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"Doing Absolutely Nothing For Almost 40 Years."

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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  

November 26, 2021

dissemble:  (verb)  to conceal one's true motives, feelings, or beliefs; to be less than truthful or forthcoming.  When working for a boss who is just a bit too nosey, it's often necessary to be somewhat dissembling when it comes to things like which church you attend on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and the occasional Thursday.

 

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Friday, April 30, 2021

Cinco de Mayo

It’s a pretty good bet that Cinco de Mayo is celebrated more in the United States than in Mexico, where it celebrated primarily in the Puebla district, which is just south of Mexico City.  What they’re celebrating is the Mexican militia whoopin’ the tar out of the French Army, a bit like how Davey whooped Goliath, in The Battle of Puebla in 1862.  Of course, the Mexican militia was later defeated, but that doesn’t mean they still can’t celebrate.  (The History of Cinco de Mayo)

 

The common misconception of non-Mexicans is that what everybody is celebrating on the 5th of May is the Mexican Independence Day.  That is September 16, 1810, which is when Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a revolutionary priest, called on his parishioners to take arms against Spanish oppression, which was basically a declaration of their war of independence against Spain.  (2 Cinco de Mayo)

 

Cinco de Mayo finds its roots in another war, the Mexican-American war, which lasted from 1846 to 1848, and ended badly for Mexico.  That war, combined with a Civil War, left Mexico not only devastated, but bankrupt.  So on July 17, 1861, President Benito Juarez announced to all of his foreign debtors that Mexico was going to take a two year hiatus from repaying their foreign debts, after which they would start up where they left off.  I mean, what were they going to do?  Repossess Mexico?  Well... yes.  But not all of the debtors.  Just the British, Spanish, and the French.  The British and the Spanish eventually learned a lesson about blood and a turnip and went home.  But France stayed on.  It is argued that they were trying to “...create an Empire in Mexico under Napoleon III.”  However, others believe that it was a move by France to limit America’s power.  “Napoleon III believed that if the United States was allowed to prosper indiscriminately, it would eventually become a power in and of itself.”  So even though the French campaign eventually failed, France still won the rights to the phrase, “I told you so.”  Meanwhile, though, Mexico had drawn a line in the in the loose, rocky soil at Puebla, behind which stood “5,000 ill-equipped Mestizo and Zapotec Indians,” all led by General Ignacio Zaragoza.  And they held their ground in what came to be know as “Batalla de Puebla” to the Mexicans, and “Tempête de Merde” to the French.  The French Army was defeated on the 5th of May, 1862, and it’s been a good reason to celebrate ever since.  (1 Cinco de Mayo.)

 

Aside from still being celebrated in Puebla and a few other parts of Mexico, it is mostly celebrated – and marketed – in America, especially in cities that have a high Mexican population, but generally anywhere that needs a reason to drink.  (The History of Cinco de Mayo)

 

 

Work Cited

 

 “Cinco de Mayo.”  clnet.ucla.edu.  14 Aug. 2012.  http://clnet.ucla.edu/cinco.html

 

“Cinco de Mayo.”  2012.  History.com.  14 Aug. 2012.  http://www.history.com/topics/cinco-de-mayo

 

 “The History of Cinco de Mayo.”  25 Apr. 2007.  Mexonline.com.  14 Aug. 2012.  http://www.mexonline.com/cinco-de-mayo.htm

9:41 am pdt 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

May Day

There are a number reasons for the celebration of May Day, the first of May:  As a Pagan high holy day, an ancient fertility festival that could cause St. Valentine to blush, a Wiccan holiday, a saint’s feast day, or as International Workers’ Day. 

May Day is one of the oldest holidays in the world, originally celebrated as the Festival of Beltane by the ancient Druids throughout the British Isles.  To the Druids, Beltane was the second most important day of the year, with Samhane, on November 1, being number one.  Those days neatly divided the year in half to the Druids, and both are half-way points (more or less) between the solstices.  (Beltane)


 

Beltane, falling in the spring, was the Druid New Year.   As such, it involved ritual cleansing, and nothing cleans better than fire.  Beltane, which in Celtic means “fires of Bel,” was originally a fire festival, and still is in many places in Britain.  Cattle, for instance, were passed between (or over) fires as a way of purifying them and insuring fertility in the coming season.  (Beltane)

 

But, more than anything else, and undoubtedly cementing its popularity, Beltane was a fertility rite. (History and Origin)  In short, “...it was a time of unabashed sexuality and promiscuity...” where even marriages were ignored for one night. (Herne)  If not an outright orgy, it certainly came close.  If this were their second favourite holiday, you have to wonder what kind of party they were having in November.

