Jan 24 2014

The Tall Tale of an Alternative Burns Supper

American Quack is proud to present the following reprint of Buster Friendless’ historical and anthropological study of Scottish culinary practice in honor of Robert Burns Day. We are keenly aware that many readers are eager for a further installment on the research project of Dr. Anne B. Thermopolis and will resume this coverage in the next issue.


There were none but Scotsmen present at the event in question so we cannot claim to have a reliable account of what went on, but, according to at least one scurvy Caledonian, it began with a general malaise that settled on the city of Glasgow. A restless dissatisfaction held the entire population in its grip. Blandly and blindly, the people went through their daily routines, stopping at the chip shop for breakfast, lunch, tea, and after-last-call snacks. They ordered haddock, cod, blood sausage, haggii, scotch pies, pork pies, and pizza slices, all of them rolled in batter, deep fried, and served with thick, jaundiced, fat-soaked chips. And though their bellies were filled as usual and their unkempt Highland whiskers well-oiled in the process, something was missing. Continue reading

Dec 31 2010

Grand Mal Practice – a novella; Chapter 1

An improper mind is a perpetual feast.

~ Logan Pearsall Smith

Part I: Fiasco

Regular American Quack readers will no doubt be familiar with the name of Anne B. Thermopolis. While a precocious graduate student in the University of Chicago’s short-lived Advanced Spurious Studies program, she served as science editor for American Quack. Thermopolis left Chicago a Doctor of archaeozoology; her dissertation “Mating Rituals as a Factor in the Extinction of the Cephallosaurus,” provoked a radical re-thinking in the field and ensured her a place among the most prominent and talked-about names in modern science. American Quack reporter Buster Friendless visited Dr. Thermopolis at her home in Sarnia, Ontario to discuss her latest book, Big Bang as Rational Egoism: An Objectivist Cosmology. He found her hard at work on an entirely new idea, one that she claims will demolish the foundations of traditional theories regarding the ascent of man. Friendless filed the following report.

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Nov 30 2010

Grand Mal Practice – a novella; Chapter 2

Dr. Thermopolis worked late that night. The clock chimed out a steadily increasing number of dongs, then dropped to one and began to rise again.  Water droplets plink-plonked to the floor from the sodden furniture. Her pen hissed like a razor as it flew across the paper. From time to time she rested her pen and sniffed her whiskey. Then it was her headmaster’s rod that whistled through the air as she gave the scientific community a symbolic thrashing.  “Snicker at me, will you! Well, take a little snack, snickersnack, yourselves!” she muttered before launching a few vicious blows at the chair where her guest had been sitting.

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Nov 30 2010

Grand Mal Practice – a novella, Chapter 3

Owing to overwhelming and positive reader response, American Quack will be following up its coverage of the recent research efforts of Dr. Anne B. Thermopolis with a series of companion pieces to be printed in forthcoming issues. She has moved boldly from the realm of speculative theory, in which she has never failed to impress and provoke, into that of empirical study. We are both grateful and fortunate that she has agreed to allow American Quack reporter Buster Friendless to accompany her on this research venture and cover events as they unfold. The Thermopolis research tour will be an American Quack exclusive, and so we encourage our readers to tighten their seat belts, renew their subscriptions, and get set for what is sure to be a dramatic, thought-provoking, and potentially paradigm-shattering ride.

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Nov 30 2010

Grand Mal Practice – a novella; Chapter 4

Buster Friendless struggled across the ice-coated air field, laden with baggage over each shoulder and suitcases in each hand. He wore a scarf and two pairs of mittens, but even the slightest puff of the December air sliced like a surgeon’s scalpel through his herringbone jacket. The ice, the load, and the shivering all pig-piled upon him and he fell several times. Dr. Thermopolis marched several strides ahead, waving her headmaster’s rod like a conductor’s wand. She had struck him with it twice upon his arrival at her home and during the flight had periodically spun around and smacked him again without apparent provocation. The airfield offices were both deserted and locked.

