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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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Friday, August 31, 2018

The History of the Future:  Sabermetrics and the Demonstrative Display of Faith

Sabermetrics, the use of statistical analysis in baseball to evaluate the performance of players, had been around since the end of the 20th Century.  It was in the summer of 2027 that Billy Crudesky, a sports writer for Weasel Sports, applied Sabermetrics to demonstrative displays of faith in professional baseball.  He sought to find out how players who crossed themselves before batting, pointed to the sky after getting a hit, said prayers before taking the mound, or other obvious displays of their religious beliefs actually performed relative to those players who did not.  What he found was startling.  Those players who publicly demonstrated their faith did far worse than other players.  Batters were found to hit, on an average, a full forty points lower than those players who did nothing more than warm up.  Base runners were thrown out more often, and less likely to score.  Pitchers had a higher ERA, walked more batters, and lost, on an average, five more games per season.  And fielders averaged more errors and made fewer marginal plays than those who simply did nothing.  By the end of the 2027 baseball season, Crudesky reported that demonstrative displays of faith had completely disappeared from professional baseball.

8:30 am pdt 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

The Dog Days of Summer

It's so hot you can fry a dog on the pavement... not that you'd want to.  However, that's not why they call it the "Dog Days."  The brightest star in the sky (if you don't count our sun, and why would you?) is Sirius, which is also known as the "Dog Star" because it is the most noticeable part of the constellation Canis Major, the Big Dog.  And, as we all know, Canis Major is Orion's hunting dog. (What are the Dog Days of Summer)

The heliacal rising of Sirius (meaning it rises in the morning) is visible in the Northern Hemisphere from July 3 to August 11, more or less, depending on where you actually are. (What are the Dog Days of Summer)  So, really, we could just as easily call it the Dog Days of July instead of the Dog Days of August... or whenever.  The further south you are, the earlier in the year Sirius rises... like in December.  (Little)  But here in the Northern Hemisphere, where everybody I know lives, Sirius rises in what happens to be the hottest part of the summer, at least, it was before global warming.  Why does it get so hot in the summer?  Well, that's easy!  It's a combination of our sun and Sirius.  No, I'm not being serious, but all those folks in the olden days believed that.  Of course, they believed all sorts of things that aren't true, but we can't blame them for trying.  (What are the Dog Days of Summer)

The Egyptians, not necessarily believing the nonsense about a distant star heating up our planet, associated Sirius with the Inundation, the annual flooding of the Nile, which brought life to that part of the world.  In fact, their new year began on the first full moon following the rise of Sirius.  On the other hand, the Greeks and the Romans, who notoriously believed in a lot of nonsense, saw the rise of Sirius as an ill omen, bringing famine and pestilence, and if anybody could do pestilence well, it was those guys.  Indeed, "Sirius" means "scorching" in Greek.  But then, disease rates really are higher in the summer. (What are the Dog Days of Summer)

If you want to locate Sirius, you'll first have to go outside at night.  It just won't work otherwise.  Then look up.  Next, find Orion's Belt – those three bright stars that almost everybody can identify, and then look down and to your left for the brightest star you can see.  Yup.  That's Sirius.  (Dog Days )  If you want somebody to blame for the heat, that's where to send your complaints. 

But, hey!  There's hope if you're patient enough, because of a little thingy called the Trepidation of the Equinoxes.  The earth, as it is wont to do, wobbles on its axis, so over time the stars shift in the night sky.  In just a scant 10,000 years Sirius will rise in the middle of winter.  Maybe then we'll call it the Dog Days of Winter, where it's so cold that even your dog wants to stay inside. (Dog Days)



Work Cited

"Dog Days."  Wikipedia.  Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. (18 July 2018):  n. pag.  Web.  02 Aug. 2018.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_days

Little, Becky.  "Why Do We Call Them the 'Dog Days' of Summer?"  National Geographic.  National Geographic Society  (10 July 2015):  n. pag.  Web.  02 Aug. 2018  https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/07/150710-dog-days-summer-sirius-star-astronomy-weather-language/

"What are the Dog Days of Summer?"  The Old Farmer's Almanac.  Yankee Publishing Co. (2018):  n. pag.  Web.  02 Aug. 2018  https://www.almanac.com/content/what-are-dog-days-summer




9:32 am pdt 

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