Mount Sutro: An Electronic Periodical

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The Transitus ad Inferos

by Archived Article (2001–2014) Help
Photo Credit: David July — A chaise longue next to the windows in Thomas Woodrow Wilson's second floor bedroom, the location of his death on Sunday, 03 February 1924, in the Woodrow Wilson House (1915), Washington, District of Columbia: 31 January 2014

A chaise longue next to the windows in Thomas Woodrow Wilson's second floor bedroom, the location of his death on Sunday, 03 February 1924, in the Woodrow Wilson House (1915).

2340 S Street NW, Washington, District of Columbia: 31 January 2014

part of the Woodrow Wilson House album


As I was recently listening to a friend's opinions on the Ferguson, Missouri situation, there was one thing I kept thinking again and again: post hoc ergo propter hoc. Not only did I disagree with their assessment of the events, but much of it seemed to be hinged on that common logical fallacy.

It was a discussion among friends so we shared our opinions and then moved to the next topic. Since then however, I have had a particular scene from television intermittently running through my mind, one that does a nice job of explaining post hoc ergo propter hoc.

The scene in question comes from the second episode of The West Wing appropriately entitled "Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc" (S01E02). You can currently watch the scene on YouTube and I have also transcribed it below.


Chief of Staff Leo McGarry: What else? Press Secretary C. J. Cregg: The Ryder Cup team is declining our invitation to come to the White House. McGarry: You're kidding. Cregg: Because of the joke. President Josiah Bartlet: You're kidding. Cregg: I'm not. Bartlet: The Ryder Cup team? Cregg: It's a group of the best golfers in the country. Bartlet: I know what the Ryder Cup team is. Thanks, Mrs. Landingham. Cregg: Sir, this may be a good time to talk about your sense of humor. Bartlet: I've got an intelligence briefing, a security briefing and a ninety-minute budget meeting all scheduled for the same forty-five minutes. You sure this is a good time to talk about my sense of humor? Cregg: No. Bartlet: Me neither. McGarry: What else? Cregg: It's just that it's not the first time it's happened. Bartlet: I know. Communications Director Toby Ziegler: She's talking about Texas, sir. Bartlet: I know! Cregg: USA Today asks you why you don't spend more time campaigning in Texas and you say it's cause you don't look good in funny hats. Deputy Communications Director Sam Seaborn: It was "big hats". Cregg: What difference does it make? Bartlet: It makes a difference. Cregg: The point is we got whomped in Texas. Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman: We got whomped in Texas twice. Cregg: We got whomped in the primary and we got whomped in November. Bartlet: I think I was there. Cregg: And it was avoidable, sir. Bartlet: C. J., on your tombstone it's gonna read "post hoc ergo propter hoc". Cregg: Ok, but none of my visitors are going to be able to understand my tombstone. Bartlet: Twenty-seven lawyers in the room, anybody know "post hoc ergo propter hoc"… Josh? Lyman: Uh, uh… Post, after. After hoc. Ergo, therefore. After hoc, therefore. Something else, hoc. Bartlet: Thank you. Next? Lyman: If I had gotten more credit on the four-forty-three thing… Bartlet: Leo? McGarry: After it, therefore because of it. Bartlet: After it, therefore because of it. It means one thing follows the other, therefore it was caused by the other. But it's not always true; in fact it's hardly ever true. We did not lose Texas because of the hat joke. Do you know when we lost Texas? Cregg: When you learned to speak Latin? Bartlet: Go figure.

"Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc" was written by Aaron Sorkin, directed by Thomas Schlamme and first aired on Saturday, 29 September 2001.

Photo Credit: David July — A plate from Lenox's 'Wilson Service' White House china set (1918) designed by Frank Holmes and bearing in raised gold the presidential coat of arms on display in the first floor kitchen in the Woodrow Wilson House (1915), Washington, District of Columbia: 31 January 2014
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July

The Marriage of Heaven and Earth

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Photo Credit: David July — Roman god of freshwater and the sea Neptune in the Marine scene of Constantino Brumidi's fresco 'The Apotheosis of Washington' (1865) on the dome of the United States Capitol (1811/1866) from the center of the rotunda floor, Washington, District of Columbia: 01 February 2014

Roman god of freshwater and the sea Neptune in the Marine scene of Constantino Brumidi's fresco 'The Apotheosis of Washington' (1865) on the dome of the United States Capitol (1811/1866) from the center of the rotunda floor.