 

By the time of their arrival in the British Isles, the Romans were already celebrating the First of May that fell within Floralia – a five day celebration honoring Flora, the goddess of flowers.  Beltane and Floralia combined to give us, more or less, the May Day that we now know.  (History and Origin)

 

It wasn’t until the Middle Ages that Maypoles became popular, though trees have always represented fertility and virility.  Almost every village in Britain came to have a Maypole.  Some were erected solely for the holiday, but in larger towns, such as London, the poles were permanent. (History and Origin)  It wasn’t until the 19th century that Maypoles became braided with streamers that dancers would use as part of their merriment, which included entrapping the person you wished to marry, if only in the very loosest sense of the word, and if only for the night. (Ross)  And along with May Poles were May Baskets.  May Baskets were flowers that were left on people’s doorsteps, generally those who were not able to attend the festivities, or a way of letting somebody know your amorous intentions. (Fox)

 

The Puritans, as wont they should, discouraged the practice of May Day, seeing it as the Pagan celebration that it was.  When everybody finally got tired of the Puritans, the celebrations returned, but never to their prior glory. (History and Origin)

 

And who hasn’t celebrated Walpurgisnacht?  The first of May happens to be one of several days that have been set aside to honor St. Walburga, who “helped St. Boniface bring Christianity to 8th Century Germany.”  (Ross)


To fully understand how May Day morphed into International Workers’ Day, one must understand the Industrial Revolution, and that means we’re back in England.  Whereas the Industrial Revolution was truly a revolution in that it caused profound and lasting changes to the entire world, unlike other political revolutions it was much slower, and as such, we can’t point to an Independence Day or a Bastille Day that clearly marks the beginning. (Montagna)

 

Throughout the 18th century there were improvements in agriculture, such as crop rotation, irrigation, pest control, and improved implements, all which made it possible to feed more people with less farmers.  As well, there were improvements in technology that made the entire idea of a factory possible.  And this created a demand for factory workers at the same time fewer farmers were needed, making it possible and profitable for populations to shift from the country to the city.  A good example of this is the British textile industry.  Inventions such as the flying shuttle, the rolling spinner, and the jenny steadily moved what was once a labour-intensive cottage industry to urban-based factories. (Montagna)

 

But more importantly, there were significant improvements in energy.  At first, factories had to be located near the power source, such as running water, or simply near the raw resources, such as with iron ore.  Steam made it possible to locate a factory virtually anywhere, such as existing population centers or near a seaport.  As well, improvements in transportation, namely the railways, made it possible to reliably move raw goods to the factories, as well as distribute the finished product, and even move workers.  And those workers moved to the cities. (Montagna)

 

Growth in cities was generally unregulated, with no thought of how to handle so many people living in so small an area.  Cities became “crowded, dirty and unregulated.”  And conditions in the factories were worse.  Typically, work days were 12-14 hours long, often seven days a week, and included women and children, which were preferred over men, because they were more nimble and could be paid less. (Montagna)

 

The factories were unhealthy at best, and down-right dangerous at worse.  There was no such thing as workers’ compensation, health benefits, or even sick days.  Unless you worked, you were replaced.  Workers were seen as nothing more than a disposable commodity.  Any number of Charles Dickens’ books, such as Oliver Twist and Hard Times, as well as Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, offers a fairly accurate insight into the lives of workers both in Great Britain and the United States. (Montagna)

 

It was a slow process for the workers to realize that they could change the conditions they were forced to live and work under, and they realized that change could only come about if they were united. (Montagna)  The idea of having a “workers’ holiday” originated in Australia on April 21, 1856.  It was basically a one day general strike in support of an eight hour work day, and not intended to be a yearly celebration.  More than anything, it showed the workers that, through solidarity, they could enact changes in the work place, as well as their living conditions in general. (Luxumburg)

 

America was the next country to take up the cause, 30 years later in 1886.  And it was the Americans that decided “the day of universal work stoppage” should be May 1.  On that day over 200,000 workers left work and demanded an eight hour work day.  Unfortunately, the American workers were met with violent resistance by those who feared it would lead to Socialism, or a lower profit margin, and so, by any means, they must be stopped. (Luxumburg)

