Posted in Uncategorized

Lest the Rocks Cry Out …

(This is one of those STATE OF THE WRITER-type posts. Some people call in Navel Gazing, though with a salute to G.K. Chesterton and his Orthodoxy I will take a Western slant to it and gaze outwards quite a bit as I do so …)

In a response to one of my recent blogs, particularly my revision to the weekly blog schedule, someone questioned whether with the responsibilities I currently have in my life, whether I should be spending so much time writing, i.e. the blog, and instead should concentrate more on employment, career, and earning a livelihood.

I had a very severe internal response to that comment. I will elucidate.

It made me think of the above video clip from Babylon 5 and its scriptural reference. Actually two different types of references: In one, most closely related to the song, the wicked flee to the rocks and the rocks do not hide them.; In the other rock reference, scripture says if the gospel is not spoken by children the rocks themselves will cry forth.

I feel myself somewhere caught between the two on this one. For if I do not write, that is when I am in trouble, or a sign I am in trouble, a sign I am dying, bit by bit, from within. And thus this past year was a sign that all was not well with me, that the writing, that the fount was gone, drying up. so the suggestion to stop up the well to attend to more important matters have a very backwards and perverse feeling to it, had to justify in the numbers, but life doesn’t go by the numbers alone.

I am finding myself writing again, and so many things conspiring to shut the font off, many of them well-intentioned. But writing is Jonathan’s Well, and like Jacob’s well, it is a source of life from within, for me at least. And I do not want to stifle my own life. There are too many others already able and willing to do that.

That was my intent. And yet I have had a long spell of life interruptus, and not getting any writing done. There is a sense of losing myself, of being broken, of always trying to find myself.

And yet, I am reconstructing myself. There is a new job, in a new field, promotion offered two weeks into the job. And somewhere in here I intend to get back to writing. So please be patient, and check up on what I post when I check in with something to write.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Approximately specific

Betsy inadvertently provided me with a good blog topic when she noted that “Okay Google” doesn’t have a very good understanding of the word approximate.

During the lead-up to the series of winter storms we have had this winter, we have taken advantage of our Google Home system to check on the weather. Which has often led to the question”Okay Google, how much will it snow today.”

The Google answer is invariably “Approximately 2.7 inches” or “Approximately 0.01 inches, or some other decimalized amount. But those numbers are aproximate. Those numbers are exact, or precise, at least.

Which leads to the fact that decimals and metric numbers are almost invariably precision items, while imperial measurements and whole units are flexible enough to be estimates and approximates.

But are fractions approximate or exact. After some discussion I came up with the decision that fractions are approximates with smaller denominators, and more precise with larger ones.

So what do you think? how inherent is approximation and precision to various numerical measuring units, or fractions?

Posted in Uncategorized

Welcome to the Gutenberg Editor

Note: This is a post of an info-mercial about the new editor for WordPress and putting together my blogs. I am still trying to figure out how some of these blocks work, but I did just discover the “verse” option which should help on my twice-a-week Hymn postings.

Of Mountains & Printing Presses

The goal of this new editor is to make adding rich content to WordPress simple and enjoyable. This whole post is composed of pieces of content—somewhat similar to LEGO bricks—that you can move around and interact with. Move your cursor around and you’ll notice the different blocks light up with outlines and arrows. Press the arrows to reposition blocks quickly, without fearing about losing things in the process of copying and pasting.

What you are reading now is a text block the most basic block of all. The text block has its own controls to be moved freely around the post…

… like this one, which is right aligned.

Headings are separate blocks as well, which helps with the outline and organization of your content.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Handling images and media with the utmost care is a primary focus of the new editor. Hopefully, you’ll find aspects of adding captions or going full-width with your pictures much easier and robust than before.

Beautiful landscape
If your theme supports it, you’ll see the “wide” button on the image toolbar. Give it a try.

