Rewatching TV

Nurses are awesome!

For most of my life I’ve claimed I’m not someone who gets bored. I have too many interests to ever be bored in the usual sense, and there is always new territory to explore. I love trying new restaurants, new authors, and new TV shows.

The Yin to that Yang are the beloved favorites I visit again and again. There are eateries I frequent and authors I re-read. In part because there are menus to explore (and which change) and words and ideas that take repetition to fully understand and appreciate.

But I tend not to re-watch TV shows except in some special cases.

I bought a lot of DVDs during the DVD era before streaming took over. I had a large library, much of which I’ve since donated to the local library. I’d re-watch a purchase to make sure the DVDs were okay, but in most cases I never watched them again.

Looking back, it seems a waste, although even then I saw it as paying to see old favorites one more time (and more times for free if ever desired). Also, I do suffer the collector bug, plus I wanted certain things (such as Star Trek) on-tap for reference.

(Sitting around chatting over beers with friends, we’d reminisce, and it was handy to toss on a DVD and see whatever point had come up in the conversation.)

There were exceptions, beloved favorites, such as The West Wing, The Office, or Firefly, that I watched many times. (See: Ideal(ized) Politics)

Generally though, two, maybe three, times through a show is plenty for me.

(Those who know me might wonder about the original Star Trek, the even better Star Trek: The Next Generation, and — if they knew me very well — M*A*SH. (See: Hawkeye & Margaret) These are indeed beloved shows, but I only watched the DVDs once to check their quality; I’d already seen the episodes so many times that I knew them by heart.)

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All of which is just a meandering introduction to a TV Tuesday post about a bunch of shows that I have re-watched. (Or plan to.)

Before I get into that I have to mention that The Simpsons is way past its freshness date and starting to stink. I can’t believe how old, worn out, and not funny it is anymore. Last night I watched the 700th episode which, for some inexplicable reason, was a Christmas episode.

Like most of the episodes I’ve seen in this 35th season, it was boring, random, and dissonant. I can’t understand why the show is still on; it kinda sucks. Badly.

I imagine I’ll keep watching just so when it ends I can say I’ve seen them all. I still have the DVDs I bought — seasons 1–17 plus 20 (when they went widescreen) as well as the movie. I’m thinking they might be worth something on eBay since they aren’t widely available via streaming.

Or not. Complete series that are available on streaming are going for prices way below their purchase price. I do have some collections that aren’t so available, The Man from UNCLE and Perry Mason, for instance, and those might have some value.

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Denny Crane & Alan Shore

In the previous post I mentioned that I’d love to know William Shatner.

I’ve written before about my arc as a fan, how it went full circle. I’ve moved beyond Star Trek (50 years was enough), and I’d rather talk to him about horses and Boston Legal, where he played the delightful Denny Crane.

That show is one of the ones where I watched the DVDs more than once. Now it’s in my Hulu My Stuff list as an occasional treat; I watch an episode or two every few weeks or so. The cast is wonderful, Shatner, James Spader, Candice Bergen, René Auberjonois, Christian Clemenson, and more. Great guest stars, too.

I love the little fourth wall breaks and Star Trek references. In the episode I watched last night, Spader joins Shatner on the balcony for their end-show cigar and drink, and says, “I haven’t seen much of you this episode.” They even worked in a really funny Klingon reference once.

It is a most delightful show. Not a bad courtroom drama series, either.

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Speaking of great shows, I watched The Good Place for (I believe) the fourth time and thoroughly enjoyed it. The show still gets an unqualified strong Wow! rating in my book. It’s available on Netflix.

If you’ve never seen the show, you’ve missed something extraordinary. It’s a comedy about heaven, hell, and moral philosophy. At its core, it revolves around the works of T.M. “Tim” Scanlon, in particular his book, What We Owe to Each Other, and the notion of contractualism. (In one of the last episodes Scanlon appears as  himself!)

You wouldn’t think that could be the basis for one of the best TV shows I’ve ever seen, but it is. It’s funny, very engaging, creative and fresh, touching and deep, and very well done. Everyone in the cast steals the show.

[See: The Good Place of Oz for how the show resembles The Wizard of Oz.]

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Also on Netflix:

I recently watched Russian Doll for the third time and still think that’s an excellent show — it continues to hold its Wow! rating. (I posted, albeit briefly, about the first and second viewing.)

It’s worth re-watching because there is a lot to pick up on once you know the plot. It’s extremely smart, engaging, and darkly hysterical.

The story seems so complete to me that giving it a second season is hard to fathom, and hopefully it won’t do a Westworld. The first season of that show was incredible, but season two was vastly inferior and I didn’t bother with season three (nothing I heard about it then or since makes me interested).

