How to override the block editor.

I’m writing this partly to test this trick, which didn’t come from the WordPress staff.   It actually came from some of you, so thank you!

All the WP staff tells us to do to access the Classic Editor is to “go to WP Admin.”  Do they assume we’re all techies?  I’m sorry, but I’m old and need things like this explained to me like I’m old.

Here are the actual instructions.

Go to your WP Admin page (I’m sure everyone knows where that is)

Look down the column on the left until you find “Posts” and click that on.

On the Posts page, click on the “Add New” button at the top of the list of posts.

It should take you to the Classic Editor.  It worked for me.

Now, why can’t the WP staff tell us this?  It’s as if they want to force us all to use the Block editor whether we want to or not.

The only problem is you can’t set Classic as the default anymore.   You have to do this for every post.  Oh, well.  You can’t have everything, I guess.

Bad News From WordPress

Everything this guy said.

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In case you haven’t seen the notifications, WordPress will shortly be doing away with the ‘Old Editor’, and forcing us to use the ‘New’ Block Editor. This supposedly improved Gutenberg editor will replace even the original block editor, so everyone on this platform will have to bite the bullet and try to cope with it.

I have written before about how I consider it TOTALLY UNNECESSARY for WordPress to do this. People who are not good with technology -like me- are dreading this all over the bloging community. As with so many things in the modern world, WordPress is choosing to ignore the ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ commonsense maxim, and I have yet to read any reasonable excuse as to why they consider the change is worthwhile.

If ‘business users’ find the new system better, then let it just be an option for them. That should be…

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I want the Classic Editor, not this block garbage.

WordPress really doesn’t care about the people who use it. Gutenberg has been forced on us, and I hate it. I don’t think in blocks. I don’t think most writers do. I know numerous bloggers have complained about this forced change, but all we get from the WP staff is some passive aggressive comment about “being unwilling to learn something new” and a condescending attitude. They don’t care about writers anymore. As soon as Gutenberg becomes the only choice in 2022, I’m gone. Probably to Medium, which seems to be a better platform for people who want to write.

In the meantime though, if I want to write, supposedly there is a way to access the Classic Editor, but I have no idea how. I looked it up in the forums and all I saw was that it can be accessed from the Admin page. That’s it. Well, I did that, and looked everywhere on the Admin page, and see absolutely NOTHING giving me the option to switch back to Classic. I even went to the Edit page (as if writing a new post) and clicked on the three small dots at the top (because that has worked in the past), and there is no option for Classic.

I really HATE this new editor and WordPress is going to lose my business (I paid for this domain and also for an upgrade) if they don’t start being more accomodating.

Here’s a good rant written by someone as irked by WP’s need to “fix something that doesn’t need fixing” as I am.

Despondency

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I’m beyond despondent and that’s why I haven’t been writing.   Watching the only country I ever knew collapse into fascism before my eyes is like watching a beloved friend or family member die a horrible, painful, death and being helpless to do anything about it.  It’s horrible.

Did anyone watch any of the Republican National Convention?  I saw clips from it and was disgusted and chilled.  It wasn’t like anything I associate with America or American values.   It was basically a glittery, drawn out version of those awful events where they go around a conference table and all Trump’s sycophants and enablers blather on about how perfect and wonderful Dear Leader is while he sits there gloating and soaking it all in.  And when Trump wasn’t being venerated, Democrats and liberals (most who want only to return to democracy and make it better) were being hatefully excoriated as villains and monsters who want to force socialism or even communism on everyone.  It was nauseating.

I don’t have the energy or motivation to write much else, but the article below I’ve posted a link to says everything I’m thinking and feeling, and is written from the perspective of someone who lived through the horrors of authoritarianism.  This may be one of the last times I can freely express how much I despise this sociopathic regime, because our First Amendment rights are being eroded in plain sight.  It’s every bit as bad (or will soon become as bad) as Nazi Germany, Assad’s Syria, Saddam’s Iraq, Pinochet’s Chile, Erdogan’s Turkey, Kim Jong Un’s North Korea, or the Taliban in Afghanistan.  At best, at BEST(!) we will become like Putin’s Russia.  I wish that were hyperbole.  I don’t think it is.

