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"Doing Absolutely Nothing Since 1982."

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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.

 

 

 

Word of the Every So Often 

October 19, 2020

gibbous:  (adj.)  a moon or other planetary body seen with more than half, but not all of the apparent disc; having a hump; humpbacked.  Igor is gibbous.

 

 

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Monday, March 30, 2020

April Fools’ Day

The original Julian calendar was supposedly invented by Julius Caesar in 45 BCE.  Oh, come on!  Like Julius Caesar tinkered with the calendar as a hobby.  “Why, yes, Antonius, I’ve always fancied myself a calendaror.”  More than likely, one of his royal subjects came up with it and probably didn’t even get a raise.  But that guy… that guy was good.  He had leap days all over the place and an entire week for celebrating the New Year.  On top of that, his calendar was fairly accurate.  It was off from the real solar calendar – how long the earth takes to make a lap – by  just 11½ minutes a year. (Snowden)  It’s going to take a while to be noticed.  But eventually, it’s going to be noticed.

In 1582, Pope Gregory, also a noted calendaror, noticed.  He became aware that there was a ten day discrepancy between the Julian calendar and solar calendar.  So he whipped up a new  calendar, which is something that a Pope can do, and in the process got rid of those ten days and cleaned up the whole leap year thing, bringing in the “divisible by four hundred rule.”  Most European countries were still afraid of the Pope, so they went along, but England wasn’t, so they didn’t… not for another 200 years when it just got embracing to always be eleven days behind the rest of Europe.  And there you have the Gregorian calendar, which most of the Western World still uses to this day. (Snowden)

But we’re not there, yet.  When Pope Gregory rearranged the calendar, along with skipping over 10 days, he seriously screwed with the New Year.  Previously, folks had celebrated an entire week from March 25 to April 1, which is pretty much Spring.  Gregory got rid of the week-long celebration and moved New Year’s Day to the god-forsaken month of January – right smack in the middle of Winter. (April Fool’s Day History)  I wonder how he got that through Congress.

Mind you, this is in 1582.  It’s not like you get on the evening news and remind everybody to turn their calendars ahead at 2:00 a.m. this Sunday morning.  It took many years for some people to get the word.  And then there were the holdouts who refused to change. (April Fool’s Day History)  What business does the government have in telling us what time it is, anyway?

Originating in France, which somehow seems appropriate, the folks who were just a little slower at picking up this whole calendar thing, those who still thought April 1st was the New Year’s Day, were labeled “fools.”  And, by golly, if you got somebody who is that dumb, let’s see what other dumb things the Yokel is willing to do!  So they would send them on silly errands.  They would invite them to non-existent parties.  In short, they would pull pranks on them.  And when they ran out of legitimate fools to pull pranks on, they just started pulling pranks on each other.  And who doesn’t like a holiday devoted to pulling pranks?  April Fools’ Day quickly spread throughout Europe.  In fact, the famous “Kick Me” sign made famous at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Junior High School in Denver, Colorado, originated as part of Scotland’s solemn observance of April Fool’s Day. (April Fool’s Day History)

So there have it.  April Fools’ Day is not based on some earlier religious high holy day.  It’s not the solemn observation of some senseless war that nobody remembers.  It doesn’t mark anybody’s or anything’s liberation or impendance.  It doesn’t mark the birth or death of anybody famous.  And it wasn’t even made up by greeting card companies or jewelers to increase their sales.  It is simply a holiday devoted to making other people look stupid so you can laugh at them.  And it has spread around the globe.  That, in itself, should say a lot about humanity.

 

Work Cited

“April Fool’s Day History.”  2011.  April Fools!  28 Mar. 2012.  http://www.april-fools.us/history-april-fools.htm

Snowden, Ben.  “The Curious History of the Gregorian Calendar:  Eleven Days that Never Were.”  2007.  Infoplease.  28 Mar. 2012.  http://www.infoplease.com/spot/gregorian1.html

8:47 am pdt 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

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Remember:  "Pandemic" without the "Dem" is "Panic." 

9:28 am pdt 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

I Found Your Tongue.  The Cat Had It

You know the phrase:  When somebody has nothing to say, especially when that person usually has more than enough to say, their quietude is often blamed on the cat:  Cat got your tongue?

There are several possible origins for this saying.  Let's start with the ones that actually involve a cat.  Cats have often been seen as familiars for witches.  If a mortal saw an actual witch (A witch!), then the witch's cat would supposedly steal that person's tongue to prevent her or him from telling others.  (3 Cat Got Your Tongue)  I suppose it never occurred to the witch that the person could just write a note.  It is also said that in Ancient Egypt, "liars' and blasphemers' tongues were cut out and fed to cats." (John)  Are cats really that crazy about tongue?

Another suggestion for the origin of this phrase is that on English sailing ships anybody who was entrusted with a secret was threatened with a lashing from a cat o' nine tails should he divulge that information, so when he was quiet out of fear of a brutal beating, it was said that the "cat had his tongue."  (Phrase of the Day)

Also based on a cat 'o nine tails, whenever anybody had a beating they were supposedly overly quiet afterwards, prompting other sailors to joke with the seriously injured sailor that that he was quiet because "the cat had his tongue."  (2 Cat Got Your Tongue)  Quite a sense of humour.

