Sunday, August 9, 2020

Hating the New Interface

The boffins at Google, in their infinite wisdom, decided to, for the second time in the ten and three-quarters years I've been blogging, 'upgrade' the user interface.  Frankly, I don't dig it.  There are two 'views' in the 'new post' screen, a 'compose' view and a 'HTML' view... and neither of them is good.  Looking at my past two posts, a reader can see the problems, with one have broken HTML links and the other having an outsized image.  Perhaps it's my unfamiliarity with the interface, but it just seems like there is less authorial control over posts.

The real problem that I have encountered is a seeming incompatibility of the two 'view' modes... trying to fix a paragraph break issue resulting from the HTML mode in compose mode resulted in the broken hyperlinks.  Adding an image in compose mode resulted in less control over layout than in the previous interface.

I imagine the blog will be looking pretty damn ugly over the next few weeks, as I figure out the workarounds needed to make the blog look like 'legacy mode'.  The legacy interface can be reverted to until September, but that is just delaying the inevitable.

I will defer to Danny Aiello to describe my opinion:




Just to embed that video, I had to toggle between the compose and HTML modes... and I'm still trying to figure out how to embed links in the HTML mode. I guess I'm getting what I've been paying for, though.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Two Snakes, Four Years

 My Great and Good Friend J-Co texted me an image which I found absolutely hilarious:


Two, three years ago, he was just a City Council candidate, but now he's everywhere!

Vote Thulsa Doom, but do it in person... would I send a mail-in ballot to a slayer such as you? 

Ya know, all kidding aside, Thulsa Doom would still be a better president than the asshole currently holding the title... we already have a snake in the White House, two snakes would only be an improvement.

Friday, August 7, 2020

On School Openings

 I just got off the phone with Mom, who updated me on the college situation of my nephew, Boy A (my sister's middle child), who flew into Dulles Airport in Virginia for the upcoming college semester.  Mom picked him up at the airport and brought him home.  After a hasty meal, he loaded up the car that Mom had stored for him, and drove down to the home of my brother Gomez, who lives close to Boy A's campus.  The university's decision to resume classes was a hasty one, the administration was on the fence about online-vs-in person learning until last week.

Personally, I suspect that the resumption of traditional schooling will be a disaster, and my suspicions seem to be borne out by <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/07/us/barrow-county-georgia-schools-covid-19/index.html">the situation in Georgia</a>, which has led to the quarantine of teachers after members of the football team tested positive for COVID-19.  As is typical in the current, dysfunctional United States, the mature, responsible <a href="https://www.wonkette.com/good-news-georgia-school-reverses-suspension-of-kid-who-posted-pics-of-crowded-halls">teenager who reported the lack of social distancing and mask wearing</a> in her high school had been suspended, but was reinstated due to a nationwide public outcry.  Yeah, we're living in a time when teenagers have more sense than the people in charge of our governments are.

It's still early August, so I haven't heard from my other siblings regarding the upcoming schooling situations for my other nieces and nephews.  Additionally, I have yet to hear if the athletic program I volunteer-coach for will resume in October.  Personally, I think administrators should err on the side of caution, but I'm not the sort of dummkopf who believes that <a href="https://www.npr.org/2020/08/05/899558311/facebook-removes-trump-post-over-false-claim-about-children-and-covid-19">children are almost immune to the novel coronavirus</a>.  Stay safe, kids!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Tish Versus the Grifters

The big local news story of the day was New York State Attorney General Letitia James announcing a suit to dissolve the National Rifle Association. In a stroke of genius, AG James couched the suit as an effort not to regulate gun ownership, but to eliminate a corrupt organization:  

“The NRA’s influence has been so powerful that the organization went unchecked for decades while top executives funneled millions into their own pockets. The NRA is fraught with fraud and abuse, which is why, today, we seek to dissolve the NRA, because no organization is above the law.” 

The NRA defrauds and abuses its members, whose membership fees serve to enrich such scumbags as former CEO Wayne LaPierre. By pursuing a civil suit, AG James has neatly sidestepped the issue of gun control, though the right-wing propaganda machine has conveniently ignored that. Predictably, Vulgarmort claimed that she is waging a war on the Precious Second Amendment:

I'm more inclined to agree with this assessment by an independent investigative journalist:

I doubt that Leticia James is a Sex Pistols fan, but I immediately thought of John Lydon when I heard that she was initiating this lawsuit: “You don’t sue the NRA because you hate the law-abiding gun owners. You sue the NRA like that because you love them, and you’re sick of seeing them mistreated.” 

