Friday, February 11, 2011


Holiday Christmas Wishes
Vol. 6
From the desk of Henry J. Rifle

Dearest Chums,

It’s beginning to look a bunch like Christmas, which can only mean it’s time to haul out the old Smith-Corona, a full bottle of Hennessy and see what we can see.

What else is there to say about the year 2007 except that it was unfortunate? Another largely unmitigated disaster in a long string of them. I’m telling you, I knew when El Presidente’ Jorge’ #2 took the wheel that we were in for a thoroughly unpleasant ride, but now I think I’m really beginning to understand how my dates must have felt back in my younger days. Yes, I think I can imagine what must have been going through their minds when they got in the car with me, looked me squarely in the eye and said, ‘This is really going to suck, isn’t it?’ I would respond by nodding gravely before flipping on the AM radio to catch the cattle futures report.

But the great part about those horrific dates is that they eventually came to a merciful conclusion, and that’s what’s also great about our American political process: as bad as it gets, the end will come, my friends, and it’s not far away now. Before too terribly long, another candidate will vault to power and then they will be free to drive this country into the ground as they see fit. That’s the miracle of freedom, fellow citizens. That’s democracy in action.

The important thing is we’re still here. And as long as we’re still here, there’s still hope. Candidates will come and go. The fortunes of political parties will rise and fall like the market, but we’re the ones paying the bills and the freight. The trick is to not take it all too seriously. Who knows? Perhaps one day a woman or a man will come along with some real answers to the multitude of problems we face – like immigration, for instance. Now that’s a real problem!

To hear some people talk, you would think that no one should be able to enter this country.
I think that’s a great idea! In fact, I think we should replace the Statue of Liberty with the Statue
of Mr. T. Same size as the S.O.L., same concept, except instead of welcoming foreigners to our shores, the inscription at the base of this statue would say, ‘I pity the fool that tries to get into this country!’ There could even be a button hopeful immigrants could push and Mr. T’s recorded voice would boom out over Ellis Island – so that it’s an interactive experience.

My viewpoint on this matter might surprise some people because my ancestors were immigrants. We arrived here sometime around the early part of the 20th Century. We would have gotten here a lot sooner, but my great-great grandpa had an irrational fear of large women. He caught sight of the Statue of Liberty from the boat and he lost it! He didn’t stop screaming until they got him back to Norway. Well, it’s all just cold water under the Brooklyn Bridge now.

Anyway, Happy Holidays! All the best to you and yours,

Henry J.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

yet another old holiday letter

Holiday Christmas Wishes 4 -- 2005
From the desk of
Henry J. Rifle
Dearest Muchachos,

It appears we are rapidly running out of days on the calendar to draw thick black X’s through, so that can only mean it must be time for old Henry J. to put fingertips to keys and tap his way back into the fibrous chambers of your hearts. Don’t worry, it will only sting for a minute and I promise you won’t feel a thing.
Now before I get too far down   the happy path, I should tell you I just got back from a Holiday party and I’m pretty sure someone spiked the egg nog with something hinky. Did I stop drinking it, you ask? The answer, of course, is no, I did not. So why don’t we just let’s see what happens?

Well, it was quite a year, as you can well imagine. As some of you know, I was bumped off earlier this year, rubbed out like a 2nd rate soap opera star*. It’s alright, though. It’s given me time to catch up on my reading. And I’ve seen a movie or two. Yep, I saw Walk The Line recently. Not too bad, not too bad at all. If you like Johnny Cash, you’ll be happy to know the movie has a happy ending. In fact, it ends (spoiler alert) with Johnny’s landmark performance in Folsom Prison, a performance which was later turned into the equally landmarctic album, ‘Johnny Cash, Live From Folsom Prison.’ Yes, after listening to that album, it’s obvious nothing coaxes a better performance out of a performer than the knowledge he’ll be torn to pieces by hardened cons if he sucks.

