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What Are the Best Things Ever Grackled?

10yearsTen years ago, a recent college graduate with trailing clouds of liberal arts glory still fading behind him decided to make and sell a print literary magazine. Who knows what was going through his mind or why he ignored everyone who told him this was a bad, impractical way to spend his time. But now Grub Street Grackle has produced seventeen issues and is ready to celebrate its 10-year anniversary in a big way.

Over the past few months, we’ve been posting some of our favorites from the first ten years, many of which have never appeared online. (Many more never will, as we often publish work whose meaning depends on its appearing in print.)

You know what to do: like and share, fave and retweet, reblog, whatever buttons you customarily press when the internet gods chatter fervidly in your ears, do it for these stories, please!

Mouse over the images below for quotes, and click to read the full piece.

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Featured image: “Making His Point…” by Pat Gaines, used under CC BY-NC 2.0 // caption added

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Misinformation Dissemination 7


This essay first ran in the Fall 2013 edition of Grub Street Grackle. It appears here online for the first time.

It’s a common misconception that the “theoretical” in “theoretical physics” means that what scientists are learning by splitting atoms and measuring the red shift of distant celestial bodies can’t be directly applied to everyday situations—an uninformed belief that often goes along with the idea that Galileo didn’t really invent bowling, or that the Large Hadron Collider isn’t really an exceptionally well-funded experiment in male enhancement. But it’s not your fault: the elite class of scientists don’t want you to know that there is a practical infinitude of ways that the discoveries of theoretical physics can be put to work for you, right now or in the near future.

Here are the four that I myself am most excited about:

The Uncertainty Principle

We’ve all heard of it. At least, I think we have. Anyway, I’m pretty sure it says that reliable measurement is impossible because observation actually affects what is being observed! But the uncertainty principle also has all sorts of useful, concrete applications.

Take, for instance, trying to hang a picture on your wall. Have you ever noticed how, no matter how many times you measure and re-measure, the picture always looks just a little bit crooked when you stand back and look at it? Well, now you know why: it is precisely your naïve attempt to measure the thing that is giving you problems! Every time you try to measure where you should hang the picture, you are warping the space-time fabric of your wall. (Why your wall is made out of fabric at all is another question.)

I used to spend hours trying to get my pictures to hang straight—now I just close my eyes, stick a nail in the wall, hang the picture, and—BOOM! Problem solved. No measurement, no worries. And if your friends come over and point out, as sometimes happens to me, that all your wall-hangings look conspicuously crooked, just remember: they probably haven’t transposed themselves from a Newtonian to an Einsteinian frame of reference yet.


You may know of buckyballs as a hypnotically entertaining magnetic desk toy. But did you know that scientists also use them to push the boundaries of physics?! Neither did I, actually, until I skimmed the Wikipedia article just now. Evidently, scientists shoot buckyballs at two slits in some sort of screen—and the buckyballs don’t just go through one or the other, but both. Scientists think that the way they move indicates that they actually travel every possible trajectory simultaneously!.

But what use are buckyballs, you ask? Well, the buckyball experiments prove that everything is sometimes everywhere all the time at the same time. Which should cut down majorly on your commute.

More Dimensions!

There are three dimensions, right? Wrong! It’s four, right? Wrong! There are actually ten or eleven or maybe twelve dimensions! But half or more of them are curled up into a tiny little ball for who knows what reason. Just think about it—ten dimensions (or so)! That means that, in addition to the four dimensions of space and time or whatever, there are at least six other dimensions tucked away somewhere, just waiting to be put to good use. Now, I’ll be the first to admit, I haven’t actually used these extra dimensions yet—but I’ve got some great ideas, and my friend Wally who took a correspondence course on “Extra-terrestrial Physical Science” thinks they might actually work.

Now, it’s not cheap to rent a storage unit, and if you’ve got anywhere near as much excess junk as I do, you need somewhere to put it. Well, think about this: I bet those curled up dimensions were just as gigantic as the other four dimensions, before they got all squashed. If we could find a way to just uncurl one or two of them, we’d have all the room we needed—and I doubt the laws of physics charge $25/month.