Speaking of dark comedy, I also recently watched Happy! for the second time and loved it all over again. It’s two seasons of weird goodness and one of the stranger, more twisted, superhero stories ever.

I give it a Wow! rating although it’s definitely not for everyone. (See LOL: Happy! and Archer)

By the way, Archer is another show I’ve also found well worth watching more than once. It easily keeps its Wow! rating — every season is a delight. It’s among my favorites.

A show I enjoyed very much the first time and plan to get around to watching again fairly soon is Dark Matter. It’s space opera along the general lines of Firefly and The Expanse, and now that I’ve seen (and very much enjoyed) season five of the latter it’ll fill the void until season six.

(Speaking of the former, I have zero interest in any reboot that comes along. Why people can’t recognize that some works of art stand alone and shouldn’t be rebooted mystifies me. More is not always better.)

§ §

One of the funniest scenes!

I posted about Upload (Amazon Prime) almost a year ago. I liked the show enough that I watched it again last week.

In the post I said, depending on how it follows its first season, it might rate a Wow! rating. Upon a second viewing of the first season, I can only give it a strong Ah! rating. I was too aware of flaws, convenient plot points, and errant world-building this time through.

For instance, the “data torrent” — a massive data stream that destroys anyone who walks into it. Why is it even there? We never see it again after it serves its plot point.

Or the Luddite attack, which isn’t grounded in anything, is hard to explain, isn’t followed up on, and which only seems to exist for the “LEGO people” gag.

But it’s still a fun show, charming and engaging, with some nice twists and fresh ideas. I am looking forward to season two, which should be out fairly soon.

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Also on Amazon Prime:

I was going to write about The Tick and Good Omens, which I very much enjoyed the second time around. As it turns out, I already did that last November (in the same post no less). See: Channel Surfing.

Here I’ll just reiterate that Good Omens is a delight in every regard and easily maintains its strong Wow! rating (although one is better served reading the book first).

The Tick is good silly fun (I’d give it an Ah! rating). It’s another goof-ball take on superheroes, and I think it’s a huge pity it didn’t get more seasons.

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Switching back to Hulu, the second season of Solar Opposites is out. (See: Solar Opposites)

I plan to binge watch it one of these days fairly soon. I watched the first season again not long ago and enjoyed it as much as the first time. I hope the second season is just as good.

I’ve been a big fan of Rick and Morty since it began, but the waiting between seasons of that show is excruciating. (I’m waiting for season five to finally air. I’ve watched the first four seasons three times.)

While Solar Opposites is Justin Roiland without Dan Harmon, it helps fill that gap. (Roiland apparently will also voice the main character in a new show coming to Hulu, Koala Man.)

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Also on Hulu, I just added, but haven’t started watching, People of Earth to my list. It’s a cute comedy about alien invasion that I enjoyed when it first aired on TBS.

Unfortunately it only got two seasons, so it was never able to wrap up the story and viewers were left hanging. Wyatt Cenac was really good in it; perfectly cast for the role.

Ah, well, so it goes. The good often die young.

§ §

As a final TV note, it’s a bit depressing how, after cutting the cable to reduce cost, subscribing to the ever-growing list of streaming platforms has me spending nearly as much. I could easily spend more by joining others (HBO Max, Disney+, Apple TV, Peacock, Paramount+,…).

On the other hand, YouTube TV has been a big disappointment on multiple levels (and awfully pricey). Now that they no longer carry Fox Sports North and I can’t watch Twins baseball, I plan to dump them.

With the return of rational politics, I don’t watch CNN or MSNBC anymore, and as far as live TV I’m down to Bull (which I dislike the more I watch; it’s a terrible courtroom drama), NCIS (which has gotten old and often lame), and The Blacklist (which, OMG, I wish would hurry up and end already).

I’ve come to see Google (other than their search platform) as increasingly evil and inept to boot, so to the extent I need live TV I need to look elsewhere. There are certainly other options.

Even YouTube itself, the only other Google product I like, has become so ad-bloated that it’s almost unwatchable. (Today I deleted the Google News app and subscribed to Apple News. No more damned ads in my news feed, hooray!)

Stay televised, my friends! Go forth and spread beauty and light.

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

21 responses to “Rewatching TV

  • Wyrd Smythe

    As far as being bored, I’ve come to realize that, in a narrow sense, I actually bore pretty easily when it comes to certain things or certain topics. Generally never with people (at least not with any rational normal person) and certainly never with life itself. Those are ever fascinating. But, for example, Star Trek, after 50 years of it, came to bore me, and I’ve become dreadfully bored with the Marvel/DC superhero stuff. (Watching one of the recent ones made me realize how much like the first ones it was. Fist fights and destruction. Meh! Nah! and Ugh!)

