How to Disable Remote Content in Junk Mail Folders in the MacOS Mail App

I just spent a whole afternoon trying to figure out how to get the stock MacOS Mail app to show images automatically except in the Junk folder(s). I finally got it, so I’m sharing my results for anyone else who would benefit from this.

Note: this solution depends on the app Keyboard Maestro, which I use heavily in my daily workflow.

The Mail Preferences pane (under “Viewing”) gives the option to “Load remote content in messages” or not, regardless of the folder. (By default, it hides remote content, including images, in mail the app itself considers junk, but that is pretty limiting and will not play nicely with any external spam filtering.)

There did not appear to be any built in AppleScript support for changing this option without interacting with the preferences pane, but it turns out there is; it’s just not officially documented. The option is called download html attachments in AppleScript. So, all you need is a couple of if actions to figure out whether to toggle the setting and a few lines of AppleScript to toggle it when necessary.

Here’s my macro:

Note: one piece of this got cut off, namely the text in the second if condition. The text that got cut off is:

^(General|Accounts|Junk Mail|Fonts & Colors|Viewing|Composing|Signatures|Rules)$

This prevents the setting from changing just because you have the Preferences open.

I hope this helps somebody else! Feedback is welcome.

Election 2020: Mea Culpa and Taking out the Trash

bench

After every presidential election since the first one in which I got to vote, I have posted some thoughts on this blog or in various other places on the ‘net. You can read the 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 posts on this site; the 2000 post and a longer 2004 post have apparently been lost to the mists of time. This is my 2020 wrap-up.


As has become my tradition, I’m popping back on here to write up a few thoughts on the election. Only, this year, it’s going to be very different.

I won’t be talking about how I voted. I won’t be talking about how I feel about the outcome, except to say that, as I write this, it is clear beyond any reasonable doubt that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been elected to the offices of President and Vice President, respectively. I have yet to see or hear of any shred of anything resembling evidence to the contrary, despite the many wild claims, slanderous allegations, and conspiracy theories being thrown about. Counting votes cast before an election ends is not “stealing” anything or “cheating,” even if some of the counting happens after the voting stops (as it literally always does). A shift, during the counting, in the balance of votes between a candidate who discouraged early voting and one who encouraged it is evidence of nothing except that actions have consequences; it hardly indicates fraud or other misbehavior.

I also won’t be talking about how I feel about the winning ticket or their policies or about how I feel about the losing ticket of Donald Trump and Mike Pence or their policies. If you know me offline, you may already know my thoughts on those topics, but I’m not going to post them publicly for many reasons.

What I do want to talk about, briefly, is the incredible division in the United States right now. This can’t continue, because a country can’t continue when it has been this destabilized, unless it reverses course quickly and enthusiastically. It has been incredibly hard to watch the rise of completely irrational conspiracy theories, slander of various kinds, and extremism. That’s not to mention the many false, theologically unsound, and completely unreasoned statements I’ve seen along the lines of, “You can’t be a Christian and vote for Trump,” “You can’t be a Christian and not vote for Trump,” “You can’t be a Christian and vote for Biden,” or, “You can’t be a Christian and not vote for Biden.” You’re probably sick of all of this, too—at least, I hope you are—so I’m not going to rehash everything so many good thinkers and writers have said about how divided we are, how gross many of the divisions are, how we got here, or how to make it better, if that’s even possible.

I am going to say this: I’m sorry for my role in getting us here. I have tried, especially over the last decade, to maintain a very even, respectful, fair, and civil tone on here. To my shame, that was not always true. I wrote some very divisive, unkind, poorly supported things in some earlier years, especially in my 20s, even as I prided myself on steering clear of the worst conspiracy theories and forms of misinformation. But my hands were not clean. Not even close.

Part of the problem is that I listened to some of the wrong people to get my facts. Especially in my early 20s, I took some people seriously who did not deserve then—and, frankly, deserve even less in 2020—to be taken seriously. I might tell myself, “This blogger puts out a lot of great stuff and is a great aggregator of news, even if some of her views are over the top,” or, “These people have a professional reputation outside of politics to uphold, so their report of these [alleged] facts is surely at least basically honest.” That, alas, is not a very good way to think about the internet, talk radio, television, or life in general.