Try selecting and removing or editing the caption, now you don’t have to be careful about selecting the image or other text by mistake and ruining the presentation.

The Inserter Tool

Imagine everything that WordPress can do is available to you quickly and in the same place on the interface. No need to figure out HTML tags, classes, or remember complicated shortcode syntax. That’s the spirit behind the inserter—the (+) button you’ll see around the editor—which allows you to browse all available content blocks and add them into your post. Plugins and themes are able to register their own, opening up all sort of possibilities for rich editing and publishing.

Go give it a try, you may discover things WordPress can already add into your posts that you didn’t know about. Here’s a short list of what you can currently find there:

  • Text & Headings
  • Images & Videos
  • Galleries
  • Embeds, like YouTube, Tweets, or other WordPress posts.
  • Layout blocks, like Buttons, Hero Images, Separators, etc.
  • And Lists like this one of course 🙂

Visual Editing

A huge benefit of blocks is that you can edit them in place and manipulate your content directly. Instead of having fields for editing things like the source of a quote, or the text of a button, you can directly change the content. Try editing the following quote:

The editor will endeavor to create a new page and post building experience that makes writing rich posts effortless, and has “blocks” to make it easy what today might take shortcodes, custom HTML, or “mystery meat” embed discovery.

Matt Mullenweg, 2017

The information corresponding to the source of the quote is a separate text field, similar to captions under images, so the structure of the quote is protected even if you select, modify, or remove the source. It’s always easy to add it back.

Blocks can be anything you need. For instance, you may want to add a subdued quote as part of the composition of your text, or you may prefer to display a giant stylized one. All of these options are available in the inserter.

You can change the amount of columns in your galleries by dragging a slider in the block inspector in the sidebar.

Media Rich

If you combine the new wide and full-wide alignments with galleries, you can create a very media rich layout, very quickly:

Accessibility is important — don’t forget image alt attribute

Sure, the full-wide image can be pretty big. But sometimes the image is worth it.

The above is a gallery with just two images. It’s an easier way to create visually appealing layouts, without having to deal with floats. You can also easily convert the gallery back to individual images again, by using the block switcher.

Any block can opt into these alignments. The embed block has them also, and is responsive out of the box:

You can build any block you like, static or dynamic, decorative or plain. Here’s a pullquote block:

Code is Poetry

The WordPress community

If you want to learn more about how to build additional blocks, or if you are interested in helping with the project, head over to the GitHub repository.


Thanks for testing Gutenberg!

👋

Posted in Uncategorized

A Blast of the Past #162: Medal Monica

Most of my photo flashbacks are very closely family related. But today’s has a slightly wider topic: The 2013 Kansas City Corporate Challenge Swim Meet.

I was the swim team coordinator the KCCC team sponsored by State Street from 2005 to 2017. In that time we always placed well based on a couple of good swimmers getting medals, anchored down by a fairly thick team of swimmers. Most of that team completed, near the bottom of the list, and yet earned us a lot of points.

Monica was one of the special ones over the years. She had great esprit de corps for the team, and was also a good swimmer, usually in a 4th, 5th or 6th place finish. Until 2013. When the dust had cleared to the event seen here, Monica had actually finished 3rd over all for her bracket, earning her an actual medal. It happened after she had made some comments about not ever medalling at the meet, and was, and still is, one of my fondest memories of the swim meets over the years.

Posted in Events, Uncategorized

A Look Ahead


STARRING: RICHARD KARN FROM THE SMASH HIT HOME IMPROVEMENT

To February 17 — Shear Madness at New Theatre Restaurant

SHEAR MADNESS is America’s most popular and longest running comedy (now in its 31st year at Washington D.C.’s prestigious Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts). More than 12 million people worldwide have seen the hilarious whodunit and there is no end in sight; its success just keeps going and going.