Here’s something else: lately, 3-D movies have been making a comeback. They used to be gimmicky and totally not worth the extra cash—but now they’re pretty all right! Imagine seeing a movie, not in 3-D, but in 5- or 6- or 7-D. Actually, you can’t—it’s beyond the imaginable. But I bet it would be a totally immersive experience.

Oh, and I forgot to patent any of this stuff, so can you all please just sit tight for a couple of days after reading this, until I can get that done? Thanks!

Miniature Black Holes

We all know that a black hole sucks in everything that’s nearby; anything that goes past the event horizon gets sucked in, no exceptions. Nothing can escape from the black hole—it’s like a galactic IRS. Well, some scientists speculate that there are miniature black holes at the bottom of the ocean, because there are some weird gravitational forces in the depths of the sea that we’re not quite sure how to explain. How these mini black holes don’t suck the whole ocean up is beyond me, but there was a special on the science channel on it, and after a day-long marathon on how the aliens really built the pyramids, you can imagine how refreshing some real, hard science was.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I find it nearly impossible to sleep in a room that isn’t dark enough; and where I live, there’s constant light pollution. But I was thrilled to hear that a patent was recently filed in Japan on a “Personal-Sized Black-Hole-Powered Light Reduction Apparatus.” It uses the science behind these miniature black holes at the bottom of the ocean to create a pitch-black sleeping environment. (Light-block curtains, your days are numbered!) Evidently, this contraption plugs into a standard electrical socket like a nightlight, but instead of making light, it sucks it all up, so your room is completely dark. It hasn’t been approved for use by the public yet—evidently there have been a few issues with the black holes sucking up pets and such. But you can bet this handy technology is right around the corner. And the black hole powered vacuum cleaner might just be the next step.

There was a time when advanced science was only for the few, the elite, the willing to sit down and read a book. But now, thanks to human ingenuity and my wi-fi connection, everyone can have a little fun with physics. So, just remember, when the universe stops expanding and gradually shrinks to a super-dense ball of ultra-compressed matter, the only thing that will really count is that you got a good night’s sleep for once before the universe annihilated itself.

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An Aristophanic Impossibility

This story first ran in the Late Winter 2009 edition of Grub Street Grackle. It appears here online for the first time.

This story ran in the Late Winter 2009 edition of Grub Street Grackle.

(In Which Rainscape Becomes a Crossing Guard and Other Diverting Incidents)

This is a work of fiction: names of persons and places, products and divinities bear no relation to real life persons and places, products and divinities with the same, similar, or in some cases quite different names.

I am insane. I no longer doubt it. Allow me to convince you. This morning I found myself desperately trying to put milk in cereal instead of cereal in milk. Always with the same result: the cereal in the milk, and not the other way round. I’d gone through three boxes of Grandy O’s and two gallons of milk before I gave up on breakfast. Last evening I read twenty pages of a novel… backwards. I only realized something was off when at the end of ten minutes I got to the beginning of a chapter. When I confide these things to my friends, they try to soothe me: “look, Rainscape, you’re just a little distracted… Get some rest… Try and exercise a little more… Go out and talk to people… You’ll get over it.”

Yes, I am distracted, I tell them.

I have tried resting, but my dreams are of wayward sentences that either run on in different directions past the point where any period will contain them, or are matter-of-factly stated ambiguities following one upon another until the words, continually so self-assured, become to me so frightfully senseless that I wake up between panting and laughing, not knowing whether I should be terrified or amused, and walk to the sink to throw cold water on my forehead and stare at the frightened and confused expression reflected there in the electric light from just outside my window.