Over time, especially over the last couple of years, I have removed a large number of old posts from this site. Most of them were political in nature. In many cases, they no longer represent my views on this or that topic or simply stated my views in a way I would not stand by today. Many dated from the early 2000s, when this blog (like many others) served much the same role Twitter or Instagram might now: the post might be no more than a link or image, and many of those links or images went offline long ago. In some cases, I don’t even know what the post was about or what the link pointed to.

In short, in twenty years, this blog accumulated a lot of clutter and debris that has become either useless or harmful, with no value even for archival purposes. I don’t want to leave even a link up in some cases because I do not want to drive even one more visitor to certain sites or one more listener to certain voices. So, I’ve taken down a lot of junk and cleaned up my blog, and I have revised a few posts here and there to correct inaccurate statements or remove broken links or links to unreliable information. That process is by no means done; I’m still taking out the trash as I find it.

All that said, I do owe some people apologies. Most notably, I think I owe an apology to former Secretary of State John Kerry. While I never said anything about him that I knew to be false, I disseminated some links and statements in connection with the 2004 election that I no longer believe were accurate or fair. And I apologize to everyone for the role I have played over the years in boosting bad ideas and dishonest actors and in thus helping to bring about some of the divisions we see in the United States today. I am sorry. I am working—on here and on my social media accounts—to consistently, honestly, carefully disseminate only the truth and fair analysis. As a Christian, I am absolutely committed to truth, love for my neighbor, and grace, and that extends to how I conduct myself online. Alas, living well, online or off, is a learning process, and I haven’t always gotten it right. I am sorry.

Back to this election: good grief. I can’t discuss here the entire history of the breakdown in our society that has led to alternate realities in which some people can be absolutely certain of an observable, verifiable, fact, and others absolutely certain of the opposite “fact.” But I do know that each presidential election from 2000 to the present has featured more and more conspiracy theories, slander, character assassination, and general dishonesty. Now would be a good time, if it’s not too late, for us all to commit to dealing honestly and fairly with those who do not see things the way we do. If we can’t at least reestablish a shared understanding of reality—a more or less shared ontology and epistemology—things look bleak indeed. And if we are to have any hope of that, we must stop lying about each other, declaring people are heretics (or worse) for their political opinions, and choosing to believe the worst about each other.

I don’t put my trust in earthly leaders. (See Psalm 146:3-4.) And I cannot name a single politician or other leader who speaks perfectly for me on every issue or even every issue I consider important. I will no doubt have many disagreements with everyone elected or reelected to any public office this week, as with everyone who has gone before them. But I do commit to—and hope we can all commit to—trying to treat them and everyone else with civility, charity, and respect, no matter how much I may dislike certain opinions.

Here’s hoping the next four years represent a period of healing and repair from the hatred and divisions accumulated over the last four.


Image by Bianca Mentil from Pixabay

Image

I’ve been thinking a lot about events in the news, especially about how indifferent we can become when people who are suffering aren’t just like us.

So, I wrote something and wanted to share it. I haven’t performed any of my own music for any audience other than my kids in almost 20 years, but here goes…

Lyrics:

“Image”
Ed Cottrell
2020

A little dust and the breath of life
And He made us out of clay.
He formed us in His image and
It will never pass away.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,
We must all walk down that way.
Yet I talk about all of my “rights,”
I have no time for you today.

My brother’s face and my sister’s hand,
From them both I turn aside.
Like mine but colored differently,
If my eyes they have not lied.
I think the image that matters most
Is the one on your outside.
So I won’t take your pleading hand
Or put death to all my pride.

Oh, God, Your name I profaned again today!
The widow, fatherless, and poor I simply cast away.
Have mercy on me, but don’t ask me, Lord, to change.
This mirror suits me just fine, but Your image I won’t face.

The news today has more numbers,
Stories of the price we’ve paid.
The numbers, they don’t move me, and
The stories, I can’t relate.
Unborn or old, woman, man, or child,
Or a different shade than me:
I think that I get to decide
Who will stand, who bend the knee.

Life’s journey’s full of stepping stones,
On each my foot shall stand.
I don’t glance down, so I won’t see,
Faces crying, “I am a man!”
I don’t fit the description,
So I’ll just go about my day,
Focus on things more comfortable.
Yes, it’s easier that way.

Oh, God, Your name I profaned again today!
The widow, fatherless, and poor I simply cast away.
Have mercy on me, but don’t ask me, Lord, to change.
This mirror suits me just fine, but Your image I won’t face.

