August rambling: unchallenged

new Red Cross guidelines

Voters in Ohio reject GOP-backed proposal that would have made it tougher to protect abortion rights. Poor Mike Huckabee complains that “the secular progressive left.. got one step closer to bypassing the legislative process and overturning pro-life, pro-family, and pro-God policies passed by duly elected representatives of the people.”

The Evidence Against djt is Unchallenged. Here are the  latest indictments (well latest before Georgia…)

The Heritage Foundation’s scary Mandate for Leadership 2025 will likely be a handbook for the next Republican administration.

Barbados, American Slavery, and Racism

How a Grad Student Uncovered the Largest Known Slave Auction in the U.S

The Black History of the Montgomery Brawl Folding Chair

Fishing While Black

White Mom Accused of Trafficking Biracial Daughter Sues Southwest: Based on a ‘Racist Assumption’

Global child sexual abuse probe that was launched after two FBI agents were killed led to almost 100 arrests

A Hollywood Insurrectionist’s Path to Extremism

A Pathogen Too Far: How the 1918 Pandemic Revolutionized Virology

On August 7, 2023, the American Red Cross implemented the FDA’s updated final guidance regarding an individual donor assessment for all blood donors regardless of gender or sexual orientation. This change eliminated previous FDA eligibility criteria based on sexual orientation. Here’s a Blood Donation Map.

New Buffalo Bills stadium cost overruns approaching $300M, AP sources say

The Biggest Weirdest Telescope We’ve Ever Built – Hank Green

I Would Rather See My Books Get Pirated Than This (Or: Why Goodreads and Amazon Are Becoming Dumpster Fires)

There Will Never Be Another Second Life

Library staff closes the book on the missing money mystery after a patron leaves $1,200 in a novel she returned.

William Friedkin, Acclaimed Director of ‘The French Connection’ and ‘The Exorcist,’ Dies at 87. I’m pretty sure I saw The French Connection in Poughkeepsie.

Arthur Schmidt Oscar-Winning Film Editor on ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ and ‘Forrest Gump,’ [and a bunch of other noted films],  Dies at 86

Paul Reubens, Comic Behind the Madcap Pee-wee Herman, Dies at 70

Robbie Robertson, 80, Dies; Canadian Songwriter Captured American Spirit

Rodriguez, Musician, and Subject of ‘Searching for Sugar Man,’ Dies at 81

A review of emo songs

Now I Know:  The Woman Who Found Herself and An Odd Way to Celebrate Valentine’s Day and Christmas in August, Wisconsin Edition and How Atomic Bombs Blew Up the Counterfeit Art World and  How Photography Stopped Disney’s Rollercoaster In Its Tracks and The Triple-X Law Firm

The blog was down

My blog was down for a couple of hours on the evening of August 3. I have this program called Jetpack that lets me know. This wasn’t very pleasant, but whatever. What made me someone crazy is that it went down at least four more times in the next three hours, anywhere between three and twenty minutes.

Then it was down for seven hours on the morning of August 12. Though I have the info backed up, it made me cranky. Should I be looking at other companies, and if so, which ones? 


Somewhere Down The Crazy River – Robbie Robertson 

The Weight – Featuring Ringo Starr and Robbie Robertson | Playing For Change

Gambia – Sona Jobarteh 

Rock N Roll Heart – Lucinda Williams

In Your Love – Tyler Childers

Coverville 1452: Cover Stories for Robert Cray, Rush and A Flock of Seagulls and 1453: The Gamble & Huff Cover Story

Overture to a suite of incidental music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Mendelssohn

The Wizard and I – Ariana DeBose

Overture to The Magic Flute by Mozart

She Loves You – MonaLisa Twins

Having a green website

Website Carbon Calculator

I received an email this month from Yoast about having a green website. No, we’re NOT talking about my surname. I only vaguely knew that a green website was a thing.

