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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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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

8:03 am pst 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021


"Seriously.  Do you think it makes a difference which one we choose?" 

9:37 am pst 

Saturday, November 13, 2021




There is an insignificant stone marker
just up from where my brother lives
in east Independence
that marks where the Santa Fe trail began,
or at least ran through - the marker doesn't say which.

The trail began in 1821,
as duly recorded in stone,
and ended in 1872.

On the same spot,
not more than 20 feet away,
is a marker announcing Tour Stop C.

It is a spot of many markers.

Tour Stop C is a cast iron plaque
telling how Moonlight's Union Cavalry Brigade
formed a line right on the spot,
or rather, a line that went right on through this spot,
that met the Confederate soldiers on
11 AM October 21, 1864,
until they were driven back to Independence.

I must confess:
I have no idea who Moonlight was.

Ironically, both markers are on a dead end road
cut short in life by the four lane divided highway,
that US 24 has now become,
at least as it passes through here.

It's still a nice spot
to eat a donut
and drink some coffee,
to waste time
until heading to my aunt's house
and then on to Buckner,
where after the rosary and prayers
and the appropriate accolades,
my uncle's ashes will be brought back to the house
that he never got to live in
and spread beneath a tree
where he never saw the shade.

11:26 am pst 

Thursday, November 11, 2021

National Exploding Whale Day:  November 13

On November 9, 1970 a dead, 45 foot, 8 ton sperm whale washed ashore in Florence, Oregon, where it festered for the next three days while the state decided just what, exactly, one does with a large dead whale.  A large, dead, stinking whale. 


Engineers from the State Highway Department were eventually called in and tasked with getting rid the overly-large rotting carcass.  They couldn't bury it, because they feared it would just be uncovered.  And besides, that's a really big hole.  They couldn't cut it up, because nobody wanted to do it.  I mean, would you want to take a chainsaw to a dead whale?   And they couldn't burn it, which pretty much goes without saying.  So they decided the most logical thing to do was to blow it up.  Obviously they had a different definition of "logic" than I do, but I digress. 


In order to blow the stinking, bloated carcass up, they packed in 20 cases of dynamite – a half ton of explosives.  That's enough explosives to renovate your house.  They packed the majority of the explosives on the landward side of the whale, hoping that the explosion would effectively blow the majority of the whale out to sea.


So on November 13, 1970, the Highway Department backed everybody up a quarter of a mile and lit the fuse.  And it blew up.  Boy, did it blow up.  In retrospect, a quarter of mile wasn't nearly enough, and the end result was all the spectators running away in terror from a shower of cascading whale blubber.  Nobody was seriously hurt, though everybody was showered with rotting whale parts, and one car was pretty much smashed flat by an exceptionally large hunk.  To make matters even worse, the majority of the whale was still there, though it was now blown into pieces small enough to be buried. 


If you've never seen the video, you really need to watch it:  Boom!


It took the event 20 years to get national recognition, when humourist Dave Barry found a copy of the video and wrote about it in his syndicated column.  In 2020, the city of Florence dedicated a park to the event:  The Exploding Whale Memorial Park.


Since then, explosions have been used from time to time to dispose of dead whales, but the engineers apparently have learned their lesson.  The whales are hauled out to sea before they're detonated.  All told, though, blowing up whales probably should be filed under "Really Bad Ideas."



Work Cited


Sheppard, Katie.  "Fifty years ago, Oregon exploded a whale in a burst that ‘blasted blubber beyond all believable bounds.’"  13 Nov. 2020.  The Washington Post:  The Morning Mix.  25 Oct. 2021.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/11/13/oregon-whale-explosion-anniversary/
10:09 am pst 

Friday, November 5, 2021

Daylight Saving Time

You know:  Spring forward and Fall backward.  That way, by turning our clocks ahead in the spring, we get an extra hour of daylight, and by turning it back in the fall, it just makes winter that much more depressing.