Exercise, yes. There’s nothing like physical activity and fresh air to restore the daylight sanity to a maniac, I agree. I go on walks: sun, rain, moon, or windy skies. Sometimes, when I feel myself becoming happy, I skip. Sometimes, when I feel drab and gray, I hum, and try to shake it. One day, not too long ago (I think), I stopped at a busy intersection and watched the streams of traffic each stopping and starting, diverging and converging each in their turns For so long. . . and at last I grasped their dynamics so completely that to my bewildered mind I could only be the traffic director himself—myself… . So I took charge of the intersection and managed it, for a while quite as well as any stop lights in the world. But then I got a little too cocky. It started out pretty innocuously. I was having a splendid time sneaking left-turners into the occasional gaps in the two-way oncoming traffic so that when their turn came the opposite stacks of left turners would be equal, and the flow of traffic perfectly balanced and expeditious. Never have I been such a satisfied servant to society. And never have I managed any situation with such grace, such finesse. For now I began to innovate, to discover the momentary path for every passing car that barely had to slow its pace, much less stop. More and more, the streams of humming automobiles ran without resistance like soft sand through the fingers of my mind. I wove the strands of traffic in a mighty pattern like a Celtic knot, but woven into it the mass and power, the steady thunder of the big Mack truck, and the maneuverable speed of buzzing Fiats and Festivas! The ecstasy! I was a four-headed Janus! I was a Herm! I was the intersection, the exchange of roads, the origin of new directions, the still point of the turning world.

But every Hubris has its Nemesis. Mine came in the form of a Peugeot; yes, a mere cyclist interrupted my apotheosis. You see, traffic direction as a fine art is entirely dependent on the accommodation of contingencies; the medium in which you work is whatever objects are coming down the road toward you at whatever speeds and from four different directions at once. The first principle of the art is this; no two objects can occupy the same space at the same time. In other words, you have got to find a window in the space-time continuum For each one, and that window is going to be limited by all the other objects for which you have to do the same. So, as you’ve got to be continually estimating speeds, sizes, momentums, accelerations, yadda-yadda-yadda, all the time intuiting a pattern in what is potentially chaos, you’d do well to simplify it as best you can. There are some general rules of thumb: like, make sure you’ve provided for the biggest and most unwieldy objects first; if you save them for last you won’t be able to squeeze them in at all. In the hands of the expert the smaller ones start to take care of themselves, almost… and you can work them in with dazzling intricacy once you’ve more or less got the bigger pieces in place; that‘s the really fun part. However you must not let even the smallest tile in your four-dimensional mosaic give you the slip.

Now I’m gettin’ it, that’s what you’re thinking, he forgot to leave room for the bicycle. No, ladies and gentlemen, I provided a needle’s eye for the cyclist to thread. It was a far more ludicrous error that spelled my fate. It was myself that I forgot. As Archimedes boasted to the Syracusans, “Give me but a fixed point on which to stand and I will move the world!” Silly, if you think about it. But Archimedes’ riddle was a joke on me. For in a kind of other-worldly trance, alive no longer to the growl and screech of rushing steel and rubber, but only to the ever-flowering pattern through which they rushed, I found myself within that needle’s eye. The blazing sun off the front reflector of the elegant French racer all but obliterated my vision, as with beatific satisfaction I watched the slanting cycle, a faint shadow following that brilliance, as it swerved into its appointed path. Then suddenly my legs were clipped; my head came back to the concrete with a kaleidoscopic explosion of pain. And the cyclist, her flight as perfectly projected as an Archimedes’ catapult upon its target, caught up with me and brought our spheres into shell-shocked collision.

Fate is always contact before sight. If you can gauge its approach, and see it coming at you, you retain some control over the situation. But fate is out of your hands, it annihilates, empties, slices you in half, re-does, fulfills, and empties you again, and all before you have a chance put a word in edgewise. Looking back it is as if that one event had so much sheer velocity collapsed into it that it has never yet stopped happening. So somehow there I am still, stunned, bleeding at the head, in midst of the now and forevermore hopeless confusion of those crossroads, that beautiful girl on every side of me, stunned: the two of us thrust into hopeless proximity by the miraculous impossibility of my happening to be standing right in the needle’s eye of the kosmos, and just then and there forgetting my existence.

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Three Considerations of the Eye

This story first ran in the Late Winter 2009 edition of Grub Street Grackle. It appears here online for the first time.