“Did you know the tech industry is responsible for nearly 4% of global CO2 emissions? That’s similar to the travel industry! Shockingly enough, this number is only growing. It’s time to take action and reduce our ecological footprint. Luckily, there are some things you can do to make your website greener!”

The article notes that you can save energy by blocking bad bots.  GameSpot, a news site about video games, produced the most significant amount of CO2.  Conversely, “the cleanest and greenest: Google. They only produce 5,480 grams per year. Which isn’t surprising when you consider their net-zero target in 2030. Google’s sustainability efforts range from machine learning to help cool data centers to smart thermostats that conserve home energy.”

Whole Grain Digital offers 20 ways to make your website more energy efficient. Among the suggestions are SEO, choosing fonts carefully, and reducing images and videos.

Calculating carbon

Yoast pointed to a  Website Carbon Calculator. I nervously put in my URL.  “Hurrah! This web page is cleaner than 90% of web pages tested.” I’m not sure exactly what I’m doing correctly other than using YouTube links instead of videos. It’s probably primarily my provider’s doing. DreamHost is #3 on Sustainable Business Toolkit’s best green web hosting.

I checked out some of my blogging colleagues. Sharp Little Pencil from Amy was 88% cleaner. The blog of Chuck Miller was 85% cleaner. Diana De Avila, whose site is quite graphically intense, is 65% cleaner. Dan’s largely abandoned albanyweblog is 63% cleaner. Forgotten Stars, the site of Kelly Sedinger, was 60% cleaner.

Some of the other ones I checked fared less well.  My most recent employer’s report: “Uh oh! This web page is dirtier than 69% of web pages tested.” is 81% dirtier.
Hmm. I still have my old Blogspot site, which I used for my first five years. “Hurrah! This web page is cleaner than 55% of web pages tested, ” same as Albany Public Library, coincidentally.

The website 1440 reported, “South Florida was hit by heavy rainfall [recently], causing widespread flooding and shutting down schools and the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Fort Lauderdale recorded a once-in-1,000-year rainfall of 20 inches [50.8 cm] within six hours. The city’s 24-hour total of 25.9 inches [65.8 cm] set a record for the rainiest 24 hours in the state’s recorded history.

“The floods come as extreme rainfall events are becoming more common worldwide. Experts say for every 1.8-degree increase in global temperature, the amount of atmospheric moisture increases by 6%-7%, resulting in more intense and frequent precipitation (see more on the Clausius-Clapeyron equation).”

Whatever we can do to stem the tide of global warming is vital.

Time to research for the blog

Soundtrack playing in my head

Yet another Ask Roger Anything query in honor of 16.5 years of me blogging:

How do find the time to do the research for your blog?

Naturally, there are multiple answers to the question.

1) When blogging is going well, it feels as though it takes no time at all, (And when it’s not – when I miss more than two days in a row of writing, e.g. – it takes forever, just to write.)

2) I know stuff. Of course, I have to look up some things, and I have a number of reference books in the office. But it helps tremendously that I know by heart, for instance, all the presidents of the United States by years in office. Thus, when I know the date of Event A, I know it took place in the administration of President Z. It helps me, contextually.


Or music. I remember, at least roughly, when much of popular music from about 1955 to about 1990 came out, and some before and after that range. MANY songs evoke place and time.

I bought the Beatles’ Yesterday and Today at the Rexall for $2.99, though I have no idea now where the Rexall was anymore. But I got Sgt. Pepper for $3.67 at W.T. Grant’s in the Binghamton Plaza. Carole King’s Tapestry and Sticky Fingers by the Rolling Stones I brought on the same day.

One of my oldest friends told me in high school that she hated At the Zoo (Simon and Garfunkel) and Strawberry Fields Forever (Beatles), which shocked me, but I noted not to play them when she was around. A college friend loathed Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick by Ian Dury and the Blockheads.

Music memory is emotional. A lot more songs make me weepy than was true in the past, for whatever reasons. Some are people of my past longer around. “Some are dead and some are living.”

