They’ve done it again. I don’t believe it. I don’t want to believe it.
For those of you who actually use the various settings for your blog? WordPress has, without any notification to users, changed the way it’s done and what can be done … and worse, changed what the things used to mean to something else.
A lot of changes that were easy to find in a single column in the “old dashboard” are spread into other “new” files that I will only try by using an “open in new tab” option. Otherwise, I’m sure it will become the only option I’ve got. I made that mistake with the block editor, which I wanted to look at to see if I was interested (I wasn’t) — and instead, they installed it and made it impossible to get out of it — after which I spent a week trying to get the old one back.
They have set it up so you CAN get the old one back, but ONLY if you pay them much more money — which is to say, their business rate.
I am not a business.
Nor do I have that kind of money to spend on a blog that’s supposed to be fun. Apparently, it is, as always, entirely about money.
Seriously, not merely how things are done is different, but the same headings don’t mean what they used to. Go to your dashboard and try to set up things like your “primary menu” and “comments.”
That they keep fixing things that aren’t broken, but after they change them are indeed broken. These changes make organizing your posts enormously more complicated. My frustration level is over the top.
I don’t have time or energy for this. I pay them money, they give me what they feel like giving me and change what they want without consulting me or anyone else. I’m still simmering about their changing the “fonts” to “Large, Normal, Small, and Unreadable” as opposed to using the same point system in use everywhere else on the web.
I want to be informed about changes WordPress is making and I want a choice about whether or not I use it.
I AM A CUSTOMER.
I WANT TO BE TREATED LIKE A CUSTOMER.
It’s gray, rainy, cold and the world is made of mud. No hope of flowers because it still feels like the end of winter.
Then, suddenly, the sun appears and you get a couple of warm day and the world explodes in color. Breathtaking barely describes it. It’s like a new world, a new planet. The sky is blue, the birds are singing. Of course, the squirrels are still eating all the seeds, but the lawn got mowed, the dead bushes are gone, there’s a tall fence to keep Duke in the yard where he belongs … for today, at least, the world is just perfect.
Garry went out and took pictures yesterday. Me too. I got serious about birds. He got serious about Uxbridge. There are so many pictures, I have barely had time to scrape along the edges of the more than 200 pictures from just yesterday. Call this “Breathtaking Sample 1” with more to follow!
From Garry Armstrong, the village and neighborhood:
From Marilyn Armstrong, more birds and a squirrel.
That is a beak and a half and that is also a rathre large bird
We didn’t get a lot of it this year. It didn’t show up at all until March and it only lasted a week and a bit, but it rained and stormed almost continuously from February through this month. So our water table is doing fine.
Now that the Gypsy moth caterpillars have been spotted locally, we really need the rain — so of course, we have lovely, dry spring weather. The rain brings forth a little caterpillar killer bug that drops those caterpillars dead from the trees. But we need rain and a lot of it.
It’s as if the weather is rebelling. Whatever it is we want, we can’t have it. It’s not a lack of weather. It’s a lot of weather — at all the wrong times.
It’s funny to think about snow now. All I have on my mind are the hospital tests and getting finished with them. I think I’m about to (in late May and June) finally complete … and how doth the garden grow.
And how many squirrels are hanging on the bird feeder. Perhaps, as Stuart Templeton said yesterday, “Isn’t it great to see some birds on your squirrel feeders?”
Unsurprisingly, the feeders were filled last night and were nearly empty this morning. I was going to let the feeder run empty and try to convince the squirrels to do their own hunting, but if the caterpillars take over, there won’t BE any food to eat. Those nasty bugs strip the woods and everything goes hungry.
The Gypsy moths are an evil omen in an evil year. Last time, I survived by getting everything sprayed, but I don’t have the money this year — and I don’t even know what (if any) company is set up to to the work. No one was expecting them to come back so soon. They usually lay low for decades before making a return appearance.
If it gets ugly (and Garry is horribly allergic to these nasty critters), I’m going to hide inside and refuse to leave. Since our squirrels are always starving, can they be convinced to eat these guy? Except almost none of the birds will eat the big hairy caterpillars, but many will eat the egg masses they leave behind. We do have most of those birds here. On our deck.
Bring on the birdseed!
And, for what it’s worth, squirrels eat them too, even the caterpillars. So I guess we’re going to keep those feeders full!
More information from Mass Audubon Society and Pests.org:
Some native birds, such as cuckoos, downy woodpeckers, gray catbirds, and common grackles, will eat gypsy moth caterpillars but, unfortunately, not in large enough quantities to have an effect during an outbreak. White-footed mice, and occasionally gray squirrels, prey on gypsy moth larvae and pupae.
