Ain’t Technology Grand?

Kicking and screaming into the 21st century

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Greetings gentle reader(s). It’s rudyblues here again. I hope you all have adequately recovered from any overindulgent New Year’s behaviors in which you may have engaged. Of course, far be it from old rudyblues to question anyone’s overindulgence. Overindulgence, after all, is my favorite indulgence.

But that’s not why I’m writing you today. I’m pecking this out on the WordPress mobile app on my iPhone to prove that yes, even I, old rudyblues, is “with it”, is a member of the technological revolution.

I thought I’d try the mobile app. It’s cool for checking up on things. But I must admit that entering a post on a phone is torturous at best. Yes, intelligent autocorrect is helpful, but one fat finger on tiny little squares is hardly worth the ability to post from the comfort of the man chair. All my other fingers are jealous of Mr. Pointer Finger, and he’s getting a little sore!

I doubt I’ll try this again, but hey, at least I can say I’ve done it once. Maybe I should get an iPad. Or maybe I should just get up out of the man chair and get the laptop. Or go to the PC and use a real keyboard. Nah, I’ll just poke the phone and complain. That’s how I roll.

A Most Confusing System

Explaining the 2018 U.S. midterm elections to Commander Data

USS ENTERPRISE BRIDGE – STAR DATE 3019.32 – DARK

COMMANDER DATA stands next to the empty Captain’s chair observing stars whizzing by on the forward viewing screen. The bridge is alive with the usual Star Trek bustle. RUDYBLUES materializes, transporter style, on the other side of the Captain’s chair, covered in streamers and confetti, wearing a New Year’s party hat and blowing through a cheap cardboard horn. RUDYBLUES is carrying a nearly empty bottle of champagne in one hand and a plastic champagne glass in the other. He is clearly drunk.

DATA

data2Hello, Mr. rudyblues. I hope that we did not send the signal at an inopportune time. You appear to be, I think the saying is, in your cups.

RUDYBLUES

Yeah, hey, no problem Data dude. Yeah, I’m lit! Woohoo! Happy New Year! Somehow, when I was channel surfing looking for the ball drop, I saw the episode of you writing cat poetry again and I figured you needed to see me, so I buzzed right over. Buzzed, get it? Whoa, dude, that forward screen gives me vertigo.

DATA

Thank you for joining me again to discuss elections in the United States. We find your society’s system of governance most fascinating, but also most confusing.

RUDYBLUES

No prob, Data dude. Anything I can do to help. Man, I never thought I’d end up here tonight. On the bridge of the USS Enterprise! Woohoo! Hope that chick is still there when I get back. She’s a hottie!

DATA

(Reaching to keep RUDYBLUES from falling into the Captain’s chair)

Mr. rudyblues, may I ask, why do you hope that a chick is still present upon your return? Our records indicate that a chick is a juvenile member of the species Gallus gallus domesticus, the domestic chicken. Is that not correct?

RUDYBLUES takes a long pull from the champagne bottle, stumbles a bit, then notices the glass in his other hand and pours more champagne into the glass.

RUDYBLUES

No man, Data dude. Chick is another name for a girl. I’d probably get crucified if she heard me use that word. That word’s kinda fallen out of favor these days. 

DATA

(Reaching again to keep RUDYBLUES from falling )

And Mr. rudyblues, what is the word hottie. We have no record of that word.

RUDYBLUES

Hottie? That means she’s attractive. Now that word’s not fallen out of favor. In fact, it seems like it’s kind of a compliment these days. I don’t get it.

DATA

(Reaching once again to keep RUDYBLUES from falling )

Please, Mr. rudyblues, I must ask you to be more careful. There are many devices on the bridge which, if operated indiscriminately, could lead to disastrous consequences. I’m sure you understand.

RUDYBLUES

Yeah, I remember. Hey, do you dudes have champagne in the future? This is some good stuff right here. 

DATA

(Reaching another time to keep RUDYBLUES from falling)

No, Mr. rudyblues, the form of beverage that you refer to is no longer necessary. There are methods of human mind alteration that do not carry the same negative impacts as alcohol.

RUDYBLUES

Yeah, that’s too bad. Maybe I can try some of that human mind alteration stuff you got some time. I remember the last time I was here you wanted to know about our elections. What more do you need to know about our elections, Data dude?