  • Wyrd Smythe

    I’d note the truth of something many have observed: All this streaming choice, both in terms of so many platforms, but more in terms of how much content each offers, can actually have a paralyzing effect. I’ve noticed I sometimes spend way too much time trying to decide what I’m “in the mood” to watch.

  • Wyrd Smythe

    I see WP has apparently semi-killed the Classic Admin screen again. 😦

    • Wyrd Smythe

      I noticed that, because of the change to the admin screen, I could no longer access the classic Posts and Pages screens, which meant I could no longer access the Classic Editor links on those posts and pages.

      I talked to WP and there is a fix. (Hooray!)

      1) Go to https://wordpress.com/me/account

      2) Toggle ON the setting Dashboard appearance

      3) Click Save interface settings (at the bottom)

      That doesn’t bring back the classic sidebar, but it does make the links take you to the classic lists for posts or pages.

      For me the main thing is avoiding the Block Editor, which I’ve tried several times and do not like. At all. If it ever becomes the only option for writing posts, I think I’ll have to consider whether I want to continue blogging or not.

  • SelfAwarePatterns

    I discovered the same thing during the DVD era, that despite buying tons of TV shows, I never watched them (unless I’d never seen them before). I got rid of most of them during an epic cleanout a few years ago. I think the only one I held unto was Babylon 5, because it wasn’t available for streaming at the time. But I don’t even rewatch shows I love. (I do re-watch movies, sometimes, although more often then not it’s particular scenes in the movie.)

    I just discovered Rick and Morty this week. Two episodes in. Watched the dogs take over the world one last night. Now I’m wondering if there won’t be any dogs on the show, or if it bothers to stay consistent.

    I had to have the same conversation with WP support last week. Apparently a lot of people did because they felt compelled to do a blog post on it today. On a positive note, they fixed the text size bug in the Block Editor that was driving me nuts.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      I’m curious: Did you watch your purchases at least once as a quality check? I always wanted to be sure to catch any problems while I could still return them. I’ve still got my Bab5 DVDs, too, although that’s another show I’ve seen a number of times, so it’s hard to imagine I’ll watch again. If I live long enough, maybe.

      Rick and Morty isn’t always consistent. As you’ll discover, there is a lot of parallel world-hopping, which allows for some of it, and they do seem to take a lot of pains about what has come before. You will see pictures of Snuffles (or Snowball) in later episodes. As with many cartoon shows these days, they kind of expect viewers to do a lot of freeze-framing and examining…

      I have growing concerns about my 1100+ older posts if the Block Editor becomes the only choice. I don’t know if you’ve looked at the HTML it creates, but it’s filled with extra cruft hidden in HTML comments. I’ve tried it several times, and I absolutely loath it. If it becomes the only choice, which seems inevitable, that may be it for me blogging here.

      I’m kind of furious with WP about it. I’m fine with them providing an advanced editor for those who need those advanced features, but I see no reason the Classic Editor needs to be removed. Surely there’s room enough in the world for two editors.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        I think I might have done quality checks early on, but eventually laziness won out. I haven’t watched most of my B5 DVDs. If any of them are bad, I’ll just be screwed. (Don’t DVDs degrade over time? I wonder if the ones I haven’t watched in years are still good.)

        I just looked at the HTML for my latest post and it looked okay. I have to admit that I only occasionally dropped to HTML with Classic, usually for something it didn’t handle well, like superscripts, or if I was having trouble with text and image placement. I haven’t felt the need at all with Block. But most of my stuff is straight text and links with the occasional inserted image or video. I imagine some of the fancier block types would complicate things.

        The one thing about Block that I still find annoying is the fact that each paragraph is a separate block. Most of the time that’s fine, but when you want to select text spanning multiple paragraphs, but not all of the text in one or more of the paragraphs, you can’t. I’ve discovered I do that a lot during editing. I either have to do each paragraph separately, or temporarily combine them.

        But other than that, I’ve gotten used to it. I will say the default settings made it rough initially. There’s a lot to be said for spending time getting the settings to where you can live with them. For example, the default is to have the content toolbar float above each block, which I found maddening because it obscured the text above. But there’s a setting to have it display at the top of the window. That and a few other changes make it mostly like working in the old editor (except for the annoyance above).

        I also found during the initial transition that it was better not to work in full screen mode. For some reason, I felt trapped inside the thing if I couldn’t see the usual sidebar, although I got over it.

