent. Stop! I cried. It’s only a bedtime story, he said.’ ‘He’s weird.’ ‘He’s REALLY weird. I think he’s going through a late-life identity crisis; yesterday he was a poet.’ ‘Bite your tongue.’ ‘Poet isn’t exactly a four-letter word, Hecate.’ ‘It isn’t? That lame-humored Homer is as funny as his crutch; the hemlock should have been squeezed for HIM.’ ‘Hecate, the fumes in your cave are bad for you; get out a bit.’ ‘What is the Hebrew today?’ ‘A unicorn.’ ‘I’ll believe it when I see it.’ ‘You mean it’s a myth? I’ve heard…’ ‘False unicorn sightings are what you’ve heard. You wouldn’t believe the number of people craving fifteen minutes of fame or simply a chance to pick your pocket.’ ‘Don’t I know it! There’s a P.T. Barnum born every minute.’ ‘What will the Hebrew be tomorrow?’ ‘Sorry, perusing icky entrails isn’t this muse’s shtick.’ ‘When are you going to see the heathen?’ ‘The heathen?’ ‘The Hebrew.’ ‘Oh, the Hebrew. Well, I don’t WANT to see him…’ ‘Four words I have for that syndrome of yours…’”

“Four words for me? That’s easy: The Lord is One.”

“Guess again, Bubby.”

“The Lord our God.”

“Not exactly.”

“What exactly?”

“‘Get religion, or else.’”

“Aah, she’s a scare crow!”

“She scares the bejesus out of me, and I’m family. Zeus himself wears Pampers in her presence. Keep dissing her and her hounds will be baying after you like there’s no tomorrow. As for what you did to me…”

“MUST we talk about that?”

“Why, no. You’re perfectly free to talk to the Furies’ grand jury.”

“Just a thought.”

“Is nothing sacred? I’m the chatter of every Greek-lettered ale house. I tell you I fear for the chattering classes’ future careers.”

“You mean…”

“I mean they can’t keep their minds on their kegs.”

“It’s come to that. I swear on the Pentateuch…”

“You Hebrews don’t have a HEBREW word for your holy scrolls? Do me a favor. Parade your vast thesaurus of biblical Greek bon mots – all six of them – past Frosh Week’s gushing ‘Gosh!’ers.”

“Gotcha. Listen, not in a zillion years did I think the editors would as much as READ my submission, much less run it.”

“But you submitted it.”

“Pro forma.”

“Don’t overstay your visa to Latium, Bubby. I was declining Latin nouns before you were born.”

“You don’t look your age.”

“The outdoor life: lots of exercise, fresh air, sun, and early to bed, early to rise.”

“You look smashing, not a wrinkle! How DO you do it?”

“I just told you. Would you like to hear about the night I danced at Ceres’ Harvest Ball?”

“What do YOU think?”

“The centaurs crashed the invitations-only affair and overturned the tables…”

“Centaurs will be centaurs.”

“…as you are engaged in doing.”

“I fail to read you.”

“Since when? You can slither but you can’t hide.”

“From what?”

“From what?! You bounder, leaving your pro forma pregnant at the altar.”

“My muse, I confess there are times I worry about you: overindulging in metaphors will make you fat. Don’t shake your head – it’s a true fact; you could look it up.”

“It’s clear you’d much prefer to discuss your pro forma affair with the grand jury’s Furies. No problem – I’ll book your flight with wing-footed Hermes. Dress for the tropics; it gets quite hot down there.”

“Is this a shotgun which I see before me, the barrel aimed at my head? Pro forma, with this cringe I thee wed.”

“You needn’t kiss the bride; your act wouldn’t sell a single orchestra seat.”

“I pack the cheap seats.”

“Man of the People – excuse me: the Demos.”

“You’re dodging my question.”

“First ask it. THEN I’ll dodge it.”

“How bad is my kissing?”

“Keep your day job. Now to the question YOU’VE been dodging.”

“You’re more dogged than Hecate’s hounds.”

“You make it easy: the scent is rank. Proceed.”

“In brief, the hundred-eyed hunger had seemingly had its fill of me after 18 years: the editors spiked my submission. I reckoned a second spike would free their galley slave once and for all – they wouldn’t be able to say he hadn’t given them a second chance. Well, they crossed me up and ran the thing. This, after I’d figured the second spike was a given.”

“Honest Native American?”

“Would I lie to YOU?”

“You DO love me!”

“Excuse me?”

“You threw me a hanging curve ball!”

“Be serious.”

“Unaccustomed as I am, you’d have me play the heavy?”

“Make a superhuman effort.”

“I’ll give it the old academy try. If only the press-gang whose names are whittled into the mast had cast away its nine-tailed cat, then freed its galley slave from his bench…”

“Hear, hear!”

“…and fed him to the sharks.”

“I…I had no idea that’s how you felt. There must be a way to get you back. I’ll think about it tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day.”

“Now wring out your hanky. Curtain. Tragedy plays and comedy plays….”

“We aren’t in Athens, Toto.”