 

Ironically, it was the Hay Market Massacre, which happened in 1886 in Chicago, Illinois, that led to May Day being celebrated as the International Workers’ Day, an official holiday in over 60 countries throughout the world. (Chase)  Following a non-violent May Day celebration that year, a second demonstration in favour of an eight hour work day was called for on the 3rd of May.  Rumours that the speakers were agitating for violence (which they clearly were not) caused the police to begin dispersing an already thinning crowd, at which point a bomb was thrown into the police ranks.  It has never been clear who threw the bomb, but it nonetheless caused the police to fire into the crowd.  At least eight demonstrators were killed, as well as eight policemen.  As a result, several of the organizers were arrested and eventually hung for the deaths of the police, deaths they clearly did not cause (some weren’t even present during the massacre).  It was ostensibly their political views that went counter to big business for which they were executed. (Chase)

 

In Europe, just three years later, 400 delegates from throughout the world met at the International Workers’ Congress, where they demanded an eight hour work day and decided the way to achieve that would be through a world-wide work stoppage, on May 1st.  As earlier in Australia, it was supposed to have been a one day demonstration, but “...it was enough to celebrate the May Day simply one time in order that everyone understand and feel that May Day must be a yearly and continuing institution....”  Even after their demand for an eight hour work day was achieved, May Day continued to be celebrated as an International Workers’ Holiday, especially in communist countries such as Cuba and the former Soviet Union. (Luxumburg)

 

Using “May Day” as a distress word, though, has nothing to do with any of the various holidays that fall on the first of May.  Rather, it comes from the French phrase for “Come help me,” “Venez m’aider,” which is pronounced (more or less) “ven-nay may-day.”  It is always given three times in a row to keep it from being confused with somebody asking about a possible “Mayday,” or perhaps simply planning this year’s celebration.  In the United States, it is a federal offense to broadcast a false “Mayday.” (Mayday)

 

 

Work Cited

 

“Beltane.”  06 July 2007.  BBC:  Religions.  13 Aug. 2012.    http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/paganism/holydays/beltane_1.shtml

 

Chase, Eric.  “The Brief Origins of May Day.”  1993.  Industrial Workers of the World:  A Union for All Workers.  13 Aug. 2012.  http://www.iww.org/en/history/library/misc/origins_of_mayday

 

Fox, Selena.  “Beltane Lores and Rites.”  2012.  Circle Sanctuary.  13 Aug. 2012.  http://www.circlesanctuary.org/pholidays/beltane.htm

 

Herne.  “Beltane.”  2010.  The Celtic Connection.  13 Aug. 2012.  http://wicca.com/celtic/akasha/beltane.htm

 

“History and Origin.”  TheHolidaySpot.com.  13 Aug. 2012.    http://www.theholidayspot.com/mayday/history.htm

 

Luxumburg, Rosa.  “What Are the Origins of May Day?”  1894.  Marxist.org.  13 Aug. 2012.  http://www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/1894/02/may-day.htm

 

“Mayday.”  15 June 2012.  Wikipedia.  13 Aug. 2012.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayday

 

Montagna, Joseph A.  “The Industrial Revolution.”  2012.  Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute.  13 Aug. 2012.  http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1981/2/81.02.06.x.html

 

Ross, Samuel.  “May Day:  A cornucopia of holidays.”  2012.  Infoplease.comhttp://www.infoplease.com/spot/mayday.html
8:41 am pdt 

Monday, April 26, 2021

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9:19 am pdt 

Friday, April 23, 2021

Charley the Choo Choo

Charley was a big, red choo choo.
Everyday he'd go from Hiville to Loville
and then back again.
Charley would take grains and cereals from Hiville,
and he'd get all sorts of good things to eat from Loville.
Charley was so busy going to and from Hiville and Loville
that he never even slowed down at all the little towns he passed through,
or even tooted twice to all the little girls and boys
who would come out and wave every time he passed by.

Charley chugged on, day after day,
and probably would've chugged on forever
had it not been for what happened one sunny day
while Charley was at the roundabout in Loville
getting ready to make the trip back to Hiville.
While they were loading Charley with all those wonderful things to eat
a little bird flew down and sat on the wire
that ran right beside the tracks.
And the little bird asked,
"Doesn't that just bore you to tears?"
And Charley replied, "I don't understand."
"I mean," said the little bird, "you just do the same thing, day in and day out,
going back and forth and back and forth.
You never get to see a distant grove of trees
or find out where the river begins.
You never get to see the sun rise over a far away mountain
or feel a tropical breeze on your face.
You never even get to haul anything different.
That would bore me to insanity."

