Seven & Four

Today I have around thirty (30) blog-posts piled up in my Drafts tab. Many of them are about one-third finished, many are two-thirds finished. Two of them are unfinished by guest-authors, never fulfilling their promise from 2014. Seven posts are in final stages, but awaiting my editorial and grammatical scrutiny/review, four of them are very close to finished and a few clicks away from final publication. However, I’ve had two of those last four ready, excited and eager to publish them immediately after some final touch-ups!

Then about 2-weeks ago, maybe more, WordPress pulled the rug out from under me… again! My latest nemesis against creative, free-flowing, easy-to-use blog-drafting is called the Block Editor, or Gutenberg Editor.

I not only feel like Charlie Brown above, happy and willing to run up to Lucy van Pelt with gusto, kick winning field-goals with my blog-posts (at least in my mind), but do it with limited, sometimes with little free-time, and publish posts 2-4 times a month with relative ease. Like many of us busy, busy bloggers juggling work, family, parenting, personal health, schooling, and a host of other required daily, weekly tasks—of which some/many get postponed due to only 24-hour days—we do not have time remaining for yearly, or bi-annual, time-intensive learning curves!

Hey, WordPress! News Flash: I NOR MOST OF US DO NOT and CANNOT WORK FOR WORDPRESS 40-HOURS A WEEK, 365 DAYS A YEAR LEARNING NEW SOFTWARE AND MAINTAIN OUR REGULAR LIVES!!!

Naturally, I have received all types of rah-rah cheerleading support and encouraging platitudes from Happiness Technicians at WordPress and some fellow bloggers as well. A few of the responses have been diversionary. From WordPress for example:

Change can be hard, but we have you covered!

We understand how frustrating being moved to a new editing experience can be and we apologize for any inconvenience.

Technology is always updating. The Block Editor takes advantage of the latest technology to help you build media-rich, mobile responsive, and unique websites.

By the way, I spent almost two hours just trying to find/learn how to simply bullet-point these above three quotes AND keep my left-margin. Obviously I failed and gave up. Otherwise, I would have spent an exorbitant amount of additional time wasted for simply three little dots in front of those WordPress quotes!

Also, more rah-rah encouragement from WordPress worth sharing:

A Note on Support for the WordPress Classic Editor

While you do not currently have to learn how to use the new WordPress Gutenberg Blocks, you will eventually need to. The WordPress team will keep supporting the Classic Editor plugin until the end of 2021. But, starting in 2022, the new Block Editor will be the only editor officially supported by WordPress.

Early last week I had my latest and next blog-post ready to publish. The week before that the post was close to finished with just a few more visual touch-ups needed, but the last paragraph needed cleaning up and I also wanted to add a relevant image/picture. I spent the following 5-6 days trying to figure out how to do that while screaming at my computer screen, raising my blood-pressure higher, taking 2-3 shots of tequila or vodka to calm back down, and in the end simply giving up in sheer frustration.

It seems this delay will continue indefinitely until I have spent approximately 60 semester hours at WordPress University and I’ve earned my post-graduate degree in Gutenberg Editing & Software Engineering… fingers crossed, Magna Cum Laude. 🤬 I will, however, try to endure, carry on with shaky, weakening patience, and finalize my “ready to publish” next post: Christian Apologetics: Land of Oz.


P.S. I began this very simple post early yesterday afternoon, picked it back up today at 12:30pm CST, and have just now finished it and published it at 4:28pm CST. HOLY JEBUS H. CHRISTMAS, I cannot spend that amount of time on what has been up to early September 2020… a pleasurable hobby since early 2011. This learning curve is unfeasible and frankly unfair of WordPress to demand that kind of time without paying me an excellent wage, especially changing the Editor so frequently!


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And This Gives Life

I have been away from WordPress blogging and commenting lately, more so than usual, only briefly scanning blogs I follow, but not always or infrequently commenting. As the popular slogan goes these last several months, “unprecedented times,” the unprecedented part is profoundly and painfully true thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. The times part is so true as well, as there seems to be little of it for personal hobbies, pleasures, and R&R down-time, e.g. blogging, commenting, or simply finding 1-hour of quiet-time. I am also quite annoyed with WordPress seemingly introducing every year a “newer better version” of the Editor. As if I am free to learn new software programming features like I work full-time for WordPress, this constant frequent changes or complete overhauls rub me a bloody chapped ass! I’ve loosed a fury of expletives at my computer screen so much the last 2-weeks my neighbors are ready to dial the police.

Despite these “unprecedented times” and WordPress incessantly changing their Editors to draft/write new blogs, I jump on here to quickly share a short, romantically moving, classic and soothing Shakespeare Sonnet. I hope it touches you as much as it does me. There is no other modern, renown, multiple Oscar-nominated actor that can recite Shakespeare any better than the late Peter O’Toole. None in my opinion.

Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day?

I recommend listening to the YouTube clip of O’Toole’s heart-rending oral rendition of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 with your eyes closed. This allows one to imagine every vowel, every eloquent word and rhythm O’Toole seems to effortlessly capture and float upon your ears like a warm whisper.

