Block category: Formatting

The formatting category includes the following blocks:

The code block
<?php echo 'Hello World'; ?>

The classic block

The custom HTML block
The preformatted block.

The Road Not Taken

Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both (\_/)
And be one traveler, long I stood (='.'=)
And looked down one as far as I could (")_(")
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim, |\_/|
Because it was grassy and wanted wear; / @ @ \
Though as for that the passing there ( > º < )
Had worn them really about the same, `>>x<<´
/ O \
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

and here's a line of some really, really, really, really long text, just to see how it is handled and to find out how it overflows;

The pull quote

Theme Reviewer
The table blockThis is the default style.
The cell next to this is empty.
Cell #5
Cell #6
This is the striped style.This row should have a background color.
The cell next to this is empty.

This table has fixed width table cells.

Make sure that the text wraps correctly.

The Verse block

A block for haiku?
Why not?
Blocks for all the things!

Keyboard navigation

There are many different ways to use the web besides a mouse and a pair of eyes. Users navigate for example with a keyboard only or with their voice.

All the functionality, including menus, links and forms should work using a keyboard only. This is essential for all assistive technology to work properly. The only way to test this, at the moment, is manually. The best time to test this is during development.

How to keyboard test:

Tab through your pages, links and forms to do the following tests:

  • Confirm that all links can be reached and activated via keyboard, including any in dropdown submenus.
  • Confirm that all links get a visible focus indicator (e.g., a border highlight).
  • Confirm that all visually hidden links (e.g. skip links) become visible when in focus.
  • Confirm that all form input fields and buttons can be accessed and used via keyboard.
  • Confirm that all interactions, buttons, and other controls can be triggered via keyboard — any action you can complete with a mouse must also be performable via keyboard.
  • Confirm that focus doesn’t move in unexpected ways around the page.
  • Confirm that using shift+tab to move backwards works as well.


What are “blinkers,” Grampy?

I have no grandchildren, a condition I blame on my own children, which I also do not have.  

But if I were the patriarch of a clan, I can imagine all the interesting questions the little toddlers would ask me, like the one posed in the title of this essay.  

Of course their question would raise some of my own:  

“Do you mean what ‘were’ blinkers?”  

“Are you talking about automobiles, people, or horses (in which case I believe you mean ‘blinders’)?  

“How do I respond to the question you just texted me?”  

In the amount of time (3 seconds) required for me to return to reality, my little darlings would have moved on to faceblocking their unfriends, or looking up the answer through Google.  

And since I had recently trotted out the expression “hoed out the guest room,” and received startled looks as a reply, prompting me to look up “hoed out” – meaning to remove crap with an ancient and honorable garden implement consisting of a long handle and a piece of iron set at right angles to the handle – only to discover a startling NEW and certainly colorful meaning to the expression (see for yourself: Urban Dictionary), I thought I should check my work in advance and look up “blinkers.”  

Imagine my surprise when I learned that “blinkers” IS an acceptable alternative for “blinders” on the bridle of a harness, causing me to wonder: “How did my nonexistent grandkids learn so much about horse racing?”  

Assuming, arguendo (simply for the ability to demonstrate my shady past working for attorneys), that my precious sprouts persisted in knowing the answer to their question, as well as further assuming, squabblendo, that I have not figured out how to access recorded episodes of “Matlock” or “Perry Mason,” I regale the infants with lore of yesteryear.  

For, hard as it may be to believe, when I was young – and so still cared about things – drivers of automobiles would depress or raise a lever located on the steering column for the sole and express purpose of indicating, or “signaling,” other drivers in what direction we intended to hurl the 2-plus tons of metal and vinyl we piloted.  

Skipping over the insatiable curiosity of youth, peppering me with follow ups like:  

“What’s an automobile?”  

“What’s a column?” and  

“What’s a vinyl?”  

I educate the tykes by miming the action I have described, complete with sound effects for the “blinker”: “Tink DINK; Tink DINK; Tink DINK,” establishing with authority that I do not understand how mime works.  

Interpreting the glazing over of their eyes as an opportunity for a “teachable moment,” I lead them out to my car, and after pressing all the buttons on the key fob, realize I am attempting to unlock the vehicle with one of the seven remotes required to enjoy those detective programs I listed earlier (and you thought I wasn’t paying attention!).  

Correcting such an error is child’s play, of course, which is why I let the kids retrieve the proper electronic device. Then I gained access to the transportation appliance, started the engine, and clicked the directional signal into place. My hearing not being what it once was, I couldn’t be certain if it was making anything resembling the noise I had previously mimed aloud, so took my precious angels to the front and back of the car to witness the working of the blinkers.  

Having never seen these in use before, their inquisitiveness increased, and they asked, “How can you turn on blinkers while you’re texting?”  

But of course by this time, I am fast asleep.

Helping A Serial Killer

Helping A Serial Killer

For those of you blissfully unaware of the many crimes of Lawrence Bittaker, I will spare you the lurid details and mention simply that he and his partner rode the California highways in a van from which they abducted young women who never lived to testify against them.

During my travels and wanderings, I spent time working for a private investigator, mitigation specialist (criminal psychologist), criminal attorneys, and 20 young interns at the California Appellate Project in San Francisco.

In the state of California, if you are convicted of a capital crime and sentenced to death, the California State Constitution requires an appeal. So few attorneys were available to handle these appeals that the California Supreme Court wanted to create an entity to train attorneys in handling these appeals. The organization was the California Appellate Project (“CAP”).

