United States Supreme Court

A Nice WordPress Gallery Plugin

My hobby is photography and I’ve been looking for a WordPress gallery plugin I like to display image galleries in blog posts. I’ve tried many but they would not do everything I want or were cumbersome to use.

I just found GT3 Photo and Video Gallery Pro and it does everything I want it to do. It’s also easy to use. The free version does a nice job but the Pro version adds a lot of nice features and cost $19 for a one year license. This is an example of a gallery I created with the plugin. And I think the gallery looks great on mobile as well. All the settings are available in the block editor which I find ideal for me. This post includes another example a GT3 gallery.

A complete guide to Bluesky 🦋 – mackuba.eu

A complete guide to Bluesky 🦋 – mackuba.eu

I want to thank Kuba Suder of Poland for this well written and detailed guide to Bluesky, which he periodically updates. I have a much better understanding of what Bluesky is all about because of it. I learned about it by reading Michael Tsai’s excellent tech blog.

Lake Needwood, Derwood, Maryland

Friendship Heights Village, Maryland

Population: 5,360

’Photography is a way to be in life’

I have long admired the work of Sam Abell. This video is not just about promoting a new camera. It’s about life.

Abell is on Canon’s website as a Canon Explorer of Light so I was surprised to see him promote another brand of camera.

Books About Paris

Gregg Rutter, a photographer from Minnesota, recommends these books about Paris on episode 478 of the Join Us in France podcast:

Gregg later recommended the following books:

  • Dawn of the Belle Epoque - The Paris of Monet, Zola, Bernhardt, Eiffel, Debussy, Clemenceau, and Their Friends by Mary McAuliffe
  • Paris, City of Dreams - Napoleon III, Baron Haussmann, and the Creation of Paris by Mary McAuliffe
  • Twilight of the Belle Epoque - The Paris of Picasso, Stravinsky, Proust, Renault, Marie Curie, Gertrude Stein, and Their Friends Through the Great War by Mary McAuliffe

Harvard Antisemitic Cartoon

Harvard University Interim President Alan M. Garber:

A few groups purporting to speak on behalf of Harvard affiliates recently circulated a flagrantly antisemitic cartoon in a post on social media channels. The cartoon, included in a longer post, depicted what appeared to be an Arab man and a Black man with nooses around their necks. The nooses are held by a hand imprinted with the Star of David, and a dollar sign appears in the middle of the star. Online condemnation of this trope-filled image was swift, and Harvard promptly issued a statement condemning the posted cartoon. While the groups associated with the posting or sharing of the cartoon have since sought to distance themselves from it in various ways, the damage remains, and our condemnation stands.

Alan Garber, assumed the office on January 2, 2024, following the resignation of Claudine Gay.

David Wolpe, from Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, is a visiting scholar at the Harvard Divinity School. Rabbi Wolpe shared the post in question. It’s clearly antisemitic.

A group of pro-Palestinian faculty and staff at Harvard University later apologized. But The Times of Israel reported that the group:

then republished the post but replaced the antisemitic image with one of radical civil rights activist Kwame Ture — formally known as Stokely Carmichael — famous for saying the “only good Zionist is a dead Zionist.”

See also, WSJ.

The Value of Having Your Own Domain


I have always preached using your own domains for all vital email. Sure, we all have burners with various providers for all of the junk, but I would never use a Proton Mail, Tuta, or Fastmail domain for anything which is important to me, such as a financial institution or work communications. ANY service could shut down or kick you out tomorrow. When you use your own domain, you can easily forward it to another service within an hour.

The post also stresses that redundancy is also important:

I maintain a paid package through Proton Mail, Tuta, and Fastmail at all times. I can store all of my domains at any of them whenever needed. While I doubt any of them are going away any time soon, I have redundancy.

I have paid email accounts at both Protonmail and Fastmail. I’m glad I do.

Pan Am ‘First Moon Flights’ Club

Between 1968 and 1971, Pan American World Airways issued over 93,000 “First Moon Flights” Club cards to those eager to make a reservation for the first commercial flight to the Moon. The cards were free. I was a proud member.

The Club originated from a waiting list that is said to have started in 1964, when Gerhard Pistor, an Austrian journalist, went to a Viennese travel agency requesting a flight to the Moon. The agency forwarded his request to Pan Am, which accepted the reservation two weeks later and replied that the first flight was expected to depart in 2000.

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first human to step foot on the moon.

On September 9, 1969, the United States Postal Service issued a 10 cent postage stamp showing an astronaut walking on the surface of the moon. It was called the “First Man on the Moon” postage stamp. According to the National Postal Museum, the stamp was made from the same master die that the astronauts took with them to the moon. Additionally, it was the largest stamp the United States had issued up to that point.

Pan Am sent members of the “First Moon Flights” Club “First Day of Issue” envelopes. I was excited to get mine and still have it. I now doubt I will make it to the moon. But it was an exciting thought.

Unfortunately, Pan Am did not survive. It went bankrupt in 1991.

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress in Washington, DC is the largest library in the world, with millions of books, films and video, audio recordings, photographs, newspapers, maps and manuscripts in its collections. The Library is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.