Stopped

I have been stopped by the police a number of times in my life. Once, it was because I was actually speeding. Once, I was jaywalking. Once, I made an illegal turn when I was new to town and couldn’t see the “no U-turn” sign in the twilight. Once, it was because somebody didn’t renew the registration or fix a tail light on the car I was driving. A couple of times, to be honest, I did not actually do anything wrong. On one of those occasions, I was legally carrying a concealed firearm on my person at the time and told the officer as much as required by law in that jurisdiction. In not one of those encounters did I ever feel like my life was in danger. I was never asked to step out of the car, never forced onto the hood or to the ground, never put in cuffs, never put into a squad car, never taken to the station. I got a ticket or maybe a warning and went on my way. Obviously, I always made it home safely.

I know and care about far too many people, though, for whom every one of those incidents would have been understandably terrifying. People who drive by the book but have been stopped far more often than I. They were stopped for entering a college campus where some officer thought they didn’t belong or for leaving it, for being in too nice a car, for being in too ugly a car, for dressing too well, for dressing too casually, for driving too slow, for driving too fast, but really, if we’re honest, for “driving while black.” And in many of those incidents, it was far from clear that all would end well. After all, so many such incidents don’t.

There are many good things about the history of the United States of America, things we should celebrate. How this country has treated and thought about people who are not “white,” however, is not one of those good things. That has always been and remains to this day a story of horrific evil, with shockingly few moments of partial redemption.

You say we have made progress? That’s true, but from what starting point? You say we have to “move on” or “give it a rest?” I doubt very much that you would feel the same if you, your parents, or your children regularly felt fear for their lives and freedom based solely on skin color. No, it’s not the 1760s, 1860s, or 1960s. That’s not the point. The point is that injustice still abounds. If you overlook injustice on the grounds that “things used to be worse,” all you’re really saying is that a particular level of injustice is okay by you.

I can’t always speak to current events. Being an attorney (or at least, trying to be an ethical one) means that I have to be very careful what I say, especially about particular cases. But I can say this.

It’s never necessary for four able-bodied men to choke to death a man who is laying on the ground in handcuffs.

It’s never reasonable for anyone, including the police, to deploy deadly force just to respond to an alleged forgery in progress or an alleged instance of public intoxication.

There really are differences in how people are treated by law enforcement and the justice system based on skin color. There just are. There are countless men and women of all races who serve honorably in law enforcement and in our entire legal system. Yet the fact remains that it is much safer for me to encounter law enforcement than it would be if I simply had a different color skin. Why is that?

We all need to speak up.

We all need to care.

Those of us who haven’t been on the receiving end of injustice all need to start listening. You may not agree with literally everything another person says, but if you actually care you will listen.

And then, if you really care, you will do something.

God, have mercy on us.

#GeorgeFloyd

Blindly Trusting the Untrustworthy

We have a weird desire to justify and validate information we hear. This is especially true if the information comes from someone we trust or feel like we should trust. We try to find ways to believe even absurd information if it comes from any kind of authority.

One of the wildest examples I’ve encountered involved a newspaper overseas. The paper reported that a young woman was attacked by a male intruder and died. The paper, however, didn’t attribute her death to the attacker. Instead, the paper claimed that the fright of the attack caused this previously-healthy, young lady to develop a spontaneous cancer of the blood, which immediately overwhelmed her system and proved fatal in a matter of seconds. So, you see, it wasn’t the upstanding young attacker—who insisted he did nothing wrong and was playing some sort of joke—or the victim’s physical injuries that killed her. It was the victim’s fault for having a bad reaction to being attacked.

This is patently insane, not to mention incredibly misogynistic. But in the many times I’ve told this story, about 40% of people who hear it try to find some way to argue that the newspaper account must have been basically accurate. They invent new cancers off the tops of their heads, argue that the attacker is presumed innocent until proven guilty (which isn’t even true of the legal system where this happened, by the way), or, in the very worst cases, argue that the newspaper must be right somehow: it must be the victim’s fault that she died. This is both stupid and evil, yet people keep arguing it to me.

We want so desperately to believe that those with power or a platform are good, honest, and acting with the public’s best interests at heart. Sometimes, they are! But sometimes, they aren’t. Each of us has to learn to see the difference.

Why COVID-19 Is Not Like the Flu or the Common Cold

A number of folks have asked me why COVID-19 is not like the flu, “just another flu,” or like the common cold. I’m going to try to answer those questions here. Please read #12 if you read nothing else! If you are a doctor, epidemiologist, public health professional, etc., please let me know if I should tweak anything.

