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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.

 

 

 

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Saturday, June 30, 2012

The History of the FutureBatter Up! 

In their annual meeting in January of 2020 (the Year of the Optometrist), the Major League Baseball Rules Committee unanimously agreed to ban the playing of short snippets of popular songs before each player’s at bat.  The practice had become popular in the earlier part of the century, but became what the committee called, “Just stupid.”

Their decision was a direct response to superstar Coco Pebbles’ multi-million dollar contract, which insisted that the Seattle Mariners play the song “F*** th* N***** B***th th***gh th* B****t H*** in H** H*a*” from the album **nc*d **nt by The Ps*ch*tic N*n-N***** **th**f*****s, featuring **w J**ú*.  Pebbles’ contract specifically stated that nothing could be bleeped out. Stated Pebbles, “H***, *o*****u**er, there wouldn’t be nothin’ left.”

Immediately after his first at bat, Pebbles’ team mate Raoul Orlau summed up the feelings of apparently every major league baseball player when he stated, “Hell!  If he gets to pick his own song, so do I!”  Raoul chose the opening refrain from “The Sound of Music.”

By the end of April, aside from all the stupid songs that had always been played, among others, one could hear at any given ballpark in both the major and minor leagues the National Anthems from nineteen different countries (none of which could be appropriately shortened), the school fight songs from at least 50 universities, 18 high schools, and one junior high, "Freebird," the “Beverly Hillbilly’s” and “Gilligan’s Island” theme songs, as well as the theme from “Peter Gun,” one very loud fart, the Beatle’s “Revolution #9” (in particular the part with the weird crying), “Amazing Grace” and “In the Garden,” the Barney Song, “Happy Birthday to You,” “Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer,” “Hava Nigila,” “If You Think I’m Sexy,” and what could best be described as “psychotic screaming from a hamster on drugs.”

Perhaps a fan in St. Louis said it best when she stated, “I don’t think I was ever more ready for a season to end.  It makes me thankful we didn’t make the playoffs.”

 

8:22 pm pdt 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

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The Zen of Baseball

Being at a baseball game is like being in a boat, except you don't have to change bait, and they bring the beer to you.

You're in a place where nobody excepts anything of you.

Even if you could be reached, you're not going anywhere until it's over, so why even ask? Besides, you can't hear a cell phone ring with all that cheering, especially if you shut the ringer off.

Three hours where I don't have to think. Three hours of focusing on just one thing, which is really nothing. Three hours where the outside stays outside. And there's the hope of extra innings.

Makes you think those monks were onto something.

Of course, you could stay out longer in a boat, but eventually somebody's going to expect a fish. And then you get to expect it of yourself. And misery is not far behind.

Give me a ball game any day of the week, especially on those days I should be at work.

 

10:04 pm pdt 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

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"If someone tells you to do something for money, tell them to go to hell."  Ray Bradbury, from a 2009 lecture.  
(Photo copied from the online version of the Seattle Times, June 7, 2012)
9:45 am pdt 

Monday, June 4, 2012

The End of the World:  December 21, 2012

There are many who believe that the Mayans have predicted that the world will end on December 21, 2012.  They base this belief almost solely on the Mayan long calendar that ends on that date.  But then, most calendars do end, generally every year.  And, like the Mayan calendar, those endings mean nothing, other than it’s time to get a new calendar.  There is absolutely no reason to believe that Mayan calendar will be any more prophetic than my hummingbird calendar.

In understanding why preparing for the world to end this December is a bit pointless (aside from the obvious, unless, perhaps, you have a spaceship), the best place to start is with an understanding of how the Mayans viewed time.  The Mayans had three types of dating systems that they used concurrently, depending on their needs.  There was the divine calendar, the Tzolkin, which consisted of 20 day intervals that repeated every 260 days, used primarily for indicating good and bad luck days.  There was the civil or short calendar, the Haab, which lasted 52 years – what they consider the average life span and the only Mayan calendar that had a direct relation to the physical year as we know it – that was useful in keeping track of current dates.  And there was the long calendar that lasted... well, longer, and was useful in keeping track of those things that happened in the past as well as those things that might happen in the future.  (The Mayan Calendar)  It’s the long calendar that we’re concerned with.

The long calendar places the start of time over 5000 years ago.  Nobody truly knows why the Mayan calendar starts when it does, thousands of years before their actual civilization began, sometime in the corresponding Gregorian year of 3114 BCE.  (Why)  Of course, they didn’t call it 3114 BCE (but then, neither would anybody else at that time).  They called it zero (a term they developed independently from the rest of the world).  (Kaplan)  The best guess is that it had to start somewhere, and that was as good as any.

But where does it end?  Not December 21, 2012.  Sure, one of their long calendars ends there, but the Mayans had more than one long calendar.  In particular, there is the recently unearthed calendar that was found at the ancient site of Xultún.  This calendar, which was created around 814 CE, projects 7000 years into the future, or, roughly, the calendar will end 5000 years from now – plenty of time to stock up on survival gear.  But even so, the Mayans didn’t believe the earth would end then.  In fact, the entire purpose of projecting their calendars so far into the future was to show that the world would not end – ever.  “The Maya were looking for a guarantee that nothing would change.”  They saw the world in a profoundly different way than many of us do today.  (Saturno)

The Western World basically views time through an eschatological mind-set.  Eschatology is a branch of theology that is concerned with the end of humanity, in particular, how Christians view the end of the world and the judgment of all humankind that will follow.  (Eschatology)  We of the Western mind-set tend to see all creation as having a start manifested by a divine creator and a finish (a time of universal judgment), which is then generally followed by an eternity of either reward or punishment in which time no longer matters.  Others, such as the Mayans and most Eastern religions, however, see time as cyclic.  (Saturno)  Not only do many Eastern religions, such as Hinduism, not recognize a time when the world may have begun, they don’t believe it will ever end.  It is a never ending cycle of life.