This story first ran in the Late Winter 2009 edition of Grub Street Grackle. It appears here online for the first time.

Most things can be done without. Once I slept on the floor for six months because I didn’t think a mattress was important, and besides I thought it would make me stronger. I don’t know if it did. I skip meals sometimes, and under the right conditions I can see nobody for a week and be happy about this. However the one thing that could destroy you is not being Seen. This is not tolerable. If you are Unseen for too long you will kill yourself or kill somebody else. Because blood at least seems to draw the Eye. Are you Seen now? If Unseen, do you crave the Eye?

Is there an Eye?

Not the eye of others like you. Whether or not others like you are present is nothing to the Eye, which can fix on you when you are alone and can forget you when you are in a crowd or surrounded by brothers and sisters. Even the eyes of brothers and sisters are not the Eye. Their eyes can be, at the worst of times, the obliteration ofthe Eye, and so of you. If you are not Seen, perhaps you are nowhere.

Is there an Eye? Is it better to think so or not to think so? I will tell you three things.


Consider this. I walked once in woods, at night, when I was in school therefore away from home. A terrible night, despicable, so that I hate to tell. Do you know how it is? What ached and anguished me this particular night is no matter—the same thing, unnameable but the same in whatever form: that which confronts you in every direction, a giant all face and no back. What will you do? It is impossible to stay in your room, since even the question of which chair to sit in becomes intolerable. All choices are closed and all pursuits are vain. It is too late even to start finally on the course of virtue, since it would be for the wrong reasons and you are vile, vile.

You see how it was. What could I do but leave my room and seek a wood?

A wood, and a path through it. Twenty minutes down the path there is a lake. Twenty minutes, though, is a long time not to be Seen on a path in a wood. Which is worse: not to be Seen in a room, or not to be Seen in a wood? One is small and therefore intolerable, the other is large and therefore intolerable. Nevertheless you cannot stay in the room. It may after all be only the ceiling that is keeping the Eye out.

To be Seen makes the body light. When he said the Eye is the lamp of the body he may have meant this. In any event the Eye was not on me, and my body was heavy and full of darkness. I mean to say that every step had to be decided upon.

The lake was my goal if I had a goal, though to have a goal means to walk in a direction—I mean that direction is a gift of the Eye, and when the Eye has ceased to exist, or never has, no directions are. All things are the same, since distinction is a gift of the Eye. The Eye Names.

Something glowed on the side of the path, firefly green, a small spark. Some insect. I bent close but it remained indistinct. Straightening I saw that they dotted the path. I tried to bless them unawares but you see the problem with this.

I continued five more steps. This now is the part of the night I would rather not say, but it is necessary that you consider it, since it is the crux. I sat on the grass first. Then I kneeled. Then I lay on my face. I remained this way, with my nose in the dirt, for a minute.

Then I got to my feet, turned around, and walked back the way I had come; having achieved nothing; less.

Do you see? The shame is not the lying in the dirt. This is something that one does, and it was required in some way, or at least there was nothing but this to be done at that moment. The shame was irrefutably in the not continuing, in the walking back.Yet this is unfair, because I walked back because it was impossible to walk forward.

I returned to my room. If you want to know how it was, do this: find a video that contains a man drawing a line with his pencil. Watch the video until the line is drawn halfway. Now press pause. Now rewind the tape, watching as the line is undrawn, all the way to the beginning. Now remove the tape and keep it on the shelf for the rest of your life but do not watch it.

That is how it was. I think it was the worst thing that has happened to me. What can happen when the Eye is not on you? Nothing. You cannot even be anywhere. It is impossible.

But consider this, now: there was once also a night on which I wanted to be Unseen. Can you imagine that? I will tell you about it.