First Street SE, Washington, District of Columbia: 01 February 2014

part of the United States Capitol album


After the developers of Gallery 3 — the software I was using to host my photographs — decided to walk away from the project in June, I knew that I needed figure out a new solution. For better or worse, a subsequent technical issue encouraged me to find that solution more quickly than I had first planned.

There were fewer options available than I had expected, no doubt as many people now use third-party hosted services for their photography. I decided to look at Coppermine, Piwigo, Zenphoto and WordPress as potential alternatives.

WordPress X

As I already use and develop with WordPress, it seemed like a good place to start my reviews. Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that it would not meet my requirements. The built-in media features are probably fine for managing post content but would not scale or be configurable enough to serve as my gallery.

Piwigo X

Next on the list was Piwigo, which I looked at based on former Gallery project contributor Serguei Dosyukov's review and migration article. Piwigo has a lot going for it. After some experimentation though, I decided that its design was too different for me to adapt. In addition, I was not keen on the way it abstracts albums and their hierarchy.

Coppermine X

As I was reminded in July 2013, I had used Coppermine for a time in the past. The fundamentals are all there but the package seems dated. Beyond some security patches, Coppermine has not really been updated since the first time I used it. Wanting to move forward and not backward, I left this one behind.

Zenphoto Tick

I was initially reluctant about Zenphoto because of the recent departure of a key developer. After observing an active community and finding that most of my needs were already accounted for in some way, I settled on Zenphoto and set out to develop a custom theme.

Designing how the theme would look was the easy part; I already had a model to go off in the form of my Gallery 3 theme. The basic look would remain the same but improvements would be made and annoyances fixed. With these details in mind and the user guide in hand, I got to work.

At first, the structure of things seemed awkward and I did not understand several design choices. The process of learning the core functions and coding the theme completely changed my initial impressions, however. I discovered that theme development for Zenphoto was actually easier and its structure more intuitive.

Implementing specific features was mostly accomplished using available plugins, although I did modify a few of them as well as write several custom functions. In addition, I had to update three core extension files to force the interactive map to use HTTPS and two other core files for other reasons.

Within a few days, I was uploading previously published photographs and tweaking the theme as I went. That process was completed earlier this week and I have but a few minor items remaining on the checklist.

Conclusion

Even though outside circumstances necessitated the change, I think that the Mount Sutro Gallery is better than before running on Zenphoto. Not only does my custom theme look and function as desired, but I completed it ahead of schedule due in part to Zenphoto's logical architecture.

I am pleased to be able to get back to processing and publishing photographs, not to mention slowly continuing work on the original migration project.

Photo Credit: David July — The center of the rotunda floor beneath the dome of the United States Capitol (1811/1866), Washington, District of Columbia: 01 February 2014
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July

The Pleasures of the World

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Photo Credit: David July — , Mount Vernon, Virginia: 04 July 2014

Brown-belted bumblebee (Bombus griseocollis) foraging on an eastern purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) in the Upper Garden at Mount Vernon.

3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, Virginia: 04 July 2014


part of the Mount Vernon album

Beyond the quick walk-through tour of the mansion and the vast artifact-filled halls of the museum — inside both of which photography is prohibited — the vast 400-acre grounds of Mount Vernon plantation along the Potomac River feature many different natural settings to enjoy.

Throughout the estate are a variety of landscapes and gardens including the fruit garden and nursery, upper garden, lower garden, pioneer farm and forest. Meandering through the gardens, I took these photographs of flowers in bloom and, at least once inadvertently, bees foraging for nectar and pollen.

Photo Credit: David July — , Mount Vernon, Virginia: 04 July 2014 Photo Credit: David July — , Mount Vernon, Virginia: 04 July 2014 Photo Credit: David July — , Mount Vernon, Virginia: 04 July 2014 Photo Credit: David July — , Mount Vernon, Virginia: 04 July 2014 Photo Credit: David July — , Mount Vernon, Virginia: 04 July 2014 Photo Credit: David July — , Mount Vernon, Virginia: 04 July 2014
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July

The Hirundo Rustica

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Photo Credit: David July — Four barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) juveniles in their nest on a storage building light fixture just inside the Cain Hollow campground in the Quaker Area of Allegany State Park, Salamanca, New York: 27 June 2014

Four barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) juveniles in their nest on a storage building light fixture just inside the Cain Hollow campground in the Quaker Area of Allegany State Park.

