Throwback Thursday – April 5, 2018

All the content with half the work!

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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.

Ain’t it Funny How Time Slips Away

You’re never alone if you’re schizophrenic . . .

It’s been almost a year, you feel like writing anything yet?

I don’t know, maybe, how about you? You got anything to say?

Read more ruminating

ICE ICE Baby

No, not Vanilla!

Well, it happened. I knew it was just a matter of time. What with the renewed spike in the spittle-flying phobia in this country about those “others”, it was bound to happen. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement hit squad finally picked off someone in my little world.

Friday, I’m talking to one of the nicest people in the company. Hell, one of the nicest people on the planet! Always cheerful, always helpful, there for everyone, volunteering to help others, highly competent, one of the best workers in the building. Actually, a far better human being than most of the natural-born citizens in the building.

Monday, I come in, go down to the mail room to say “Hi”, and she’s not at her desk. I track down her good friend and ask what’s up, and her friend confides in me that, even though she had been in the country for many years, she never had the proper immigration status, and that she was deported over the weekend. Boom! Just like that. She gets disappeared!

If you’re one of those “serves her right for breaking the law” types, or maybe you think “she’s just here to steal our jobs”, I’ve got something to ask you. If you were in her shoes, and not one of the big winners in the genetic lottery, and the conditions in your home country were so bad that breaking the law in the most powerful country on Earth seemed like the safer alternative, what would you do?

If you said “I’d stay in my home country”, you don’t know yourself very well. I’d suggest some real deep soul-searching. In fact, I think we all need some!

Post Post-a-Day

Or, After My Failed Attempt at 365 Posts in 2016

Hello again, dear reader(s). Or, rather, “Hi Mom.”

As you may (not) have noticed, I have been absent from these digs for well over a week. Quiet. Silent. Mute. Voiceless. And although I did not issue an Official Proclamation as to my intentions of trying to publish a post every day for a year, I did at least announce said intentions to the voices in my head.

“Hah! A post a day for a year! That’s rich.”

“Shut up!”

“No! You can’t make me!”

“Shut up, I’m trying to talk to my dear reader(s)!”

“You know, rudyblues, if you didn’t proofread this dreck you wouldn’t even have ‘reader’, much less readers! Loser.”

Sorry, I digress. As I was saying, I have failed in my attempt to publish at least once a day for a year. I fought the good fight. Well, I fought. All right, I gave it a shot, how’s that? Probably not my best shot, but a shot none the less. It was a good run. Yes, I suppose you’re right, it was more like a short, fast walk.

I find it amazing how badly the human psyche wants to be right and to what extremes it will go to rationalize a perceived failure. Back in the waning days of 2015 I optimistically said to myself, “Self, we’re gonna publish 365 blog posts next year.” And at that point most of the voices in my head gave a kind of muffled harrumph, with a few “attaboy’s” and “you go’s” from the back of the room. Fast forward to the present and it’s not quite as supportive in there. Rationalizations run rampant.

I’ve spent nearly every waking hour for the past week or more on keeping my day job. As some (one?) of you may have read in this previous post, the heartless, multinational mega-corporation I work for is going through a self-induced, self-inflicted restructuring to please the financier class. This restructuring, which at times seems more like throwing everything out and starting over, is being implemented with a spreadsheet and a battle axe, with the precision of a carpet bombing run.

And what self-respecting restructuring expert would keep someone 50+ years old, who knows how the business works and how the organization operates, when he could keep two 20-somethings and brag about the reduction in overhead (read payroll)? That’s Business School 101, dear reader(s). Elementary school math. If you subtract the biggest numbers first you don’t have to work as hard.

So the layoffs have been coming hard and fast in the first quarter, in order to meet the arbitrary deadline that was foolishly announced so that the stock price would rebound. And it has, and the munchkin twit with the Napoleon complex has had his contract renewed. Most of the layoffs have been from middle management, people nearing the end of their working careers, nearer the upper end of the pay scale. Just a smidge older than me. I’m losing my cover.

And although your humble author is neither middle management nor at the top of the pay scale, he is at that vulnerable age, 50+, that seems to be the target of most of the cuts. Ergo, the recent spate of late nights and long days workin’ for the man. Trying to make myself indispensable at a job that’s ill-defined and unnoticed by those in the seats of the corporate threshing machines. I’m sure my number will come up soon.

Oh, by the way, if you’re a Millennial or a Gen-Xer or even a younger Boomer, please don’t jack with Social Security in the U.S. It works, in spite of what you hear. I’m one of those that the Great Recession of 2007 wiped out. I’m working until I drop. Unless my number comes up. Then I’m taking Social Security and living under a bridge.

Though I’m not religious, what better day than today, the Christian holiday of Easter Sunday, with its promise of redemption, to ask you, my dear reader(s), to forgive my sins and continue reading. Maybe just not as often. I can’t afford to lose my day job.

Them’s Fightin’ Words!

Rantin’ about parentin’

Do you know someone who encourages their children to solve disputes with violence? You know the type. Their child tells them about a dispute with another child, perhaps with a schoolmate or a neighborhood kid, and their response is, “When that kid says that you just knock him right in the snot box!”

I’ve heard parents talk like this before. I imagine their parents said the same thing to them. Makes me want to knock them right in the snot box! But if you’re like me, you just bite your tongue, smile, and feel sorry for the kid. No sense provoking someone like that into punching you in the nose by insulting their parenting skills. Or lack thereof. I hope that doesn’t make me a bad person. Or an accomplice.

{/end rant}

Fight

All Those Connections but Still Disconnected

The human touch in the connected age

If you’re reading this, I’ll bet it’s not on a printed page. I know I didn’t print it for you. You’re reading it on your Internet connection. Many people, though not all people, have Internet connections. Some have more than one. An Internet connection has become so pervasive that many people feel you’re at a disadvantage if you don’t have one.

Friedrich_Friedländer_Die_DorfpolitikerYou and I can’t make this connection save for the Internet. It’s doubtful that this piece I’m writing will ever make it to print, much less find its way to you, wherever you are. So the only way that you can read it is through your Internet connection. We connected on our connections.

Read more ruminating

I Just Want to Tell You How Proud I Am of You

Kudos!

One of the responsibilities of my job is to create and conduct technical training courses. The subject matter covers a range of products and technologies that the company sells. Some of the products are simple, requiring little more than a few minutes to master. Some are quite complex, requiring a lot of hands-on and situational training to grasp.

My students, dealer technicians and some company employees, come from a very diverse background. Many of the dealer technicians have little more than a rural public high school education. Most can read, but perhaps not comprehend, and write, with rudimentary math and science skills. The company employees often have college degrees, but usually not in technical fields, so in some respects they’re not much further along than the dealer technicians.

Read more ruminating