acl digest – 9 september 2018

Bo giving me his best Mona Lisa smile.

Starting something different, by stealing someone else’s idea – I’ve decided to steal a method of post writing from science fiction author John Scalzi ( which he refers to as the digest. It’s a type of long-form writing broken up into shorter sections. Based on the way he writes, those various sections are loosely related, but I don’t think they have to be. Anyway, I want to try this because I have a lot of ideas, many of which are fairly short. Perhaps I can use this as an aid to help me write more with better overall quality.

John McCain’s death – It’s been a few weeks since John McCain passed. All the drama occurred during the week between his passing and finally being laid to rest at the Naval Academy. The entire week was punctuated repeatedly by Donald Trump’s week-long slow burn rants in the White House, with his being banned from the McCain funeral just as he was from Barbara Bush’s funeral. What will always stand out in my mind is how McCain was able to masterfully troll Trump from beyond the grave.

Aretha Franklin’s death – There is so much about Aretha to remember, going back to when I was a kid with my first transistor radio in Atlanta, but for me personally, I will always remember her scene on the “The Blues Brothers”:

Google strikes again – People are really ‘woke’ about Google and its powerful effects on the Internet. A small example of this is how Google Chrome is now displaying URLs with the release of version 69. Google’s new URL modification scheme, in which they’re trying to simplify how a URL is displayed in the omni-box has caused considerable controversy, especially in the tech groups that actually care about such things, and which helped push Chrome forward in the early days. Basically the latest Chrome hides ‘www’, for example, to make the URL simpler and easier to read for the great unwashed masses. If you want the behavior to be what it was before Google decided to ‘fix’ it for everyone, you can follow the directions here: Here’s How to Disable Google Chrome’s Confusing New URL Hiding Scheme. I’ve fixed my Chrome installations on every system where I have Chrome installed, and I also fixed it in Vivaldi. Yes, because Vivaldi is consuming the Chrome engine within Vivaldi, it’s also fallen prey to Chrome’s nefarious schemes to totally control the web. Just type ‘chrome://flags’ into the Vivaldi omni-box, follow the directions linked to above, and watch as the exact same flag comes up. Such fun…

Social media usage – I have accounts on all the usual spots, particularly Facebook and Twitter. Since January 2018 I’ve cut back considerably on Twitter and Facebook by just deleting the apps off my iPhone. If I feel the need to go slumming in either place, I do it via the web. The experience is better with the web page than the app, as more capabilities are available for tighter control. The only social media apps left on my iPhone are Instagram and VSCO. I spend very little time on VSCO, and I don’t follow that many on Instagram. I feel myself drifting further away from social media. That drifting away is affecting how I approach writing on the blog, with me wanting to write less and less over time. Considering how much the web has become weaponized, and how easy it is to do so because the social media platforms have no real controls, the only way to protect myself it would appear is to just not go there at all.

The Cats – We lost another cat, Ellipses. The pain of that loss triggered memories of my loss of Lucy, so I had to deal with that. But the house is calm again (it didn’t get all that crazy) and being down to just two cats is actually nice. Both Bo and Luke vie for my attention, in a good way. What is peculiar is that both of the boys are now spending time on the same kitchen table Ellipses stayed on for all those many years before her passing. I don’t know if that means they miss her or not, but I wonder if they expect her to suddenly appear on the table and for things to go back to normal for them.

My knees – I’m still dealing with pain and problems walking, but not nearly as badly as the first of this year. I’m spending more time in our therapy pool exercising and just floating. The water is warm and being in the pool takes considerable stress off my joints, especially my knees. They’ve both been replaced (the left as a partial in 2012, the right as a full in 2016) so there’s not much more that can be done. I have no desire to go under the knife again unless it’s absolutely necessary. So I guess I’d better get serious and continue working in that pool out back.