Welcome to the 33rd edition of The Newsletter Leaf Journal - the official newsletter for the growing online writing magazine with perennially virid leaves, The New Leaf Journal. As always, the author of this letter is the editor of The New Leaf Journal - Nicholas A. Ferrell. For this issue of The Newsletter Leaf Journal, I will recap our content from the week that was, refer you to some interesting content from around the web, highlight an article from our own archive, and conclude with some news, notes, and anecdotes.
I published six articles since mailing the last newsletter. You will find the articles described below.
By N.A. Ferrell. May 16, 2021.
After writing about a duck family rescue in Manhattan a few days earlier, I decided to collect duck family rescue stories from around the web for my Sunday article. To my surprise, I was able to find enough duck family rescue stories from April and May 2021 to fill the article without too much search effort.
There are wayward ducks everywhere.
By N.A. Ferrell. May 18, 2021.
There is nothing quite like sitting at home and listening to someone else’s yappy dog go on and on. In my newest Justin and Justina dialogue, Justina is disturbed by something in the sound of her neighbor’s dog’s yapping that she cannot quite put a finger on. Before offering some practical advice to an impractical girl, Justin takes a stab at what the dog is saying.
“It regrets having been born.”
An existentially aggrieved yappy dog.
By N.A. Ferrell. May 19, 2021.
In last week’s newsletter, I included an article suggesting a CEO-led PR campaign for traditional media outlets in the Around the Web section. In this article, I give the idea a more detailed look. I see no potential problem: “Call in the oligarchs to lecture ordinary Americans about the virtues of traditional media? What could go wrong?” What could go wrong indeed?
By N.A. Ferrell. May 20, 2021.
In writing these newsletters, I want to make sure that subscribers and followers are treated to some unique content. Two weeks ago, I previewed an article about filthy standing water around and under outdoor dining set-ups in New York City, along with other less than optimal conditions. The article, along with photographic evidence, is now live on The New Leaf Journal.
Aside: I walked by the same restaurant just the other day. The standing water was still there.
By N.A. Ferrell. May 21, 2021.
My personal favorite article of the week required very little work on my end. I discovered a lovely nineteenth children’s poem by a certain Sydney Grey titled “The Blind Girl and the Spring.” The subject-matter of the poem is suggested by the title - the only note is that spring in the title refers to the season rather than to a body of water. In the poem, our young blind narrator describes the things that she can see thanks to her inability to see. Very nice piece. I wished that I had come across it when I wrote my Around the Web article about spring, but it deserved its own article in any event.
I had a bit of trouble deciding on an image to use for the article until I came across an 1895-1900 painting by Henry Ward Ranger titled “Spring Woods”. Since the narrator of the poem describes entering the woods at the beginning of spring in the 1880s, it seemed like the perfect image to go with the article.
By N.A. Ferrell. May 22, 2021.
In May 2019, I took a photo of a brown leaf floating on clear water at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. This photo made a cameo appearance last June at The New Leaf Journal - stay tuned for my Old Leaf Journal section for that story. The brown leaf evokes autumn, but the scene was very much set in the spring.
An autumnal spring photo.
Below, I will discuss six interesting articles from around the web for you to enjoy along with the week’s New Leaf Journal content.
By Georgia Simcox. May 17, 2021.
The great thing about excessively long Daily Mail headlines is that they make my job here very easy. I will add that the article includes video of the baby elephant rescue in question. Never underestimate the ingenuity of workmen or the appeal of baby elephants.
By Mihovil Ilakovic. May 18, 2021.
The author tried to buy a shirt from TeeSpring. He used Ublock Origin - the same adblocker that I use on my two primary desktop web browsers. Ublock blocked Google Analytics code on the TeeSpring checkout page. That led to the entire page breaking. Mr. Ilakovic explains what happened far better than I could. Suffice it to say, I agree with him entirely that checkout pages should not break when confronted with a good adblocker.
By Santi Ruiz. May 17, 2021.
Eugene Kontorovich, a law professor at George Mason University, is one of the most-published American scholars on the subject of international law. Mr. Kontorovich posted a video to YouTube of his explaining in a television interview why he believes that Israel’s recent airstrikes in Gaza are protected under international law. For whatever reason, Google, which owns YouTube, removed Mr. Kontorovich’s video and informed him that he had violated YouTube’s “violent criminal organizations policy.”
Last year, I noted that YouTube was caught censoring Chinese-language criticism of the Chinese Communist Party.
It must be those pesky algorithms again.
By John Herrman. May 11, 2021.
An interesting article about how people can become “stuck” on social media. Mr. Herrman correctly diagnoses many problems with big tech social media, although he does not offer solutions. I will focus on this issue as part of a larger project in the coming months, but I think that changing social media for the better begins with making social media more local - a positive sort of Balkanization. A great place to start is by curating your own news sources instead of relying on social media.
By Mainichi. May 8, 2021.
A worthy project. As the article notes, the issue is not only important for pets that may be left behind, but also for their owners who may need to be admitted to a hospital for medical care:
“Pets can also obstruct the hospitalization of elderly people unable to ask anyone to take care of their animals. In 2020, a woman in her 70s who lives alone refused to spend days at a hospital despite having a stroke because she worried about her two cats and some stray cats she was feeding. Her care manager and other professionals convinced her to go by promising to take care of the animals, and while she was in the hospital they went to her home twice a day.”
