Invisible Man

With super powers come super risks


This is a reworked redux of one I posted a couple of years back for a Daily Prompt. It fits right in with today’s Daily Prompt. Hope you enjoy it.

“Wadda ya mean you can’t see me? I’m right here in fronta yer face!”

“I said I can’t see you! My ears tell me where you should be, but you’re not there. You’re not here! You’re not anywhere! There’s nothing where my ears tell me the sound of your voice is coming from.”

162px-Invisible_Man“Aw, come on, quit foolin’ around. Look. I’m wavin’ my arms around.”

“Yeah, maybe you are, but I’m not seein’ it because you’re not in the room.”

“What, have ya gone blind? I told you that you needed to go to the eye doctor. Now maybe you’ll listen to me.”

“I’m listening to you right now and I can see just fine! I’m in the living room of our house, but you’re not! There’s a ceiling fan in the center of the room with an oiled bronze finish and dark oak blades. It’s turning on low speed right now. It has two chains extending down with oiled bronze finials, one for the light, which by the way is on, and one for the fan. The couch is a muted floral print in tan, green and rose, with rolled arms and three green accent cushions. The chairs are upholstered in a solid rose color and pick up the rose in the couch pattern …“

“Oh come on, you could do that from memory. You bought all this stuff anyway. You really need to go to the eye doctor if you can’t see me here!”

“…and the cat just walked into the room carrying her favorite stuffed mouse toy. There, how’s that?”

“Ah, that cat always carries around that mouse around. It’s like a security blanket. That’s true any day at any time … oh, sorry kitty. Didn’t mean to step on you.”

“Yeah, you see her, and it looked like something spooked her, but there’s nothing there to spook her! Because she can’t see you either! And now she’s really spooked!”

“Mrreeooow! Hsssss”

“Oh come on. You’re going crazy here. There I just touched your hand.”

“Yeah, I felt you touch me, but I didn’t see you touch me because you’re not there!”

“Ok, I’ll prove it to you, come on with me and let’s stand in front of the hallway mirror. Jeez, you’ve really got to make that eye appointment.”

“There you go smart ass, I see me, but there’s no one else in the mirror!”

“Oh, holy crap. The WP people gave me a superpower today. I could disappear and reappear at will. But they didn’t say how long it would last, and I forgot to ask. I must have disappeared and forgot to reappear before the power wore off.”

“See, I told you that you weren’t here! What are you doin’ messin’ around with superpowers anyway? And especially superpowers from the WP people! Serves ya right.”

“Yeah, I guess it does. But there’s a bit of a problem here.”

“Oh, and what would that be, Mr. Invisible Man?”

“Well, they won’t repeat the prompt for another couple years, so I won’t get the superpower back till, sheez, 2018?”

“Ha! Guess I won’t be ‘seein’ ya around’ then, eh?”

“Yeah, I guess not.”

“Now you see what I’m talkin’ about!”

“Yeah. Invisible

Now Which One Are You?

Identical in every way

When I was in elementary school, lo those many years ago, a pair of identical twin boys moved into our school district. It was a small district, and I don’t think there was ever a pair of identical twins in the district before they arrived.

There was really no warning for us kids. We went home for summer break, did our summer break things, and when we came back to school in the fall, there were two new kids. Identical twins.

But it wasn’t as if, by magic, there they were, side by side for all to see. They put the boys in different homerooms. Homeroom in U.S. schools is the first class of each day, where they take roll and make sure everyone is present. The teacher introduced the new student, Greg, I think, and we all said “Hi”, and then it was time for the next class.

I think I was in my 5th or 6th year of elementary school at that time. In their earlier years, students stayed in the same classroom for the entire day, and the same teacher taught all subjects. But by the 5th and 6th years, the students moved between classrooms to teachers with different specialties who would teach specific subjects.

I had to change classrooms for my next class, so I gathered my stuff and moved out the door with the other students who were changing. I looked over my shoulder and saw Greg sitting there. Apparently, his next class was in the same classroom.

I filed into the classroom next door, found a seat, and got out my stuff. As I was settling in, I looked to my right, and there sat Greg. It was as if he had just materialized from thin air because I knew he had not walked out of the last classroom.

But how could that be? I just left him in the last classroom. But there he was, same shirt, same pants, same shoes, same haircut, same notebook, same pen, everything identical. Right down to the voice, a slight U.S. southern drawl.

I would have chalked it up to inattentiveness if I had known what that was at the time. The class finished up, and I had to move to my next class in a classroom across the hall. Once again, Greg remained behind. And once again, there he was, in the classroom across the hall, identical.

This time, I mustered up some courage and said, “Hi, Greg.” He said hi back, and class went on. Class ended, and my next class was in the same classroom, so it was Greg who gathered up his trappings, said goodbye, and moved out the door.