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Nov 30 2010

Grand Mal Practice – a novella; Chapter 5

Dear Mr. Dross:

I have serious doubts as to the viability of this assignment. First, it seems that Dr. Jeremy Foxtrot is out on assignment and it may be as many as three weeks before he contacts us. Thermopolis works day and night in our hotel room but will share nothing of her work’s content. Thus, I can’t see how I can have anything ready by the next issue.  When she does venture out, she sticks out like the sorest thumb these parts have seen since the first white person arrived. Moreover, she has drawn a chalk line down our shared accommodations and threatened me with severe repercussions should I cross it. I would not mind respecting her need for personal space, but the toilet is on her side.
Continue reading

Nov 30 2010

Persecution Etiquette, or Chapter 6

Persecution Etiquette

He stopped abruptly, as if in mid-flight, and spun like a dancer on his toes. The tails of his greatcoat fluttered gracefully about him as he faced the little man who had not existed just moments before.

“How many hands have you got in your pockets?” he asked in a serious, thoughtful tone.

“Two,” came the answer. Continue reading

Nov 30 2010

Grand Mal Practice – a novella; Chapter 7

American Quack resumes its coverage of the ongoing field research project of Dr. Anne B. Thermopolis with the following travelogue treatment of Buggery Creek, Canada. Readers can expect a thorough update on the progress of the research itself in the next issue. This series is an American Quack exclusive.

The Friendless Files

Of Buggery Creek, NWT, we can say with certainty neither precisely when it was founded, nor how it acquired its name, though we can confirm that both of these events took place sometime during the 1880s gold rush. Uit Nelsdorf, Frederich Lenke, Butch Geldings X and XI, Pavel Zhopa, Ulf Peterson, Jacques and Jean Savoirfaire, and Guy Labonne set forth from Toronto in the hopes of finding their fortunes in Alaska.  For reasons as inexplicable as they are obscure, the party took a disastrous right turn somewhere around Porcupine Plain, Saskatchewan, and wound up in these parts as winter was fast approaching. They holed up in a hastily constructed structure along the banks of the creek now known as Buggery. A blizzard that lasted almost the entire month of January was so savage that it prevented the nine men from venturing out of their shelter for any reason.  With supplies dwindling and foraging impossible, they turned to consuming each other’s semen to survive – a practice which, the diaries of Labonne assure us, was abandoned as soon as the necessity for it had passed. By the arrival of spring they had found that a living of sorts could be made trapping and fishing in the area. The brothers Savoirfaire departed, both from the settlement and from the history books, in search of Alaska, but the others remained and founded a town.

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Nov 30 2010

Grand Mal Practice – a novella; Chapter 8

Dear Karla Sanborn:

OK, you’ve had your fun, Karla, now the joke is over. Send me some money!  Instead of chasing news stories, I’m sweeping up Chummies Pub and Club after hours just to get a meal and a goddamn cup of coffee. You yourself said that as long as Dross is out of touch, the Thermopolis series continues. Well, I hope you remember that Dross also earmarked this project “High Priority,” and if this “High Priority” project fails to produce results you can be damn sure it’ll be the logistical end that gets the hot poker.  Of course, that might not work out so bad for you, as I’m sure your ass could do with some white-hot disinfecting.

Very Very Fucking Sincerely,
Buster Friendless

Dear Mr. Friendless:

All of us at head office are growing most concerned at not having heard from you since your last submission to the magazine. Is everything all right? Are your funds proving adequate?  Remember that yours is a high priority assignment, so don’t hesitate to ask the moment you may require anything in the way of logistical or resource support.

Regards, Karla Sanborn
Thermopolis Series Project, Document 37. Filed for record.

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Nov 30 2010

Grand Mal Practice – a novella; Chapter 9

Part II: Fear

Dr. Jeremy Foxtrot has voiced concerns about American Quack’s representation of the theoretical basis of his current joint project with Dr. Anne B. Thermopolis. In order that our readers be fully informed and our account of this project be balanced and free from any charges of bias, we offer the following interview with Dr. Foxtrot conducted by Buster Friendless. This series is an American Quack exclusive.

Friendless Files

Jeremy Foxtrot owes his dark complexion, his powerful facial bone structure and his long black braids to his Cree father, his sense of humor and Goliath stature to his Quebecois mother. But to speak with him, even for only a few moments, is to become convinced that Oxford University played the greater role in supplying his genetic information. Years of traveling the rugged Canadian north and working out of rough-and-tumble towns like Buggery Creek have done nothing to harden the manners and refinement of speech that he acquired while a graduate student at that fine institution. Moreover, he is, perhaps like all truly great academics, a wholly cerebral creature.

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