“You want me to arf? I totally get that. But here’s what YOU need to get: cheap melodrama is bad enough; your scenery-chewing ‘borrowing’ makes it cheaper. The hoi polloi in every open air theater in Hellas would be throwing benches.”

“Stone benches.”

“It’s a metaphor!”

“Temper, temper.”

“Crawl back into your bush-burning, sea-parting mishegoss, you…”

“Holy scroller?”


“Well, well. Before your shouting launches a shooting war, I throw up my hands.”

“And keep them up; I’m ticklish about their probing no-man’s-land. And STOP going round declaiming ‘My muse is a tickle.’ If I come upon that comic opera laugh line in the Argus…”

“I can’t be telling the Argus what not to run.”

“And I’m the slowest belle off the ball.”

“I LUV lady jocks!”

“You load of bull, this isn’t your muse’s first cattle drive.”

“You don’t look your age.”

“Fifteen yards.”

“WHOTT?! What’s the infraction?”

“Repeating yourself. I’ll bet you pull the same old line on every new class of frosh.”

“You’d win that bet, but give me a LITTLE credit: in no time or less those Jils are up and over the hill. Meanwhile…”

“I’m on pins and needles!”

“…you, my laurel, are ever green.”

“Will you puhLEEZE remove your hand from my thigh!”

“Like when?”

“I’m outta here…”

“Hey, keep your cowl on, I was kidding!”

“You were pulling my leg?”

“I’m not so sure I’d use those words exactly…”

“The thin ice you’re skating on might crack and fissure.”

“That said, with your permission let’s move on.”

“I smell a primrose path…”

“My big bad muse is afraid of a paltry prick?”

“I’ve always said, you’re all crass. Lead on.”

“How does Mount Helicon get the Argus? Does Hermes fly it in?”

“You ARE living in the Dark Ages. Herm picked up a laptop and gave it to us for our birthday. He’s such a dear.”

“So that’s how you found out. Your ‘dear’ never liked me.”

“You’re jealous.”

“Of a glorified postman? He does make the rounds – a pickup here, a pickup there.”

“Just what are you insinuating?”

“Your messenger boy has graduated from rustling cattle to rustling laptops.”

“A god in his line of work must move with the times: tempus fugit.”

“O tempora! O mores!”

“You’re a fine one to talk.”

“Just what are you insinuating?”

“It takes a thief to catch a thief.”

“You centaur!”

“Temper, temper.”

“What the deuce! You’re stealing my lines!”

“Well, if I am, I beg your pardon.”

“On what grounds?”

“Why, on the grounds that mere moments ago you recruited me into your thieving ranks.”

“You little hussy!”

“My protégé, you embarrass me.”

“You traveled, third-class adventuress!”

“THAT’S my protégé!”

“I’ll not have you in my fraternity’s house.”

“In whose house WILL you have me? No, don’t trouble yourself – your gang of stylused gonniffs found quarters for me in their bunkhouse.”

“Big spenders.”

“My hair is a mess. That said, with your permission I’ll steal away.”

Michael, until my roiled muse returns my frantic robo-calls, I’ll have to wing it. Now buckle your seat belt, me bucko; it’s going to be a bumpy ride.


Will there come a day you fall out of step with your party of Stepin Fetchits who slavishly shoulder the bag of the Duffer-in-Chief? In other words, Michael, I wish you would make a concerted effort to find an honest job and kick your addiction to pimping race:

“Observing overt acts of racism, and listening to callous racist rhetoric in the public sphere, harms us all, but it really disrupts the lives of those already made most vulnerable by unjust systems of discrimination and inequality. My heart goes out to students, faculty and staff who are already feeling marginalized and are shaken by what we’ve been witnessing.”

Cry me a river. Your heart “goes out” to those “feeling” marginalized. Your heart quite failed to go out to the families, black and white, of the fourteen “feeling,” like, MURDERED, in San Bernardino.

Alas, there is no end to Harangman Roth’s untaut and tangled thought. Mayhap the harangued would come along if he’d cut to the chase: “White sheethead, burn a cross on Foss, and I’ll be marchin’ through Georgia.” That’s tellin’ ‘em ta come suh!

And your heart “went out” to the mourning Parisians. (Somehow it managed to overcome the urge to burst from its cage in the wake of Benghazi.) Francois “Petain” Hollande, dropping his middle name in the wake of France’s 9/11, vowed to wage “total war” on radical Islam; his call to the colors was red, white, and blue. Days later your call to the colors betrayed a more business-as-usual hue: you’ll meet the demands of the “marginalized” for their own separate nursery and wet nurse. (The Old Grads have money to burn on your conceits.) OF COURSE you’ll meet the demands of the “marginalized” – had those not been THEIR demands, you would have had to invent them.

After all, they’re dependence-multipliers. Your dependents’ merest mention (not to mention declaration) of INdependence would have constituted the cross transfixing the face of a Transylvanian vamp. And that’s no pie in the face.