In this hilarious whodunit, a renowned classical pianist is murdered in her apartment above the SHEAR MADNESS beauty salon and you, the audience, along with Inspector Nick O’Brien, interrogate the suspects, evaluate the clues and solve the mystery. The wacky, spontaneous comedy never has the same ending twice, so you can see it again and again.

Insert personal review: Betsy and I enjoyed this show. The jokes are always fresh to the year and locale of the show — which meant I didn’t catch half of them due to the attempt and “Liberal” reparte. It also meant much greater use of**!=@#* than as necessary to get adequate Standup Comedian Cred. Nick O’Brien’s pictures in the promos are from his Home Improvement days. He looks much better than them, and also much more mature. His acting as very good, and not impeded by the same need for modern Comedy as the other actors.

The dinner menu was as good as always, but we had a maitre ‘d encourage 10 people to cut ahead of us in line “because no one saw that line”. They have four buffet lines but only three obvious lanes to them on each side of the theatre, so the middle lane usually serves as feeder for 2 and splits as it comes up. They need to mark clear lanes on the floor if they want four lanes to speed up traffic.

Tuesday, Feb. 12 — Songflower Chorale Rehearsal 7-9:30 p.m., choral room of St. Joseph Catholic Church, 11311 Johnson Dr, Shawnee Mission, KS 66203.

This is a closed rehearsal in preparation for the May 12 concert Madrigals Meet Jazz but interested musicians are encouraged to contact director Geoff Wilcken.

Tuesday, Feb. 19 — Songflower Chorale Rehearsal 7-9:30 p.m., choral room of St. Joseph Catholic Church, 11311 Johnson Dr, Shawnee Mission, KS 66203.

This is a closed rehearsal in preparation for the May 12 concert Madrigals Meet Jazz but interested musicians are encouraged to contact director Geoff Wilcken.

February  20-April 2019– Biloxi Blues at New Theatre Restaurant

The laughter rarely stops in this Tony Award-winning “Best Play” that tells the story of Eugene Jerome and his experiences as a 19-year-old draftee who, with a handful of other recruits must endure ten weeks of boot camp and a tough as nails, hard-drinking platoon leader in the steaming swamps of Biloxi, Mississippi in 1943.

Tuesday, Feb. 26 — Songflower Chorale Rehearsal 7-9:30 p.m., choral room of St. Joseph Catholic Church, 11311 Johnson Dr, Shawnee Mission, KS 66203.

This is a closed rehearsal in preparation for the May 12 concert Madrigals Meet Jazz but interested musicians are encouraged to contact director Geoff Wilcken.

Tuesday, March 5 — Songflower Chorale Rehearsal 7-9:30 p.m., choral room of St. Joseph Catholic Church, 11311 Johnson Dr, Shawnee Mission, KS 66203.

This is a closed rehearsal in preparation for the May 12 concert Madrigals Meet Jazz but interested musicians are encouraged to contact director Geoff Wilcken.

Tuesday, March 12 — Songflower Chorale Rehearsal 7-9:30 p.m., choral room of St. Joseph Catholic Church, 11311 Johnson Dr, Shawnee Mission, KS 66203.

This is a closed rehearsal in preparation for the May 12 concert Madrigals Meet Jazz but interested musicians are encouraged to contact director Geoff Wilcken.

Tuesday, March 19 — Songflower Chorale Rehearsal 7-9:30 p.m., choral room of St. Joseph Catholic Church, 11311 Johnson Dr, Shawnee Mission, KS 66203.

This is a closed rehearsal in preparation for the May 12 concert Madrigals Meet Jazz but interested musicians are encouraged to contact director Geoff Wilcken.

Tuesday, March 26 — Songflower Chorale Rehearsal 7-9:30 p.m., choral room of St. Joseph Catholic Church, 11311 Johnson Dr, Shawnee Mission, KS 66203.

This is a closed rehearsal in preparation for the May 12 concert Madrigals Meet Jazz but interested musicians are encouraged to contact director Geoff Wilcken.