By Kai Bonsaksen. July 2018.
In honor of my part-Norwegian New Leaf Journal colleague, Victor V. Gurbo, I bring you exciting content about the invention of the cheese slicer. This was apparently a Norwegian innovation. In the post, you will also learn about cheese slicer controversies. Harrowing stuff.
Every issue, I revisit one New Leaf Journal article from our archives. Because I posted my photo of a brown leaf on water today, this week’s archival content will highlight that leaf’s first appearance in The New Leaf Journal.
By N.A. Ferrell. June 29, 2021.
Back in my day, children did not want the phone to interfere with their playing video games. You can understand my confusion when I saw a new device for the Nintendo Switch that allows users to attach their phones to their controllers. I did not have the device on hand because I never bought it (I do not need to attach my phone to my controller). Instead, I took a photo using my phone and Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons to illustrate the concept.
This remains to this day my favorite thumbnail image at The New Leaf Journal. But note the background image on my BlackBerry Classic. It is the very brown leaf I posted earlier today (May 21, 2021).
Below, you will find the most-read articles (with links) for the seven day period preceding the publication of this newsletter.
I will try a new format for the penultimate section of The Newsletter Leaf Journal. Some news, some notes, and some anecdotes.
I plan to work this weekend on completing a new category structure for The New Leaf Journal. Our main categories will remain, but I will create and organize topical secondary categories and subcategories in order to make it easier for visitors to find content in specific areas. I do not think that the project will be completed this weekend, but I look forward to having it done by early June. If you are reading this newsletter after the fact, I hope that you like the new category structure.
My colleague, Victor V. Gurbo, is working on an exciting new symposium project for The New Leaf Journal. We look forward to sharing that with you in the near future. If you’re reading this newsletter well after the fact, be sure to check to see if the Symposium is live.
Because one of my around the web recommendations was about ad-blockers, I figured that I should offer a few recommendations. Why deal with ads when you can nuke them from orbit?
If any technical-minded server-running readers are following the newsletter, I am only dealing with simple and very user-friendly ad-blocking extensions for popular web browsers.
I have used two privacy-friendly and open source adblockers extensively on my web browsers and think that they both work terrifically.
uBlock Origin, which I referenced in the Around the Web post, is available for both Chromium-based and Firefox-based web browsers. AdGuard AdBlocker (distinguishable from the paid and closed source AdGuard application for Windows) is another strong choice. The work a bit differently but are both very effective in eliminating ads. It is worth noting that AdGuard’s block lists are available by default in uBlock Origin’s settings.
The GitHub links allow users to download the extension files and side-load them as unpacked extensions. I have to do this on one of my three primary web-browsers - Ungoogled Chromium - since it does not use the Chrome Store by design. In the vast majority of cases, using the Chrome or Firefox extension stores is the easiest option. However, because Google has a tendency to banish extensions from its store from time to time, it is good to have a fall-back option available.
Two screen-based anecdotes for your enjoyment.
I mentioned many newsletters ago that I purchased a PocketBook Color e-reader. PocketBook is the world’s third largest producer of e-ink e-readers behind Amazon and Rakuten (Kobo). It is the only one of the three that currently has a color e-ink reader.
I wanted to product my investment with a screen protector. However, I am not able to install screen protectors. Some things are just not meant to be.
I attempted one screen protector and it was a failure. For the second, I took the PocketBook and the screen protector to an electronics repair shop. The installation effort was unsuccessful.
I ordered four more protectors from Germany. Rather than attempt it myself, I enlisted the services of my New Leaf Journal colleague, Victor V. Gurbo. It took three tries, but he got one on solidly with no dust and very minimal bubbles. Clutch play.
Now that I have the screen protected, I will move on to actually using my PocketBook Color more so I can review it at some point here at The New Leaf Journal. Perhaps an early summer project
I use two monitors, side-by-side, with my work/primary computer. Both of these monitors are on my classic wooden teacher’s desk. Wood desks are best. People do not think enough about aesthetics.
But I digress.
My desk is immediately adjacent to my TV shelf, which is situated between my computer (my computer is a bit over six feet from my monitors) and my desk. You can see my computer and the edge of my TV cabinet in a picture I used for an August article:
My computer is hooked up to my TV as well as to my two monitors. Using my TV as a monitor has always been an idea I’ve had but seldom taken advantage of. This reminds me that I really should use my brilliant set-up more often.
But I digress.
I have not actually used my TV as a monitor since I was dealing with some technical graphical driver issues with my computer in January. For that reason, I almost always have my TV disabled as a monitor, despite its being plugged in. Sometimes it would mysteriously re-enable itself. I figured out that this occurred when I dragged my cursor to the far left edge of my left-hand monitor, and instead of hitting a proverbial wall, it disappeared off the side of the screen and onto the TV.
But I really should take more advantage of this set-up. I’m thinking that Civilization VI may look better on TV than on my 10-year old monitors.
Thank you as always for reading The Newsletter Leaf Journal. If you enjoyed the newsletter and are not already subscribing, consider signing up for our weekly emails or adding our newsletter’s RSS feed to your favorite feed reader. (Speaking of feed readers, Android phone and tablet users may have an interesting review to look forward to in the near future.)
I look forward to reporting back to you for our final May newsletter next week with new articles from The New Leaf Journal and around the web.