How I write blog posts in “Classic Editor”

It has been about a year now since WordPress introduced the new Gutenberg “block editor.” Although my impression is that the block editor is nice for building websites, it is not very user friendly for someone who just wants to put up a blog post.

I’ve seen some articles and WordPress support posts online about how you can disable the Gutenberg Editor (aka “block editor”) in order to use the classic editor “plugin.” However, I have a “premium” plan, and I know lots of bloggers who use the “personal” or even the free plans. When I look at the plugins area of my WordPress dashboard, I see that you have to have the more expensive “business” plan, which is three times more expensive than my “premium” plan, to be able to use plugins. Maybe the problem is also because my blog is hosted by WordPress instead of another website host? All I know is, I don’t see a place to disable Gutenberg in my settings and I can’t install the “Classic Editor” plugin, either. Hence the background for today’s problem-solving post.

Now, maybe everyone else already knows how to access the “Classic Editor” in WordPress, making my post both unnecessary and possibly a little pathetic. But until I stumbled upon it while editing an earlier post, I didn’t know I still could use the classic editor. So just in case you’re suffering through with the block editor like I was, here is my own workaround to bypass the block editor and write all my blog posts using the “Classic Editor.”

You can click on the images below to enlarge them. I screenshot the whole screen to provide the overall context, but then the details are too small to see well.

First, there appears to be no way around starting your post with the block editor. If you know how to start out your posts from the get-go with the classic editor, I’d love to know your secret! In the meantime, I start with the block editor default, write my title, and then save my draft.

 

 

(UPDATE! I was just helping someone with their blog and discovered that there’s a “Screen Options” button at the upper right-hand corner of the screen. You can just click on that and choose the Classic Editor view. So check that option out and then use whatever else might be helpful in this post if that’s not quite enough to get you there.)

Then, I open a new tab in my internet browser right beside the first and type in my WordPress blog’s URL plus “/wp-admin/edit.php.” Or to make that a little more clear, to get to my old-school dashboard I type in:

katherinewikoff.wordpress.com/wp-admin/edit.php

Once in the old dashboard, you’ll see a list of your published and draft posts. If you hover your cursor arrow just under your current draft post, you’ll see a “Classic Editor” option appear under your post’s title.

Click on “Classic Editor” and  . . . HELLO, OLD FRIEND! ❤

From here you can write your blog post as if the WordPress block editor never happened!

It would be so nice if WordPress could put a “Classic Editor” button right on the main interface to make it easier for bloggers who just want to put up a simple blog post and don’t care about all the bells and whistles (and aggravations) of the block editor.

But at least for now WordPress has kept the Classic Editor as an option if you’re willing to do the extra work of finding it.

Posted in Writing, blogging | 18 Comments

Chasing Light II – MSOE’s Campus Center “Bridge”

Leaving work last night after teaching my summer class, I noticed how striking the sunlight was on the pillar and doorway of the “bridge” over the “tree lounge” to the backstage area of the Todd Wehr Theater in Milwaukee School of Engineering’s Campus Center.

(Backstory on the “tree lounge”: It was long the lobby of a bank that rented out part of MSOE’s Campus Center. When the bank departed, the former lobby was turned into a student lounge, instantly nicknamed the “tree lounge” for the ficus trees that remained and were once ubiquitous in bank lobbies across the nation. Two years ago that lounge was taken over by a new program on campus, the CREATE Institute. In came new furniture; out went the trees. Someone with a sense of humor and access to signage-making equipment created a little plaque with an image of a hatchet designating the area as the “Deforestation Lounge.” Sadly now both trees and sign are gone. I kind of liked the trees 😦 )

Several years ago (almost 9 now!!!!) I managed to get a photo of a light-infused autumn-leafed tree just outside my office building as I was leaving work, and moments later the light and magic were gone (which I got a photo of, too). I titled that post “Chasing light – afternoon sun in the city.” So I guess it makes sense to title this one “Chasing Light II.”

