Due to technical difficulties, I have fallen behind in my postings. And by “technical difficulties,” I mean that my daughter, who tries to make sure I take care of my assorted devices, told me that there was an iOS update and that I should download and install it. So I did that, and I saw that my iTunes button had turned red and that there was now a magnifier button on my screen, and I’m hoping to get Meredith to explain the new Privacy settings to me, but everything else seemed pretty much the same. That is, until (dramatic music here, maybe from a tragic opera or a truly frightening horror movie) I tried to upload my recent photos for my next blog post, and WordPress told me, and I quote, “Sorry, this file type is not permitted for security reasons.” I figured that I had just not given the photo enough time to latch onto the WordPress media library and tried again. And WordPress said, “Sorry, this file type is not permitted for security reasons,” though it sounded snarkier and more smug this time.
I thought maybe there was something wrong with the photo itself, so I took a new picture of the page, re-edited it, and tried to upload it to my media library. And what did WordPress say? “Sorry, this file type is not permitted for security reasons.” This time I think it was gloating. It may have stuck its tongue out at me, but it happened too quickly for me to be sure.
Obviously, I needed help. So I tried the WordPress fora. I immediately found an old thread started by someone who had had exactly the same problem with which I was struggling. I was sure that I was on my way to resolving my difficulty, but alas! All the thread had to offer was that, at the time the question had been asked, WordPress itself was being glitchy and the WP Fairies were working their magic to smooth out the bump. I couldn’t find anything more recent (and I was getting frustrated), so I sent my daughter a message, a cry for help, a plea for a light in the darkness of my blogging.
Now, Meredith is rather busy these days. She’s working full-time, going to school half-time, and volunteering with her local CASA organization. It is, therefore, not unreasonable that it took her a couple days to respond to me. But here I encountered a wrinkle I had NOT seen coming: Meredith didn’t know the answer. All of you who rely on your children to help navigate the often stormy seas of modern technology will understand how flummoxed I felt.
In desperation, I opened a browser window and typed in “Sorry, this file type is not permitted for security reasons.” One of the links I followed offered a list of file types that WordPress deems sufficiently innocuous to allow to cross its borders. “Huh,” I thought, “maybe I should make sure my photos are still JPEGs.” So after sifting through menus and sub-menus and randomly clicking on obscure options, I finally got my computer to confess that my new photos were NOT, in fact, JPEGs any longer. They were now something called HEIC. Apparently this new format saves space or something like that. I didn’t really care. I just wanted my JPEGgy photos back.
The next logical step, it seemed to me, was to find out how to change my HEIC photos back into nice, tractable JPEGs. So back to my browser I went to ask it how to effect such a transformation. My research revealed that it was possible to do this in fifteen simple steps that I would be able to understand as soon as I got a degree in computer programming. This sort of “solution” is why I like my pens and copy machine.
Even if I could have figured out how to take my poor image through these multiple stations, I don’t have the time to go through that process for every photo I want to upload to my blog. I was not happy. So I went to bed.
The next day I looked again for ways to re-dress HEIC photos in JPEG clothing, and after poking around on the ‘Net for years — well, maybe months, possibly days —OK: a couple hours, I FINALLY stumbled on a link that told me I COULD GO TO THE SETTINGS OF MY PHONE AND TURN OFF THE HEIC OPTION AND GO BACK TO TAKING JPEGS. And here, my friends, I realized that I had once again fallen prey to one of the persistent problems with my brain: not knowing what question to ask. (I once spend two weeks trying to order a new power cord for my computer and could NOT find one anywhere. Eventually I found out that what I wanted was a power cable, but I didn’t know to ask for one of those.)
In conclusion, I switched off the HEIC and restored the JPEG setting, re-took and re-edited the photos, and will now resume my “30 Inks in 30 Days” listing of a month of reasons to vote (really, if anyone is considering not voting, whether you agree with my views or not, please re-consider and vote. We all need to know what we, as a country, as a society, see as the direction in which we should take ourselves).
Thank you for reading. Stay well and safe and healthy.