And then, I swear, he walked right back in the door. Identical. He sat down just behind me, so I turned around and said, “Hi Greg, I thought your class was next door.” He looked at me and said, “Oh, you must mean my brother, I’m Jeff.” I imagine I was looking a little confused.

Class ended, and my next class was back across the hall. Apparently, so was Jeff’s, or Greg’s, or whoever he was. I stood behind him in the line forming to enter our next classroom, across the hall. I looked over his shoulder at the students streaming out of the classroom, and there he came. Jeff, or Greg, or whoever he was. Walking out of the classroom that he was entering. Identical.

I knew Greg and Jeff for quite a few years after that. As they aged, it became easier and easier to tell them apart. But that first year, I wasn’t alone, even the teachers had to ask, “Now which one are you?”

Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Go Back in the Water

A short primer on government in the U.S.

Ah, election season! It’s here again. Or maybe, it’s here still. It’s the time of year when our mailboxes are stuffed with campaign propaganda, our doorbells are ringing with canvassers, our phones are ringing with pollsters, and every commercial on the television that’s not hawking a prescription drug is an ad hominem attack by some politician on another. What could be better?

Here in the U.S., we hold federal elections every two years, although lately, they seem perpetual. In case you were wondering, the U.S. federal government consists of three branches, the Executive branch (the Presidency, et al), the Congressional branch (the House and the Senate), and the Judicial branch (the federal courts, including The Supremes, but without Diana Ross).

US-CapitolBuildingThe United States Congress is composed of two “chambers”, or legislative bodies, called the House of Representatives, or the House, and the Senate, or the, uh, Senate. Congress is responsible for, among other shenanigans, drafting and passing legislation, and for providing an endless supply of fodder for political pundits and Fox News.

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, called (cleverly) Representatives, serve two-year terms. Representation in the House is proportional to State population, so California and New York each have a kazillion Representatives, while North Dakota gets by on just two Representatives, in case one takes ill. The U.S. House of Representatives is the “lower” chamber of Congress. Some days that description is quite accurate.

Members of the United States Senate, called (again, cleverly) Senators, serve six-year terms. Representation in the Senate is not proportional. Each State has two senators. For some States, that’s two too many. The Senate is considered the “upper” chamber, but the origins of this designation remain shrouded in mystery, considering their behavior.

Collectively, Representatives and Senators are referred to as Congress-Critters.

WhiteHouseThe President of the United States (POTUS) and Vice President of the United States (VPOTUS) serve four-year terms (or two to six, if they get caught). Collectively, the POTUS and VPOTUS and their posse are called The Administration, or sometimes, The White House. Or sometimes, much worse. A POTUS can serve no more than two consecutive terms ever since that FDR guy got in there and fouled up the wonderful job that Herbert Hoover had done. Those were the days.

Since we last elected a President (of sorts) in 2016, the election of 2018 is considered a mid-term election, halfway through the presidential term. Mid-term elections are traditionally the elections that the U.S. voting public uses to punish the political party of the current Administration, in this case, the Republican party, for having the temerity to win the Presidential election.

Mid-term elections help to ensure a new and inexperienced class of Representatives and Senators will be seated next January to continue the tradition of rancorous, partisan bickering and all-around misbehavior that we’ve come to expect here in the U.S. Just like the Founding Fathers intended!

So kick back, put a stop on the mail, unhook the doorbell, unplug the phone, and start streaming that Downton Abbey season you’ve been meaning to binge watch. It’s going to be a long election.

-Photographs in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.


Just Do the Right Thing

Why is doing the right thing so hard?

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about doing the right thing. And it’s wearing my patience pretty thin. We’re in a do-the-right-thing conundrum in my little corner of the global mega-corporation that employs me. I’m reminded of the old saying “Don’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk.” The talking part is there, but the walk part is more like a stumble.

On the surface, doing the right thing seems like a fairly simple task. You’re presented with behavioral choices in a certain context, you assess the “rightness” of each choice, and you pursue the “most right” choice. Done.

But that’s also a fairly simplistic view of a complex process. Most mega-corporations want to be known for “doing the right thing.” But when it comes right down to it, unless not doing the right thing immediately impacts share price, the right thing will not be done. The profitable thing will be done. Think of how Facebook and Twitter have behaved during the election meddling investigation in the U.S. It was only when public opinion began to align against them that they changed their walks.

It’s never wrong to do the right thing.

-Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

One of the reasons it’s difficult for corporations to do the right thing is because it’s difficult for people to do the right thing. Most of us will make the right decision when presented with simple choices. Some of us will make the wrong decision when the choices are more complex. Some of us just can’t seem to do the right thing, period.