Tuesday, April 2 — Songflower Chorale Rehearsal 7-9:30 p.m., choral room of St. Joseph Catholic Church, 11311 Johnson Dr, Shawnee Mission, KS 66203.

This is a closed rehearsal in preparation for the May 12 concert Madrigals Meet Jazz but interested musicians are encouraged to contact director Geoff Wilcken.

Tuesday, April 9 — Songflower Chorale Rehearsal 7-9:30 p.m., choral room of St. Joseph Catholic Church, 11311 Johnson Dr, Shawnee Mission, KS 66203.

This is a closed rehearsal in preparation for the May 12 concert Madrigals Meet Jazz but interested musicians are encouraged to contact director Geoff Wilcken.

Tuesday April 23 — Songflower Chorale Rehearsal 7-9:30 p.m., choral room of St. Joseph Catholic Church, 11311 Johnson Dr, Shawnee Mission, KS 66203.

This is a closed rehearsal in preparation for the May 12 concert Madrigals Meet Jazz but interested musicians are encouraged to contact director Geoff Wilcken.

April 25-July 7 — The Buddy Holly Story at New Theatre Restaurant

It’s Back! One of our most popular productions of all time! BUDDY-THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY. This joyous musical tells the story of Buddy Holly’s short yet explosive career and features his classical hits: PEGGY SUE, THAT’LL BE THE DAY, NOT FADE AWAY, OH BOY, MAYBE BABY, RAVEON and many more. This show Rocks!

Tuesday, April 30 — Songflower Chorale Rehearsal 7-9:30 p.m., choral room of St. Joseph Catholic Church, 11311 Johnson Dr, Shawnee Mission, KS 66203.

This is a closed rehearsal in preparation for the May 12 concert Madrigals Meet Jazz but interested musicians are encouraged to contact director Geoff Wilcken.

May 12 at 3 p.m. in Historic St. Mary’s Episcopal Church — Madrigals Meet Jazz concert by the Songflower Chorale (Yes, this mother’s day — bring mom.)

The flowering of music we know as Renaissance Madrigals is notable for several new features. They were the first major musical genre not to be connected by any strings to the Church. Indeed, these compact songs of love, nature, worldly adventures, social commentary, and play were the first important body of music that could be called “popular”— the ancestors of Romantic Lieder, modern commercial music, and the widely-known songs which became the grist for the music we know as jazz. In this program, well-loved English madrigals are brought into contact with some of their counterparts from the world of jazz, from the swinging ballroom tunes of Count Basie and Duke Ellington to the brilliance of Charlie Parker and the trenchant commentary of Charles Mingus. We will hear vocal and choral jazz as well as instrumental, backed by some of Kansas City’s most outstanding musicians.

July -Sept. 15 — Joseph and the Amazing TechniColor Dreamcoat at New Theatre Restaurant

Based on the “Coat of Many Colors” story from The Bible’s Book of Genesis, this upbeat musical is filled with a cornucopia of musical styles. From country-western to calypso to bubblegum pop & rock ‘n’ roll, this Old Testament tale emerges both timely and timeless. With its family-friendly storyline, universal themes and catchy music, JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT is a musical theatre event not to be missed. From the composer of PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, EVITA, CATS AND SCHOOL OF ROCK.@

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized

The Swift Précis

The Swift Précis Is a Tuesday feature where I choose what I found the most interesting reading during the past week and piece it together for your browsing pleasure. Most of it will be from blogs and other internet offerings — with appropriate links. But when I choose something in print, I will reference that as best I can too, for you to look up and follow if you so choose.

This is an excellent piece on the impact of fad gym users on serious gym users.

An excellent piece on the evolution (devolution) of singing voices and ranges over the past hundred-plus years.
Finding true peer-reviewed studies about the dangers of GM foods is harder than the needle in the haystack.

Nice description of Western Civilization.

Enjoyable contemplation of words.