I had a friend when I was young. I would go to his house, which was far away not only from my house but also from other houses, and from all city lights. All day we played. You see that it was not a question of words or thinking. He had a large collie that we would run with, and chickens that we would throw high in the air to watch them flap down. Once we built them a hutch, to make up for throwing them. At the bottom of the long hill of his driveway was a swimming hole with a small waterfall. I mean small for a waterfall but big enough to stand in or even behind, the sound of the water replacing all the thoughts in your head. Once we pitched a tent in the back yard but instead of sleeping in it we sat outside it all night. Watching shooting stars and inventing constellations.

Three years later I moved away. Maybe there were letters. Who stopped sending first? Three years after that I drove by his house one summer on my way to some wedding. I slowed down but did not turn up the driveway. I didn’t know if he lived there anymore, and there was no time. I thought about our times for the rest of the drive but it was too heavy to do for long, and nothing came of it. It felt like being Seen but in the wrong place, as if you should have been somewhere else.

Two years after that he was in town and found my telephone number, and invited me to meet him at such and such a place, at eight o’clock, to catch up. He mentioned the night of watching stars. I was happy, and I said I would come.

In five minutes the happiness faded and the dread came seeping. At seven thirty I was sitting in my room. I thought of how much I had changed in eight years. He did not know that I had dissolved into words and thinking so that there was nothing left that could invent a constellation or run with a dog. I could not like him anymore and he could not like me. At eight thirty the phone rang. Also at ten to nine.

On the night of which I have previously spoken, I was Unseen and as a consequence I was nothing. On this night, with the Eye fixed on me, I was something singular, and knew what it was. Every minute.
One thing more. This is two years after, again. It was last night. I have moved back to the town where I was born, to a small apartment across town from where my parents still live. My friend has married. I was sent an invitation but you can see that it would not do. And why do they marry such people? I have seen her, a soft one with no weight, no eyes that could fix you. There is a bad weight and a good weight.

Two months after the wedding, here I am. My apartment has become intolerable, so I am out walking.

There is a place I have been by car but never by foot, on a hill beyond and tar above my town. The town lies spread between a hill and a mountain. In the morning a band of cloud will rise from the river and lie like gauze in the valley. Once I saw deer there, and once a dozen turkeys that disappeared into the wood when I approached. It is night now. lt will be an hour before I crest the hill.

It is not to say that I have been called to a meeting there. Can you meet the Eye? It will be a meeting without words. Nevertheless there is direction to my steps.

Here I leave the town proper, which is to say that I am passing the last stretch of houses that are visible from the road. Alrcady the streetlights are sparse, and soon they will be gone. One last house, with paint flaking in the orange light of the porch. A woman is standing with her back to me, smoking. When I pass she does not turn. Do my footsteps make a sound?
I have left the streetlights behind me for half a mile, and here is a curious effect, or fact. I walk uphill with the woods dark to my right and to my left, but the road is as dark as the woods. Ifthere were a moon it would reflect on the road and make it a band of grey, but there is not a moon: so there is no difference between the road and the woods. Where does the line of sight end? Am I Seen? Consider this; I have a choice. The uniformity of light, or of darkness, imparts a uniformity of essence: the road is not distinct from the wood. What would it be to leave the road and enter the wood? A difference, or no difference? But I do not leave the road, since l fear to vanish from the map, or from all maps, to walk in unchartedness.

It is possible that I am called after all, or that the road is a kind of calling, so that to leave the road is not a choice, but is madness and death.

Give me a road and I will walk it.

Here past the lights it is silent, as if the lights had been a noise. A brook is flowing deep in the woods on my left. Something rustles close by: I freeze and wait. There is nothing that threatens, but now that I am still I see a shape standing on the side of the road ahead. It is featureless, grey on black. A murderer, or my friend whom my silence betrayed once. If he sought me I could not refuse. O seek me. We watch each other. After a minute has passed I see that he is a fire hydrant and a signpost.
Here is the crest ahead. You cannot see it but you know the feeling of an opening out to sky. The opening is like speech after silence or like the breaking of dawn, some slow but sudden flood.

I gain the top and see that the land is all awash with fireflies, blinking in staggered concert: the myriad eyes of a thousand Seraphim.