And for those who want say, “Well, President Obama did it first,” please read
Betania Palma. Snopes.com, “Did Obama Admin Build Cages That House Immigrant Children at U.S.-Mexico Border?“. 2 July, 2019.
I’m not saying it was right to do it at all, but Obama did not use these “cages” in the same way nor for the length of time that the Trump administration has been using them.
UPDATE, 18 September, 2020: Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died. It is exceptionally painful that she did so on Erev Rosh Hashanah, a time that is supposed to be focused on renewal. At the moment, I feel as if my hope has vanished. The federal judiciary is already stuffed with TWO HUNDRED white, male, ultra-conservative judges who are lifetime appointees — ten of whom are considered unqualified by the ABA¹ — and who will inexorably make their way up the ranks, gaining more and more power as they go. We don’t feel it much now because the current judges in the upper echelons are more centrist or liberal than the ones snapping at their heels. The damage will affect generations to come — if our country, our species even lasts that long. Justice Ginsburg made it known. that
“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” Ginsburg told her granddaughter just days before her death, according to NPR.²
Despite this last wish of a revered, iconic hero, despite McConnell’s conveniently forgotten assertion that justices should not be confirmed in an election year,³ McConnell and Trump have already declared that they WILL shove another judge onto the bench.
I am terrified. I see the erosion and eradication of reproductive rights, women’s rights, and voting rights, the suppression of social justice for Black/BIPOC Americans, for the LGBTQ+ community, for those of us who adhere to minority religions or no religion at all. I see support for corrupt politics that are driven by wealth, the continued degradation of the environment in get name of “the economy,” as if we can have an economy if we can’t live on the planet.
Call your senators. E-mail your senators. Write. your senators. Drop in on your senators. And VOTE.
Warning: This post quotes crude and vulgar language and discusses possibly triggering subjects such as assault.
This post is a little late because, after scrambling all Monday to get the garden ready for a seventy-degree drop in temperature, from dry nineties to snowy twenties (that’s Fahrenheit), by deep-watering trees and re-potting plants that need to be indoors and turning our patio table into a make-shift greenhouse, and then getting to go to the dentist the day after, I had a serious PEM (Post-Exertion Malaise) episode and staring at the computer was more than I could do. But here it is now.
Please take a moment to think about what it means to be “decent.” It’s a word, a concept that has been demoted in such a way that we tend to hear it as “barely acceptable.” It has become, at best, the faintest of praise. But it’s a word we need to restore to its former power. We need to remember how essential decency is. On that quality we found trust, faith in each other, confidence in our neighbours, reliance on the larger society, and conviction that our government, most of the time, looks out for the interests of our states and country.
Decency asks not just that we are able to trust others around us; it also asks us to look beyond ourselves. Perhaps we don’t feel threatened by a man who talks about grabbing women by the pussy,¹ who publicly mocks the disabled and is working to cut disability benefits,² but think about the people who have been and continue to subjected to the damage these attitudes inflict. And now we know that Trump was aware of how lethal and contagious the novel coronavirus was back in February and chose to let thousands and thousands die.³ COVID-19 is too virulent for any effort to have saved everyone; no one is claiming that Trump could have prevented every death that we have suffered. But the deaths — and the economic impact — would have been far, far fewer if the man in the Oval Office were a decent human being and had been honest about the dangers we were facing, and if others in the Senate and many Gubernatorial offices had not chosen to remain indecently silent.
Vote — not for perfection, not for saintliness, but for decency.
Making health care available to whomever seeks it is not just the right thing to do, it’s the practical thing to do. Our economy depends on the health of everyone who works, depends on our workers being able to continue to work rather than having to stay at home to care for family members. When we make it difficult or impossible for segments of our population to get the care they need, others end up paying for it when these folks have to go the emergency rooms and can’t pay their bills. This cost is passed on to taxpayers; we all pay anyway, but without the benefit of a healthier national community. This is a self-serving argument, I know. Mostly I believe we should provide health care to all because is the moral course of action.
So vote. Vote for increased health care, health insurance, health for us all.
Pure Pens Cotswolds