If you would prefer to read this exquisite Sonnet, I give you the fourteen lines here:

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.


For all of you, do not forget what makes us uniquely beautifully and brilliantly human with each other.

—-

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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From Rope to Threads

Well, as much as I’d rather post something more comical, scientific, or spell-bounding intriguing… this quick post will be simply a matter-of-fact report (rant) on current goings-on with me, those around me, and stuff in the U.S. If you were wanting/needing a lift-me-up blog-post, best you go somewhere else this time. I’m a realist as well as a hopeful optimistic realist. 😉

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Dallas, TX has very recently experienced over one week of triple-digit temperatures. Today’s expected high (yesterday’s) was a cool frigid 93º Fahrenheit. A happy respite from the 103-106 temps the other week. Most of those days we were also under National Weather Service “Excessive Heat Warnings” and “Air Quality Alerts.” The latter is basically a warning of high levels of ozone air pollution from man-made machines, factories, and refineries to go along with methane and CO² up there. This also includes dust/dirt in lower strata from heavy construction equipment, state-sanctioned (roads & highways) and/or private-sector contractors everywhere in the DFW Metroplex. That pollution is distinctly worse during windy days.

I watched this afternoon, about 1 or 2pm, out my front window three (3) Dallas Police Officers (all white), in two squad-cars, and one of the onsite property managers remove two different residents from my building who were apparently delinquent on their (daily?) monthly rent. One resident, a male perhaps in his late 30’s, packed up everything he could into his massive backpack and rolling suitcase, more things in bags under one arm, and walk out to the street. He then walked down the street until he was out of sight. He may have continued on to the busy 6-lane intersection a half-mile away, under a state highway bridge, with some 6-8 other homeless people (6-8 on a daily basis that is) holding cardboard signs walking out into and around stopped vehicles.

The other residents, a couple perhaps in their late 20’s, began packing up their little beat up used compact car—which was already quite full with tons of other belongings—eventually evacuated the property under watchful eyes of police and property management. As they left, their vehicle’s exhaust was visibly blue smoke; oil leak(s). I doubt their car would pass the state inspection laws in order to obtain liability insurance, required by law to own and operate a vehicle, assuming of course they owned it and possessed current, valid liability insurance minimums. The last 6-8 months I’ve witnessed these sorts of evictions take place. What is glaringly obvious are the vast numbers of homeless people everywhere on our busy street corners and intersections the last 12-24 months. It’s impossible to not notice.

This past week I’ve tried to help this neighbor three doors down. About 2-weeks ago his compact vehicle had a major breakdown. Jumper cables didn’t help. A tow-truck came to haul it off to some repair shop. His only source of income is his job as a Lift/Uber driver. He pays his rent week to week, for obvious reasons. Yesterday I drove him 8-miles to the shop his car was being worked on. It’s in a “sketchy” part of town at a very rundown business building of many old used vehicles scattered everywhere outside. They fill-up the make-shift parking lot.

When he returns to my car where I’m waiting—to make sure his car REALLY IS fixed/ready—with an obvious down-trodden face he tells me There’s a snag, a hangup. Can you wait a bit longer? I tell him of course. Ten minutes later he returns with all of his belongings to go straight to work, and tells me the part that was sent to them had stripped threads. He soon told me with an upset tone that he’s sure THEY (the shop) fucked-up the refurbished replacement part. I must take him back home… without his vehicle (for income). This foul-up has now cost him another full-day of income, making it the 5th day without making money. Today, to help him out at least a tiny bit, I go to the management office and pay for one night on his room/place. That’s all I could afford given my own strapped situation.

I literally just received the THIRD Amber Alert in as much as 7-9 days! This doesn’t count the significant increase in Amber Alerts we’ve had in Texas so far just these last 7.5 months! They’ve been going off noticeably more ever since COVID-19 quarantines and businesses and schools shutdown. By the way, that also includes most daycares for working Moms or Dads.

As many of you know, I am a sports fan, particularly a soccer/football fanatic. If any of you in the U.S. are sports fans as well, you know painfully that ALL of our professional and collegiate sports seasons have either been cancelled, postponed, or undetermined. As a result and for the first time in my entire life, I have become a semi-fan of the South Korean Baseball Organization (KBO), watching a few games at 4:35am… because most of this spring and summer there has not really been any other sports viewing-choices right now or there hasn’t been in the U.S. for several months! And I’ve NEVER liked baseball until my son got into it seriously at age 10 over nine years ago. Pfffft, KBO? Seriously!?

If any of you have followed the current American MLB shortened season going on, its season and teams are an organized mess because of COVID-19 infections popping up in at least 4-5 different team’s club houses at different times. The New York Yankees just had 1-2 games postponed because of positive CV-19 tests. More postponements or cancellations might be happening. The entire league’s 60-game season it is said will have a HUGE asterisk attached to it and its October World Series (if it happens?) because of this unprecedented time America and Americans are going through.