DATA

We have updated our records concerning your society with the information you provided during our last conversation. However, the information again revealed incongruities within our existing data about your elections that we would like you to help clarify. Can you help us to correct these incongruities?

RUDYBLUES

Yeah, uh, sure Commander Data. Your wish is my command, dude.

DATA

Thank you, Mr. rudyblues. Our records indicate that your presidential elections occur once every four Julian calendar years. Is this correct, Mr. rudyblues?

RUDYBLUES

Yeah, that’s right, every four years. And in between presidential elections, we have elections we call mid-terms. That’s when we elect some new congress critters, you know, senators and congressmen. And congresswomen too.

DATA

Our records also indicate that such an election just took place, a midterm election, in the Julian calendar month of November, in 2018. Is that correct, Mr. rudyblues?

RUDYBLUES 

Yeah, that’s right. The Democratic party ended up with the majority in the House of Representatives and picked up a few seats in the Senate. And man, did we elect lots of congresswomen! Hoo.

DATA

Our records also indicate that both political parties claimed victory in the midterm elections of November 2018. Is that not correct, Mr. rudyblues?

RUDYBLUES 

Yeah, that’s right too. The Republican party lost a lot of ground, but they figured if they kept calling it a victory that their base wouldn’t catch on. They’re kinda spinning their own private Idaho these days. Alternative facts, I think they call it.

DATA

I see. That is a part of the incongruities we are concerned with. Very well, I will update our records.

(DATA fixes a blank stare on nothing in particular)

DATA

There, our records are now correct. Now, Mr. rudyblues, our records also indicate that even though presidential elections occur only once every four years, many members of the Democratic party were behaving as if they were in a presidential election long before the election took place. How, exactly, can this be true, Mr. rudyblues?

RUDYBLUES takes another long pull from his champagne bottle and pours more champagne into his glass.

RUDYBLUES 

Yeah, I think if you check your records we’ve been doing that for some time now. It happened back in 2014 just the same, and in 2010 too. You see, we’ve kind of developed this entire sector of our economy that is hell-bent on making sure it’s always election season. We’ve got chattering classes and talking heads and 24/7/365 political networks and lobbyists and all kinds of ne’er-do-wells who make their living going from campaign to campaign telling politicians how they ought to behave to get elected. Politicians figure they gotta get the good ones snapped up before the next guy get’s them. So they start earlier and earlier. It used to be a cottage industry, but now I think it’s maybe a castle industry. Outgrew the cottage.

DATA

This is most confusing, Mr. rudyblues. I will compile a complete report and submit it to Starfleet Command. Do you mind if I contact you if we discover more gaps in our records? I’m still interested in the outcome of the Special Counsel investigation we discussed during your last visit. Our records indicate that . . .

RUDYBLUES

(Interrupting DATA)

No, no, no you don’t! The Mueller investigation is still not over, and I don’t want to miss a thing! I bought more popcorn! No, you just give me the signal. Just say you’re going to write your next poem for your cat and I’ll zip in! Now that the WordPress Daily Post people gave me this cool time-travel thing I’m going to use it all I can.

DATA

Thank you, Mr. rudyblues. I hope you enjoy your journey back to the Julian calendar year 2019.

RUDYBLUES

Your welcome Commander Data. To infinity and beyond! Ooh, sorry, still the wrong show. Well, Happy New Year!

RUDYBLUES disappears transporter style while stumbling somewhat.

DATA

A most confusing system.

The Resolution Revolution

Wherein rudyblues solves once and for all the problem of making and keeping those New Year’s resolutions

It’s happening again. Another outbreak of Ball Drop Fever. Countless millions, even billions, looking back, perhaps disheartened, vowing to be better.

I can hear them now, taking their vows, resolving to improve, if even for a short while. I wonder if anyone has ever resolved to become worse? It would certainly be easier.

“I vow to become more slothful in the new year!”

In at least one sense, it’s an improvement. Improvement in negative behavior is still an improvement, isn’t it? I improved my slothfulness. Yeah, maybe you’re right, not so much.

Okay, so I have to come up with a revolutionary resolution for this year. If truth were known, just having a resolution and making a cursory attempt at keeping it would be a revolutionary act for me (refer here for more).

The problem with resolutions, as I see it, is not in making them. Any blame fool can make a resolution. The problem is in making one you can keep. And then keeping it!

And that’s where I have stumbled upon a revolutionary idea that will end this problem for me, and for you if you take me up on it. I am going to start the new year without resolutions, a tabula rasa. No resolutions, no expectations.