I just wish that our Attorney General would have been a bit more calculating from a political perspective... this lawsuit is going to be cited in Republican political ads for the next three months, and Biden (a centrist Democrat who shouldn't scare middle-of-the-road, middle-of-the-country swing voters) will be portrayed as a gun-grabbing Maoist. The subtleties of going after the organization for abusing gun-owners will be buried under a deluge of bad-faith arguments. Put succinctly, I think she should have waited until mid-November to announce this lawsuit.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Renters' Apocalypse

Last month, in a critter post, I touched on the upcoming eviction crisis which is now upon thousands of renters in New York as the governor's eviction moratorium expires. The eviction crisis is nationwide, as states such as California, Texas scramble to forestall a 'tsunami' of evictions... some states could see a mind-boggling eviction rate of sixty percent. Predictably, black and latin renters are particularly vulnerable to eviction, a vicious corollary to the elevated risks posed to these communities by the pandemic.

There are plenty of pieces written about preventing an eviction crisis which potentially puts forty million Americans on the street, but these solutions require a will to help financially struggling residents (always an 'iffy' prospect in this Capitalist Paradise) and a political system which functions. Put succinctly, I'm not confident that this apocalyptic housing crisis will be averted. I can't even wrap my head around the danger posed by throwing millions of people into an already overtaxed shelter system while a highly contagious viral pandemic ravages the country.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Can't Get There From Here

I should have had an inkling of how bad the afternoon was going to suck when I received the call at 2PM on my day off. The gent who was supposed to work the 5PM-9PM shift phoned to tell me that he was stuck at his primary job, speaking of downed trees, a transformer fire, and a power outage. We made plans to switch shifts, and I resigned my self to power up, shower up, and head out. The second indication that the afternoon would suck was the amount of small branches, formerly attached to my nextdoor neighbor's oak tree, strewn throughout the backyard. Tropical storm Isaias had hit the county, and hit it hard, with wind gusts of up to 80mph/129kph.

There were tree limbs down in the neighborhood, but I had parked in a treeless stretch. I headed north to work on I-87, then made a strategic blunder when, wanting to avoid the Rockland County bound traffic on I-287, I exited onto the Saw Mill River Parkway and into the wanderings of Odysseus. The Saw Mill River Parkway, an unkind road at best, was down to one lane due to downed trees, and the exit I wanted to use was closed entirely. I proceeded to the next exit, and took a local road, only to find it cordoned off about shortly before the intersection I wished to take... a U-turn later and a turn onto another road which would ordinarily lead to my destination terminated in yet another dead-end and U-turn. Every road I ventured onto ended up in a closure, until I decided that the only way to get to work would be to turn back south, taking the Sprain Brook Parkway south, then in a counterintuitive manner, taking I-287 east in order to go west, exiting at the next interchange and getting back onto the roadway, westbound. Yes, I had to go south to get north, and east to get west. I then stuck to the major roadways, the ones less susceptible to blockage by downed trees. All the while, I had an old REM song running through my head:





I arrived at work right on time, having left myself an hour and a half of travel time for a trip which usually takes half-an-hour. Of course, when I arrived at work, half of the site had lost power and one large pine tree had snapped in half, accompanied by numerous smaller branches. The sky had cleared, but the winds were still fairly high. The server was knocked out of whack, suggesting a power failure on the other half of the site. I checked out the site, noting no damage to any buildings, then fed the cat, and checked in with my boss to let him know the conditions onsite. I took a moment to yell at some people who were noodling around our parking lot- a couple with a baby in a stroller and a guy with a kid on a bicycle, "One, we're closed, and two, from a liability standpoint, I can't have you onsite with the danger of falling branches." Meanwhile, I was thinking, "What kind of asshole takes their kid out for a stroll at the tail end of a friggin' disaster?"

The rest of my day was pretty uneventful, thankfully I have plenty of e-books to choose from, and after my initial 'chucking out' period, nobody came onto the property... I guess the sight of a huge pine tree snapped in half dissuaded most people from getting a closer look.

At 9PM, my relief came, and the first question from his mouth was, "Who made all this mess?" Without hesitation, I replied, "Isaias!"

Monday, August 3, 2020

I Didn't Need Those Anyway

If I were tasked with building something both beautiful and dangerous-looking, I would be hard pressed to design something more appropriate than the great black wasp (Sphex pensylvanicus). It's not the sort of thing which you want to see on top of your aspirin bottle:




Yeah, I didn't need those anyway... of course, things didn't go any better when it flew into the restroom when I needed to answer a call of nature. There was a lot of shooing before any pooing that morning, to be sure.