However... there are no recorded cases where blasphemers' tongues were ever fed to the family cat, or where anybody in the British navy ever said, "Cat got your tongue?" for any reason.  And there are no recorded cases where a witch's familiar got a special treat, either fanciful or otherwise. (Martin)

One of the first recorded uses of this phrase is an article in The Racine Democrat in 1859.  More than likely it had been in use before then, since it is used as if the reader knows what is meant by the phrase.  (Martin)  The reference appears again in another American magazine in 1881, there as a taunt used by children, bless them.  (1 Cat Got Your Tongue)

In the end, it seems like "Cat got your tongue" is just a phrase that somebody made up instead of using another cliché... imagine that!  It's a bit like saying "Wolverine got your eyes?" when somebody can't see something that should be obvious.  If the phrase catches on, then in another 100 years people will be wondering why wolverines ate people's eyes. 

 

Work Cited

"Cat Got Your Tongue?"  Grammarist.  16 Mar. 2020.  https://grammarist.com/idiom/cat-got-your-tongue/

"Cat Got Your Tongue."  (2020)  The Idioms.  16 Mar. 2020  https://www.theidioms.com/cat-got-your-tongue/

"Cat Got Your Tongue."  (2019)  TalkEnglish.com  16 Mar. 2020.  https://www.talkenglish.com/lessondetails.aspx?ALID=1025

John, Anais.  "14 Expressions with Origins that You Would Never Have Guessed:  Cat Got Your Tongue."  (09 Mar. 2015)  Grammarly.  16 Mar. 2020.  https://www.grammarly.com/blog/14-expressions-with-crazy-origins-that-you-would-never-have-guessed/

Martin, Gary.  "Cat Got Your Tongue?"  (2020)  The Phrase Finder.  16 Mar. 2020.  https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/cat-got-your-tongue.html 

"Phrase of the Day:  Cat Got Your Tongue."  (01 Jan. 2013)  Ginger.  16 Mar. 2020  https://www.gingersoftware.com/content/phrases/cat-got-your-tongue/#.Xm-vMqhKgdU

10:24 am pdt 

Monday, March 16, 2020

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I always thought there would be more zombies with the apocalypse. 

9:15 am pdt 

Friday, March 13, 2020

Friday the Thirteenth

It seems the idea of Friday the Thirteenth comes from earlier superstitions that both the number 13 and Friday are unlucky.  When they come together… what do you suspect?

In many cultures, 12 represents a “complete” number.  After all, it is the smallest number that can be divided by 2,3, & 4.  Think of all the things we know that come by the dozen – months, hours, inches, apostles, the 12 tribes of Judaism, the 12 gods of Olympus, dice, donuts, and eggs.  Thirteen… just mucks things up.  As well, there are even old Norse and Jewish legends that say if 13 people dine, then one of them is going to die.  A good thing to keep in mind when inviting people to your Friday the 13th parties.  Just consider the Last Supper from Christian mythology.  It was on a Friday, and there were 13 present.  Why it is referred to as Good Friday is beyond me.

And Friday is unlucky because… well, it just is.  Really, nobody seems to have cared about Friday the 13th before the 19th century.  The earliest record in the English language of Friday the Thirteenth being unlucky is that of a British journalist in 1869, but since then we’ve developed all sorts of phobias.

“The fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia (Frigga being the name of the Norse goddess for whom ‘Friday’ is named and triskaidekaphobia meaning fear of the number thirteen).”  Of course, not everybody sees Friday the 13th as unlucky. The Chinese, for instance, believe the number 13 is lucky.  But then, there are those who believe that it is unlucky to be Chinese.  Seriously:  Chinophobia is the fear of Chinese people, Chinese customs, and anything else Chinese.  As far as that goes, there a phobia for fearing American:  Amerophobia.  But why stop there?  Xenophobia is pretty much the fear of everybody who isn’t you, and Autophobia is the fear of yourself.  And then there’s Panophobia:  The fear of everything.

So is Friday the 13th really unlucky?  According to a study done in Britain, there are actually fewer accidents on Friday the 13th than other random combinations of week days and days of the months.  But that could be because, as the study pointed out, fewer people leave their homes on Friday the 13th, and on that day, overall, people tend to be more cautious.

Me?  I think I’ll err on the side of caution and stay in the house all day.

By the way, it would be a rare year that didn’t have at least one Friday the Thirteenth.

 

Work Cited

“Amerophobia.”  2011.  Boredom Relief.  11 Jan. 2012.  http://www.blifaloo.com/info/phobias.php

“Chinophobia.”  2011.  Boredom Relief.  11 Jan. 2012.  http://www.blifaloo.com/info/phobias.php

 “Friday the 13th.”  27 Dec. 2011.  Wikipedia.  30 Dec. 2011.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friday_the_13th

“The Phobia List.”  17 July 1995.  phobialist.com.  11 Jan. 2012.  http://phobialist.com/

“What Phobia is the Fear of Yourself?”  2012.  Answers.com.  11 Jan. 2012.  http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_phobia_is_the_fear_of_yourself

“Why Friday the 13th is Unlucky.”  2012.  About.com.: Urban Legends.  11 Jan. 2012.  http://urbanlegends.about.com/cs/historical/a/friday_the_13th.htm

9:33 am pdt 

Thursday, March 5, 2020

They're Messing with Time Again! 

This coming weekend we switch over to Daylight Saving Time.  Or should it be Daylight Savings Time (with the ess)?  Ever wonder why we do it at all?  Or whether that ess should be there or not?  Well, wonder no more!  Just click on the above hyperlink.

12:28 pm pst 

Monday, March 2, 2020

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"Thank you for continuing to hold...." 

1:46 pm pst 


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