And then the little bird flew away before Charley could ask it anything more.
But still, Charley thought about what the little bird had said,
which was something Charley had never thought about before.
And the more he thought, the more he realized
that maybe that little bird was right.
And Charley came to realized just how unhappy he really was.
And he got to thinking that maybe he'd never been happy all along.
So Charley the big red choo choo
made up his mind right then and there
that he was going to see the rest of the world.

The first place Charley went was into the town of Loville.
He went right down the middle of the street
looking into all of the shops and theaters and dance halls,
and at all the strange people who hung out on the street corners
wearing big hats and flashing gold-capped teeth.
But before Charley got very far at all,
a policeman stopped him and said,
"You can't drive down our streets.
Streets are made for bicycles and cars, not locomotives.
Your sharp steel wheels will leave ruts in our roads
and make it too lumpy for people to drive on."
So Charley had to leave.

The next place Charley came to was the country,
where he went past a farm.
There he saw horses and cows playing in a field,
and chickens and ducks playing in the barnyard,
and dogs and sheep playing in the meadow.
And Charley wanted to play, too,
only the farmer came out and said,
"You can't be here.
Farms are made for animals.
Your chugging scares the chicks and ducklings,
and your smoke makes the grass turn brown."
So Charley had to leave.

The next place Charley went was the forest,
where he saw the deer hiding in the thickets,
and the birds flying through the branches,
and the bears playing in the grassy glades
while honey bees flew busily about
and fish flipped playfully in the little stream that tumbled over the rocks
as it wound its way through the woods.
And Charley thought it would be a wonderful place to stay,
only Charley couldn't stay there, either,
because a forest ranger came up and said,
"Forests are no place for locomotives.
Your big wheels crush the wild flowers
and your noisy whistle scares the bunnies and woodchucks."
So Charley had to leave.

In fact, everywhere that Charley went,
whether it was the mountains or the prairie,
the beach or the desert,
it was the same thing --
Charley had to leave.

Finally Charley ended up right where he had begun,
at the roundabout in Loville.
But there he found that they no longer wanted him.
Charley had been replaced by a sleek, new diesel,
which the builder had been careful not to give a personality to,
so that it never got bored.

Since Charley had no place else to go,
he chugged over to the old trainyard
where they put all the broken trains,
and there Charley chugged his last chug.

And it was there that the same little bird
came and found the rusted hulk of what had once been Charley.
And since Charley's old smoke stack was such a perfect place,
she built her nest there.
And that is where she returned year after year to build her nests.
And when she grew old and died,
her children continued to come back and build their nests there, too,
and so did their children after them.
And I suppose they still do.

8:33 am pdt 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The History of the Future:  Save the Skinny Houses!

In the fall of 2056, the Supreme Court was asked to decide the general fate of urban renewal, and skinny houses in particular.  More notable than the actual court case was the extreme speed the movement spread across the United States, and even into other countries.

 

The movement, which became known by the acronym S.H.I.T. (Skinny Houses Improve Things), began in the Spring of 2056 in North Portland, Oregon, with three protestors outside the planned demolition of a skinny house to make way for new "Box" housing.  Within a month, there were protests in major cities throughout the United States, and sympathetic rallies in the London suburb of Surrey, and Heilbad Heiligenstadt, Germany.  The rapid prominence of the movement can be traced to a viral video of a kitten chasing its tail at the original SHIT rally.  That, and people seemed to really like saying, "Shit."

 

It is estimated that SHIT collected over 1.2 billion dollars in donations in just five months, ostensibly to fund the legal battle required to ban developers from destroying historic homes to make way for new, trendier housing.  It became common in the Summer of '56 to hear the organization's slogan:  "Give a SHIT!  Donate today."

 

The culminating event was The Concert to Save the Skinny Houses.  It is estimated that on August 3 & 4, well over a million people filled the National Mall in Washington D.C. to hear every pop artist of the day – none of whom anybody still remembers – all sing songs about teenage angst. In a national poll taken shortly before the Fall Supreme Court session, 92% of all Americans (with a margin of error of plus or minus 3%) responded favourably to saving the skinny houses.  It was this popularity that pushed SHIT v. Reality Realty before the judges in October.

