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280 Dog Years


The Holy Grail Press is dedicated to promoting work that standard publishers... you know, those with standards, might be reluctant to publish, which pretty much leaves poetry.  And let's face it:  No one publishes poetry.  So in the end, we’re left with a lot of free time.



Word of the Every So Often  

May 27, 2022

wonk:  (noun)  often used derogatorily, a person who takes a particularly specialized interest in the minute details of a field of study, especially with politics.  You want to know about the influence of Russian immigrants on the passage of the infrastructure bill?  Then just ask Bill, he's our resident wonk.


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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Luck Be A Lady

It’s that time.  Time to start re-evaluating the past year.  And the question that came up at my house was whether the past year was lucky.  And the only reason I ask is because we have a tradition (along with many others, I am assured) of eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day to assure luck in the New Year. 


Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not opposed to superstition.  I have a mummified rabbit’s foot.  I carry a Japanese coin with a hole in it.  I’ve been known to cross myself.  I look both ways before crossing streets.  And I’m willing to eat black-eyed peas... just like we did last year and the year before and the year before and...  well, you get the idea.  In fact, I’ll take all the luck I can get.  Who’s going to turn down luck?


But this year, I started to wonder if all those black-eyed peas are worth it.  I mean, I’ll eat the damned peas, and the collard greens, too, if it will bring me luck.  I’ll have seconds, as far as that goes.  But was last year particularly lucky?  Because if it wasn’t, I’m sure as hell not eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day.  They’re not that good.  But the thing is:  How do you know you’ve had good luck? 


Bad luck, sure.  A tailfin falls off of an airplane and ends up on your truck.  Now that’s bad luck.  If you happen to be in the truck at the time, that’s really bad luck.  But what if it falls off 30 seconds later?  Or not at all?  Does that count as good luck?


Sure, winning the lottery is good luck, or fortuitous random chance... which very well may be the same thing... but I digress.  Coming home from the casino even might be considered good luck as well.  But for the most part, you don’t know. 


I don’t know if I was lucky not to bet pulled over last year.  Oh, wait.  I did get pulled over.  Twice.  Three times if you count the one where he let me go.  OK.  That third time may have been luck.


I don’t know if I’m lucky for not losing my job.  Oh, wait.  I did.  But it was a really lousy job, and I now have a really great job.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t pay very well.  Does that make it a tie?


I don’t know if I’m lucky for not wrecking my car.  Oh, wait.  My wife did.  But it really isn’t wrecked that bad, and nobody got hurt, and the police never showed up.  You call that one.


I did manage to stay married.  None of my children are in prison, and they all still seem to want to visit... including the one who still lives here.


And we got a change in the guard at the White House... and whatever color the governor paints his house.  I’m not sure if any of those is the providence of luck.  Especially the last two... maybe three... possibly four...


And nobody close died.  Luck can be debated there, too.


So, all told, who knows?  I think I’ll play it safe, though, and have those damned peas.  But maybe I’ll only have half of a serving....

4:10 pm pst 

Check This Out!
I went to the library today.  I am still convinced that a public library is the one sign that humanity may just be all right after all.  It's a great institution.  In theory, people fill it up with books and then let other people borrow them... for free.  All you have to do is bring them back. 

Of course, volunteer firement are right up there on the list.  They risk their lives for what?  Nothing.  You gotta love those guys.

While I was at the library I saw a whole section devoted to Christian fiction.  Rather redundant, if you ask me, but I guess you didn't...

I also found a book entitled Home Schooling for Dummies.  Is it just me, or does that seem... well... rather self-defeating?  I mean, if you have to admit 1) that you're a dummy, and 2) that you are particularly ignorant about home schooling, then don't you suppose your children would be better off in a public school, no matter how awful that public school might be?  But, hey, what do I know?

