3506 Sunrise Drive West
Minnetonka, MN, 55345

March 01, 2010

Mr. Ron Ulibarri
Menifee Union School Board
Menifee Union School District
30205 Menifee Road
Menifee, CA 92584

Dear Mr. Ron Ulibarri:

Did you really allow dictionaries to be pulled from your library shelves because some cranky parent groused about the word “oral sex” in it?  If there was ever a parent who needed some, it would be that parent.

Good luck finding a dictionary that has no words that will offend anybody.  Please also pull the Bible from your shelves because it includes rape, incest, murder and stories of Onan "spilling his seed on the ground."  Please pull The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn because it uses the N-word.  Pull Huxely’s Brave New World for all kinds of filthy stuff. The list goes on and on.

The next time a parent grouses about something that grosses them out, tell them that we have entered the twenty-first century and they should get a life.  Otherwise Menifee makes the News of the Weird and looks like a joke to the rest of the world.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Chris Sullivan

Grackles
Millions of Grackles

December 2, 1997

Dear Sterling,
    Has your father ever told you about how much stuff there is in the world?  Ask him, “Dad, what about all this stuff in the world?  Do you think there is less stuff now because we are using so much of it?  Will there be no more stuff some day?”  He will probably look out the window, into the sky, and put on the kind of face that people put on when they are trying to remember what a cloud looked like five minutes ago. He will probably say that there is more stuff in the world now because he can see things that weren’t there when he was little, like Legos and Hamburger Helper.  And markers.  There weren’t any markers when he was your age, he’ll say.  Just crayons.  Then I think he will shake his head, look at you again, and say, “No, there isn’t more stuff now than when I was four, just different stuff.”
    When your dad was little, the sky was bigger, bluer, and farther away.  There were more rocks and sticks lying around.  And more frogs in the trees and pollywogs in the creeks.  He will cock his head and wonder if there are pollywogs any more at all, let alone creeks.  It ran only when the snow melted, but it was a creek.  There were more birds. Ask him about the migration of the grackles.  You can still see grackles today, but now they are just birds.  When your daddy and I were little boys who didn’t have to go to school yet or make our beds if we got outside before Gram caught us and told us to go back and make our beds and pick up our socks, when your daddy and I were little boys, the grackles came through our neighborhood in huge flocks.
    There were so many black grackles in our backyard that it was more like being in a story than a plain old backyard.  Grackles swarmed like flies in the sky over the red roof of our house.  The sky was dark with them.  There were black birds everywhere. Grackles in the honeysuckle.  Grackles on the phone wire.Grackles hopping around on the ground. On every branch of every tree your father could see grackles, all chattering to one another.  Each jumped around, flew to another branch, pecked at it, and chattered to his friends.  There were so many grackles squawking – these birds didn’t sing; they yammered; they yapped; they jabbered – that the bird noise was so great that you couldn’t hear what your brother was saying to you, even if he stood right by you and he shouted.
    Your dad will tell you that there were more birds in the world when he was little, but about the same amount of stuff.  Just different stuff.  There were more burdock and thistle and fewer lilacs.  More dirt paths and fewer sidewalks. More places where nobody raked the leaves or cut the grass and fewer hedges.  More mailboxes on posts and fewer stop signs. More sand and pebbles in your shoes at the end of the day, and not one single video back then.  Not one.  “Nope, not more stuff.Just different stuff.”
    Ask your dad about stuff and grackles in the blue sky, and so much noise that you can’t even hear your own brother.  He knows.  He’ll tell you.

Love,

Uncle Chris