        But yeah, you’re not alone on being furious. One of the bloggers I follow announced he’s moving his blog somewhere else. Have to admit I contemplated it myself before making peace with Block.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        It kinda sucks to get rid of DVDs unwatched. Nearly all the ones I gave away did get watched at least once, but there was a handful of exceptions. Seasons I bought out of nostalgia, but upon starting to watch realized I’d moved on.

        The Mary Tyler Moore Show was one that planted a seed that grew to reconsidering buying show after show. That was a ground-breaking show in its day, and I’d actually met the cast (because we had an English teacher who knew Cloris Leachman), and I started watching them, but the show just didn’t retain my interest. I actually bought all seven seasons, but (IIRC) I only got into season two or three before I stopped and never resumed. Always meant to, but eventually I just donated them to the library.

        “I just looked at the HTML for my latest post and it looked okay.”

        Did you look at the HTML in a browser (with View Source or with Inspect), or did you pull it up in the editor and switch to the HTML view?

        I ask because I used Inspect (with Edge) to check out your latest post and didn’t see the cruft I saw when I pulled up a post I’d lightly touched in the Block Editor. I suppose someday very soon I’ll need to do some experimenting. If I’m going to complain about the BE, I should have a good hard list of facts.

        For one thing, it seemed to mangle some LaTeX I had inserted, and it also doesn’t appear to support the syntax highlighted code feature one can use with the Classic Editor. I’ll need to test these things to be sure about them before I complain about them. There might be, for instance, a LaTeX “block” or maybe there’s a way to successfully insert LaTeX. Not supporting it at all would be a major deal-breaker for me. And I’d really miss the syntax highlighting on my programming blog.

        Anyway, using Inspect, something I noticed about WP pages is they generate a handful of DHTML errors and a lot of warnings and “Open Issues”. Your post’s page generated 6 errors, 133 warnings, and 37 open issues. The warnings increased over time; up to 141 by the time I closed the Inspector.

        I suppose this is typical of modern web pages, some combination of trying to work on multiple platforms, but the amount of JavaScript and CSS these pages uses kinda floors me. Not surprising they generate so many things the Inspector thinks aren’t quite right.

        It might be due to your theme or things you have in your sidebar, but my latest post generates 4 errors, 24 warnings, and 18 open issues. The warnings doesn’t seem to be increasing. (Nearly all the warnings are “Tracking Prevention blocked access to storage” — not even sure what that means.)

        None of the issues seem to come from the text, the post content, though, so it’s not a difference in what we’re doing, and I don’t think has anything to do with BE versus CE. Just all the overhead of modern web pages, I think.

        “I have to admit that I only occasionally dropped to HTML with Classic”

        I do use the HTML view a lot for a variety of things. For instance, I indent LaTeX, but the WP index button uses 40px, and I want 20px, so I have to tweak those. And subscripts and superscripts, as you say, also require dropping into HTML. I also like to set the font color in BLOCKQUOTES and would rather do that in a style attribute for the BLOCKQUOTE tag than in an inner SPAN, which is what you get if you just highlight the text and color it.

        The HTML view is pretty important to me!

        “The one thing about Block that I still find annoying is the fact that each paragraph is a separate block.”

        That all sounds horrifying! I really do need to take a look at the damned BE just to make a good factual list. (And who knows. Maybe I’ll find ways to make it work. I just have better things to do that deal with that, though.)

        “I also found during the initial transition that it was better not to work in full screen mode.”

        Do you mean toggling off the sidebar? One thing I don’t like about it is not having the usual Admin sidebar on the left. Mostly because of how my monitor is set up and where I position the WP browser window. Which is along the left edge extending just over halfway across the screen. That put the CE window right in front of me and my keyboard. But yeah, you’re not alone on being furious. The BE starts at the left edge and makes me feel like I’m looking too much to my left. It’s off-center, so I have to reposition the browser window.

        Even the change to the Admin sidebar has messed up my positioning. The new one is wider, which makes my CE edit window smaller and squished. I have to either collapse the sidebar, which puts me off-center, or expand the browser window, which gives me less room for another window for Wiki pages or whatever I’m referencing during writing.

        Bottom line, things worked really well for me until they started making changes, and now it’s a pain in the ass.

        Anyway, I asked about full screen because I get the impression a lot of web designers believe everyone uses browsers in full screen mode — taking up their entire screen, I mean. Either clicking maximize or using F11 to take over the entire screen. I never do that, and it bugs me when a web page seems to demand it.

        “But yeah, you’re not alone on being furious.”

        I’m tempted to try to start a “movement” — a user’s group or something to oppose some of the things they’re doing. But I just don’t have that kind of fire in my belly.