I no longer see any way civil war can be avoided.   Trump’s brownshirts and paramilitaries and ignorant cult members are itching for war.  They HATE us.  They gaslight us, dismiss our very real fears as Trump Derangement Syndrome, and constantly project their own wrongdoings onto us. We have been dehumanized, other‘d.  Peaceful protesters are now called terrorists and anarchists, but a 17 year old punk kid inspired by Trump’s “rough them up” rhetoric mowed down two protesters with a weapon of war and is being defended and protected by the Right because they think he’s a patriot.   These people aren’t going to compromise or give up their delusion that Trump is some kind of holy warrior or savior who is going to “make America great again.”   They aren’t going to suddenly grow empathy and start to care about the rights of people who aren’t just like themselves.

We have moved, as a nation, so far to the far right, that now American values such as democracy, freedom, and justice for all are now dismissed by Trump and his minions as socialism, or even communism. Communism!   We are a police state now, and it’s fast becoming normalized.

Living in America feels exactly like being trapped in an abusive marriage or inescapable family situation.   This is narcissistic abuse writ large.   But you can’t go No Contact, unless you are one of the fortunate ones who have the means to leave the country.

Yes, America has become one of those countries people want to leave.    But because of the out of control pandemic this regime refuses to do anything about because they hate scientists and experts, other countries have closed off their borders to us.   Trump got his wall, only the wall is being paid for by the rest of the world.

We must stop sugarcoating what is actually happening here.  None of this is normal.  Early in Trump’s first term, the German magazine Der Spiegel published an article warning us that Trump was a new Hitlerlike figure, an authoritarian fascist, and would establish an “illiberal democracy” (a euphemism for an authoritarian state or dictatorship).  They knew because they’ve been there.   We didn’t listen.  Now it may be too late to avoid such a fate.   I think there’s a chance we can still wriggle out of this mess, but it’s up to us now.   No one is coming to save us.

Facing the ugly and horrifying truth that America is now being ruled by fascists is our only hope.

Fascism.  SAY IT.

And VOTE FOR BIDEN.

PLEASE!

We Don’t Know How to Warn You Any Harder America Is Dying 

 

If things seem pretty hopeless right now…

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People are having a hard time right now. America is no longer a very nice place to live. And due to Covid 19, which we have not been able to keep under control because we have a president who scoffs at science and experts, other countries have closed their borders to us, so we can’t escape even if we have the means to do so. We have become a pariah state.  A shithole country.

The bullies seem to be winning, while those of us who want American democracy back are demonized and called terrorists and traitors and anarchists by the wannabe dictator in the White House and his fascist minions.  Of course, they are projecting.   They are the real traitors and terrorists, leaving nothing but chaos, death, and destruction in their wake.    But they seem to have all the power right now, don’t they?

We are a failing state, some say a failed one. We are facing adversity like we can’t even imagine:  there’s the constant gaslighting, projection, and endless lies coming from this sociopathic president and his lawless regime that makes those of us with a conscience and regard for the truth feel like we’re going insane; an out of control pandemic (that could easily have been avoided); the wanton destruction of our institutions, the dismantling of all our checks and balances, the rule of law, and the Constitution itself;  Trump’s attempts to dismantle the US Post Office(!!!) to benefit his reelection; a regime that refuses to listen to scientists whose idiotic orange leader tells us to drink bleach to cure Coronavirus; peaceful protesters treated like terrorists by Trump’s armed to the teeth brownshirts and far right militias (who are the real terrorists); the end of unemployment insurance for millions of people laid off due to Covid which is resulting in evictions and loss of health insurance; Depression level unemployment; a dying society that may well become a fascist dictatorship if Trump wins or steals the election (which he looks likely to attempt, with the blessings of his equally corrupt attorney general Bill Barr); and finally and most horrifyingly, the possible loss of all our rights and freedoms and everything about America that made it great if he succeeds in getting his dictatorship.  Now Trump is threatening to defund (end) social security and Medicare, which if successful, would leave millions of elderly and disabled destitute and without healthcare, leading to even more deaths.

It’s enough to drive the most rational person mad.

These are trying times.
They’re the kind of times that try our souls.
It’s overwhelming.
It’s exhausting and frustrating and maddening and terrifying.
It’s easy to feel like everything’s hopeless and fall into despair and apathy.

But remember: you are not alone. There are people who care.  People who share your feelings about everything taking place in the world, millions of them!  These difficult times won’t last forever, and we still have a chance of righting what went wrong, although it may take a long time and a lot of hard work. There are a lot more of us than there are of them!  There are millions of us and we are in the majority.  We are not as powerless as you may think.

What Trump and his minions fail to appreciate is that when a population feels like there’s nothing left to lose, and everything and everyone they love is under threat, that’s when they are at their most dangerous, and are most likely to rise up and demand change. People fight back when they no longer care if they lose their lives or their freedom doing so.
That’s how revolutions are born. That’s how heroes are made.