 

Writing for the majority, Judge Harris stated, "Why are we even hearing this case?  If you want to save the skinny houses, it's really easy.  All you have to do is buy them.  Nobody's stopping you."  Whereas many people had been willing to spend their money on pointless legal battles, when it finally came down to it, no one was willing to spend their money on an actual skinny house.  Said one supporter, "No interviews, please."  Within two years all skinny houses were gone.

 

See also:  Save the Flat Houses; Save the Crocked Houses; Save the McMansions; Save the Depressing Duplex Communities; Save the Trailor Parks; and Save the Ash Heap at the End of My Block.

9:21 am pdt 

Friday, April 16, 2021

4:20

It can often be very difficult to pinpoint the origin of a word or a phrase.  For instance, who said, “Groovy!” for the first time?  What deprived mind conceived such a combination of letters?  Sure, you can trace its use back in documents, but that can take you only so far.  You may find that its first recorded use was in episode 62 of “Gilligan’s Island” (or not), but that doesn’t tell you that a writer for that show created the term, although I wouldn’t doubt if one did.  The word could’ve been in use in limited circles for years before then. 

 

When trying to decide on the origin of the term 4:20, it’s even harder.  Those in the best position to know probably can’t remember.  4:20, for those of you who don’t know or can’t remember, has come to represent the entire marijuana smoking, weed toking, pot ingesting, and cannabis molesting sub-culture.  Just as every good beer drinker dutifully recognizes beer-thirty, every die-hard stoner recognizes bong-twenty.  4:20 – the time of the afternoon to get high, or higher.  And thus, the twentieth of April, the twentieth day of the fourth month, 4/20, has become the most sacred of all days for every red-eyed, munchie-craving stoner everywhere, who will all be happy to show you how they put the high in high holy days.

 

But why 4:20?  Why not 2:15?  9:37?  Noon?  All the above?

 

When trying to figure something such as where the term 4:20 originated, perhaps one of the best places to start is by eliminating the possibilities.  One rumor of where the term comes from is that there are 420 chemicals in pot.  Not true, says Americans for Safe Access, a marijuana advocacy group.  According to them there are “...483 different identifiable chemical constituents known to exist in cannabis.”  (Medical Marijuana)  And then they go on to list them, but you’ll just have to take my word on that. 

 

Another possibility was that 420 was the police code... somewhere... for weed addicts.  “We’ve got a 420 in Progress at the Disc Golf Course.”  Never mind that that’s redundant.  There’s one way to find out if that’s true.  In the terms of modern parlance, google it!  I simply put in:  “Is 420 a police code?”  It’s a well asked question, according to Google.  And the answer I found at an entire site devoted to squashing rumors was, “No.”  There are no police departments in the country that use 420 as a code for a couple of brothers passing a spliff.  (Mikkelson)

 

On the other hand, Senate Bill 420, which became law in California in 2003 made it legal to use medicinal marijuana.  (Senate Bill)  However, the term 420 was around long before 2003.  And I know that because while searching for the police codes, I stumbled across a site where somebody else had already done the work for me.  Aside from having found what they claimed was the right answer, they also debunked many others that I hadn’t even thought of, such as that the 20th of April is the best time to plant marijuana (as if a weed needs a best time!), or that when the Grateful Dead toured they always stayed in room 420.  (Mikkelson)  Wow.  Some people have really put a lot of effort in this.

 

According to a quasi-reliable source, 420 is believed to have come into existence in 1971 at San Rafael High School in San Rafael, California.  There were these twelve dudes, you see, and they all got into the habit of getting high every day at pretty much the same time after school... by the statue... at 4:20.  And that became their code.  You’re sitting in second hour algebra... or is it French... hard to tell, you can’t speak it... and your buddy nods and says, “420.”  Enough said.  And from there, quite naturally, it spread.  (Mikkelson)  All the cool stuff starts in California.

 

But is that true?  I mean, it’s not that I don’t trust Ms. Mikkelson, or Ms. Witmer, or Mr. Grimm, or any of the other numerous sources on the Internet that all confirm Mikkelson’s story.  But it’s just what my mama always told me:  Trust, but verify.  So I did.  I looked it up on Wikipedia.  And, by golly, there is a San Rafael High School.  And the High School has a statue of Louis Pasteur on its campus... the same statue where those darned stoners used to hang out each day at 4:20.  And get this!  Louis Pasteur has nothing to do with marijuana!  And if that’s not enough, it’s a high school.  And, really, if it’s on Wikipedia, then you know it must be true.