It is estimated that “More than one billion people in about 70 countries around the world observe DST in some form,”  with those countries south of the equator observing Daylight Saving Time from October to March.  For instance, most of Canada uses Daylight Saving Time, as well as all of Mexico and the EU.  Because countries that are close to the equator don’t need extra sun, they typically don’t observe Daylight Saving Time at all.  Then there’s China.  China, which technically should have five time zones, only has one:  China Time (which is eight hours ahead of Greenwich Time).  And China does not observe Daylight Saving Time at all.  So there, rest of the world!  The weirdest, though, is Australia.  Because various regions do not participate in Daylight Saving Time, and because the continent has three different time zones, there are both vertical and horizontal time zones (and some of those time zones are only thirty minute shifts). (Gettings)


No matter what part of the world you’re in, the time shifts over (if at all) in the wee hours of Sunday morning.  In the US, it shifts at 2:00 a.m., and in the EU, it shifts at 1:00 a.m.  That way today doesn’t suddenly become yesterday, and the only confusion it truly causes is with the closing time of some bars. (When we change our clocks)


In the United States, Daylight Saving Time is not observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and, with the exception of the Navajo Indian Reservation, by most of Arizona.  It used to be that in Indiana, those counties in the part of the state that were in the Eastern Time Zone did not observe Daylight Saving Time, while those that were in the Central Time Zone did.  However, to make things more... sane, the entire state switched over to Daylight Saving Time in 2006. (Saving Time, Saving Energy)


So why do it at all?  The idea behind Daylight Saving Time is simple:  We like sunshine better than darkness.  The vast majority of us would rather enjoy a sunny summer evening, when we’re more than likely to be home from work, than a sunny summer morning, when, if we’re not working, we’re probably still asleep.  In theory, messing with the clocks doesn’t change the amount of sunlight that falls on any given day, but to test that theory you would actually have to get up before noon.  And besides, would you rather it be dark when you went to work, or when you got home?


But rarely has a law been passed simply because we like it.  There needs to be more concrete reasons than that.  And there are...  maybe.  It is believed “that DST could be linked to fewer road accidents and injuries. The extra hour of daylight in the evening is said to give children more social time and can boost the tourism industry because it increases the amount of outdoor activities.”  Daylight Saving Time is also said to save energy because less artificial light is needed in evening hours.  However, whether any of these benefits are true or not is still to be definitively proven.  (Daylight Saving Time — DST.)  For instance, it is argued that just as much artificial light is needed to get ready for work in the morning as is saved in the evening.  And who really cares what time it is when you’re on vacation?  As well, by moving the change-over date to November it was also hoped that it would reduce the number of fatalities on Halloween night, when “Children’s pedestrian deaths are four times higher ... than on any other night of the year.”  However, it’s questionable whether it actually did, since it appears that the children just waited until dark to go out anyway. (Incidents and anecdotes)  It is also reported that Daylight Saving Time also cuts down on traffic fatalities, because it is far safer to drive in daylight, and more driving is done in the evening than in the morning.  On the other hand, more pedestrians get run down in the newly dark part of the evening in the week following Daylight Saving Time, as well as the week just before.  (Rationale and original idea)


If you don’t like Daylight Saving Time, and many people don’t, then blame it on Benjamin Franklin.  It was Franklin who first proposed Daylight Saving Time in 1784 as a means of saving lamp oil.  His cause was then championed by Englishman William Willet (1857-1915), who spent a fortune in lobbying, but was never able to get it passed in his lifetime. (Rationale and original idea)  In 1916, Germany was the first country to officially institute Daylight Saving Time, and Britain soon followed, but it really wasn’t until 1925 that England finally got it figured out.  From there, it quickly spread throughout Europe, and then a good part of the rest of the world. (Gettings)


From the outset, especially in America, Daylight Saving Time has caused confusion.  It wasn’t until 1883 that the United States and Canada even adopted standard time and time zones (mostly so the railroads could run on time), but even then, it took 35 years, in 1918, before the Standard Time Act became law.  That same law also established Daylight Saving Time.  However, that part of the law was repealed a year later, making Daylight Saving Time a local matter.  During WWII, most of the United States was on “War Time.”  We simply went on DST and never switched back. (Daylight Saving Time — DST)  Britain even featured “Double Summer Time” during WWII, so they could conserve energy, turning the clocks ahead a full two hours in the summer, and one hour in the winter. (Rationale and original idea) 