        It’ll be ten years blogging here this July, and, as I’ve mentioned in the past, I wonder sometimes what the point of blogging is. Most of my followers seem to have followed as a way to promote their own blog. I’ve got two who like every post moments after publishing — too soon for them to have read it. I keep meaning to visit their blogs and demand WTF?!?! I’m not here to promote your blog. There are others who like posts but never say a word, and looking at their blog it’s hard to believe they have any interest in mine.

        That said, I’ve always felt the need to express myself and whether anyone else gives a shit was never really the point. But if WP makes it too damn hard to write the way I want to write, then the bar might just seem too high.

        (I barely maintain my personal website anymore. It’s mostly visited only by web crawlers anyway, and it’s gotten very outdated. In some ways it’s just a place I can put things I can access from any browser, but even that became less and less important due to progress. More and more it’s seeming like an attic or basement full of old stuff.)

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        For the HTML, I looked in Chrome’s view source. I also put individual blocks in HTML mode. Both looked clean. But I just checked putting the overall editor in Code mode, and did see the HTML comments delineating each block. They seemed benign enough, but again, not sure what happens with more complex blocks.

        There is a code block and another that in the description implies syntax highlighting. But that’s for displaying code.

        Not sure what you’d have to do to get Latex through. I just tried pasting some in a regular text block and it seems to display okay. But it’s just the example from the WP support doc (which happens to be the Schrodinger equation), so not sure what might happen with real world use.

        I know at least some of the errors on my site come from the Twitter feed widget. I almost got rid of it during the theme shift, but multiple people told me they do look at it, so I kept it around. But most WP themes seem to be at least somewhat dirty when it comes to unseen HTML errors. (Or at least most of the ones I looked at last year were.)

        “That all sounds horrifying!”

        It really isn’t that bad once you get used to it. But that text selection issue is annoying. You can also add the Classic editor as a block, which should bring back all the traditional text editing. I promised myself to try at least a few posts without it, and it’s never been bad enough to make me fall back to it. (All the old posts come up inside the Classic block, and based on some of the stories I’ve seen, I’m not planning on converting any of them.)

        On the admin sidebar, right. The editor setting refers to it as “FullScreen mode”, although it’s not really full screen, it just gets rid of the sidebar. If you uncheck the Fullscreen setting, you get the sidebar. Early on I definitely preferred it that way.

        Yeah, most followers are fellow bloggers. I get a few from outside, but I’d say most of the community are other bloggers. And let’s be honest, we’re all out to promote our own stuff, which I’m fine with, so long as it’s done with interesting conversation. The people who parachute in and immediately try to promote their own blog, book, or whatever, I’m a lot less fine with.

        I don’t mind the people who Like posts, but there’s been a thing lately of Liking every comment in a thread, which floods my notifications. It made me use the block feature for the first time.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        What I wonder is if those HTML comments are only for the BE or have anything to do with how the pages are served. Obviously the WP server strips them out. My gut sense is they’re there to enable the features of the BE.

        I’m curious: When you looked at the HTML overall, were your paragraphs wrapped in P tags or were they just text blocks delineated with the HTML tags (and, I assume, blank lines)?

        I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but if you are in Reader-Following and comment on someone’s post, the Reader often initially ignores your blank lines and displays a single block of text. If you back out and come back the blank lines are there, but the Reader seems to be weird about recognizing blank lines.

        We’ve talked about this before. I’ve had, and seen it happen to a number of other blogs now that I’m looking for it, that a post becomes one huge paragraph unless there’s some block element, like a large picture or the section marks (§) I use to break up the post (those are explicitly wrapped in P tags and set to center alignment). The posts look fine viewed on the blog website, so it’s definitely a Reader thing. How it handles comments is another indication the problem is the Reader.

        FWIW, I’ve found a workaround. Since I began here I’ve been highlighting all the text and setting the font color to black (because I loath the low-contrast style that seems so popular). What the editor does is wrap each paragraph in a SPAN with a style attribute setting the color. So now, as a final step in making a post, I pull the entire HTML into my programming editor and use a macro that changes all those SPAN tags to P tags (and deletes all blank lines). Explicitly wrapping each paragraph in P tags cures the problem. It also makes things cleaner. The WP server wraps paragraphs in P tags when it serves the content, which meant I had P-SPAN-text-/SPAN-/P for each paragraph. Now it’s just P-text-/P, with the style attribute in the P tag, which I like a lot better.

        (Yet another complaint I have about the Reader is how much it strips out. Those section marks, for instance, should be centered. I recently complained about how BLOCKQUOTE blocks can be stripped out in the Reader.)