These little-known buggers can lay waste to entire forests and crops as they munch their way through the leaves and plants. Up until last year, the Gypsy Moth Caterpillar was not considered a big deal. Granted, they are still a problem when they infest your farm, but they had taken a backseat to other common pests. That is until some states (the northeast and especially Massachusetts) saw the worst Gypsy Moth infestation in more than 30 years.
NOTE: In 2016 and 2017 — here in the Blackstone Valley — virtually every hardwood and fruit-bearing tree were defoliated by the caterpillars), farmers started paying attention.
Some birds typically eat Gypsy Moths. Birds such as the Bluejay, catbird, blackbird (cowbirds ARE blackbirds), crows (we have them, though they don’t favor our woods) and such find these insects delicious.
Encourage these birds to visit your property to feed on these moths by not chasing them away when they come.
I don’t have any pictures of me graduating anything, although I did graduate. High School and I got a BA at Hofstra. But no one had a camera, no one took pictures. There were no cell phones yet. Garry took many pictures, but I can’t find the folder. I will have to search the hard drives because it is surely on one of them. In the meantime, these are what I have.
Kaitlin’s graduation, May 2015. I’m not sure if it seems longer ago than that or much more recent.
This event was especially memorable because Garry had, unbeknownst to him, been bitten by a brown recluse spider the day before and was about to get very sick.
That was a few days away. This was the big moment!
“Someday, I’m gonna walk down the street. People will look at me and say, “There he goes, the greatest there ever was!'”
It’s a familiar line. We’ve heard it from would be wonder boys across generations. It’s a line we hear now, used in admiration and derision, to describe the New England Patriots’ 41-year-old quarterback Tom Brady.
Sports radio and television yakkers beat the controversy drums every day. Is Brady better than Joe Montana? Peyton Manning? Steve Young? Is he the greatest there ever was? Audiences foam at the mouth during the debate. It’s the stuff media executives dream about. Drives up ratings which in turn drives up prices for those who buy radio and TV time.
The greatest there ever was.
Robert Redford echoed the line as a young Roy Hobbs in the classic baseball film, “The Natural.” Hobbs was the young everyman who dreamed of greatness. Many of us pursued the same dream.
I grew up in a generation when there were still many doors to be opened. Many challenges to be faced and answered. The social divide was still very evident in the United States. Overt racism was on display for all to see, even in so-called cradles-of-liberty cities.
Women were seen, but not heard. Ogled and groped, but not respected. It’s the way we were — back in the day. It’s also why so many of us were inspired to succeed. We wanted to show our worth, our value. We wanted more than respect.
We seem to have regressed back to those days but I hope not permanently.
It was a clear road we walked — to be the greatest there ever was.
I remember a hot, muggy, September 1959 afternoon at the Parris Island U.S. Marine Corps training base. The base commander stopped to chat up a group of new Marines, just returned from a double-time forced march near the swamp infested grounds that lay outside the base.
The young Gyrenes were clearly tuckered out, cursing the sandflies who nestled in their bodies. The commander zeroed in one group, singling out a young recruit of color who had attitude written on his face. “Private, how do you like the Marines, now?”
The young man broadened his smile. “Sir, permission to speak freely, sir?
The commander nodded. Red-faced drill instructors familiar with the young man stiffened in their nearby posts braced for the worst. The recruit eyed the DI’s, smiled at them and responded to the commander. “Sir, Private Armstrong is PROUD to be a marine, sir.”
The commander smiled.
The D.I.’s seemed relieved as the recruit continued talking to the commander who could make stripes disappear quickly off a sergeant’s shoulder.
“Sir, I love the Marines. I want to be the greatest there ever was, sir”.
The commander’s stoicism was replaced with a big smile. The D.I’s chuckled softly while glaring at Private Armstrong.
I did want to be the greatest Marine ever. This wasn’t any John Wayne fanboy stuff. My brief stint had fueled aspirations for a career in the Marine Corps, perhaps in the communications division. My hearing difficulties would soon end my life as a Marine, but it was a time I still remember with pride. It also helped me plot the course for the rest of my professional life.
In the decades that followed, I never lost the fire in the belly from my Marine Corps days. Some thought the “glamour” of TV news kept me happy and satisfied over the years.
I remember catching up with old friends over the years. They would tell me how successful they were. I heard about how much money they were making. The fancy cars they were driving. Vacation homes, country clubs, and so on.
I couldn’t, wouldn’t play that game. I inevitably wound up repeating how much I enjoyed my work. I talked about excitement, interesting people, dramatic stories — and the chance to make a difference.
There usually was a pause from the friend. I would then tell them I still wasn’t satisfied. Yes, I had awards, celebrity but there was something else.
I still wanted to be the best there ever was. Best replaced greatest somewhere over the years. No matter. The concept had not changed, just the wording.
I’ve been retired for more than 18 years after banking 40 plus years on the job. I think I’m satisfied with my body of work. Satisfied doesn’t do it.
Part of me still wants to be the greatest there ever was.
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