Luckily for all of us, and most especially Mr. Cash, he did NOT suck. And the album? It went gold! Or platinum…I never remember what the difference is. Anyway, this business of artists performing in prisons caught on very briefly. It led, regrettably – and nearly fatally – to the legendary lost recording titled, ‘Perry Como, Live From Alcatraz!’   I’m sure that seemed like a real good idea at the time, and big points to Perry for trying, but apparently he didn’t quite have the all-important ‘street cred’ old Johnny Cash did. But that’s how you learn, am I right?

Oh, sure, everyone and their great-aunt thinks they can pull on a sweater, pick up a guitar and entertain a bunch of felons. The bottom line is, though, we can’t. There’s only one performer (two if you count Merle Haggard) who was mean and crazy enough and had the chops to do that. And now…he’s no longer with us.
Anyways, Happy Holidays!

All the best to you and yours,   


Henry J. Rifle

* In the beyond-indie film Henry Rifle is Dead

Monday, January 24, 2011

Holiday letter - 2004

Holiday Christmas Wishes 3 -- 2004
From the desk of
Henry J. Rifle

Dearest chums,

Well, well, well. So another year has passed us by. And as the corpse of the year 2004 begins to decompose and stiffen with rigor mortis, I think all we can do is cut off its clothes, lay it out on the table, examine the skid marks and try to figure out where things went so horribly wrong. Or perhaps it’s best simply to dump the whole mess in the cosmic hamper of time and pray that someone somewhere can somehow make it clean.

But…enough looking back. I come not to bury Caesar. He died a very long time ago, and if he’s not buried by now, man, he has GOT to be some kind of funky! Still, he did invent the wheel and the toga party and was one half of the pioneering comedy team Caesar and Brutus, and for that he should be recalled and recalled fondly.

Which reminds me; the most overused word in the English language today has to be ‘pioneer.’ I’ve got a news flash for you: I don’t care what you did, unless you own a covered wagon, you’re not a f------ pioneer! Let’s be real clear about that. And why would you want to be? The pioneers, for the most part, were insane -- bloodthirsty pilgrims driven mad by the prospect of gold and cheap liquor. But this isn’t Thanksgiving we’re talking about. It’s the Holiday season; eggnog, tinsel, jelly beans and fa la la la.

With that in mind, all I can say is I truly wish us well, all of us. Life…life is a terrifying thing. So for just a few days, at least, can’t we try to enjoy it together? Can’t we let our guards down and be open even slightly to the prospect of a brighter tomorrow? For all of our sakes, I hope so. Remember, the world isn’t driven by courage nearly so much as it’s held back by fear. And keep in mind, the heart doesn’t come with a kickstand. In these next few weeks and throughout the coming year I encourage all of us to release the parking brake on our souls. I say, let’s get these nasty pigs out on the open road and see what they can do! ARIBA,ARIBA!!  

All the best to you and yours,   


Henry J. Rifle

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Holiday letter - 2003

Holiday Christmas Wishes -- 2003
From the desk of
Henry J. Rifle

Greetings, Most Precious of Chums,
Well…it’s that time of year again when the chronological stew we’re all simmering in boils over with goodness and we remove our heads from our butts just long enough to do some power shopping, guzzle some eggnog and whistle a few Holiday tunes.

A-hem! My rampant cynicism aside, it is a very special time of year and I’m truly glad we’re all here to share in it together. After all, and I think this goes without saying, it’s an uncertain world we’re surfing on, truly anything goes, and sometimes the road cheats the wheels, and….well, I think you may or may not know what I’m saying. The important thing to keep in mind, of course, is things could be a whole lot worse.
All that aside, this is also the time of year when we as a people have to ask ourselves, ‘Where are we going?’

Why, just the other day as I was getting on the bus, the bus driver asked me, ‘Where are you going?’ His question pierced my soul. I had to stop and really think. After about a minute, the other passengers began pelting me with fruit and other debris. The bus driver himself then told me I ‘better sit my ass down’ or he was going to ‘tear me a new one.’ So I took my seat and tried not to look at the other riders who hated me so. But the question hung over them, the same as it hung over me – the same as it hangs over you, my friends. Where are we going?