 

 

Work Cited

 

Grimm, Ryan.  What 420 Means: The True Story Behind Stoners' Favorite Number.”  25 May 2011.  The Huffington Post.  19 Apr. 2012.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/20/what-420-means-the-true-s_n_188320.html

 

 “Medical Marijuana.”  7 Dec. 2006.  Pro/Con.org.  19 Apr. 2012.  http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=000636

 

Mikkelson, Barbara.  “Claim:  The Term ‘420’ entered drug parlance as a term signifying the time to light up a joint.”  13 June 2008.  Snopes.com.  19 Apr. 2012.  http://www.snopes.com/language/stories/420.asp

 

“San Rafael High School.”  2 Dec. 2011.  Wikipedia.  19 Apr. 2012.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Rafael_High_School

 

 “Senate Bill:  SB 420 Chaptered Bill Text.”  12 Oct. 2003.  California State Government.  19 Apr. 2012.  http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/03-04/bill/sen/sb_0401-0450/sb_420_bill_20031012_chaptered.html

 

Witmer, Denise.  “What Does ‘420’ Mean?”  2012.  About.com:  Teens.  19 Apr. 2012.  http://parentingteens.about.com/cs/marijuana/a/420meaning.htm

11:04 am pdt 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Hope Not

when life's journey is done,
that getting there
was half the fun.

8:42 am pdt 

Monday, April 12, 2021

Good Headhunters

Do good headhunters go to heaven
If they've lived a good headhunter's life?
If they've said their headhunter prayers,
and been good headhunter husbands and wives?

If they've never hunted heads out of season,
and always did their headhunting-est best,
do good headhunters go to heaven
when good headhunters are laid to rest?

And at night do they sit and wonder,
instead of going to their headhunter beds,
if good white people go to heaven
if they've never hunted a head?

"Do Good Headhunters Go to Heaven?" was originally published in Suttertown News in the their March 10-17, 1988, edition.

1:37 pm pdt 

Friday, April 9, 2021

The History of the Future:  The Brooklyn Project

Documents that were finally declassified in 2214, revealed that in 1996 the United States’ Government began working on a doomsday device.  Cloaked in secrecy, the operation was known simply as "The Brooklyn Project."  Led by Dr. Ivan Tupidsay, the goal was to create a device that would instantly kill all of America’s enemies with the touch of a button.  As well, there would be no nasty fallout, no lingering residual effects from nasty chemicals or biological agents, and the infrastructure would be unharmed.  All of America’s enemies would be instantly vapourized by the push of a button.  A daunting task, to say the least, but one the United States was convinced it must undertake.  After all, if they could imagine such a thing as being possible, then so could their enemies.  And if their enemies could imagine it, then, out of sheer prudence, the United States had no choice but to assume that their enemies were already working on such a thing.  It was further understood that once such a device were created, it had to be used immediately.  After all, if the United States could figure it out, then it is safe to assume that their enemies couldn’t be too far behind, and that once their enemies had it, then they wouldn’t hesitate to use it, either.

It was in the summer of 2009 that Dr. Ivan Tupidsay made what he called his “great breakthrough.”  Based on the knowledge that everybody has a distinct electrical current, Dr. Tupidsay speculated that it would be possible to scan everybody on the planet and record their specific electromagnetic frequency.  Once that was known, then by bouncing an electrical pulse of some sort off of the atmosphere, it would be possible to “shut off” everybody who was programmed into the weapon within one to the negative twelfth of a second of each other, which was considered to be within an acceptable tolerance.

In the summer of 2011, the United States, under the guise of weather satellites, put into orbit several scanners that were capable of recording the electro-magnetic signatures of everybody on the planet.  The initial scan was complete by the Spring of 2013, after which it was relatively simple to continuously monitor the world’s population and up-date the files that were kept in a super-computer deep inside the Cascade Mountains at a still undisclosed site, believed to be somewhere near Mitchell, Oregon.

It was on October 14, 2014, that the system went completely online, with the computer containing all of the world’s population’s electrical signatures linked to a series of photon-dispersement cannons, most of which were mounted on nuclear submarines positioned around the world.  How these particular “cannons” actually worked is still classified.  Once the system came on line, Dr. Tupidsay, acting on Presidential Order 666, unceremoniously pushed the button and was instantly vapourized.  No other deaths were recorded.  According to government records, the “experiment” was tried at least two more times, with the exact same results.  Following the third attempt, the weapon was deemed a colossal failure, and no other attempt was ever made to create such a device.