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Whether it is fitting that Peanut Butter be present in Heaven

Misinformation Dissemination 5

Dogmatis Substruction Supernaturali Delectati Arachibutyri in Caelo (Whether it is fitting that Peanut Butter be present in Heaven)

This quaestio first ran in the July/August 2006 edition of Grub Street Grackle. It appears here online for the first time.

This quaestio first ran in the July/August 2006 edition of Grub Street Grackle. It appears here online for the first time.

Objection One: It seems that it is not fitting for peanut butter to be present in heaven. For in heaven God will be all-in-all. Therefore, there will be no room for peanut butter.

Objection Two: The beatific vision consists in the immediate vision of the Infinite Divine Essence in its Triune fullness of personal life. Therefore, it would be unfitting for peanut butter to be present in heaven.

Objection Three: Further, the Angelic Doctor says that “man has the entire fullness of his perfection in God,” and not in peanut butter (ST 2.4.8). If man finds the fullness of his perfection in God, peanut butter will add no further perfection to man, and will therefore be unnecessary.

Objection Four: Further, in heaven we shall not want anything. Yet undesired peanut butter in heaven would be a waste, and nothing can be wasted in heaven. Therefore peanut butter cannot be in heaven.

On the Contrary, It is said, God saw that it was good. In the omniscient foreknowledge of God, this judgment must have included peanut butter.

I Answer That, the Angelic Doctor has said, “Not only is perfect happiness naturally desired, but also any likeness or participation thereof” (2.3.6). Man desires first of all the Beatific Vision, for which no material creation is a substitute. Yet, in the wisdom of God, man also desires the manifold beauty and splendor of creation, which is preeminently present in peanut butter. Thus it is fitting that peanut butter be in heaven.

Reply to Objection One: God is immaterial, you doofus, and if there were no room for peanut butter in heaven, there would be no room for us. But if even now the Divine omnipresence is not impaired by peanut butter, then neither will it be so in heaven. God will be all-in-all in such a way that His fullness permeates all things, and this includes peanut butter. Therefore, peanut butter will not only be present in heaven but supernaturally yummy as well.

Reply to Objection Two: The primary object of the immediate vision of God is the Infinite Divine Essence in its Triune fullness of personal life, but the secondary object consists in the extra-Divine things, which are seen in God as the origin of all things. Thus peanut butter will not only be in heaven but also seen in God as the origin of all things.

Reply to Objection Three: The question at hand is not whether it is necessary but whether it is fitting. It is true that peanut butter is not necessary for our perfection in heaven. However, it does not follow from this that it will not be present in heaven, since even man is unnecessary to God’s happiness, and yet he will be present in heaven.

Reply to Objection Four: Want can be understood in two ways, as desire and as privation. Now it is not true that we shall not desire in heaven, for we shall continue to desire God even as we see Him. But it is true that there shall be no privation in heaven, and this includes the privation of peanut butter. In fact the only place where privation will be is in hell. Thus the damned will have no peanut butter.

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Misinformation Dissemination 6: Utrum Canada veraciter sit

This essay first ran in the Feb/Mar 2007 edition of Grub Street Grackle. It appears here online for the first time.

This essay first ran in the Feb/Mar 2007 edition of Grub Street Grackle. It appears here online for the first time.

by Michael Bolin

Objection One: It seems that Canada exists. For we see in the world many people that we call Canadians, who seem to be so denominated from their country of origin. Now this would not be so, if that country did not exist; hence the conclusion follows.

Objection Two: Again, even among Americans, there are many who are said to have gone to Canada. Now motion implies a terminus ad quem. Therefore, etc.

Objection Three: Again, many people celebrate the Canadian Thanksgiving. But thanks is properly given in return for something received, which would not be the case if Canada did not exist. Hence it does exist.

On the contrary, stands the authority of Socrates, who nowhere in his treatment of the tyrannical regime mentions Canada.

I Answer That the non-existence of Canada can be proved in five ways. The first and more manifest way is from the authority of Sacred Scripture. For it is written, All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness (Isaiah 40:17). Now Canada is said to be a nation; therefore it is less than nothing and emptiness.