3) I am a librarian. As such, I know where to find stuff online. Census material and other governmental sources. Association: when I was working, they were treasure troves of information.

Going offline, but only briefly (I hope)


InformationTechnologyAs you may know, visitors to this site have received unexpected redirects. It’s frustrating because I can’t see them. I contacted the vendor on Saturday, who found a specific evil bug. That was fixed.

But shortly thereafter, my friend Catbird wrote: “This is where that latest link you sent goes; it’s a phishing page that spoofs Apple. There’s a blue banner across the top of the page saying ‘Safari Search Contest 2021’. This photo is a screenshot of the message, which is obviously some kind of phishing ploy.

“When I called Apple Support they immediately thought you were spamming me and it took a few tries to explain that you were a friend and not only wouldn’t spam me but probably didn’t know how to set up a computer scam.” This is very true, BTW.

So I contacted the host again.


“After further review of the website, I am seeing that it’s been compromised since at least July 25th. I checked our oldest backup (dated from 7/30) but noticed the hacked files were present in the backups. Performing a restore via the DreamHost panel is no longer an option as we only keep backups for the preceding 7 to 10 days. Restoring the website from the oldest backup would restore a hacked file structure.”

Yes, that WOULD be unsatisfactory.

Earlier that day, my cousin Tom had looked at the workings of my blog via ZOOM – OK, ZOOM is not ALWAYS terrible. He was looking at my plugins, and somehow he was showing one more than I had installed, or had listed.

Dreamhost guy Matthew noted: “When I checked your /plugins directory within your /wp-content directory, I was able to find a directory named /zend-fonts-wp which looks to contain malware that would redirect the website. After further research, I was able to find it is NOT a valid WordPress plugin.

Like magic

Bottom line: “A full reinstall of WordPress will need to be done to return the site to a properly working, updated, and secure state. The following link has instructions on how to proceed with the installation in a way that will help ensure there is no data/content loss.”

This means this site will go offline for an hour or three, probably today or tomorrow. But as the former governor of California once said, “The more knowledge you have, the more you’re free to rely on your instincts.”

Many thanks to Catbird, fillyjonk, Alison, ADD, west coast Bill, Mary R, Tom the Mayor, Kevin, Darby, Jack, and especially cousin Tom.

Technical difficulties: Facebook v. my blog

One can go to the blog directly

facebookSometimes, it’s difficult to write a blog post. I’ve experienced that acutely this summer. Arthur noted his blogging weltschmerz recently.

But then there are those technical difficulties, particularly the ones I don’t understand, that are truly maddening. I’ve been getting reports that when people go to the link that I post on Facebook every day since July 31, some people are getting untoward messages. Some are denied access by something that tells them that they’re the nth customer and a prize winner.

A friend noted that the link started to go to my site then appeared to be redirected to somewhere else, then a message came up that the page was blocked as malware. And it doesn’t seem to matter whether they are on laptops or iPhones.

At times, the first time someone clicks on the link to the blog from Facebook, they get the warning from Norton. If they go back immediately and try again, no warning. Is it Norton being hypersensitive?

What ARE my passwords now?

As I’ve noted, the last time my Norton was renewed, every HTTP site I went to was “dangerous.” But that soon passed. In any case, I have an HTTPS site, which is presumably more secure. I’ve changed my password on Facebook and on my blog. It did not help.

One of my cousins ran the FB link through something called Virustotal. The direct link to that blog page came back clean. I’ve followed the FB link in a couple of browsers and saw no problems at all. I even used another scanning system; all clear.

So it seems that the problem is not with my blog. It’s with Facebook doing SOMETHING to my blog post links. I considered deleting my Facebook and starting all over. (I need to cull the list anyway.) But I’ve decided not to do this yet, in part because I’m not sure it would work.

Any suggestions are welcome, preferably something that won’t add to the hours I spent so far trying to fix it.

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