Muffin Logic

Steve Cuno

The English muffin residing in my cupboard is no ordinary baked good. It accurately predicts the outcomes of major sporting events. I know, because I have jotted down its predictions and compared them against final scores for years. It has never missed.

Its remarkable ability came to my attention one summer morning in 2004. I had just opened a fresh package of English muffins when the top-center muffin spake unto me. “Verily,” it said in a still, small voice, “on the morrow, the Yankees shall prevail.” I wasn’t impressed. For one thing, I know that predicting a Yankees win doesn’t require much in the way of prescience, and I don’t even follow sports. For another, who says “verily” anymore?

Okay, wise guy,” said the muffin, dispensing with the not-terribly convincing King James impression that it probably picked up from the Book of Mormon. “In October, the Boston Red Sox will break the Curse of the Bambino and take the World Series in a four-game sweep.” As you may have heard, that one panned out. So, I started paying attention.

You may wonder why the muffin chose me, of all people, for its messenger. I wondered, too. “O Muffin,” I protested, “the people will not believe in my words, for I am but a smartass.” It replied with some glib remark from the Old Testament about “giving power to the weak and strength to the powerless.” If I’m not mistaken, I thought but dared not say, you just described me as me weak and powerless. Gee, thanks.

You may also wonder why I didn’t call a bookie and commence amassing a fortune. If so, it’s obvious that you don’t understand how such things work. The muffin made it clear from the outset that I am to testify of, but not to profit from, its prognostications. You are not to profit from them, either, which is why I’m not going to tell you who will win next year’s Super Bowl. I’m not even going to tell you which entertainers will scandalize the nation during the halftime show by looking sexy and singing in not-English.

Do not vex yourself by trying to think up a controlled test. You wouldn’t be the first to suggest I write down and seal predictions for several upcoming games and later unseal them to collective gasps of amazement. The muffin is way ahead of you on that one, O yeast of little faith. It isn’t written “Thou shalt not tempt thy muffin” for nothing. I might also point out that the very act of asking for proof identifies you as a member of a wicked and adulterous generation, you philanderer you.

Besides, say we conducted a test, and say it failed. You damn skeptics would give no consideration to factors such as electromagnetic wave activity, planet alignment, negative energy you bring into the room, and your outright chicanery. Any of the above can produce a false negative. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone whose supernatural powers didn’t relieve James Randi of his million-dollar check.

But say the outcome was positive. You skeptics still wouldn’t concede. You would point out that David Copperfield performs a similar feat. Because Copperfield is an illusionist—to believe that a human can truly predict game outcomes would be just plain silly—you’d demand proof that I hadn’t pulled a Copperfield-esque illusion. But come on. Proof that I wasn’t doing an illusion? You can’t trap me with that one. As I recall, you skeptics are the ones always whining about how it’s impossible to prove a negative. The very fact that you cannot test a supernatural claim the way you test a natural one should provide all the proof you need.

I know better than to recommend exercising a bit of faith. I need no English muffin to predict your response. It would likely involve an eye roll, possibly accompanied by an extended finger of note.

I’ll tell you what. After each game, I’ll let you know if the muffin had it right. Short of that, there is one other way you can know for yourself. First, cast all doubt from your mind. As Wayne Dyer so often pointed out, you’ll see it when you believe it. Circular? Nonsense. What’s circular is saying there’s no reason to accept a claim just because no one has produced any reason to accept it. Second—and this is important—you must demonstrate your faith through your actions. If I may offer a suggestion, a dandy show of faith would be to send 10 percent of your annual gross income to me, care of Free Inquiry. Monthly installments, please. And, third, avoid naysayers. Anyone trying to talk you into keeping your money will only drive away the cosmic good feelings to which you’re entitled after you send me your cash.

It goes without saying that I keep this remarkable English muffin far from the toaster. As for its less fortunate package-mates, well, they were delicious.

Steve Cuno

A veteran marketing writer, Steve Cuno has authored three books and written articles for Skeptical Inquirer, BookBusiness, Deliver, and other periodicals. In his spare time, Steve enjoys playing his piano and forcing people to look at photos of his grandchildren.


The English muffin residing in my cupboard is no ordinary baked good. It accurately predicts the outcomes of major sporting events. I know, because I have jotted down its predictions and compared them against final scores for years. It has never missed. Its remarkable ability came to my attention one summer morning in 2004. I …

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