So here’s the first image I grabbed with my phone at 8:07 p.m. last night. I was on my way to the back-hall elevator and noticed that the doors to the mezzanine bridge across the tree lounge (which it will remain named forever in my mind) were open, which they aren’t always. The bright rectangles of sunlight really stood out, so I left my rolling briefcase where it was and moved closer to the doors with my phone.

But the first photo didn’t capture the warmth that I was seeing, so I applied a filter and tried again.

Not quite right, either. Then I thought maybe I’d try adjusting the brightness.

Ugh, no. But then I realized that maybe the real problem was that the light was already fading. And sure enough . . .

. . . by the time I took my last photo, time-stamped 8:08 p.m., just moments later, the light was gone.

There’s a term in rhetoric, my academic home field, called kairos. It’s an ancient Greek word meaning “the right, critical, or opportune moment.” (See the Wikipedia article on “kairosHERE.) Basically the point of kairos is that if you want to persuade others to see things your way or take an action you’d like them to, you have to be alert to the ever-changing contexts surrounding your topic/issue and when the time is right, when all the planets are suddenly (and usually unexpectedly) aligned, etc., you need to recognize and seize that moment to speak and do whatever else is necessary to capitalize on your opportunity and accomplish your goal. Carpe diem, strike while the iron is hot, etc., etc.

I’ve always thought about photography in terms of kairos. Not that you walk around thinking about taking pictures all the time, but just sort of having that mindset underlying everything so that when you recognize a good photo, you’re prepared to drop everything and capture the image.

Really, when you think about it, kairos may be the key to most things, right? Staying alert and open to opportunities in the midst of everything else going on in your life. Recognizing those fleeting opportunities for what they are. And then being prepared enough to act on them before they slip past by ensuring in advance that you’ll always have both quick access to the tools you need and a default response mode that enables you to react without even having to think about it in the moment.

Posted in Creativity, Life, Photography | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

My favorite Chicago song

I was actually singing an Eagles song the other night as I carried laundry up from the basement, but my daughter thought it sounded like a Chicago song.

Really? I couldn’t imagine a Chicago song sounding like “Take It to the Limit” but she hummed the part that reminded her of “that old Chicago song” I apparently used to play a lot when she was little, and I realized that indeed the repeated notes of “coming back, you’re running back, you’re coming back for more” sound a little like notes in the latter part of “Feeling Stronger Every Day.”

So then we had to listen to both songs, which I do really like.

But then I said, “Do you want to hear my favorite Chicago song?” and she was game.

Right before I entered ninth grade, my family moved to a new town. At my previous school system, there were separate tracks for orchestra, concert band, and marching band. Orchestra was perceived as where the best players chose to be, and that was where I had always intended to wind up. However, my new town’s school had no orchestra and only one band. You played in the marching band during football season and switched over to concert band the rest of the year. I was very unhappy about not only the lack of an orchestra but especially the requirement that concert band members participate in marching band.

Yet, as is often the case with disappointments like these, marching band turned out to be the most fun I had in high school.

Because I was new and hadn’t been to summer band camp, I wasn’t able to participate in marching band my first year. My family lived up on a hill above town, and at home every afternoon after school that fall, I could hear faint sounds of the marching band rehearsing on the practice field behind the football stadium.

We had a new band director, freshly graduated from Ohio State and a member of TBDBITL, who was putting together shows with fabulous formations similar to but less high-tech than 21st-century astonishments like the  Michael Jackson moonwalk formation (see my post about it HERE) and SO different from the pinwheels that most marching bands relied upon at the time. Even better, the new band director was writing his own arrangements of contemporary rock/pop music for the band to perform instead of the traditional John Philips Sousa type marches that other bands played.