I watched two interviews over the past 2-3 weeks that I thought were poignantly revealing summaries of what our country has been put through. Sadly, it did not need to be this bad, not even close! Had our federal leadership heeded all the warnings coming from all the domestic and global experts back in Dec. 2019 thru mid-February 2020, this continuing crisis could have been shortened SIGNIFICANTLY and with much less economic tragedy. But then it happened again this past May over Memorial Day weekend and in another spike July… over 4th of July celebrations and holidays. Here’s what wealthy mogul and former Microsoft owner Bill Gates said about the handling of this pandemic by our federal government and leadership:  Bill Gates on GPS: “Testing insanity” is unique to U.S.

The other interview was by Christiane Amanpour of PBS with former Republican Governor of Ohio, John Kasich. It is well worth the 3-minute watch, I promise.

Personally, I have been COVID-tested twice now because both times I was experiencing 6 of the 11 symptoms for the lethal virus. Fortunately, both results were negative. But my last CV-19 test, inside Dallas County (one of the worst hot spots in Texas) took almost 5-weeks to return a result. The only reason my two results have been negative is because #1) I stay at home alone as much as possible. #2) because since early March I have social-distanced like an OCD MoFo, I wear a mask anytime I go out in public, I wear rubber gloves when I go into any places of business doing my BASIC shopping for essential items and/or grocery store items. And #3), if I don’t get out of my vehicle, that’s because I’ve shopped online for curbside delivery done by only ONE worker to my car… that is, a car parked over 8-10 feet away from any other vehicle!

And yet, after near 7-months of this consistent distancing, preparation, and wise, considered caution anywhere I go… this has become a change from “doing well enough” in April 2020, to making things tighter and stretching out longer in July 2020—going from a stabilized ship in a horrible storm at sea—to grasping for ropes to cling to as the HMS Titanic goes down, and to now desperately seeking THREADS that might hold me above the surface of a self-created (by my nation & its leaders) Level-5 hurricane I and everyone around me are getting sucked into. And yet there’s more.

Day before yesterday I ran out of one of my two high blood-pressure meds. When I requested the pharmacy to contact my primary care physician’s office for the refill, the next day they called back stating his office denied my request. I know why. I haven’t gone to have my blood lab-work done yet. It costs me $135 (no insurance) to have it all done, plus the tele-visit or video-visit with the doctor to initiate it. Plus on top of that the cost of the generic prescriptions. It’s money I do not currently have because of several other pressing priorities due to COVID-19 affects and consequences on businesses.

Oh well, hopefully life gets better for everyone and reduces hypertension and high blood-pressure—that if chronic, inevitably leads to heart disease and other medical problems. HAH! 😆 That’s a subject Dr. Sanjay Gupta covered in his extensive 1-hour documentary on HBO called One Nation Under StressIn the documentary Dr. Gupta uncovers the root causes of why American life expectancy, that is primarily Caucasian’s life expectancy, is falling and is now shorter than all other major developed countries. It is a disturbing revelation of our nation’s true health. Here’s the trailer:

So what’s the rub? Can we Americans make it until November 4-5? Can we survive with minimal casualties in this raging, unforgiving storm/hurricane of a crisis that could’ve been lessened significantly, probably avoided in many ways? Because this pandemic virus has affected and infected so many socioeconomic and healthcare sectors and lives, that not even I could’ve anticipated, it could get much worse and last much longer! And I am a HUGE nerdy science guy who tries his utmost to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. But this shit is going to outlast even my own predictions back in February. I told everyone then this pandemic and its ripple-effects would last till late-August or early-September before a downward trend and gradual respite occurs. It appears my prediction is coming up wrong and well short. 😔😷

I wonder… how in THA HELL did our Greatest Generation (of America) do it for well over 5-6 years during World War II  on top of coming out of the Great Depression!? Holy crap they must of been truly “E plurabus unum” (like superhero MoFos)… like we stamp on all of our coinage. HAH! Is it really a United States of America rather than a DISunited States of America, “One nation, under stress, and very divided!” as our new revised Pledge of Allegiance the last 4-years might be uttered today? Other nations around the world handled and managed the pandemic SO MUCH BETTER than the U.S.! That’s undeniably true.

Ugh, my rant is done. Tired I am. Everyone keep being safe, being well, and safely distanced. Try to keep going and hang in there! I hope I can too. 🙄

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P.S. One last thing. Have I ever expressed my rising annoyance with most everything electronic, internet, streaming, or WiFi-based over the last decade or more? And with that near boiling-point annoyance of said electronics I am quickly approaching the brink of ‘going postal.’ Have I expressed that? And how many times all my electronic devices I have ever owned (especially the last 10-12 years!) get overly spammed, hacked, and breakdown into some cyber-neurotic psychotic tantrums after ONLY 24-months from their purchase? Then I am forced to purchase a new cutting-edge “newer” device. Imagine that!

Does anyone else experience this incredibly frustrating, cyclical consumer entrapment on a society addicted to an electronic-everything world? Just a passing thought.

I really miss those days (in the 80’s and 90’s) when items, machines purchased would last a good 10-15 years, easily. Now, most mega-corporate business models are structured to generate what they call “perpetual revenue” and repeat consumers that appease, gratify share-holders for many quarterly P&L reports. Ugh, I so love hyper-capitalism.

That last sentence was extreme satirical sarcasm by the way. 😠

————

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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