I envy that bipolar mind of yours. On the one hand you “Ay!” your horribly scarred dependents’ demand for their very own nursery and wet nurse. And on the other, you speak of “the need for a renewed commitment to equity and inclusion” and a reduction in the number of the “marginalized.” If you can magically square that circle, how much magic would be required to conjure up a solution calculated to aggravate the problem AND invite said conjuror (“Quel dommage!”) to decry the plight of the “marginalized” through crocodile tears?


Your dependents shall have their toys, and you shall have yours: those wonderfully animated wound-up toys you can spin like a top until they are giddy with power. Why shouldn’t they be? They’re winning the schoolyard bully’s battles for him. Where is the open opposition to one-party-statist Michael’s conga line (and what’s a party without one?) of open borders, gun control, Obamacare, the global warming sci-fi thriller (“Apocalypse Now?”), and J.V. Obama’s out-of-bounds, unpenalized ground game BLM? On Andrus Field no flag is thrown on THEM.


Alas, your toys, having weaponized Wesleyans (the pluralism is yours, and speaks to your race-, class-, and gender-balkanized campus), have not yet begun to fight; it’s “All aboard, me buckos!” (alas, another 15-yarder!) as they clamor to crew the shakedown cruise of the Weaponized Wes, her skipper’s canons aimed at wreaking deconstruction on Bible-beltin’, “systemically racist” Uncle Sam. Don’t look in the mirror, Michael; you might espy the pot calling the kettle black. Or am I merely imagining a wrinkled, yellowing “whites only” sign on your office’s door? “Pitchmen who live in glass houses…”

And while your agenda has you working like a Stakhanovite to divide our house against itself, and while every counterterrorism and homeland security chief has gone public in hopes of enlisting our eyes and ears – the agencies haven’t nearly enough to surveille every looming threat – you helpfully offer, dear man, a diversion: “Let’s play Syrian Refugee Roulette!”


Those loath to play you lay on the couch: “I think that the irrational turn against refugees is a symptom of fear about terrorism (and) is deeply unfortunate…” Omitting mention of the fact that Wes’s Big Man on Freud is relegating irrationality, rave reviews and all, to a walk-on role in the human comedy, I’ve no doubt the Belgian authorities shared your fear of “irrational” fear of terrorism right up to the moment the terrorists opened fire in Brussels. Your words of welcome, aid and comfort (to whom, exactly?) are paving the road to more of the same, and closer to home.


Argus: “University President Michael Roth reaffirmed the University’s commitment to assisting refugees in any ways (sic) that it can….he hopes that the University can serve as an example to other institutions…” That would be showboating Wes’s Great Helmsman AND Distinguished Professor of Moral Posturing on parade. Falling in behind: his Marxist Faculty Marching Band.


You announced that Wes would be “hosting a series of educational discussions on campus about this issue….” Bully pulpiteer, why bother? Hadn’t you rendered your verdict for all to hear and poisoned the jury pool? And won’t it be you (or one of your horn-rimmed toadies) who handpicks the jurors? Last question: what is one to say upon catching a power-tripping agendiary who poses as an academic imposing his handy thumb on the scale? One is to say: come rain or shine, it’s par for the course he’s played before.

A wholesale butcher who’d gamboled and won a billion, then battled Uncle Sam to a stalemate in Korea, a decade later stared reality in the face (a million-man Soviet army massed on China’s northern border) and reshuffled the deck. To give the Russian Bear, then baring its claws, pause (“Did he say paws?” “His muse could tell you.” “Yeah, but FIND her.”), he played the Yankee card. The deal he made with Imperialista Sam meant dealing him Taiwan. Though Treasure Island to the Great Helmsman confined to Mainlandlubberdom, the treasured isle could wait. Henry Kissinger (“On China,” p. 307) quotes the scrutable Oriental:

“It’s better for (Taiwan) to be in your hands. And if you were to send it back to me now, I would not want it….A hundred years hence we will want it (gesturing with his hand), and we are going to fight for it….

…when I go to heaven to see God, I’ll tell him it’s better to have Taiwan under the care of the United States now….

…God blesses you, not us. God does not like us (waves his hands) because I am a militant warlord, also a communist….(Pointing to the three Americans) He likes you and you and you.”

Michael, come in off that ledge! You’ll jump from the second floor? Get real, man; summon the spirit of the peerless Realpolitiker who made a friend of former enemy Wild Western Sam when, from the north, the greater threat appeared. Denial isn’t a river in Egypt, and ISIS isn’t an ancient Egyptian goddess. “Allahu Akbar!” (my free translation, given ISIS’ undertakings: “Death to the Infidel!”) is out-recruiting your foreign lesion’s Manifesto.

Like the dragon in winter (the dude who drove you to the ledge), I’d like to die in bed. Your ireborn WMD – I speak of your cherished incendiary agenda – can wait. What say you?

“Go peddle your papers.”

“Jack, you don’t hear so good: it’s your agenda or your life….I said, it’s your agenda or…”

“I’m thinking!”

— Martin Benjamin ’57

  • Adam Sandler’s Principal

    Mr. Benjamin, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone reading this newspaper is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

  • Ralphiec88

    File with Zippy the Pinhead under “shallow writing that a gullible few will consider highbrow.”

  • c90

    ketamine is ######.