Anyway, I can still remember being at home up on the hill that fall, everything bathed in golden autumn sunlight, while listening to the marching band’s faraway strains of strangely syncopated brass in this song that I’d never heard before. It immediately became, and still remains, my favorite song by the band Chicago, namely “Free,” written by Robert Lamm, one of the group’s founding members (and who I believe still plays with the band).

I love that early ’70s jazzy, progressive rock sound! So did my daughter when I played it for her. She’s very into all types of music, and this song nicely captures that era.

By the way, a few years ago Chicago played Summerfest here in Milwaukee and stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel (now Saint Kate’s) kitty-corner (Milwaukee-speak for “catty-corner” or “cater-cornered,” meaning opposite, on the diagonal) from the Red Arrow Starbucks where I go for coffee on weekdays. The baristas told me that members of Chicago came across the street to Starbucks for coffee and were really nice.

Makes me glad 🙂

Posted in Life, Music, Popular culture | Tagged | 10 Comments

Must We Bare a Burden of Guilt for the Sins of Our Fathers?

Must We Bare a Burden of Guilt for the Sins of Our Fathers?

http://paulrwaibel.com/2021/05/20/must-we-bare-a-burden-of-guilt-for-the-sins-of-our-fathers/
— Read on paulrwaibel.com/2021/05/20/must-we-bare-a-burden-of-guilt-for-the-sins-of-our-fathers/

I just read this very thoughtful reflection essay/review about how descendants of evil people, especially WWII Nazi war criminals, have personally dealt with their heritage. Very interesting, also, to see the caring acceptance that the daughter of one of the very worst death camp killers found from her Jewish employers after she moved to the US.

The intrinsic worth that each of us has as an individual with a soul versus the idea that we may already be tainted with evil at birth by blood ties or similar associations–there is no simple answer to that conundrum.

So I do admire the decisions of Hitler’s relatives and other war criminals’ children not to have children themselves and thus to “end” the bloodlines associated with their aberrant family member. Who knows if their forbearance prevented future evil or not? Was their sacrifice worth it, or was it an empty gesture more symbolic than anything else?

The nature-versus-nurture debate will never cease because each side’s contributions to an individual’s identity and agency are so undeniable.

But after reading the blog post I’m sharing today, I find myself feeling sympathy for the innocent “victims” who are family members (children, parents, siblings) related those people who have committed heinous deeds. It seems so unjust that they should be burdened with guilt by association. I admire the courage it takes to keep living in a world that hates you and holds you responsible for things you had no control over. And I think I admire even more the Jewish couple who answered evil with love.

After the paroxysm of violent civil war and ethnic atrocities that occurred in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s, I remember reading that the pope told the many, many women who had been raped by Serbs (as a war strategy furthering racist nationalism and aggression against a different ethnic group) something like “Have your babies. Love your children.” I’ve always wondered if they were able to do that.

And if so, how?

How can humanity be so very evil and at the same time also manage to respond to and transcend that evil with love? That is a mystery completely beyond my ken.

Posted in Books and reading, History, Life | Tagged | 2 Comments

When you’re a Jet!

One of the many things I love about my husband is that he gets my jokes and thinks they’re funny.

So recently I started folding my car key closed before putting it in my coat pocket because the pointy metal part of the actual physical key had begun poking a hole through the seam, and I do NOT need that hole to open up big enough for my keys to fall through and disappear. I’ve already resewn that seam once and will do so again as soon as school ends and I have time.

Meanwhile, though, I noticed while walking to my car after work one recent evening that the way my key pops out is kind of similar to the way a switchblade knife springs open. (P.S. – This video of me opening my key is from my brand new YouTube channel. I realized that sometimes people couldn’t play video I uploaded to my blog straight from my phone, so I “published” this on YouTube first and then embedded it in my post.)