        My problem with full screen (besides what I already mentioned) is that my blog’s website has a content width about 450 pixels, and I try to make the editor have roughly that width to give me some idea how the post will look.

        “Yeah, most followers are fellow bloggers.”

        Oh, likewise. I often go through my followers list and delete people who never like, let alone comment, any posts, especially if I check their blog and it’s explicitly commercial or related to some product. Those who, like us, are just writing about stuff they care about I’m fine with.

        The two I mentioned annoy me because they reflexively like every post the instant it’s published. It’s obviously some aspect of their perceived self-promotion. I’m not sure why I’ve never deleted them. I ought to. I’m thinking of doing another major follower purge and reducing the list to only those I’ve actually interacted with or who seem like they might have legit interests. (There are some authors, SF fans, and movie fans, that have never commented, but occasionally like a post related to their interests.)

        Anyone who’s actually commented is fine with me. I just wish there were more. I don’t mean to intimidate people so much, but I can’t help being who I am. (I don’t talk about this much, but my measured IQ is supposedly higher, or at least the same, as Einstein’s (160). All I know is that a teacher once told us — I was in special classes in high school for students that did especially well — that his was 160 and ours were all higher. IQ is certainly a problematic measure (and the course of my life involves some serious stupidity at times), but as a white American male it’s an adequate scale, at least compared to other white American males. Sadly, as I age, I can feel my mental acuity diminishing (hence my interest in quantum mathematics — it’s a form of desperate exercise hoping to sharpen my mind), and given that so much of my self-worth is tied up in my intellectual abilities, it’s terrifying and depressing.)

        “… there’s been a thing lately of Liking every comment in a thread, which floods my notifications.”

        Ha, I think I know exactly who you mean. Bugs me, too, for the same reason. It, again, doesn’t seem to be content related so much as “look at me!” Ah, well, takes all types, I guess.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        Just looked at the html code of a post in my test blog that has different types of blocks in in it. Normal text blocks are in html p tags. Outside of that are html comments containing wp:paragraph before the paragraph and /wp:paragraph after the paragraph.

        Other block types have similar html comments, but a quote has wp:quote delineating it, with the usual html code contained within, and wp:code for the code tag.

        Interestingly, the block to list blog posts is just html comments. They appear to contain all the settings I configured in the editor. Which makes sense since that content is dynamic server side.

        Also interesting, the Latex code I pasted into a normal paragraph block gets converted to html in code view. However, it still displays correctly in the browser. It’s an image in the browser, so that means WP renders the html server side then runs it through their own Latex interpreter and prints it to an image. (Just looked at one of your comments where you used Latex, and the result is images there too.)

        That seems like a lot of work to make the stuff come out right for the Reader. I’m glad I’ve never run into that issue.

        I have noticed that the Reader tends to strip out a lot of stuff. If you put a link to a tweet in a comment, it gets expanded in the browser. The reader doesn’t expand it, or show the URL. It just hides it. I’ve also noticed the blockquotes in comments often don’t show, particularly if they’re at the end of a comment. All of which is why I generally don’t use it for conversations.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        That’s interesting. What kind of HTML does LaTeX get converted to?

        I reverse engineered enough of their LaTeX server (//s0.wp.com/latex.php) that I have a web-based app that I can use to preview my LaTeX code to see how it’ll render. All the systems I’ve seen have a server side component that transforms such code to an image, so that’s pretty standard.

        There is also MathML, a sub-dialect of XML, that more and more browsers support. I’ve played around with it a bit, but I prefer LaTeX.

        “That seems like a lot of work to make the stuff come out right for the Reader.”

        🙂 The power of automation! I just select-all, copy, and then paste into my editor, click a user-defined menu option, then copy-paste back to WP. The biggest problem is the nabla (∇) character I use at the bottom, which my editor doesn’t recognize. (The things we do for style.)

        I wish I knew how many view my posts in the Reader. If it’s any significant fraction, then it’s worthwhile — my paragraphs are important and I don’t trust WP to get them right.

        I generally avoid BLOCKQUOTE in comments, too. On my own blog I can use a P element with some indenting, color, and italics style (not that the damned Reader will show that), but when I comment on other blogs that doesn’t work.

        Have you noticed how, in the Reader, old posts are grayed out? Seems to happen around the nine-month mark or so. They’re not disabled, which is usually what grayed out means, it’s just a visual effect. I complained about it, and the reasoning behind it, to me, seemed like some serious bullshit. Something about people editing their posts to make them “new” again so they show up higher in the Reader? I would assume posts have an “original date” of some kind that would be a far better way to avoid that. Graying out sends the wrong message in my book.