Right now, history is being made. We are a part of it.  We are in the midst of it.
We are not the first or the last population who have fallen on terrible times. Good almost always prevails.
Changing the world is our imperative.  Be on the right side of history.

But, first things first.
You have to take care of yourself before you can change the world.
So if you or someone you love are thinking of suicide or are just feeling depressed and alone and helpless, please reach out for help.

You can start here:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.
Text Home to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.

Please share with others.

God bless!

Choose wisely.

I saw this meme on Facebook.  It sums up everything I’ve been feeling about American politics lately as well as the Covid 19 situation here in America.

As a society, we Americans have made some pretty terrible choices.  We’re a supremely selfish society, bar none.   And everyone but us seems to know it.

Thinking only of one’s own comfort at the expense of our fellow human beings only winds up hurting us in the end, too.   No one wins.

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I love Kudzu!

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Closeup of kudzu and a few other native plants

I love Kudzu, an invasive vine common in the southeastern United States (but due to global warming, it now can be found in the Middle Atlantic states and even the northeast as far north as Massachusetts).  It grows most prolifically in the South, however.  Kudzu has even been dubbed “the vine that ate the South” due to its unfortunate tendency to “grab” hold of other plants and trees, and eventually cover them so completely they can no longer obtain sunlight and die.  It has been known to take down telephone wires and destroy property.

Chinese or Japanese Arrowroot (kudzu’s actual name) was brought to the United States from China (where it is not invasive) as an ornamental plant and a method of stopping soil erosion in the late 1800s.  But because in the United States, it had no natural enemies or feeding animals to keep its growth in check, the vine quickly took over cultivated gardens like a vegetable cancer and could even destroy property.   Today it is considered a weed because of its invasive and destructive tendencies.

In spite of its terrible reputation, kudzu is beautiful.  It produces lovely purple flowers and has big green heart shaped leaves.  In the southern states, where it is ubiquitous, you can sometimes see entire fields or groves of trees along the sides of roads covered by it. Although the smothered trees are likely doomed, the resulting rounded, domed shapes can give the scenery an otherwordly, eerie, even sinister appearance.

All pictures were taken by me in the Nantahala National Forest, Nantahala, NC.

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Kudzu gone wild.

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Cathedral of kudzu

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An opening in the kudzu

It was always fascism.

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Today I grieve for my country, which has become a brutal authoritarian state that has declared war on its own citizens.  It’s surreal and heartbreaking to witness my worst nightmare coming true, but my eyes and ears don’t lie to me.  This horror is real.  I have shed many tears over my country’s collapse.  We are a failed state, no better than some despotic banana republic.  But with a lot more military power. We’re a country that has slipped into fascism.

When the federal response to accusations of police brutality is more police brutality and demands for further violence to be inflicted on protesters who are doing nothing but exercising their First Amendment rights, we are dealing with a fascist government.   When we are called terrorists by Trump and his heavily armed minions who always seem to get a pass and avoid accountability, that is fascism.  When the paranoid malignant narcissist president erects hurricane fencing around the People’s White House (which our taxes support), it’s a message that we no longer matter.  That we are seen as the Enemy, to be shut out.    That is fascism.

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Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Only now is the mainstream media and political pundits beginning to call what Trump and his hijacked GOP have been doing fascism.  What took them so long?

Perhaps if more of us had been willing to admit that what we were seeing was fascism, long before military police and Trump’s paramilitary thugs started physically attacking peaceful protesters (illegally) with teargas, rubber bullets, and fists, we might have been able to stop the decline.   We still can stop it, maybe, but it is going to be much harder than it would have been a year, two years, three years or four years ago, when this slide into the dark night of fascism began.  At least we’re finally beginning to flood the streets.  We need to stay there, for as long as it takes to take down this horrific regime of cruelty and chaos.

Here is a good article I just finished reading.

This is America’s Fascist Collapse. 

God help us all.

A picture that says everything about these times.

 

APTOPIX Minneapolis Police Death

Photo by Julio Cortez for AP

 

It’s hard to process what is unfolding in America right now, in the streets of every city, large and small and in between.   Seeing the images on TV feels as surreal as the footage  of the Twin Towers collapsing on the bright sunny morning of September 11, 2001.

For almost four years, America stayed silent in the face of impending fascism under a pathologically narcissistic reality TV star who will never rest until he is crowned King of America and can slap the word TRUMP (in golden letters, of course) all over our currency and maybe even our flag.