Hmm, side note: I just checked Google, and apparently switchblades are now called “automatic knives.” Sounds much less threatening. When I was in junior high, there was a paperback book making the rounds (i.e., we all loaned it from person to person to person until no one really knew who the book’s actual owner was anymore) called The Cross and the Switchblade. I just looked it up and discovered that a movie version came out shortly before I entered junior high, so maybe that’s why the book was so popular at my school like ten years after it was first published. Anyway, that title always captured my imagination. It sounded really scary! I can hardly imagine the book achieving any kind of sales numbers or a movie adaptation with a title like The Cross and the Automatic Knife 🙂

So back to my sweetheart of a husband who always thinks my jokes are funny. When I got home, I told him about how I’d noticed that my key looked like a switchblade and said, “I felt like a Jet walking to my car. Or maybe a Shark.” And bless his heart, he laughed and I felt really clever and funny. Which . . . probably I really was not. But on a day to day basis, don’t we all want to be married to someone who gets us and makes us feel good?

Anyway, then we started talking about West Side Story and realized that the movie came out SIXTY YEARS AGO!!!! It  won ten Academy Awards, including the Oscar for Best Picture. Here’s the amazing opening dance sequence just because I love it and felt like watching it again. (Now you can watch it, too!)

When I went to look up the movie to verify that it was indeed sixty years old, I was surprised to learn that a new version of the film, directed by Steven Spielberg, no less, will be released in early December. Apparently it was supposed to have come out this past December but then was postponed till this year because of the pandemic. Which actually very nicely coincides with the sixtieth anniversary of the original West Side Story. And speaking of coinciding with the original film, Rita Moreno (who won Best Supporting Actress for her role in the 1961 film) has a part in the new movie, too.

So that’s all for today. Just a blog post following along on a random chain of thoughts generated by my somewhat idle observation that my car key flipped open like a switchblade.

Posted in Life, Movies and film, Popular culture | Tagged , | 12 Comments

The Tosa Turkeys

I took this photo a few days ago in my local grocery store’s parking lot, where three wild turkeys stood guard near the entrance.

For a couple years now, a flock of wild turkeys has been strutting around the city where I live. The “sewer socialists” who ran Milwaukee a century ago set up an amazing system of public parks, filling the entire urban area with pockets of green space and also providing corridors for wildlife along river parkways that are lined with green space and connect many of the separate parks to each other.

These green-to-green connections have led wild animals to some highly unlikely places. Decades ago there was a deer downtown on State Street (basically the area now known as the “Deer District” surrounding the Milwaukee Bucks’ Fiserv Forum, in fact), and around fifteen years ago there was a bear up a tree right next to the freeway around Burleigh in Wauwatosa. (Public service for non-natives: BUR-lye, rhymes with “sky,” and WAH-wuh-TOE-suh, “toe” like the ones on your foot 🙂 ) We regularly see deer along the parkway near us. We’ve had foxes and coyotes in our neighborhood, and we’ve occasionally spotted lone wild turkeys in parking lots on Mayfair Road that back up to some railroad tracks that cross paths with one of the parkways.

But only in the last few years has this flock of turkeys appeared to settle in and put down some roots. The number of birds at any given time varies from two to seven, depending I suppose on what attractions may have pulled members away temporarily. But they do seem to be a cohesive group that slowly works its way around different neighborhoods in the area. 

The turkeys roam through people’s yards and cross streets with impunity. A group of seven held up rush-hour traffic at a busy intersection about two months ago, taking their sweet time almost as though they knew (and were reveling in!) the mayhem they were causing. Everyone was incredibly patient, though. No horns honking or motorists trying to squeeze around somehow. Even people far down the hill, who probably had no idea what was going on to hold up traffic, refrained from angrily honking their horns. Then again, maybe they knew what was up because it wasn’t the first time they’ve been stopped by a turkey crossing on the drive home from work.

My daughter looked out our kitchen window one morning this spring to see a single turkey strolling through our side yard. We live in a hilly, terraced neighborhood, and our yard is fenced. As my daughter watched, the turkey tired of our yard and flew up and over our fence into our neighbor’s yard. So even though I have never seen these birds fly, they clearly can when they feel like it. I was grateful our dog wasn’t outside at the time. Turkeys have some wicked-looking claws, and although I hope this one would have chosen “flight” over “fight,” I guess you never know what a wild animal is going to do.