Why Covid-19 Is Not the Flu

  1. COVID-19 is not the flu or the common cold for the same basic reason measles isn’t the common cold: they’re caused by completely different viruses.
  2. The virus is a “novel” coronavirus. That means we’ve never seen it before. We are still learning about it, and (#3 below) our bodies aren’t ready to fight it off.
  3. Because it’s a new virus, no one has built up any immunity to it, so everyone can get sick. With common strains of the flu or the common cold, some percentage of the population is immune either because of previous exposure or, in the case of the flu, because of vaccines. So, those viruses can’t spread as quickly as a new virus.
  4. We have vaccines for many strains of the flu, and we have anti-flu drugs (for example, Tamiflu). Because COVID-19 is caused by a never-seen-before virus, there is no vaccine, and there are no drugs known to fight the virus directly. A vaccine is at least a year, possibly 18 months, away. In the meantime, the virus can keep infecting and killing new people. It’s true that flu vaccines aren’t 100% effective because different strains of flu go around every year. But flu vaccines work infinitely better than 0% of the time, which is where we are with COVID-19 right now.
  5. COVID-19 is much more contagious than the flu, so it spreads much faster. On average, a person who gets the flu will give it to roughly 1.3 other people. On average, a person who gets the virus that causes COVID-19 will give it to roughly 2.2 to 2.5 other people. A single person (“Patient 31”) in South Korea may have infected dozens people, leading to hundreds or maybe even thousands of new cases by going about life as usual—attending church and eating at a hotel buffet—before her diagnosis.
  6. A new virus that is causing an epidemic or pandemic doesn’t grow linearly; it grows exponentially until it runs out of opportunities to spread. That is, if you hear that there were X new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, you shouldn’t expect X new cases today; you should expect many more at this stage of things. The number will go up every day until the virus starts running out of opportunities to infect people, either because too many people are already sick or because we get really serious and cut down the transmission rate.
  7. You may have heard that coronaviruses cause the common cold. That’s only partially true; some coronaviruses that infect humans cause the common cold. Others cause extremely serious, very deadly diseases like SARS and MERS. The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can kill people, not just cause a cold.
  8. COVID-19 is much deadlier than a common cold or common strains of the flu. Seasonal flu kills only about 0.1% of patients (1 in 1,000). So far, COVID-19 has killed 4% of people known to be infected (1 in 25). But this number doesn’t tell the whole story. Some of the people who are currently infected will get better, but some will die. It can take a long time—2 to 8 weeks—for patients to die from COVID-19, and 2 to 6 weeks for people to recover. Globally, for people whose outcome (recovery or death) is known, 7% have died (1 in 15). As we learn more about how many people have been infected and as more people are treated, experts think these numbers may go either down or up.
  9. This virus can sicken and kill people at almost any age, but it is especially significant for people who are older or have serious health issues. While the flu typically kills about 1% of people over 80 years old, COVID-19 kills about 15% of people that age. Put differently, there’s about a 1 in 7 chance that an 80-something-year-old person with COVID-19 will die, even with the best medical care. Many younger people have died, too; the reality that it hits older people hardest doesn’t mean it doesn’t kill younger people.
  10. COVID-19 causes much more serious illness than common flu strains, even in many people who survive. You may have heard that 80% of people experience a “mild” illness with COVID-19. That appears to be true, but that means that 20% of people experience serious illness, and some of those people die, even with great medical care. This includes people who are young and healthy.
  11. Because so many people get very sick, COVID-19 can overwhelm our entire health care system. Many of those 20% of people who experience serious illness need hospitalization, and many of those will need to be on a ventilator in intensive care. The United States has only about 60,000 ventilators, far too few to cope with the demand in the worst-case scenarios. The result is that doctors could be forced to decide who gets care and lives and who doesn’t get care and dies. In other words, some people will die not just because they’re sick but because the healthcare system is swamped and cannot care for everyone. This happened in China, it is happening now in Italy, and the United States is on a trajectory like Italy’s, if not worse.
  12. If we let COVID-19 keep spreading without major changes to daily life, it will overwhelm the entire healthcare system (see #11). This means that countless thousands or even millions of people will die because they are not be able to get treatment. And the longer we wait to act, the more likely this becomes, and the higher the numbers go. That is why everything is shut down: it’s literally a matter of life and death.