I’ll tell you where we’re going: The future. It’s our only hope. We have to drop everything right now and make a break for it like there’s no tomorrow. There’s not a moment to spare -- and here’s why: I think even the most jaded cynic would admit somewhere in the future things will all make sense. Everything will work just as it’s supposed to work, and freedom and justice – and truth – will once again reign supreme. I say why wait? The sooner we get going, the sooner we’ll get there.

If you remember just one thing this Holiday Season, remember this: only by focusing on tomorrow can we hope to forget about today.

All the best to you and yours,

Henry J. Rifle

Friday, January 21, 2011

an old holiday letter, circa 2002

Holiday Christmas Wishes -- 2002
From the desk of
Henry J. Rifle

Dearest chums,

First of all, I’m only sending out a handful of these sweet babies, because, frankly, I don't have the time. I have a very finite amount of patience and once that’s gone, you can just cancel Christmas, Virginia! Besides, if I was going to send out an email to every fella I ever threw down a shot of rye with or every dame I ever smooched, I'd be here until doomsday. So if anyone comes around and starts whining and moaning and says, “How come that no-good s.o.b. Henry Rifle didn’t send ME a Christmas card?” tell ‘em to piss off, direct from me, would you?

Now, then…as you may or may not have noticed, these are very uncertain times we’re living in – VERY uncertain. One minute, you’re on top of the world…the next, the world has you upside-down by the ankles and is giving you the swirly of your life! These are hard times we’re living through and, as I’ve said all along, it’s a junkyard planet we’re spinning on – not to mention a big ball of mud. Stick around long enough and you’re sure to get dirty.

All that aside, this is the Yule season and we must try and be happy no matter how impossible that may be. What with the economy and rising gas prices, who knows what’s going to happen next? And for God’s sake, who’s going to save the whales? This is exactly the kind of stuff I’m talking about. Frankly, I’m beginning to wonder if anyone has ever said anything. And if they did, who was listening?! Not me, that’s for certain.

So once again I must implore you to enjoy this festive Holiday Season! What do you have to lose? We all know there's no Santa Claus. That doesn't mean he's a bad guy per se, but would you trust him with your kids? Exactly.

In closing, please rest assured that, if nothing else – if nothing else at all   I shall remain your friend from today forward, until the sun belches its last gasp of cosmic fury into this morning breath solar system we call home.

All the best to you and yours,   


Henry J. Rifle

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I blew it

So there's a poem in my new book (lots of them actually) and it's called 'Algebraic Expression'. That's the sucko title I gave it. In the time since my little book went to press, I realized the title should have been...well, first, I'll hit you with the poem (bear with me, it's short):

Love's the answer,
stuff's the clues
and we're
the mysteries.

So as I was saying, the title should have been (and should be) 'Reverse Engineering'. That's a lot better, right? Plus, all my engineering friends might have thought I was smart (for a change). God, it was there. It was right there. All I had to do was square my shoulders and leap over the pile for an easy touchdown. Instead, I settled for a field goal. (sigh).

How was your day?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


So my name is Dan Hendrickson and I've put together a new book. It's called Ballistics Report. I kind of like it. It's written under my pen name, Henry Rifle. Some people have asked me what the difference is between Dan Hendrickson and Henry Rifle. First and foremost, Henry Rifle is a lot more popular than I am. Also, he also wears sunglasses ALL THE TIME. I only wear them when I'm driving (and it's sunny). Finally, I would say that Dan Hendrickson is just a guy; Henry Rifle is a way of life.

Another way to say it? Henry Rifle is a hollow, mocking voice stuck in the drain of this place. If he doesn't come to haunt your dreams, it's not for lack of trying.

Nice to meet you.

p.s. I completely screwed up on one of the poem titles in the new book. Oh, and I misspelled a word - solstice. It turns out you don't spell it solistice. Oh, well. The botched copies will be collector's items. That's what I tell myself before I go to bed each night...right before I cry myself to sleep.