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.

Home Improvement with rudyblues

Or, why I’ll never have one of those PBS home improvement shows

Dateline, July 5, 2016, Podunk, Illinois. rudyblues, local malcontent and all around grumpy old man, has decided to take the week off and paint the exterior trim on his house. That he made a decision at all is news enough for some, but that he has decided to do something productive is truly a man-bites-dog type of story. (If the ASPCA is listening, the dog is fine and is expected to make a full recovery).

Did I mention I was painting the house? Yes, that’s the same reaction I had when I made the decision. “Are you nuts?” Not that it’s all that big a deal. It’s really just the trim, since the whole thing is a small sea of vinyl siding. And it’s really just on the front of the house. But still, come on, it’s rudyblues we’re talking about here. The last time he decided to do something this ambitious Jimmy Carter was president!

HomeBeforeNow, as you might be able to tell from the photo, my home has zero curb appeal. No, in fact, it has negative curb appeal. In a recent survey of passengers in autos that stopped when I flagged them down, and of pedestrians who weren’t fast enough to outrun me, a full 62% said the curb in front of my house was more appealing than my house. Now mind you, it is a fine curb, but it’s high time to improve my home’s curb appeal.

Read more ruminating

I Resolve to Make No Resolutions!

A humorous guide to lowering the bar in 2016 – reposted 2016-01-06

Decided to report this in response to the Resolved Daily Post topic. Originally posted 2015-12-30.

So here it is, almost New Year’s Eve 2015, and you still don’t have a single thing on your “Official List of Silly Resolutions for 2016” page. Guess what? Me neither!

NewYears2016
Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Not to worry, my friend. Don’t look at this as just another one of your Dismal Failures of 2015! This is actually opportunity knocking at your door! So put down that pad of paper that has “Resolutions for 2016” scrawled across the top of an empty page, place the pen in your hand on top of the pad, and get up and open the damned door for Mr. Opportunity. He’s waiting! Read more ruminating