9:15 am pdt 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

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11:59 am pdt 

Bob's Cat

I knew this guy Bob
whose life really sucked.
He got laid off from his job
pressing out plastic shampoo bottles
that looked like poodles.

Mindy Sue, this incredibly ugly chick
that Bob used to say he dated
only because he felt sorry for her,
left him for this other dude
who was even uglier and scrawnier than Bob.

Bob's car broke down on the expressway,
and before he ever had a chance
to figure out just what was wrong with it,
it got towed away
to some lot behind an old gas station
where they actually expected Bob to pay
before he could get it back out.

Like he really had anything to pay with.
Even if he did
he'd have to give it to his landlord first,
who didn't have much patience to begin with
and no sense of humor at all.

I'm not kidding.
Bob's life totally sucked.
And since he could see no hope
that it would ever get better,
Bob decided to chuck it all
and drown himself in the toilet.

And he would've, too,
had not this really incredible thing happened.

Just when he was returning from the alley
with a couple of old cement blocks
and a piece of clothesline
that he'd found tangled in the fence,
this really mangy cat showed up
with a winning lottery ticket in its mouth.
We're not talkin' just a whole lot of money here,
but five bucks was enough
for Bob to think twice.

So instead of ending it all,
Bob went out and got a hamburger
that he shared with the cat.

And after the cat
had licked all the grease
from its paws and its face
it went back out,
and when it came back it had another lottery ticket.
Only this time
we are talkin' a lot of money -
fifteen thousand dollars.

Bob may have been suicidal,
but he wasn't stupid.
He saw a goldmine in that cat.
Every day the cat brought him something:
Cash, stocks, bonds, gem stones;
and all he had to do was feed it.

Needless to say,
Bob's life got better.
He got a new car,
a new house,
new clothes,
and this really hot lookin' babe name Bambi
who rarely wore
any appropriate undergarments.

One day while Bambi was at the house
checkin' out all the channels
that Bob got on his satellite dish
with the remote control by the hot tub,
she happened to ask
just how it was that Bob could afford all the stuff,
stuff like a solid gold potato peeler
and a fur-lined pool table.

And Bob felt really stupid
telling her about the cat,
so he made up this really involved story
about a rich uncle from Akron
who'd been run over by a bus.
When he got done
Bambi told him how sorry she was,
well - about his uncle and all.
And the cat,
the cat got up and left.
And he never came back.

Well, Bob may not have been too stupid
when it came to keeping the cat,
but he couldn't manage money worth a hoot,
and within two months
the collection company had collected everything -
the brass goldfish,
the marble toothbrush,
even Bambi -
and loaded it onto their truck.
They let Bambi ride up front.
Bob didn't even have a toilet
that he could drown himself in.

But everything worked out all right,
I guess,
‘cause it was just about then
that the plastic factory called Bob back.
Well, it was the third shift,
but that was better than nothin'.

Bob even managed to get an apartment
in the basement of a house
just two blocks from where he worked,
so he didn't even need a car.

You know,
just thinkin' about it all,
I suppose there's a moral here somewhere,
but I'll be darned if I can figure out
just what it might be.

January 1992

10:31 am pdt 

Friday, April 2, 2021

The History of the Future:  Walt Hoedecker Retires from Major League Baseball

April 14, 2046:  Barely two weeks into the new season, 24 year old baseball phenom Walt Hoedecker announced his retirement.  This would’ve been Walt’s second season as a major leaguer.  In the 2045 season, Walt, playing second base, committed an unprecedented 256 errors.  However, in what one teammate called, “Damn weird,” every error that Walt made resulted directly in an out, usually by ricocheting off of his head and into another fielder’s glove.  Walt also set major league records in being hit by a pitch (both season and career, 312), and, consequently, the most times being replaced by a pinch runner (64).  Every time Walt came to the plate he was beaned.  As well, Walt holds records in reaching base on consecutive appearances (312), on base percentage (1.00), and most times on the disabled list (18).  Asked why, after only one year, he chose to retire, Hoedecker’s only comment was, “Dear God!  Do you think I’m doing this on purpose?”

9:16 am pdt 


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