Yet as far as I know, the turkeys have managed to coexist peacefully with everyone else. No injuries or property damage that I’ve heard of. People in my neighborhood seem bemused by and even fond of the turkeys. If you do an internet search for “Tosa Turkeys” you’ll find plenty of social-media photos and even some official news articles and video coverage.

At first it was just so amazing to encounter wild turkeys where you didn’t expect something like that to be. And now the feeling seems to be amused acceptance of . . . and possibly even respect for . . . the way these critters have so matter-of-factly established themselves as residents.

Posted in Life, Milwaukee, Nature, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Why I love my Starbucks

Before the pandemic hit, I would walk to the Red Arrow Starbucks down the hill from my office at least once a day. I’ve only been there a handful of times since.

For a long time after my college moved all instruction into a virtual environment last March, I worked from home. This was hard, given that we had four adults (my husband, myself, and our two daughters) all trying to live and work out of a medium-sized bungalow.

So at some point in winter I began driving downtown several times a week, especially on long teaching days. But even though I was on campus again doing virtual classes out of my office, I rarely went to Starbucks. I just couldn’t spare the time. Dealing with all the apparatus of online learning management platforms is extremely time consuming. Maybe teaching completely asynchronously online wouldn’t be as much work on its own, but having to do everything associated with asynchronous instruction—putting all course materials into Canvas and Box (our learning management system  and online file repository) as well as MS Teams (similar to Zoom, but with file-sharing and storage capabilities)—but then also showing up and being “on” for real-time class meetings in Teams has been exhausting. I can’t be sure of how students are experiencing all this, but I think they are exhausted, too.

My university is supposed to be back to in-person instruction come fall, and I cannot wait. It will be wonderful to be in a room with students who are actual people, not just images on a screen. Plus, it will be such a relief to free up my teaching from the restrictions (and time sinks) of online platforms.

Which brings me in a roundabout way back to Starbucks. Yesterday afternoon I found myself in the interesting position of having 2½ hours of unscheduled time between an advising session and my 4:00 class.

Finally!

Enough time for a coffee run 🙂 

I walked down the hill, and when I arrived at Starbucks, the first people I saw were Amy, the manager, and Alyssa, a barista who is usually there in the afternoons. I was so happy to see them, and they seemed happy to see me, too.

“Hey Miss Katie!” Amy greeted me, throwing her arms up like a referee signaling a touchdown. I felt like Norm in that old TV show “Cheers,” who each time he walked into the bar was welcomed by all the other patrons calling out “Norm!” 

While we all talked, I tried to think about how to order my coffee. What size do I usually get? What is it called? Oh, yeah: “venti.” I decided to splurge with a “misto,” aka the Starbucks version of café au lait, except I actually went with “breve,” meaning with steamed half and half instead of milk. Yes, very rich!

Amy took my order, slid my Starbucks card to process the payment, and the two of us continued talking. (The store was empty for the first part of my visit, although everyone behind the counter was busy filling mobile orders.) As Alyssa took up the little sticker from the order printout and pasted it onto my cup, she glanced over at Amy, saying with a laugh, “I see you got her whole name on there.” 

I assumed she meant “Katherine,” my full name, which is the one on my Starbucks card and the one that gets pasted onto my cup whenever I order at a Starbucks where they don’t know me. Usually my cups at the Red Arrow Starbucks don’t have labels. When I order coffee in the mornings, Christine just writes “Katie” on my cup by hand, possibly to bypass the many mobile orders that are coming through at the same time and printing up lots of labels. (Often she adds a heart, which makes me extra happy every time I take a sip 🙂 ) So yesterday I figured that because a label got printed this time, it had probably lifted my whole name when Amy scanned my card.

