The Holy Grail of grails must be the cup that Jesus Christ allegedly drank from at the Last Supper. In other words, the Holy Grail.

Good luck finding it. It's a lot easier to find the Holy Grail used as a metaphor. Writers love to invoke that miraculous goblet to describe a rare object or a near-unattainable goal.

We all have our Holy Grails, that thing we desire above all else. Sometimes that desire is relatively commonplace, barely deserving of the "Holy Grail" name. Sometimes, it's rather more obscure.

Here are a few dozen Holy Grails, as described in the pages of The Washington Post in the past few years:

The Holy Grail of amateur golfers: conquering par.

The Holy Grail of Madison Avenue: 18- to 34-year-old viewers.

The Holy Grail of plastic surgery: the world's first full-face transplant.

The Holy Grail of horticulture: the foolproof hydrangea.

The Holy Grail of the Internet: profitable advertising.

The Holy Grail of AIDS treatment: a single, fixed-dose pill.

The Holy Grail for Northern Virginia commuters: extending Metrorail through Tysons Corner.

The Holy Grail of running: the four-minute mile.

The Holy Grail of central banking: a "soft landing" in which the Fed raises interest rates just enough to cool price pressures without triggering a recession.

The Holy Grail of lip balms: Juara Sweet Black Tea Lip Treatment, "a delicately scented, velvety cream brimming with natural wonders."

The Holy Grail of American painting: Thomas Eakins's"The Gross Clinic."

The Holy Grail for Las Vegas Sunset Strip pool crashers: the Mandalay Bay casino's 11-acre lagoon, with a wave pool, a river and a topless section.

The Holy Grail of pinot noir: Sherwood 2005 Marlborough, "which bears an uncanny resemblance to French red Burgundy."

The Holy Grail for synthetic biologists: the reduction of all life processes into interchangeable bio-bricks that can be reassembled into new forms.

The Holy Grail of the energy world: tons of coal buried in Wyoming's Powder River Basin.

The Holy Grail of medicine: the first cultivation of working replacements for failing solid organs in people.

The Holy Grail of gray: the gray found in the photographs of Hiroshi Sugimoto-- "Call it Absolute Gray, a gray beyond which nothing is grayer."

The Holy Grail of Goldie Hawn'smind: her childhood home at 9 Cleveland Ave. in Takoma Park.

The Holy Grail for bird feeders: true squirrel-proofing.

The Holy Grail of the National Museum of American History's popular culture collection: Judy Garland'sruby slippers from "The Wizard of Oz."

The Holy Grail in Stafford, Va., and points south: salaried jobs close to home.

The Holy Grail of Canada: the Stanley Cup.

The Holy Grail of deer contraception: something that would be injected once a month and work for five years.

The Holy Grail for forensic physical anthropologists: a cranium found with the skullcap cleanly sawed off in a 17th-century Maine burial ground, the earliest skeletal evidence of an autopsy in the new world.

The Holy Grail of cut-out cookie dough: "one that tastes wonderful but retains its shape after you spend all that time rolling and cutting."

The Holy Grail of retail relationships: Starbucks and Caribou Coffee employees who "remember the preferred drinks of regular customers."

The Holy Grail of the nation's secrets: the highly classified presidential daily briefs.

The Holy Grail of American journalism: the Pulitzer Prize.

Julie Feldmeier researched this column.