In predicting the end of time based on the Mayan calendar, we are attempting to apply our world view – how we see the world, in particular, how we view the passing of time on a grand scale – to how others saw the world, in particular, how they conceived time.  It’s a bit like measuring air pressure with a ruler.  It can be done... sort of, but we’re really missing the point.

Of course, there are those – the Mormons – who believe the Mayans could have been influenced by early Christian thought.  True, the Mormons believe that one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel – the Nephites – migrated to the new world in the sixth century before the birth of Christ and would eventually be visited there by Christ himself before he returned to heaven.  (Madsen)  And it is also true that the Mayan civilization came into existence after the Nephites supposedly came to the New World.  The Mayans existed from approximately 250 CE to 900 CE.  (O’Neill)  Therefore, it is possible that the Mayans were influenced by these early Christians.

However, the historical evidence that any ancient Jewish tribes ever came to the New World is highly debatable, to say the least.  As well, the evidence does not point to the Mayans ever adopting any Christian or Jewish beliefs.  In particular, the Mayans did not believe in a single god, but rather worshiped over 160 different deities, and a huge part of their beliefs involved human sacrifices.  (Ancient Mayan History Highlights)  True, Jewish religion also included human sacrifices (note Genesis 22, for instance), but there is no evidence that the Jews waged wars solely for a supply of victims to sacrifice to their god, and the sacrifice of Jesus supposedly eliminated the need for any further sacrifices. 

What it comes down to is that humans want to be assured of the future, whether it’s knowing when all life as we know it will end, or the assurance that all life as we know it will continue on forever.   And we’re willing to believe anything – be it the stars, ancient religious texts, the tossing of chicken bones, or especially numerology.  Contrary to all evidence, many people throughout the world – and throughout time – have put a lot of weight into numerology, the idea that random arrangements of numbers actually mean something.  (Numerology)  And this is especially true when it comes to dates.  Perhaps it is the belief that if, just possibly, we can discern a pattern, then we can predict the future.  And if we can predict the future, perhaps we can change it.  And if we can change it, then maybe, once again contrary to all evidence, we can cheat death (or at least be prepared for it).  If you know that the flood is coming, then you can be on higher ground.

But the idea that the Mayans actually predicted the end of the world some 2000 years ago is just plain silly, especially since everybody knows the world won’t end until 10:22 p.m. on Friday, February 22, 2222.  (2222)

 

Work Cited

2222:  The Zombie Apocalypse.  2012.  Brooklyn Publishers.  31 May 2012.  http://www.brookpub.com/default.aspx?pg=sd&st=2222%3a+THE+ZOMBIE+APOCALYPSE&p=2281

“Ancient Mayan History Highlights:  Religious Beliefs.”  2002.  Mayan History Home Page.  31 May 2012.  http://www.oneworldjourneys.com/jaguar/mayan_history/index.html

“Eschatology.”  2012.  Merriam-Webster.  31 May 2012.  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eschatology

Kaplan, Robert.  “What is the origin of zero? How did we indicate nothingness before zero?”  16 Jan. 2007.  Scientific American.  31 May 2012.  http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=what-is-the-origin-of-zer

Madsen, Ann N., and Barnard N. Madsen.  “Judah Through the Centuries.”  Jan. 1982.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  31 May 2012.  http://www.lds.org/ensign/1982/01/judah-through-the-centuries?lang=eng

“The Mayan Calendar.”  2008.  Calendars Through the Ages.  31 May 2012.  http://www.webexhibits.org/calendars/calendar-mayan.html

“Numerology.”  2012.  The Skeptic’s Dictionary.  31 May 2012.  http://www.skepdic.com/numology.html

O’Neill, Dan.  “2012 Mayan Calendar ‘Doomsday’ Date Might be Wrong.”  18 Oct. 2010.  Discovery News.  31 May 2012.  http://news.discovery.com/space/the-2012-mayan-calendar-doomsday-date-might-be-wrong.html

Saturno, William.  “A rare set of 1,200-year-old Maya murals offers a glimpse into an ancient mind-set.”  June 2012.  National Geographic.  31 May 2012.  http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/06/explorers-journal

“Why did the Maya begin their calendar on August 13, 3114 B.C?”  2012.  Yahoo! Answers.  31 May 2012.  http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20120425091043AATeiUG

 

7:49 am pdt 

Friday, June 1, 2012

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As part of our thirty year celebration here at HGP, we are rehashing some of the old stuff, which is far easier than actually coming up with anything new.  At this time we are contractually obligated to say that we are proud to present The Illustrated Beginner’s Guide to the Birds and the Bees, which was originally published way back in 1987.

11:11 am pdt 


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