3:30 pm pst 

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Deep Thought

I got to thinking about Karma.  You know, those things that come back to us, one way or another.  And I got to thinking that my kitten was evidence of good Karma.  Like I need a fourth cat...  But she wandered into our backyard and needed a home.  What are you going to do?  That cat has brought us nothing but joy.  Truly.  She’s a hoot.  You don’t need TV.  And so I got off on all the spiritual stuff and I concluded, No.  There’s no such thing as Karma. 


You could see a cat wandering in your back yard as good or bad.  And if not a cat, maybe it’s the guy who you backed into at the mall.  Bummer, yeah.  But nobody freaked out and you found out he was a decent guy, and eventually you met his sister and the two of you have been married now for 34 years  Or maybe you’re the sister.  Could be good or bad, any number of places in there. 


You see, what I think, is Karma is how you see it.  If you choose to see things for their potential of good, then that good will be there.  It’s not that you’ve made it come true, but that truth had no other choice.  I guess you could see it on a quantum level if you wanted.  It’s as if you can be assured every time that Schrödinger’s cat will come out alive because you are actually able to control the trajectory of a photon simply by wanting it to turn out so.  That would probably be pretty cool to see if they weren’t so darn small.  Don’t ask me how it works. 


But, yeah, that’s Karma.  You take away all the bells and incense and patchouli, and what it comes down to is that if you live well and expect good, then you will get good and you will continue to live well.  Barring any hideous diseases.  Which, I guess, is pretty much what Karma is to begin with.


By the way, one of the name’s I considered for the kitten was Schrödinger. 

3:02 pm pst 

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Leonard K. Bullfinch Newsletter

In 1968, when Leonard K. Bullfinch first ran for the Senate, he quickly concluded that democracy was “way too important to be left solely in the hands of the voters.”  Realizing the injustice of just representing one small section of the population, Mr. Bullfinch withdrew from the general election and declared himself “a senator at large.”  Since then, Senator Bullfinch has dedicated his life to representing what he describes as “the true majority of the United States.”  Unencumbered by the pressures of reelection, the selfish needs of constituents, or the greed of lobbyists, Senator Bullfinch has been indefatigable in his cause, that of promulgating truth throughout the land.

  Senator Bullfinch -- the only truly nonpartisan politician, because he represents nobody.  

My Fellow Americans,  It has come to my attention through extensive research that our country is experiencing a slight economic upheaval.  Many fine folks have lost money.  More than they usually would over a weekend.  And some have even lost their jobs.  It has always been my stand that unemployment is bad.  After all, it is every American’s God-given right to be able to buy whatever it is that they want.  And if you can’t, well, then somehow that ought to be your fault.  It sure as heck wasn’t mine.  However, lately, it has come to my attention, that that may just not be so.  In fact, the economy has struck even the Bullfinch household.  Through bad investments, we have lost our entire re-election funds.  Basically, we never invested the funds to begin with and pretty much blew through them all during about a three week period when we were doing extensive research on the legalized gambling industry the exists along the Missouri and Oklahoma border.  We were also able to do some Indian relations at the time.  To be honest, I still don’t understand why they hate Pakistan.    But the point is, these hard economic times have caused me to think, and the fruit of that endeavor is the cure to our economic woes, which, by the way, would make an excellent title to a Blues song.  See, that’s just the kind of spirit we need to rekindle in America.  The ability to make money off of anything.  Therefore, to add a boost to our economy, I’m recommending to the House Waves and Beans Committee that we change our currency to Oak leaves.  What better symbol of the strength that will once again be America than the mighty Oak?  And the beauty of it is, it’s free for the taking; all you have to do is have the initiative to go out and pick them up.  And you can start in my yard first. 

In addition, I am making myself available to be on the Exchange Commission.  It will be our duty to determine the relative value in other leaves to Oak.  For instance,  five elm leaves would be worth one Oak.  But not Japanese elm.  They tend to be a little stronger.  They’re trading right now for 4.2568 Japanese elm to one Oak.  Maple leaves, on the other hand, are holding steady at 4-1.  Think of the investment potential alone in leaf futures.  

  By moving quickly on this initiative, we will be able to rescue our country’s economy and turn our attention to the other pressing issues that increasingly face humanity, such as malnourishment. 