Congress moved to Washington, D.C. in 1800 after holding sessions for eleven years in temporary national capitals in New York City and Philadelphia. Also in 1800, as part of an act of Congress providing for the removal of the new national government from Philadelphia to Washington, President John Adams approved an act of Congress providing $5,000 for books for the use of Congress—the beginning of the Library of Congress.

However, in 1814, the British burned Washington, destroying the Capitol and the small congressional library in its north wing. Former President Thomas Jefferson offered to sell his comprehensive personal library of 6,487 books to rebuild the Library of Congress. Congress accepted his offer in 1815. Jefferson’s concept of universality is the rationale for the comprehensive collecting policies of today’s Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress is among Washington’s top attractions. Every Library of Congress visitor must reserve timed-entry pass. Passes are available here. It’s worth planning ahead as slots fill up.

Sources: Library of Congress, Wikipedia

Simone Veil (1927-2017)

An interesting podcast episode recounting the life of Simone Veil, Holocaust survivor, abortion rights activist and former president of the European Parliament.

Jodie Foster interviewée en Français

Jodie Foster est très talentueuse. Actrice et réalisatrice très impressionnante. J’adore.

Le Monde:

Pour que je prenne un rôle, il faut que ce soit quelque chose qui m’obsède. Et je savais très bien que mon âge, la cinquantaine, allait être une période pauvre. C’est un moment un peu confus pour les femmes. Les gens ne savent pas écrire de scénarios pour les femmes de 50 ans. Ce qui m’intéressait, c’était de jouer des personnages plus vieux que moi, comme dans Désigné coupable [2021] ou Hotel Artemis [2018]. Mais c’était difficile, parce qu’on me proposait un peu les personnages que j’aurais joués à 40 ans. Et je n’ai plus 40 ans.

Lake Needwood, Derwood, Maryland

Lake Needwood is a 75-acre (300,000 m2) reservoir in Derwood, Maryland. Located in east of Rockville, in the eastern part of Montgomery County, it is situated on Rock Creek. The lake was created by damming Rock Creek in 1965 with the goal of providing flood control and reducing soil erosion. The Rock Creek Trail begins at Lake Needwood and can be followed along the course of Rock Creek, ending at the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. It’s a great place for walking, biking and running.

You can see more photos of Lake Needwood here.

Why Antisemitism Persists - A Jewish Perspective

Boaz Munro1 writing in Tablet:

Why don’t we see more efforts to dismantle antisemitism? Well, for one thing, Jews make up only 0.2% of the global population. We’re outnumbered more than 110:1 by Muslims and Christians—each. So if the onus is on Jews to start the conversation—which it shouldn’t be—then we’re spread laughably thin.

Non-Jews seem to have no interest in the subject; societies are loath to name the bigotries they’re founded on, much less challenge them. The American South was built on hideous racism, but do you think antebellum Southerners went around saying, “Hi there, fellow racist! Another wonderful day for racism”? Of course not.

That society couldn’t begin to change on its own. It had to be confronted.

After thousands of years of grinding persecution, culminating in the Holocaust, Zionism and Israel represent Jewish resistance—the stubborn assertion of our right to live and the legacy of those who refused to tiptoe, rationalize, or minimize any longer.

  1. Boaz Munro is a writer, web designer, and educator. He studied Hebrew, Arabic, and modern Middle East history at Brown University and The George Washington University. A grandson of Holocaust survivors from Poland with family in Israel, he’s originally from Pittsburgh. He lives in the Bay Area with his wife and daughter. ↩︎

Make One Friend a Year

Emma Nadler writing in The Washington Post:

The landmark Harvard Study of Adult Development suggests that close relationships are the most significant factor in personal well-being — yet it is not the number of relationships, but the quality of the connection that matters. Gaining one closer friend in 2024 may significantly boost your life satisfaction, as friendship is known to protect against stress and improve mental health. And one friend a year is manageable, yet could lead to three friends in three years and a handful of friends in five.

Finished reading: Seven Ages of Paris by Alistair Horne 📚

I listened to this superb audiobook and enjoyed it. It’s 20 hours and 49 minutes long and worth every minute. The narration by Derek Perkins is superb.

Are Internet Prices in the US Too High?


[M] y parents [in India] pay $10 for a 500 Mbps connection, as long as they buy their “cable bundle” and phone service from the same provider. For about $35-a-month gets you a 1Gbps fiber connection. Wow, that is half of what I pay to Google Fiber in San Francisco for the same speed. It is clear we are paying way too much for broadband in the US.

Podcast: ‘Washington Welcomes’ Hosted by David Rubenstein

The Economic Club of Washington, DC has a podcast called Washington Welcomes. David Rubenstein, co-Founder of Carlyle Group and the Economic Club Chairman, interviews global leaders to discuss the major issues of the day. Rubenstein is witty and attracts a high caliber of guests. The episodes are under an hour long.

Highly recommended.

Apple Podcasts

Text-only Websites

Sijmen J. Mulder has a wonderful directory of websites composed simple, marked up, hyperlinked text. These sites load quickly, scroll smoothly, spare your battery.

There are some interesting light sites on Mulder’s list including a text version of NPR. Try them. They load lickety-split.