After the war, however, the United States returned to the chaos that had been.  (History of Daylight Time in the U.S)  For instance, following WWII, any local government was free to decide when it would start and end Daylight Saving Time, if they even observed it at all.   “One year, 23 different pairs of DST start and end dates were used in Iowa alone....  And, on one Ohio to West Virginia bus route, passengers had to change their watches seven times in 35 miles!”  Not only was this confusing, but it was costly.  “Extra railroad timetables alone cost the today's equivalent of over $12 million per year.” (Incidents and anecdotes)  It wasn’t until the Uniform Time Act was passed in 1966 that Daylight Saving Time approached anything that could be called standard. (History of Daylight Time in the U.S)


By the way, even though Daylight Savings Time (“Savings” with an ess) is in common usage, it technically (and grammatically) should be Daylight Saving Time (“Saving” sans the ess).  “Saving” is a participle that modifies “Time.”  It is a saving daylight kind of time. (When we change our clocks.)  So now you not only can grumble about turning your clocks forward or backward, but you can grumble about grammar, too.



Work Cited


“Daylight Saving Time — DST.”  TimeandDate.com.  TimeandDate.com (2012):  n. pag.  Web.  13 Aug. 2012.  http://www.timeanddate.com/time/dst/


Gettings, John, and Borgna Brunner.  “Daylight Saving Time.”  Infoplease.  Sandbox Networks, Inc. (2007):  n. pag.  Web.  13 Aug. 2012.  http://www.infoplease.com/spot/daylight1.html/


“History of Daylight Time in the U.S.”  Naval Oceanography Portal.  Naval Oceanography Portal (19 Feb. 2016): n. pag.  Web.  13 Aug. 2012.  http://aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/docs/daylight_time.php/


“Incidents and Anecdotes.”  Daylight Saving Time.  Web Exhibits (2008): n. pag.  Web.  13 Aug. 2012.  http://www.webexhibits.org/daylightsaving/k.html


“Rationale and original idea.”  Daylight Saving Time.  Web Exhibits (2008): 13 Aug. 2012.  http://www.webexhibits.org/daylightsaving/c.html


 “Saving Time, Saving Energy:  Daylight Saving Time: Its History and Why We Use It.”  The California Energy Commission.  The California Energy Commission (2012):  n. pag.  Web.  13 Aug. 2012.  http://www.energy.ca.gov/daylightsaving.html


“When we change our clocks.”  Daylight Saving Time.  Web Exhibits (2008): n. pag.  Web.  13 Aug. 2012.  http://www.webexhibits.org/daylightsaving/b2.html

7:10 am pdt 

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Veterans’ Day

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month – at 11:00 a.m. on November 11, 1918, the Great War (back when it was not yet necessary to number them) officially came to an end.  It was the War to End All Wars.  ‘Tis a pity it truly wasn’t.


A legislative Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a), which was approved on May 13, 1938, “made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day.’” 


Whereas Armistice Day was originally dedicated specifically to peace and generally to honoring those who died in WWI, it was officially changed in 1954 to Veterans’ Day – a national holiday set aside to honor all of our veterans, which by then included WWII and Korea. 


Nowadays it is seen as “A celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.”  Whether we view any given war, or any war at all, as far as that goes, as good or bad, right or wrong, there can be no debate over the sacrifice that those who have willingly gone to fight have made, and continue to make.  That sacrifice should not be recognized only one day of the year.  To those of you who have worn the uniform, to those of you who have made the sacrifice:  Thank you.



Work Cited


“History of Veterans Day.”  10 Nov. 2009.  United States Department of Veterans Affairs.  15 Aug. 2011.  http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp

9:37 am pdt 

Tuesday, November 2, 2021


Cold cows
collect the rain
that slips through
the steel skies,
while they eat
the quickly fading green
of grass,
grass turning red.

Beyond the fields
stands the edge of trees,
like stubborn skeletons
refusing to fall,
turning loose the last
of their brown and cracked flesh
only grudgingly,
one piece at a time.

And beyond the trees
rise the steeples,
surrounded by their testimonies
of remembrance,
strewn with the brightly coloured plastic
that patiently waits,
waits to be hidden by the snow.

9:39 am pdt 

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