Currently I am serving on the steering committee that is in the planning process of forming a commission to look into the creation of the Department of Nutrition.  We believe that malnutrition can be conquered if people would just learn to eat dirt.  Worms can do it.  It’s just a question of getting that nourishment out of the ground and then getting the proper kind of packaging.  And that’s American know-how.

  Remember, your support is always appreciated, and it will be appreciated even more in these hard financial times.  I would be happy to take all of your old, worthless money off your hands. After all, you would be doing your part.  I’m really not sure how, but then, if we’re all Americans, then everything we do is a part of all that is done.  And that ought to make you proud. 

Thank you,


Senator Leonard K. Bullfinch

2:33 pm pst 

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Why I Hate My Job: The Interviews

From March 23rd, 2008, until June 2nd, of that same year, a microphone and a recording device were set up in the Crossroads Shopping Mall in the town of Crossgrove, Illinois.  A small, lightly industrial town in south central Illinois.  Their motto:  “You’re still four hours from Chicago.”  Anybody who chose was given two minuets to explain what it was that they hated about their jobs.  Instructions asked that each person only go once, and that they refrain from using actual names or excessive cursing.  The following transcripts of selected interviews have been edited only to remove specific names, some cursing, and to improve the general flow.  A complete documentation of all interviews is available at www.ihatemyjob.com



Interview #666


Hey.  How ya doin’?  My story?  I’m the devil.  No.  Seriously.  Believe it.  I mean, not the devil.  I met him once.  We were at one of those yearly staff meetings and he was there to do the welcome address.  I mean, heck, he did that every year.  But one year, between sessions, I was standing there and my immediate supervisor walks by with Satan.  The Guy.  And he stops and introduces me.  In person.  You know...  Ya try not to act like it’s any big deal, but who are we kidding?  To tell the truth, it was kind of weird.  I mean, if you had the chance to shake Hitler’s hand, would you?  One part would be sayin’, “This is really the guy!”  And another part would be sayin’, “Dude, this is so wrong.”  You see, I’m a Minion.  It’s really a good gig if you have to be in hell.  Don’t get me wrong.  Hell’s not as bad as the other guys make it out to be, but it’s not exactly Club Med, either.  Mostly you sit around and do nothin’.  Nothin’.  But being a Minion is OK.  We’re the guys who... well, I’m kinda like an Army Recruiter who goes into the high school and tells those dumb kids any stupid thing they’re willing to believe so they’ll sign up.  Pretend to be their friends.  Pretend that you really know what’s best for them.  Talk to their parents.  Offer them money, chicks... whatever.  And do you think that Recruiter gives a rat’s ass once your name is on the line?  Yeah, right!  But, yeah, that’s pretty much a Minion.  I do a lot of schools.  I’m partial to discount outlets, too.  Believe it or not, bars are really lousy.  They’re there, sure, but not worth your time.  You get to thinkin’ that way.  You can’t help it.  The thing is, I really like some of these people.  They’re good folks.  A bit dumb, maybe, but that shouldn’t make you bad.  And they’re not bad.  There was this guy, see, and he would give you anything you wanted... if he had it.  And he really didn’t have squat.  This guy even got in a fight for me.  It was a silly fight, but... yeah.  That’s somethin’.  No one ever did that for me before.  So, ya know, though, we got this quota.  The call them Credits.  Not everybody’s worth a whole Credit.  You take some real asshole.  He may only be worth a quarter Credit, if that.  Your neighbor who got drunk and ran over the kid.  He may be a half.  And you only need to get three a month.  Three.  It’s not that much.  When you start, it’s easy.  I was nailing 7 or 8.  But... I dunno.  The fire’s gone.  It’s just a job.  But you see, as long as you’re a Minion, you get to stay up here.  Man, I’m tellin’ you.  Don’t take this for granted.  Sunshine.  Breezes.  Rain.  I love rain.  Birds.  Traffic noises.  So... So I have to make my quota.



1:17 pm pst 

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