Even with brown babies being caged, families separated at the border, the Kurds abandoned, countless school shootings, our allies alienated, our planet’s natural resources plundered for profit, our healthcare threatened, racist dogwhistles sounded daily by Trump and his sycophants, and a criminal impeached president allowed to remain in office, Americans remained silent, voicing their concerns and rants on Twitter or on their blogs insread of congregating in the streets and demanding change the way people in other countries did.  Why were we such sheep? Was it laziness?  Fear?  Ignorance?  Apathy?  Exhaustion?  What was our problem anyway?

This week things finally changed.  Maybe it was due to cabin fever caused by the coronavirus pandemic that kept people cooped up in their homes for months on end, or maybe it was just the straw that finally broke the camel’s back, but starting with the brutal and inhumane murder of a black man, George Floyd, by a white police officer last week, the sleeping giant has finally woken up.  George Floyd will never know that his death set off a chain of events that coursed over the nation like a tsunami, and will culminate in either a People’s Revolution that could set America on a new, much fairer, more humane, and saner path; or the death of the Republic.   I’ll be honest:  I’m expecting the latter, but hoping for the former.

Last night, I came across a stunning photo taken by AP photographer Julio Cortez in either Minneapolis or St. Paul last week. This is the sort of iconic photo that will be shown decades from now when people talk about this time in history, especially if  American democracy survives.  It says everything about the times we are in.  It could be interpreted as a distress call, since the flag the protester is carrying is upside down, but I get more of a feeling of bravery and patriotism in the face of violent destruction and death.  But, more than anything, to me it shows hope.   The flag carrier here appears to be a young person.  Most of the protesters are Millennials.   If anyone is going to save America, it will be them.  It has to be them.   Even though they have been dismissed as entitled and given very little support by our society for most of their lives, they still love America and want to  revive it into a thriving democracy again, something it hasn’t really been since long before they were even born.

Our future is in their hands.

Drive along the Parkway.

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It was a gorgeous day so I took the car up the Blue Ridge Parkway again.  I never get tired of its views.   This activity is so relaxing to me.

The first picture (above) I took at Craggy Gardens, which has an elevation well over 5000 feet.  The trees here are stunted, short, and knobby looking, due to both the cold and the wind.  A little higher up, and deciduous trees disappear completely and are replaced by a spruce/fir forest, similar to what you might see in Canada.  This is the home of the Frasier fir, similar to the kinds of trees you find in a northern boreal forest, but native to the southern Appalachians.  The Frasiers were almost killed off some years ago by the wooly adelgid, a parasite that attacks balsams, hemlocks, and fir trees, but they have grown back.  You can still see the white “skeletons” of the dead trees here.  Contrasted against the deep green of the live trees, they give the scenery an eerie feel.

The next four pictures are from Mt. Mitchell (the highest peak east of the Mississippi, just a little higher than Mt. Washington in New Hampshire), in the Black Mountains, the range of the Blue Ridge having the highest peaks.  The sign shows the elevation I was at when I took the picture.

There’s a road that branches off from the Parkway and continues to climb until you get to the parking area, which isn’t far from the summit.   It’s interesting to observe the changes in both microclimate and the ecosystem as you go higher.  It was a hot day, in the low 80s, but at the top of Mt. Mitchell, it was a frosty 55!  It was also interesting to me that the last deciduous trees, just before you reach the all conifer forest (taiga) were not merely stubby and short, but were also only just starting to turn green.  At this high an elevation, it looked (and felt!) more like March or early April than the end of May!   They probably aren’t even fully green until the end of next month, and of course winter comes here early too.  The trees here are green probably for only about 3 or 4 months or so, maybe from June until September.  Brrr!   I wonder how high a mountain would have to be this far South for the trees to disappear completely and be replaced with tundra.  Of course, there aren’t any mountains that high here.  I remember back in the 1980s, when I climbed Mt. Washington in New Hampshire with some friends.  Mt. Washington is almost the same height as Mt. Mitchell, but the last few hundred feet or so was a stark, grayish tundra.

The last three pictures are from farther up the Parkway, near Grandfather Mountain and Linville Gorge.   As you can see from the tree types, this is not as high an elevation, though it’s still pretty high.

 

Mount Mitchell State Park: 

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Grandfather Mountain/Linville Gorge area: 

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I have to say, I think these are some of the best pictures I’ve taken of Blue Ridge Parkway scenery.