Then, as the year progresses, if by some miracle I happen to improve in some seemingly small and surely inconsequential way, I’ll go back to my Official List of Resolutions for the Year of Our Lord the Flying Spaghetti Monster 2019 and write it in. With ink!

Ah, I feel better already. Happy New Year everyone!

Ooh. Hi. Sorry. Forgot to Write.

It’s that guy who never called after the first date

Forgive me father, for I have sinned. It’s been three months since my last post. It’s like I’m ghosting my lovely reader(s). Again.

ghost-md

Well, rudyblues, my son, you do have a proclivity for shallow and superficial commitments. I’m sure you remember the initial euphoria you felt when you said you were going to learn German.

Yes, yes father, I do. I really meant to learn German. It would have been a tremendous boon to my career.

Yes, it would have been very beneficial, rudyblues. But, as with most of your endeavors, you soon lost interest.

I don’t know, father. Is it really losing interest when something new interests you more? I mean, I’m still interested in my lovely reader(s).

I suppose not, rudyblues. After all, each of us has only a limited time on this earth. Each of our interests consumes some of that time. But think about how your lovely reader(s) must feel. You simply disappeared, without a word. You could have at least said goodbye.

Yes, yes, you’re right, father, you’re always right. I should have at least let my lovely reader(s) know that I had a new interest. And that I was still interested in them, but that I might not have as much time to devote to them. Do you think they’ll forgive me?

I don’t know, rudyblues. Maybe you should ask them.

Okay, I’ll ask them. Lovely reader(s), will you  . . . OOH! LOOK! SOMETHING SHINY!

The Real Deal

Or a reasonable facsimile thereof

What does it mean to be authentic? We use the term authentic in many contexts to refer to people, places or things. How can they all be authentic? If one of us feels that a person, place or thing is authentic, does it follow that all of us agree on that authenticity?

The sense of authentic most closely related to its Greek origin is the sense of genuineness, the idea that the source or origin of something is indisputable. Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” is an authentic da Vinci painting, since the provenance can be used to indisputably trace it to the time of its creation. We should all agree that no one can question the authenticity.

The origins of the painting “Salvator Mundi,” a Renaissance-era depiction of Jesus Christ attributed to da Vinci, are far more disputable. The historical record of the painting, commissioned by the French king Louis XII, is a matter of record. But the painting disappeared from history in the late 1700’s. It did not reappear until 1958 when the “rediscovered” masterpiece was deemed a fake and sold for a mere $60.

Later acquired by a group of art dealers, it was restored, academically authenticated, and sold to a Russian businessman for $127.5 million. Is the Mona Lisa more authentic than Salvator Mundi? Is it possible to be less genuine and still be considered genuine? Does that mean authentic is subjective?

Another sense of authenticity is something that is created or performed in a traditional fashion, or that is a faithful rendition of an original. This almost seems to be the opposite of the original Greek meaning of authentic, since this meaning implies that the thing that is authentic is not in fact genuine.

Authentic Tuscan cuisine in Chicago is certainly not genuine, in the sense of food cooked by an Italian person in the Tuscan region of Italy. But because the ingredients or methods employed in preparing the cuisine closely follow those in Tuscany we consider it authentic. But unless you have had food prepared by a Tuscan in Tuscany, how can you tell if the Tuscan cuisine in Chicago is authentic?

And what of an authentic life? This sense of authentic, denoting an emotionally suitable, purposeful, significant existence, comes to us from existential philosophy. It’s when our actions and words stem from our values and beliefs. It’s being who we are, and not who we or others think we should be.

But this seems at odds with how humans develop. As young children, we develop our beliefs, values, and personas through imitation of those around us. And we tend to internalize and repeat those imitations that bring praise from the important people in our lives. Therefore, can any existence be authentic? I would argue that few of us would agree that we aren’t authentic in this sense, but are we really?

It seems to me that authenticity, as beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Spring 2018 Abducted in Upper Midwest

Season’s disappearance causes grave concerns

U.S. authorities in the upper Midwest revealed today that Spring 2018 was recently abducted by the months December, January, and February. Residents in several Midwestern states are advised to be on the lookout for continued cold weather and to refrain from storing cold-weather clothing and planting spring annuals until further notice.