Cain Hollow Road, Allegany State Park, Salamanca, New York: 27 June 2014


part of the Allegany State Park album

My memories of camping at Allegany State Park are some of the fondest that I have from my childhood in Western New York. Not having visited in over twenty-five years, I was quite excited to return for a few nights in the Quaker Area Cain Hollow campground in late June 2014.

Although our stopover was only forty-three hours over three days, we managed to see an amazing amount of wildlife and visit a wide variety of locations within the park. As an added nostalgia bonus, we were camping in a site not far from the one that we frequented in the 1980s.

While returning to Cain Hollow one evening, I saw birds flying around some small support buildings in a field just inside the campground gate. We pulled over to investigate and as we approached on foot, Mom was the first to spot a nest of four barn swallow juveniles atop a light fixture.

Photo Credit: David July — Four barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) juveniles in their nest on a storage building light fixture just inside the Cain Hollow campground in the Quaker Area of Allegany State Park, Salamanca, New York: 27 June 2014

They were relatively motionless as we slowly approached, took a few photographs and then moved away.

Photo Credit: David July — Four barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) juveniles in their nest on a storage building light fixture just inside the Cain Hollow campground in the Quaker Area of Allegany State Park, Salamanca, New York: 27 June 2014 Photo Credit: David July — Four barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) juveniles in their nest on a storage building light fixture just inside the Cain Hollow campground in the Quaker Area of Allegany State Park, Salamanca, New York: 27 June 2014

After circling the buildings in search of other nests, we moved further away to see if the parents would come by with food. They did not, but we did watch other birds flying around and feeding in the insect-rich field.

Photo Credit: David July — Four barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) juveniles in their nest on a storage building light fixture just inside the Cain Hollow campground in the Quaker Area of Allegany State Park, Salamanca, New York: 27 June 2014
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July
Photo Credit: David July

The Contrasts of Simulacrum

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Photo Credit: David July — Lightning Racer (2000) wooden roller coaster and East Coast Waterworks (2007) water playground plus the twin smokestacks (1903) and cocoa bean silos (1950) of the original Hershey factory as seen from the Ferris Wheel (1997) at Hersheypark, Hershey, Pennsylvania: 01 July 2014

Lightning Racer (2000) wooden roller coaster and East Coast Waterworks (2007) water playground plus the twin smokestacks (1903) and cocoa bean silos (1950) of the original Hershey factory as seen from the Ferris Wheel (1997) at Hersheypark.

100 West Hersheypark Drive, Hershey, Pennsylvania: 01 July 2014


part of the Hersheypark album

Photo Credit: David July

The One That Got Away

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Photo Credit: David July — Large groups of common carp (Cyprinus carpio) frenziedly feeding on bread in the bowl of the Pymatuning Spillway where Pymatuning Reservoir's Sanctuary Lake flows via dam to the Middle Basin, Linesville, Pennsylvania: 24 June 2014

Large groups of common carp (Cyprinus carpio) frenziedly feeding on bread in the bowl of the Pymatuning Spillway where Pymatuning Reservoir's Sanctuary Lake flows via dam to the Middle Basin.

12318 Linesville-Hartstown Road, Pymatuning State Park, Linesville, Pennsylvania: 24 June 2014


part of the Pymatuning State Park album

Photo Credit: David July

The Quieter Side of Things

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Photo Credit: David July — Stairs along the footpath north of the Rainbow Bridge adjacent to what was part of the Robert Moses State Parkway in Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls, New York: 29 June 2014

Stairs along the footpath north of the Rainbow Bridge adjacent to what was part of the Robert Moses State Parkway in Niagara Falls State Park.

Near Main Street at Rainbow Bridge, Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls, New York: 29 June 2014


part of the Niagara Falls album

Photo Credit: David July