hardly nowhere to begin

image_removedNot really.

Devoted the Summer, especially the end, to my coding skills. The work included writing and publishing my first “real” WordPress plugin: WP Replace Old Images. It’s just a simple thing that I don’t expect will be downloaded in substantial numbers, since it applies to a very specific problem that I needed – or chose – to solve for Ordinary Times.

The plan is to devote the next few weeks to fully plug-innifying several functions or sets of functions that I’ve applied and tested here, at Ordinary Times, in development environments, or at other sites. In the process, working from simple to relatively highly complex, I should be able to refine and demonstrate a full range of coding skills. Looking further ahead, I aim to incorporate some of the work, the skills involved as well as particular functions, in a new WordPress Theme or Themes for this site and for others.

The above project outline wouldn’t seem to leave much room for writing seriously, but on balance I’d like to live a while longer, whether or not the world’s much in favor of the notion, and to live means making a living during however many years of mental acuity and energy I may have left. While I work my way up to the end of the project, I intend also to collect some material and notes that I’ve been too busy to record contemporaneously, and that I hope later to integrate with this site’s eventual new design.

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Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001; WordPress theme and plugin configuring and developing since 2004 or so; a lifelong freelancer, not associated nor to be associated with any company, publication, party, university, church, or other institution. 

13 comments on “hardly nowhere to begin

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    • Hey VB – what happened to your regular avatar? Attached to some other email address only? I miss the dog, about whom I’m not sure the world has ever been much informed.

      As for the main topic, there are millions of WP sites, so odds are against the copyright shysters ever getting to yours unless you’re high profile AND lack an ability to defend yourself. I guess OT was just at the sweet spot of being noticeable and penniless both.

      I realized I initially made it read in the post as though I’d devoted weeks just to the above plug-in. I’ve edited it to reflect the fact that this plug-in is just my first official, WordPress Repo’d plug-in. As you know, I’ve spend a lot more time and energy on much more complex applications – a lot of it with your help and advice…

      • Yeah, remember I switched e-mail addresses? I just added the new address to my gravatar account, so maybe it will show up with this comment.

        >I miss the dog, about whom I’m not sure the world has ever been much informed.

        I myself find it a bit weird that he doesn’t come up more often. He’s a very important part of our lives, though his role is changing with the new arrival. At some point, I’ll have to elaborate.

        >a lot of it with your help and advice…

        If by help and advice, you mean whining and occasional befuddlement, then you’re right. I can’t think of a change you’ve made that hasn’t been a good or great improvement. I’m definitely enjoying the last batch of new-since-last-visit markings.

  1. Can’t resist sharing this with you, CK. Hope you won’t mind my putting this here, rather than the OT. It’s to do with Donald Trump’s ancestry.

    If our future President [Mr.Trump] is more willing to go on the unrelenting attack rather than take a beating lying down, it may owe to Viking heritage on his mother’s side.

    His mother, a Scottish immigrant, hailed from the highlander Clan MacLeod on the Isle of Lewis, one of the Outer Hebrides islands off the western shore of Scotland that was raided and settled by Vikings during the 9th through 13th centuries, when it belonged to the Norse Kingdom of the Isles. In fact, the MacLeods ruled Lewis from the end of the Viking heyday through the early modern era, when they were eclipsed by the Mackenzies in the 17th C.

    Genetic evidence points to their Norse invader lineage…

    Heh heh. Just in case anyone’s interested, here’s the link:


    Well, I haven’t forgotten you, CK–not that you care–or lost interest in having occasional disputations with you. I’ve just been feeling a little demotivated the past several weeks. However, I think I may be getting my second wind. I’m just waiting for you to render an at least once in a blue moon comment on current affairs.

    Best wishes

    • Thanks – I’ll be sure to inform my MacLeods about our prodigal cousin. As for Lewis, I don’t know whether the Mackenzies, or MacKenzies, or McKenzies got it fair and square or more crookedlike.

      I’ve been reading the work of another Scot, Alasdair MacIntyre. Am almost ashamed to have taken this long to get to him. His project is in broad terms Straussian, though not his approach to it (and I don’t believe he ever mentions Strauss). Oddly, he invokes Hegel positively, but only briefly discusses him, and instead skips from Kant to Kierkegaard on the way through the 19th and 20th Century to us.

      • I’ve not read MacIntyre myself–and while we ofttimes disagree as to what precisely is the Straussian project–I take it that, in describing MacIntyre’s project as broadly Straussian, you mean that he seeks to revitalize a classical perspective.

        There is, to my mind, nothing more essential to the Straussian project than the notion that philosophy, classically (and by Strauss’s lights, properly) conceived, is–principally, if not entirely–a theoretical, as opposed to a practical, undertaking. Modern philosophy can more or less be defined as the attempt to turn contemplative philosophy into the basis of a sweeping reform of civilization. For Strauss, the consequences for both philosophy and civilization of this distortion of philosophy’s true nature would be deleterious.

        Well, speaking of virtue or virtù, and coming on the heels of our last go-round concerning “the tyrannical teaching” of the classics, I recently re-read Thoughts on Machiavelli and this has whetted my appetite for a survey of the Florentine’s texts themselves–in translation, of course. I’ve made a fitful start with The Art of War.

        Perhaps I’ll say more about my incipient attraction to Machiavelli and the tyrannical teaching in time to come. For now, please allow me to quote Bernard Crick (from his introduction to a Penguin Classics edition of the Discourses):

        Here we have–what? A decision to take between two conflicting moralities? [I.e. the heavenly or ideal morality of Christianity, and the earthly or pragmatic morality of Machiavellism] Or simply two conflicting moralities? I follow Sir Isaiah Berlin in thinking the latter to be true, and that this is Machiavelli’s terrible originality. He never denies that what Christians call good, is in fact good: ‘humility, kindness, scruples, unworldliness, faith in God, sanctity…’ But there is also the morality of the pagan world: virtù, citizenship, heroism, public achievement, and the preservation and the cultural enrichment of the city-state. (pp. 64-5)

        This paradox of two heterogeneous moralities–one, ideal or heavenly; the other, pragmatic or earthly–neither of which can or ought to be disregarded, and between which the statesman in his political practice (and the citizen, too, in his ordinary practice) must somehow effect a balance, strikes me, from my perch of deepening middle age, as being just about right.

        • Well, it immediately occurs to me that my last paragraph is off. Rather than the statesman “effecting a balance” in his political practice between the humane ethic of Christianity and the relatively inhumane ethic of paganism, it is instead the case that the statesman in his political practice must entirely grab hold of pagan Machtpolitik–in full view of the correlative truth of Christian idealism. And it is that, I’m afraid, that strikes me as just about right.

          • That contradiction in that form, in which pagan virtues are turned upside down by Christian ones, was central to Nietzsche’s work, and has led, to say the least, to many complex attempts at harmonization. According to Nietzsche and others, the drama began before Christ or is at the deeper origins of Christianity, given its form for us during the Babylonian exile of the Jews, and is possibly inherent in religion itself, but not alien to philosophy or, if the philosopher’s life truly is the best life, to the challenge posed implicitly by philosopher to the city and its gods. [edited after garbled first try]

            You are correct in your assumption about the general shape of MacIntyre’s project. As he explains in his introduction to the 3rd Edition of AFTER VIRTUE, looking back from 25 years since first publication, he was an Aristotelian in moral philosophy (he puts the choice as Aristotle or Nietzsche, and prefers the former). In later years he found Aquinas to be a better Aristotelian than Aristotle, and also started a quest we’ve discussed at this site before, of, it seems, grounding a natural law philosophy in an updated understanding of biology.

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Noted & Quoted

TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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