        I wish I was rich so I could buy WP and kick some ass. I just don’t understand why there isn’t room for advanced systems as well as classic systems for those of us who don’t need, or want, those features. Streaming digital music is great, but so are vinyl record albums, and there’s plenty of room in the world for both.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        The html for the Latex is basically just the normal ampersanding of special characters. I’d try to show you but my brain just isn’t in a state this morning to navigate all the hoops to put it where WP and/or the browser won’t mangle it. One nice feature of the Block editor paradigm is you can look at the html for just one block at a time. Unfortunately, it’s not Latex aware so you have to preview to make sure it renders correctly.

        I did notice the graying out in Reader. But I’m not sure that’s going to catch the majority of the people playing with the publish time. The ones I’ve seen do it usually do it for their latest post, so for a few days or weeks, before doing it again with the next one. But I might not be seeing the worst offenders. Usually the people doing that aren’t posting on topics I’m interested in.

        At the end of the Justice League movie, Bruce Wayne solves Clark Kent’s farm mortgage problem by buying the bank that’s giving him a hard time. Definitely buying out a problematic company is a power we’d all love to have!

      • Wyrd Smythe

        No need to bother trying to post the code, “ampersanding” says it all; I know exactly what you mean. The CE does that, too, if you view in HTML mode. (What I do wish is that WP wouldn’t convert character codes — &stuff; — to Unicode characters. It doesn’t do it with everything, but with many — the ⟩ and ⟨ codes (⟨ and ⟩) for instance — because those end up being things I have to fix when I do my SPAN-to-P tag conversion (my text editor isn’t fully Unicode aware). I wish it would just leave them alone.)

        The CE isn’t LaTeX aware, either, which is why I made my little web app for testing and showing the LaTeX code. (I think I should follow your example and use the more casual Latex. It’s really a pain typing it the “official” way. I do sometimes wonder if I’m on the edges of the spectrum or maybe just have a touch of OCD.)

        I’ve never seen people messing with their publish date, so I’m not clear on exactly what’s going on. Do they actually edit it such that the URL changes? Like this post is …/2021/03/30/… so they mess with that part? If it’s with the latest posts — if that’s what you’ve seen, it must be the most common — then the graying out isn’t going to affect them at all. That sounds like a solution that doesn’t solve anything. Weird!

        I didn’t see, nor have any interest in seeing, the Snyder cut, but I seem to remember seeing the bit about Wayne saving the Kent’s farm. Why couldn’t Superman find some valuable resource — some old treasure — the Kents could plausibly find buried on their property? Or find in some other way? Makes Superman come off pretty inept and stupid. I suppose it’s meant to bond them as buddies or something. Whatever. I’m so beyond those big budget CGI-gasm mega-destruction knockem-sockem movies. I did see a very enjoyable small SF alien invasion film that co-starred Jodie Whittaker. Post coming out this Saturday.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        I’m doing casual Latex? Do you mean me pasting the example into the text block in visual mode? (Other than occasionally editing one of your comments, that’s about the only time I’ve touched it. (Well, I did once have to edit a Latex document via vi. Not a happy memory.)) You’re not ampersanding it yourself are you? If so, yeah, that’s a dedication I never had even as a web developer, at least when something was handy to do it for me.

        A WP post actually has a Publication Date separate from the one in the slug url. It controls the order the posts show up in RSS, which in turn controls where it shows up in the Reader. Some people discover it and then proceed to abuse it. I noticed it the first year I was blogging and wondered what they were doing. Once I discovered it, it seemed too much like cheating, so I never did it. (The only time I was tempted was when one of my posts didn’t show in the Reader for several days, but even then it just felt too seedy.)

        I actually liked the Snyder cut, but it’s definitely not for everyone. But then I’m still good with the occasional CGI thrill ride.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        😀 No, by “casual” I just meant spelling it “Latex” rather than “LaTeX”. I’ve got a bit of text in a Notepad file of handy bits of text, and I just paste it into the post in HTML mode. The bit of text is a P element with a style attribute for indenting and the Latex meta-code as content — the dollar sign, the word “latex”, a space, and then the meta codes to set size and font color and the final dollar sign. I often paste in a bunch of those in places I want formulas. Then, in visual mode, I just type the Latex code and don’t have to worry about ampersands or greater-than or less-than symbols. (I can’t recall ever having to use < or > — the & is a delimiter in matrices, though.)

        Is Publication Date the one you can change in Quick Edit in the post listings? That doesn’t change the URL, huh? I’ve never messed with it that I remember.