I forgot all about Alyssa’s remark after I got my coffee and walked back to my office. But later, while working on my computer to prep for my 4:00 film studies class, I happened to notice the label as I picked up my cup. And laughed!

My “whole” name

As the song at the beginning of the old “Cheers” TV show puts it:

Sometimes you wanna go
Where everybody knows your name
And they’re always glad you came . . .
You wanna go where people know
People are all the same
You wanna go where everybody knows your name

That’s something the pandemic has taken from us. And I, for one, want it back. 

Posted in Life, Milwaukee | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Green light, rainy morning

A nice, gentle spring rain was falling this morning as I waited for the light to change acros the street from my office. I loved the abstract image of the green light glowing through the circles of raindrops on one of my go-to “picture” puddles outside MSOE’s Campus Center.

I’ve gotten lots of great photos over the past several years in the reflections of these puddles at the junctures of uneven sidewalk slabs. It’ll be a sad day for me when the Department of Public Works decides to fix it all up with freshly poured cement!😂

Posted in Milwaukee, Photography | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Writing Exercise – “Plain Talk”

It was my turn to select an exercise for writing group this week. Being incredibly busy at work and opting for shortcuts wherever legitimately possible, I turned to Ursula K. Le Guin’s wonderful Steering the Craft once again and found a nice short exercise. Too busy even to retype it, I simply took screenshots of pages 97 and 98 on my tablet and emailed those to my group. The gist of the exercise was to write a page or two of pure dialogue in a way that tells a story and presents two characters.

Write like a play, with A and B as the characters’ names. No stage directions. No description of the characters. Nothing but what A says and what B says.  Everything the reader knows about who they are, where they are, and what’s going on comes through what they say.

That’s basically it. Le Guin also offers some topic suggestions, as it’s kind of hard to create dialogue in a vacuum. Her suggestions didn’t really grab me, though (“put two people into some kind of crisis situation: the car just ran out of gas; the spaceship is about to crash; the doctor has just realized that the old man she’s treating for a heart attack is her father”), so I had a difficult time getting started.

What helped was thinking about the exercise as an improv assignment. Not that I actually know much about improv other than you’re supposed to say “yes” and build on whatever your co-performers say in order to create a sketch out of thin air. I started with a question: “What’s wrong?” And the rest kind of flowed from there. Although my dialogue exercise doesn’t develop enough to make a story or even wrap up with a clever punchline of sorts, I thought I’d share it anyway.

So first, my usual disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Blah, blah, etc.

And now, here is my exercise. It’s really LONG in terms of how much space it takes up running down the page, but individual “lines” are pretty brief.

“Plain Talk”

A:  What’s wrong?

B:  What makes you think anything’s wrong?

A:  You’re playing with your food.

B:  I always eat this way.

A:  No you don’t. Separating your peas from the potatoes? Tearing your bread into tiny pieces before you butter it?

B:  That’s good manners.

A:  The peas and potatoes?

B:  No, the bread. I read that once.

A:  Stop changing the subject. What’s wrong?

B:  I didn’t like what you said back there.

A:  Where?

B:  At the theater.

A:  What did I—? Oh, you mean about the coat?

B:  You know how I feel about that.

A:  I was joking!

B:  The bully’s defense.

A:  Oh, I see. This is my fault.

B:  If the shoe fits.

A:  Don’t lecture me, B.

B:  Don’t ask what’s wrong then.

A:  You always do this.

B:  So do you. We’ve had this conversation so many times that I can tell you exactly what you’re about to say next.

A:  I doubt it.

B:  “Have you seen Aunt Edna yet?”

A:  Do you really think so little of me?

B:  But I was right, wasn’t I?

A:  I’m leaving.

B:  It always comes back to Aunt Edna. And this is how the conversation always ends, too. With you leaving. Like you’re the aggrieved party.