I hope this is helpful. Please feel free to share/repost it or to ask questions in the comments.

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If you’d like to know more or see where I got the information above, these links may be helpful:

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Coronavirus Disease 2019 vs. the Flu” https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-disease-2019-vs-the-flu

World Health Organization: “WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 3 March 2020” https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-opening-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-covid-19—3-march-2020

Worldometers: “COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreak” https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Transcript – CDC Media Telebriefing: Update on COVID-19” https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/t0309-covid-19-update.html

Live Science: “13 Coronavirus myths busted by science”  https://www.livescience.com/coronavirus-myths.html

Reuters: “The Korean clusters: How coronavirus cases exploded in South Korean churches and hospitals” https://graphics.reuters.com/CHINA-HEALTH-SOUTHKOREA-CLUSTERS/0100B5G33SB/index.html

Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (University of Minnesota): “Study of 72,000 COVID-19 patients finds 2.3% death rate” http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/02/study-72000-covid-19-patients-finds-23-death-rate

USA Today: “Coronavirus is spreading in the US. Here’s everything to know, from symptoms to how to protect yourself” https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/health/2020/03/05/coronavirus-us-cases-symptoms-travel-deaths-prepare/4904568002/

NPR: “As The Pandemic Spreads, Will There Be Enough Ventilators?” https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/03/14/815675678/as-the-pandemic-spreads-will-there-be-enough-ventilators

Washington Post: “Spiking U.S. coronavirus cases could force rationing decisions similar to those made in Italy, China” https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/03/15/coronavirus-rationing-us/

ProPublica: “This Coronavirus Is Unlike Anything in Our Lifetime, and We Have to Stop Comparing It to the Flu” https://www.propublica.org/article/this-coronavirus-is-unlike-anything-in-our-lifetime-and-we-have-to-stop-comparing-it-to-the-flu

Washington Post: “Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to ‘flatten the curve’” https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/world/corona-simulator/

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Please note that all information above is as of March 17, 2020, based on the links above and current, publicly-reported counts of infections, deaths, and recoveries. Things are moving very quickly, so some of these numbers may become inaccurate over time. That’s part of why we need to take this so seriously: the situation changes so fast that we all need to keep educating ourselves.

Edited 2 hours after I posted it because the global death rate for known outcomes jumped from 7% to 9%. Things are happening fast.

Note: This was originally posted on Facebook, but Facebook decided 9 hours later that it was spam, without telling me why they made that decision. They gave me no options to improve it and restore it. So, I’m posting it here.

“Biblical Counseling” and Mental Health

I am overdue to update this blog with a number of articles I’ve been working on, but I have something that needs to be said now.

Folks, when it comes to mental and emotional health, there is some seriously toxic nonsense out there masquerading as Christian and biblical. If you are being counseled that depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, panic disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, or other mental or emotional illnesses are always and only spiritual, run away as fast as you can. This is, to put it bluntly, damnable heresy, not to mention toxic, dangerous, reckless, and either ignorant or malevolent. Don’t listen to it any more than you would listen to someone who insists the world is flat, the sun is a really bright coin, and the moon is made of cheese. Such counsel is not biblical, wise, or sound in any way. It’s not even genuinely Christian; it’s dualist and gnostic. Run from it.

I’ll have more to say about this later; watch this space.

My Resignation as Moderator on Stack Overflow and Ebooks Stack Exchange

Why I Resigned as a Moderator

As you may know if you have followed this blog for a while or have followed me on social media, I have spent several years as a volunteer moderator on Stack Overflow (elected November 2015) and a related site, Ebooks Stack Exchange (appointed moderator pro tempore January 2014).

If you are not a programmer, you have likely never heard of Stack Overflow. If you are a programmer, you likely visit it regularly, if not multiple times per day. It is a major site; Alexa.com ranks it #42 in “global internet engagement,” and it has literally millions of registered users. Every day, it attracts thousands of questions and answers about programming, not to mention untold numbers of comments on those questions and answers, along with thousands of user flags addressing on-site problems. Moderating such a large, busy site is both a significant commitment and a tremendous honor.

For a variety of reasons, the majority of which I cannot discuss publicly, I resigned both of those positions yesterday, October 1, 2019. I wrote a post on meta.stackoverflow.com explaining my decision.

This post is purely informational, as I get a lot of traffic on this site from users of Stack Overflow and Ebooks Stack Exchange. Please understand that I cannot and will not provide more information here or on social media than I have provided in the post linked above. Thank you.