        I did learn that using Quick Edit to change your tags or categories seems to set the same date that gets set if you set a post to publish at a certain time. There was a post I had in my Drafts folder for a long time, had used Quick Edit at one point to edit tags, and when I did publish the post, it seemed not to appear on my website (this was before I even started using the Reader).

        That freaked me out, but then I realized it was published as if it had been published back when I used Quick Edit, so it was way back in the feed. It’s been a while; I can’t recall if I was able to get it to publish where it should have, or if I copied the post to a new post, deleted the old, and published the new. It took me a while to figure out what had happened. I experimented a bit and confirmed it was Quick Edit that did it, so I realized never use Quick Edit on Drafts!

        I do use it somewhat often on published posts if I decide to change the tags. One of my pending projects is to clean up tag use. The biggie is changing all the posts that have a TV Tuesday tag to a category of same so they match my other “day of the week” categories. It bugs me every time I post a new TV Tuesday post. But it’s a lot of going through and editing, and I haven’t decided exactly how to do it.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        Ah, ok. Yeah, I’m more casual than you in general in a lot of writing, using html rather than HTML or Latex rather than LaTeX. Laziness rules! (At least for me.)

        Not sure about the date on Quick Edit. I never use that feature. Based on what you’re saying here, it sounds like it causes problems. But it is the Publication Date you see on the post properties on the right toolbar, for both Classic and Block. It’s not obviously changeable in Block, but if you click on it, you get a calendar input control.

        My use of tags has varied over the years, but I’ve never been tempted to go through all those posts and try to clean them up. Laziness again. The one exception is I have sometimes used a tag to group a series of posts together retroactively. But I’ve never found a way to handle series I’m completely happy with.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Ha! I am very (very) lazy, but you do give me a run for the money!

        The CE has a Publish immediately field that adjusts to the current date, but which one can set to publish in the future (a “scheduled” post) or, apparently, back date for whatever reason. That is the same date field that’s available in classic admin Quick Edit.

        Since the issues I had with Quick Edit I haven’t messed with it except to schedule a post, which I usually do unless something strikes my fancy and I bang one out in a day. I found that, if I ever set that date, there was no way to unset it, and once set it never changed to the current date. If I was working on a post and wanted it to publish it right now, I had to remember to set that to the current date. The lesson was: don’t mess with it unless you mean it, and never Quick Edit a draft because that apparently sets it.

        As to series, tags are one of the only options. For my Special Relativity series in early 2015, which was over 30 posts, I created an index page listing them. For the Mind Is Not Computational series (also in late 2015; that was an active year) I put a list of at the end of the final post.

        For the QM-101 series, I just used a special tag that I won’t use except for those posts, although if I add more posts I might consider creating another index page.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        I used the scheduled publish years ago, but started having trouble with it not posting to all the social accounts, so ever since I got back to blogging, I’ve pretty much just published manually.

        I’d say about 75% of my posts are written the same day I publish them, often in the hour or two before I hit publish, although occasionally if I’m not feeling satisfied I’ll wait a day before making another edit pass. (Sometimes that results in the post never getting published, or a completely different post being composed.)

        This conversation has driven me to play more with the Block editor. One block I’ve been eyeing for post series displays blog posts. Not sure it’s too much better than just manually doing a list of links, except that if I later add a new post to the series, all the posts with that block would have them automatically.

        I also just noticed that there’s a custom html block, which you might want to check out if you look at Block again. It might meet some of your needs, if just switching to html view in the text blocks doesn’t cut it.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I don’t have any social accounts, so not posting to them isn’t an issue. 🙂

        I probably spend two or three days on most of my posts, more in the case of the more complicated ones. I usually end up over my vague word count limit and have to pare them down. Some require finding or making the right images, but I gave up on having every post have a bunch of “keynote images” like I used to (my older posts are peppered with them).

        Not sure my needs go so far as needing a custom HTML block. I switch to HTML for fixups, but actually writing much in it is kind of a pain. Comments on WP actually are a kind of semi-HTML block except for the blank line means a paragraph feature.

        Speaking of which, I’m getting the impression the BE has you add a new block for each paragraph? If so, ugh!

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        To be honest, I don’t know if I’d bother with the social accounts again, except possibly Twitter, which I actually do spend time on. Most of the interaction I get from them (not a lot) tends to happen on the other platform, not on the blog itself.

        Yeah, every paragraph in BE is a block. I haven’t come across any way to change that. (Other than just using the Classic block.) It’s what leads to the issue I described above. It just means you can’t select text that spans multiple paragraphs unless you mean to select all the text in all the paragraphs. (Select a subset of text in any one paragraph works fine.) Working around it is trivial. It’s just an annoyance that wouldn’t arise in a traditional text editor.

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