“But rudyblues,” you might ask, “what does that have to do with corporations doing the right thing?” Well, ignoring current U.S. corporate law, corporations are not people (sorry Mitt Romney, they’re just not). But they are created and run by people. Any corporate decision to do the right thing, or not, is reached by people. And each of those decision makers brings their own morality to the decision-making process.

Additionally, because many mega-corporations have mega people, moral culpability for poor decisions is diluted. A decision maker might know the right thing to do, and might even do the right thing personally, but might choose to do otherwise in a corporate decision-making role due to the anonymity a corporation provides. Go ahead, no one’s watching.

I guess I’ll just keep trying to do the right thing and hope no one at corporate finds out. Wish me luck.

Lá Fhéile Pádraig

Wearin’ o’ the green

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! The one day of the year when everyone think’s they’re Irish. The Day of the Festival of Patrick is a religious and cultural celebration on the day that’s traditionally held as the death day of St. Patrick, an important Irish patron saint.

St. Patrick

St. Patrick’s Day has been an official Christian feast day since the early 1600’s. The religious celebration commemorates St. Patrick, the 5th century missionary and bishop who is traditionally credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. The secular aspect of St. Patrick’s Day celebrates Irish culture and heritage in general.

Oddly, the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations among the expatriate Irish were bigger than those in Ireland until the 20th century. According to Dr. Michael Francis, based on research of Spanish Archives of the Indies, the first recorded St. Patrick’s Day celebration was held in 1600 in the Spanish colony of St. Augustine, Florida. They held the first parade there the following year. Apparently the vicar of St. Augustine, Ricardo Artur, was Irish.

Chicago River green for St. Patrick’s Day

There have been St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the U.S. since the first in Boston in 1837. Montreal, Canada has held one of the largest and longest-running St. Patrick’s Day parades in Canada since 1929. The first recorded parade in New York was held by Irish soldiers in the British army in 1766. Chicago’s first parade was in 1843, and they have traditionally dyed the Chicago river green for the occasion since 1962.

So, while you’re downing the black (drinking a pint of Guinness) today, raise a toast to the Irish.






Throwback Thursday – March 15, 2018

All the content with half the work!

Greetings, esteemed reader(s). It’s rudyblues here. Time again for another edition of  everyone’s some people’s rudyblues’ favorite feature, Throwback Thursday! Let’s take a walk down Memory Lane (hopefully avoiding Alzheimer’s Alley) and check out a chestnut from the past.

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, a link to a previous post, and a short paragraph extolling the virtues of the previously unrecognized gem you have the opportunity to read. You get the Throwback Thursday post in your reader stream, click the link to the previous post, and enjoy the (not so) great literary stylings of rudyblues. I get views, 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 is a post I did back in January 2016, when I was still getting to know this blogging thing. I believe it was in response to a Daily Prompt from the Daily Post people. When I wrote it I didn’t think too much of it, but in hindsight I think it might have spoken to many people over a long period of time. It still gets views now and again. I hope you’ll read it, and I hope enjoy it. Thank you for taking the time.

Fashion Sensations of my Youth

I Read the News Today. Oh Boy!

News that caught my eye March 14, 2018

These are a few of the headlines that interested me this morning.

From our “You Are What (or How Much) You Eat” bureau:

2018’s Fattest Cities in America

by Adam McCann, Financial Writer – WalletHub – March 14, 2018

We’re number one! We’re number one! We’re number one! USA! USA! USA! This just in from the fattest country on the planet (in the universe, perhaps), the fattest cities in the fattest country. The author(s) used data from multiple sources to calculate the fattest city in the U.S. Our congratulations to Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, Arkansas, this year’s Fattest City in America! Pass the potato salad, will ya?

More from our “You Are What (or How Much) You Eat” bureau:

Celebrate Pi Day today with $3.14 pizza, free pie and more

by Kelly Tyko – USA Today Network – March 13, 2018

Happy π Day, everyone! No, old rudyblues is not selling out to the man! Remember, marketing, like rust, never sleeps. So what better way to sell more food than to tie it to a mathematical celebration! All the places you can go in the U.S. to eat round things at $3.14 each. No need to come up with a price, it’s already “baked” in to the celebration. And you can get married, too! This especially goes out to all the folks in Little Rock!

From our “We Could All Use More of This” bureau:

Perhaps tired of winning, the United States falls in World Happiness rankings — again

by Alex Horton – Washington Post – March 14, 2018

I mean, is it any wonder? Social institutions being questioned, rampant income inequality, the 1% chopping away at the safety net, hate radio fomenting violence against the “others” as the cause of your every problem, “Are ya happy yet?” And we’re the fattest, and everyone knows fat and happy can’t get together without dumb. So we’ll start to climb back up the happy scale as soon as Betsy DeVos sells our public education to the highest bidder. Damn right I’m happy!

I am definitely gonna stop reading the news!