While typing up a brief I suddenly experience a flash of recognition, and carried the papers into the office of my boss–the private investigator.

“I recognize this guy! I’ve read about him in books about serial killers.”

In addition to working on his appeal brief (as a secretary / word processor), I composed letters to Mr. Bittaker informing him that his attorney would be visiting him on a certain date and at a certain time, and would he please have the courtesy of attending this meeting? Mr. Bittaker frequently refused to see visitors.

Long before I came onto the scene, Mr. Bittaker had written a novel about a serial killing team who roamed the California highways, abducting, torturing, assaulting, sexually abusing, and murdering young women. His attorneys plead with him to cease and desist, and destroy the manuscript, as they believed it could be used as evidence against him. But Mr. Bittaker insisted, “But it’s a work of fiction.”

Mr. Bittaker sent his only copy to his CAP attorney, but the entire book was lost in transit.

Mr. Bittaker believed there was some foul play involved; that someone was trying to steal his novel for their own gain. He sent the delivery company numerous requests to track and locate the book, but without success. He also enlisted the help of his CAP attorney, who also contacted the delivery company, to no avail. “You know how sometimes things are simply lost in the mail?” he asked, “Well, it seems this is one of those times.”

One day I received a letter addressed directly to me from Mr. Bittaker, explaining about the lost book, and how he had attempted to locate it. “Since I can get no satisfaction from my CAP attorney,” he wrote, “I’m writing directly to you to ask for your help in resolving this situation.”

I think it helps to understand Mr. Bittaker’s grasp of how things work that he went over his attorney’s head directly to his secretary.

I brought the letter into the attorney, and explained that I did not want Mr. Bittaker to write to me–ever. Nor did I like the idea that he even knew my name. Though securely locked in San Quentin’s death row, I feared he might somehow escape, and then try to visit me at my San Francisco home.

The attorney was completely in agreement with my fears and concerns, and instructed me to use the attorney’s name for all future correspondence.

I am happy to report that Mr. Bittaker, nor any other serial killer, has written to me asking for help since.    

A Place For Everything, And Everything Everyplace

I always know where anything is in my house because I keep it all in one heap. The “Heap Method,” as I call it, is quite sophisticated yet simple enough so that anyone can learn it.

With the Heap Method, you always know that what you are looking for is in the Heap, the question is how far down from the top. The heap is arranged chronologically, so if you are looking for, say, your glasses, you need only ask yourself, “When was the last time I could see?” and then measure down from the top of the heap the appropriate time period, and badda-bing, badda-bang, baddo-boom, there they are.

One obvious advantage of the Heap method is that the bottom of the pile is composed of things you haven’t even thought about for decades–stuff you don’t even recognize, like mystery phone numbers on slips of paper with no indication whose they are–so you are free to toss all this clutter out with no feelings of guilt or anxiety. That, anyway, is the theory. In practice, there is the danger of imagining that any one of those items–long overdue bills, undeposited checks, IRS warnings, lost pets, and mates to socks which now have holes in them, which was paired with another sock resembling it years back–are still important, and perhaps now should be transferred to the urgent heap.

Did I mention there is more than one heap? No? Well, there are. From the floor to the ceiling is a finite amount of space, so heaps can go only so high when kept in a single pile. Therefore, a second heap must be started. The new heap does not necessarily, or even logically, need to be placed adjacent to the first heap. There may be some other object occupying that part of the floor, such as a lamp, a telephone, your current pet (or spouse or child). One of the many beauties of the Heap Method is the heap can be continued anywhere. It doesn’t even have to be in the same room. It could be in another building, though I’ve discovered that the homes of friends and relatives make poor places to keep your heap, since they often move the piles making finding anything that much more difficult.

If you are just starting a heap of your own, start small. Find a surface near the entrance to your home–for me the washer/dryer is right inside my door–and start your heap there. Once you reach the ceiling, you can move onto the floor, or some other flat surface to become your newest dumping station. Heaping in this way has the added advantage for me of never having to do any laundry, since the lid of the washer is pinned down by a healthy stack of unopened mail, various keys, nonperishable groceries, and I suspect a pair of glasses. The time saving convenience of the Heap Method would be worthless if I had to move the heap to do a wash, and so I save even more time by taking my laundry to the wash and fold. Here’s a helpful hint: take laundry to the wash and fold, but never pick it back up. Wait until you run out of clothes. then you can go to the laundry and get everything at once, and it will be nicely folded, and you can start a clothing heap.

Yes, heaps can be done by category. It’s an advanced technique, but one I use frequently. I like to heap things pretty much wherever the mood strikes me. One great surface is the top of the refrigerator, though I’ve found it’s best for long storage. You really don’t see up there much, so the stuff you put there is safe for a good long time. Then, every few years, or, more likely, once a millennium, whenever you do your dusting, you’ll clear off the top of your refrigerator and you’ll feel like a pirate finally locating his or her buried treasure. “There’s my wallet and license,” I’ll say, “now I can go for a drive! Hmmmm, now when was the last time I drove the car?”

If there is any flaw with the Heap Method, and I’m not saying there is, it is that eventually your entire dwelling becomes crammed full of the crap that sifts into your life. At that point the heap becomes so unmanageable that just making breakfast takes two weeks, and so you must always eat out (see, that’s not such a bad thing). But eventually you will want to use your own bathroom, and then you’ll know it’s time to move to the next phase of the Heap Method: shopping for a new home.

I was born and raised on a Vermont dairy farm; I left as soon as I could