A:  And you’re so innocent? I saw you, don’t forget. I know what you are.

B:  No, you don’t. You don’t even know what you saw.

A:  You were in her room, wearing her clothes. Trying on her shoes. Dripping with pearls.

B:  Meaning . . . ?

A:  Did she know you were there?

B:  Of course not!

A:  Exactly.

B:  How could she know? She was in the hospital.

A:  The nuthouse.

B:  The sanitorium.

A:  Whatever. The point is, she didn’t know. You shouldn’t have been there.

B:  Neither should you. Which is what this really comes down to, isn’t it? I did nothing more than you were about to, except I got there first. Don’t act all high and mighty with me, sister. You had no reason to be upstairs.

A:  Well, it doesn’t matter now anyway.

B:  No, it doesn’t.

A:  She’s going to do what she wants.

B:  Yes, she is.

A:  I suppose we’ll have to accept it.

B:  Already have.

A:  You know, you can be an insufferable pain in the—

B:  Weren’t you leaving?

A:  Is that what you want?

B:  Actually, I wish you’d stay. Truly. Can’t we put all this behind us?

A:  “This”?

B:  The inheritance. The family drama. We always hated watching our parents and the relatives snipe at each other. Aren’t we better than that?

A:  I have no idea, honestly.

B:  It’s exhausting.

A:  Then why do you keep on with it?

B:  Why do you?

A:  I need the money. You don’t.

B:  Neither do you.

A:  That’s where you’re wrong. Frank’s business has been losing money for years.

B:  Really? You’d never know from the way he . . . never mind. I’m sorry to hear it.

A:  Well, don’t be. I’ve had time to reconcile myself. At least now you understand.

B:  I suppose. But A? I wouldn’t count on Aunt Edna’s money.

A:  Why? What do you know?

B:  Only that the sanitorium is expensive. And she seems over-fond of her attendants. Plus, I understand she had a meeting with her attorney last week.

A:  What?

B:  So I don’t think we should expect anything from her.

A:  Oh, my God.

B:  I’m so sorry.

A:  Now what am I supposed to do?

B:  We have to find a way to protect you.

A:  From bankruptcy? Frank says—

From Frank.

A:  I . . . beg your pardon?

B:  You heard me.

A:  How dare you.

B:  You have to get away from him. We both know the business isn’t his only problem. He’s not been good to you in other ways, either.

A:  Yes, he has. Stop looking at me like that. He has!

B:  Come on, A. Let’s have some truth between us at least.

A:  Look, I don’t want your pity. I don’t need it! And now I really am leaving. No, B, take your time. Finish your neatly arranged peas and potatoes. Enjoy those individually-buttered tatters of bread. I’ll take care of the bill on my way out.

Posted in Creativity, Writing, blogging | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

The White Sea, Parted

The view of our front walk this week.

Doesn’t that wall of snow look a bit like the wall of water left by the parting of the Red Sea in Cecil B. DeMille’s 1923 version of The Ten Commandments?

DeMille remade The Ten Commandments in 1956 with Charlton Heston as Moses, which is no doubt the version you’d recognize from its annual Easter broadcast. But the1923 version is the one in which DeMille ingeniously figured out how to make the Red Sea part by flooding a tank with water and Jello, and then reversing the film shot so that the watery gelatin appears to be parting and rising instead of flowing downward and together. The standing walls shown here were made of molded Jello with water trickling over the top and edges to add to the illusion of huge amounts of water being held back to allow the Israelites’ passage. 

Check out this video explaining the special effects associated with the Red Sea parting over the years.

By the way, the story of finding Cecil B. DeMille’s “Lost City” Egyptian set from the original 1923 film is really cool. Read about it here, or watch the excellent documentary. I was able to view the documentary film free on Amazon Prime a couple months ago. If it’s no longer available free, you can rent it for under $5.00.

Posted in Movies and film, Photography, Popular culture | Tagged , , | 2 Comments