Robot vacuum cleaner on laminate wood and carpet floor, Smart robotic automate wireless cleaning technology machine in living room. (c) –

Haywire Roomba

October 29, 2023

Roy Riegels played football for the UC Berkeley Golden Bears football team from 1927 to 1929. His coach said he was “the smartest player he ever coached.” Roy played center on offense and defense in the 1929 Rose Bowl against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

He would become famous in this game. Midway through the second quarter, with the Yellow Jackets driving on their own 30-yard line, they fumbled. Roy picked up the fumble and ran 69 or so yards toward the end zone. The other team’s end zone.

During Roy’s long run, the Yellow Jackets’ bench erupted in wild excitement. Their coach settled them down knowing that the farther Roy ran, the better it was for them. Roy’s teammate, a speedster, caught him just outside the end zone. Tech tacklers pushed them in but the play was called dead just outside the Bears’ end zone. The Bears opted to punt rather than risk a play so close to their end zone. It was blocked and Tech recovered getting a safety. It was the difference that gave Tech the game.

Photo submitted.

A while back I came across the ad shown in the picture. It struck me as very clever and I saved it knowing there was an article in there somewhere, and recent news delivered the opportunity. The remainder of this article may seem to take an odd turn. Follow along until you see how I tie everything together.

When I wrote this, there was a situation bubbling in the House of Representatives that would be funny if the world were not boiling with danger and havoc in so many places. Congress was 20+ days and three votes without a speaker. It was without a speaker because a small group (being called the Crazy Eight by some) took action to remove speaker Kevin McCarthy from his position for collaborating with Democrats to avoid a government shutdown. I’m not militating for or against anyone or any party here. I only want to mine some things that ARE funny in a situation that is not. (It has since been resolved with a new speaker)

Writing about political things is a minefield and I know where I live and I’m often swimming against local feelings. However, the world is on fire, and ignoring that in what I write to focus on silly or generic stories would feel like I’m ignorant or insulting your intelligence. We all have skin in the game, regardless of the D, R, I, or other philosophy we embrace. I’m watching many things: Climate, Water, Ukraine, Israel/Hamas, elections, trials, government funding, etc. ETC. The drama in the U.S. House of Representatives was particularly tickling. Unique in a most curious way.

I have written often in the past that I avoid overly partisan news networks. (Fox, CNN, News Max, One America News, TYT, etc.) These often are unhealthy blends of partisan spice in newslike stories. However, in this congressional drama, I saw a surprising amount of agreement on the whole situation. I’m not saying the same lessons were being carried away from the observations. Only that there was criticism from all sides of the people involved and the situation existing, in the first place, and that hemorrhaged as long as they did with the whole world on fire.

The Republicans control the House of Representatives with a very small majority, 221 to 212. That gives them very little wiggle room to get anything done. With a membership of 435, to pass anything requires a majority of 218 votes, so the Republicans have only a 3-vote wiggle room. Not much, especially with the ‘Crazy Eight’ hard-line cohort of the caucus. That is why there was so much difficulty electing a speaker. The eight voted to remove Speaker McCarthy and succeeded because all Democrats voted with the eight. Remember, the Republicans are the majority party. Their party started this ball rolling. Fumble.

The humor in all of this (for me) was that some pundits, and former speaker McCarthy, were blaming Democrats for causing the whole brouhaha. This is why the situation reminds me of Roy “Wrong Way” Riegels, as history often knows him. History does NOT, however, castigate the members of Tech for failing to stop Riegels’ mad dash to the wrong end zone.

Something similar happened in professional football on Oct. 25, 1964, in a game between the 49ers and the Vikings. Viking Jim Marshall picked up a 49er fumble and ran it back unchallenged by the 49ers for a safety. The 49ers might have even blocked for him. A 49er player patted Marshall on the back and thanked him in the end zone.

On Oct. 3, 2023, majority party Republicans fumbled, picked up the ball and tried to move forward, and started blaming Democrats for not tackling them to stop their mad scramble. They scrambled right up to Oct. 25. The Democrats never tackled them. Republicans still have the ball. They are being called the ‘Chaos Caucus’ by some pundits? They got it fixed, finally, without Democratic help which shows that the whole thing was always rooted on their side of the field.

In another commentary on the situation, Chris Hayes, a CNN ‘talking head’ observed:

“At this point, it really does feel like they (Republicans) are a malfunctioning Roomba vacuum cleaner, hopelessly stuck in the corner, ramming into the wall over and over again, its sensors gone haywire,”…” (emphasis by author)

That comment is what reminded me of the ‘lost Roomba’ picture.

Riegels and Marshall recovered from their errors and finished their games with stellar performances. Stupid actions don’t always signify stupid people/teams. Stupid is only when we don’t learn from mistakes; Keep making the same one(s). It has been observed that “the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expecting different results”. (Albert Einstein) The House Republicans finally got control of their house.

We’re watching sparks/flames of war struck and spreading; Burning; Killing; Yemen (Houthis) smoldering; Jordan (Hezbollah) threatening; and Iran igniting/fanning flames. There are even voices in the U.S. agitating; Each side nursing grievances. In war, there is only loss and lesser loss. At home, there is a budget crisis foaming. And until Oct. 25, the U.S. House of Representatives flailed, paralyzed amid fire and foam. It would have been funny if it wasn’t so terrifying.

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