The second way is by a kind of ontological argument. For it is manifest to all that the definition of Canada is that country than which no lesser can be thought. Now it is worse for a thing to exist in the mind only than in the mind and reality also. But if Canada were to exist in reality, one could conceive of a lesser country, namely one that exists in the mind only. But this is contrary to the definition given, by which we know that Canada is that country than which no lesser can be thought. It follows that Canada can in no way exist in reality.

The third way is from the intention of nature. It is evident to experience that nature acts for an end, which we also know from the Philosopher in Physics, II. But if Canada were to exist, nature would have produced something in vain, and to no end. Hence Canada does not exist.

The fourth way is from the convertibility of being and goodness. Since being and goodness are the same in things and differ only in account, it follows that any thing that exists, insofar as it exists, is better than any thing that does not exist. But the land of Oz, which does not exist, is better than Canada; and from this it follows that even less does Canada exist. If, however, someone denies that the land of Oz is better than Canada, we must cease to argue with him, for as the Philosopher says in Metaphysics, those who deny first principles need not argument, but punishment.

The fifth way is from the nature of the first principles of things. For actuality is to potency as being is to non-being. But according to the universally accepted authority of http://www.bacad.com/about_canada.htm, Canada is a rich country with great potential. Therefore also is it great in non-being.

Reply to Objection One: To the first, then, it must be said that not all peoples are denominated from their country of origin. For example, many people have been called “Communists,” but this naming in no wise implies the existence of a country called “Commune.” And this is how it is with those called “Canadians.”

Reply to Objection Two: To the second, according to the Philosopher, motion is said in six ways. Thus, it is not necessary to assume that the act of “going to Canada” is said with respect to local motion; rather, it implies the motion of alteration, as in the common phrase, “going to pot.”

Reply to Objection Three: To the third it must be said that the “Canadian Thanksgiving” ought to be understood in some mystical sense. This is evident from the fact that, even if Canada were to exist, it would have nothing to be thankful for. And from this the truth of the matter is evident.


Read more great Grackle classics!

Original bio from the Feb/Mar 2007 edition:

Michael Bolin once lived in the frigid midwest and now lives in the scorching southwest. He is rumored to be intensely interested in philosophy, though both the source and credibility of this rumor are unknown. He had long noted that all of his friends despised him, and so was not surprised when it recently turned out that they were actually someone else’s friends.

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The Real Truth – from Don Sumpey (really)