Spring generally follows winter in the upper Midwest, with daytime high temperatures routinely in the upper 40º F (4º C) to lower 60º F (16º C) range during late March and early April. Snowfall during this time, although not nonexistent, is isolated and relatively rare.

Officials conclude that Spring 2018 was kidnapped due to the extremely long stretch of sub 32º F weather and repeated snowstorms present in the area during March and April. Officials also speculate that December, January, and February are armed with continued cold and snow, and are dangerous to young plants, tree buds, and mental health.

“I just don’t know what I’m going to do!” said Summer 2018, when asked for comment on the situation. “I guess I’ll just have to wait until we find Spring.”

Residents are encouraged to contact local meteorologists with any information they may have regarding this situation

Throwback Thursday – April 5, 2018

All the content with half the work!

Greetings to all my Esteemed Reader(s). It’s rudyblues here, back with another edition of  Throwback Thursday! That time of the week when we meander most merrily down Memory Lane to meet a morsel from the mists of time.

ThrowbackThursdayAs some of you know (unwillingly, perhaps), Throwback Thursday is a recurring feature here at Rudy’s Ruminations. The intent is to reacquaint my gentle reader(s) with some of my lesser known earlier work. That and I’m looking for ways to keep slacking off.

Here’s how this Throwback Thursday thing works. I take this nifty boilerplate post I’ve created, add the date, add a short paragraph extolling the virtues of the previously unrecognized gem you have the opportunity to read, tack a previous post onto the end, et voila! Throwback Thursday! You get the Throwback Thursday post in your reader stream, scroll down to the previous post, and enjoy the (not so) great literary stylings of rudyblues. I get views, maybe clicks, and possibly visits. You get . . .  well, I’m not exactly clear on what you get, I was hoping to come up with something more for you, perhaps later. So here we go.


This was originally posted in December of 2015. It was an attempt at a description of a place, trying to let the reader feel what I felt when thought of the place. I think it may have been in one of the blogging classes from WordPress U. I hope you like it.


Grandma’s House – December 14, 2015

Harper's_New_Monthly_Magazine_Volume_104_December_1901_to_May_1902_(1902)_(14781045774)Grandma’s house was tiny when I returned to see it, all those years later. She moved there after Grandpa passed, when I was young, perhaps three or four. They say the old place was just too big for her to handle. As a child, I thought Grandma’s house was enormous and wonderful. I like the childhood memories best.

It was a block off the town square, on a quiet tar-and-chip street with a pronounced crown. Between the street and the cracked, uneven public sidewalk was a deep drainage ditch, deeper than I was tall. You could sit at the bottom, in the closely mown grass, lose sight of the world around you, and watch the clouds drift, puffy balls.

A massive spruce tree covered the front of the house. The boughs were allowed to grow naturally, sweeping down gracefully as if in a deep bow, touching the ground all around. The house hid behind the boughs, the ends peeking out. An alley ran along the right side of the house, two cindered ruts through close-cropped clover. Running parallel to the alley were two more cindered ruts, ending just before the house, parking for guests.

A narrow sidewalk ran from its intersection with the front sidewalk towards the house, beside the second set of cindered ruts. As it reached the house, the little sidewalk turned left and disappeared into the boughs, seemingly swallowed by the big spruce. But an equally narrow, carefully manicured break in the lower boughs, just tall enough for a human, made a covered arch for the sidewalk to wind through to the front door.

The arch-shaped break in the boughs opened up the interior of the tree, the space between the trunk and where the tips of the boughs touched the earth. It was like a separate room, dark, cool, fragrant from the pine needle floor and the sticky sap oozing from the boughs. Grandma kept gardening tools in a small shed that fit under the boughs, hidden from the world. Small children hid there as well.

The house was brick, covered in deep, dark green ivy. If the house had a color, nature had long ago replaced it with her own. The ivy seemed deep enough to swallow me, my arms too short to touch the brick through the thickest part. The ivy gave the house a soft and shaggy appearance, as if it had grown, rather than being built.

At the back of the house, at right angles to the little alley, was an aluminum carport where Grandma would park her 1963 Rambler American. Just off the carport, under a small but shady tree, was a glider swing, the kind made for two people, a fixed frame with the seat and arms and back suspended by heavy springs from the frame. And, as the heat of a summer day spent running and jumping and howling cooled, a small child was soothed by the embrace of Grandma in her apron and the rhythmic creak of the glider as it swung, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.