Keeping Time

Grandfather clock

When I was a child, I had the blessing of living a short drive away from one set of grandparents. This meant that I got to see them regularly, many times most months, which was wonderful.

One of the highlights when I would visit them was my grandfather’s grandfather clock. I loved to listen to its ticking, its chimes every quarter hour, and the mysterious whirrings and clickings it made each time it was about to chime. For a little boy with an interest in all things mechanical, simply being around that clock was pure delight.

The best thing about that clock was, well, not really about the clock at all. See, every week, the clock needed to be wound. It was technically an “eight day” clock, meaning it gave you a one-day cushion should you be tardy in winding it. But, nonetheless, it must be wound, or eventually it would stop. And so the best thing about that clock was when my grandfather would turn the key to open the door to its front and let me help him wind it.

Together, we would pull on the chains, and I would hear the whirring and clicking of gears suddenly intensify as we raised each weight up to its full height, there to begin another week. For a very little boy, those weights seemed so heavy, and yet I was able to help my grandfather, strong as he was. He even made me feel as though he needed me to help him do it. The whole experience was heavenly, and I am certain we wound that clock many times when it did not, in fact, need to be wound.

Cancer took my grandfather from us far too soon, and it has been more than thirty years now since I have hugged him or heard his voice. I remember him as strong but gentle, wise yet humble, intelligent but happy to lose a game of checkers to a four-year-old, a man who deeply loved Jesus and his family. He was also a war hero, having served his country honorably during World War II, though I was too little to appreciate that fully while he was still here. All in all, he was a wonderful man, and I love and miss him terribly.

A few years ago, after my grandmother had also left this world, that clock came to me. It had not run in years, and careless movers had broken the pane of glass in the door. Though I tried many times, I could not make it run for more than a few minutes without stopping. So, it stood silently in our home, waiting for us to find the money, the time, and the help necessary to make it chime the hours once more.

Today, thanks to the skillful efforts from a clock repairman who is a true master of his craft, that clock began to run and chime again. I am writing this post as I listen to it ticking and, a few times now, chiming in the background. It is heavenly.

With each second that passes I am reminded of my grandfather and the wonderful legacy he left behind. He made it a point to provide financial security for my grandmother, but his legacy is so much more than that. It is a legacy of faith, humility, hard work, diligence, and love. It is a legacy that still warms the heart of this little boy, even as I look forward to winding my grandfather’s clock with my grandfather’s great-granddaughters and, one day, maybe even with my own grandchildren. Until then, I’ll let the clock count the seconds, reminding me of the brevity of life and the beauty of sharing it with those we love.

In memory of R.H. Cottrell, Jr., one of the finest men I’ll ever know.

Resurrecting the Blog

A tremendous amount has happened over the past year, and I have not kept up on here. I’m going to try to provide a quick recap, as well as a vision for the future of this site.

First, the biggest news of the last year, which I haven’t mentioned previously on here: my wife and I were blessed to welcome our second child, a daughter! She is an incredible blessing but has kept us extremely busy. And although she’s very healthy, she had a number of health scares early on that kept us hopping.

Last year (2018) involved a lot of other craziness, far too much to capture or even summarize in one blog post. Most of that will have to wait for some later time; many of the events in question deserve their own post or entire series of posts.

This year (2019) has not been less crazy. Among other adventures, I haven’t had a voice for most of the last two weeks due to a fun thing called a vocal process granuloma, essentially an ulcer on my vocal cords. This is probably a result of acid reflux that I didn’t know I had. I wrote a long, public post about this on Facebook. My voice rebounded significantly over the last 48 hours, to the point that it was basically normal this morning, but it has faded out again to nearly nothing.

Meanwhile, a lot has changed on here and continues to change. I intend to resume posting regularly. I haven’t been posting regularly for a variety of reasons, one of which is cleaning up the site. Over the 22 years I have been running a personal website, 20 of them on this domain and 20 of them blogging, I had accumulated a lot of, well, junk. There were (and still are) a lot of blog posts and other items on here that are horribly dated, reference broken links, and so on. I have begun the process of cleaning those up. I have simply deleted a lot of posts that are thoroughly obsolete or misleading due to changed links, missing context, or other reasons. I plan to finish that cleanup in the near future, but in the interest of transparency am mentioning it here.

That’s it for now. Enjoy the site, and get ready for much more, better, fresher content!