conspiracyConspiracy theories abound. Don Sumpey is here to give you the latest scoop on the real poop that plagues your tormented mind with endless what ifs and whose behind is the who behind we don’t know what or dare ask. If you learn nothing else in life remember this: just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean someone isn’t harvesting matter from your toilet for black market fecal transplants. The connections revealed in today’s late breaking story have only recently been tied together by a vigilant and tireless network of one, relentlessly digging out the dirt they try to hide where the sun don’t shine. Read on and learn pilgrims. On October 9th, 2009, the unthinkable happened. The bane of Lon Chaney and werewolves of London, the illumination inspiring so many songs, prose and romance, our beloved orb of waxing and waning was assaulted by none other than NASA! According to the Huffington Post, NASA launched the LCROSS (Lunar CRater Observing and Sensing Satellite) mission, consisting of a Centaur rocket traveling at twice the speed of a bullet (that’s the same speed that Superman can fly, you ignorant Marvel-head) to bomb the moon. The Centaur rocket and an LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) orbited the earth thrice, whereupon they proceeded to the moon. Whilst the Centaur rocket impacted the moon the LRO measured the amount of moon blood,  if any, that spurted out. That’s the official story. moon bloodBut c’mon folks. Let’s use our heads here. First, if we needed to collect moon blood samples, why didn’t we just send up a Dixie cup with Neil Armstrong in 1969? And he LCROSS mission had a price of 79 million dollars. You could buy 79 million bottles of water for that price. That’s 263 bottles each for every NASA employee, or filling each of the 563 NASA water coolers 12 times. If you stacked up 79 million bottles of water, they would reach to the moon. Are any of these statistics relevant? Who knows? But for 79 million dollars you could buy the island of Fiji, never mind the Fiji Water Company. They can sell me a Moonpie now and again, but I’m not buying their moon water. As you will discover, their phony story is the only thing here that is all wet. Now lets connect some dots. …………………………………………………………………………….. Now lets connect some more. Dot 1: 2009 – Scientific American reports that last year, British scientists identified regions where water might be found on the moon and estimated that there could be enough to fill one of Europe’s largest reservoirs. Dot 2: 2013 – The Guardian reports US and British intelligence agencies have successfully cracked much of the online encryption relied upon by hundreds of millions of people to protect the privacy of their personal data, online transactions and emails, according to top-secret documents revealed by former contractor Edward Snowden. As you may have noticed, NSA is just NASA without an A. It should be obvious by now that what’s really going on here is a conspiracy involving intelligence gathering by the NSA and the Brits. The British don’t need to fill any reservoirs in Europe, but they sure as heck would like getting the skinny on the color of the queen’s knickers for their tabloids. That innocuous sounding little LRO was actually spying on everyone in the world and compiling data for three days to be stored on the moon. That’s right, the new NSA Data Center is somewhere deep in the Cabeus Crater, just a 7 iron away from the Apollo Lunar Module. With the addition of so much information to their already huge database, the NSA realized that their Utah Data Center (which has been cleverly disguised for years as a Genealogic Data Center for the Mormons) could not possibly contain this new data since their computers only store exabytes of information. Even with the added information from the LRO being collected and stored in mosquitobytes, (a numeric value that can only be comprehended by Floridians) a low gravity, low temperature storage facility was required in order to preserve the data properly. Now that this conspiracy has come to light I’m sure you’re asking yourself: what do I do? Nothing. That’s right, nothing. I know your first impulse will be to line your home with tin foil and wear an aluminum colander on your head at all times, but believe you me that’s exactly what they want you to do. They want you to freak out and look like an idiot. Not me. I’m playing it cool. The next time I have a thought I don’t want the government to know about or I need to send an email I’m going to go to the nearest convenience store, place my laptop on the microwave, pop in a Moonpie and set the timer for 30 seconds. Remember, that’s 30 seconds! (Moonpie is a registered trademark of the Chattanooga Bakery Company and boy, oh boy, are they good with an RC Cola!) Join us next time when Don answers questions sent in by his readers.

Conspiracy Nut”  by flickr user Paradigm, used under CC BY 2.0 /face blurred

blood moon,” by torley, used under CC BY-SA 2.0

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The Jomes Rag and Bone Shop, Limited

If you wanted to listen to Rictor Jomes bare his heart and reveal his secrets, this is not your lucky day. But if you want to hear him dodge questions and prevaricate, you have come to the right place. Last year I had the sad fate of interviewing Mr. Jomes over the telephone, and I am sorry to say that I am now sharing the first 10 minutes of that conversation with you.


And if for some insupportable reason you want to suffer through more of this kind of thing, then all you need do to further explore Rictor Jomes’s factory of lies is to click this attractive button and relinquish $9 from your bank account:

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The Consensus is In

After years of debate, we’ve finally reached a point where intelligent people no longer disagree about global warming. Anyone with half a brain will tell you the same thing. You know what I’m talking about. I mean whatever your position is on this issue.

In Grub Street Grackle, vol. 1, no. 4, Dan Dickhaus had the prescience to write:

I was watching a PBS show the other night on the subject of global warming. I know that this is not the best use of my time since I am missing out on the true value of TV, which is of course the commercials, but like most people, I cannot always resist the allure of informative programming. I am sorry to admit that I even learned something. Apparently, if global warming heats things up enough, south Florida will cease to exist. I do have bad news though: I could have saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico, but I was watching PBS and missed the commercial.

Educate yourself further at Misinformation Dissemination 4.


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The Grackle is a production of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Imagine Dallas Literary Arts, Inc.