What I learned from spam lately

Let’s go for a quick dip in the spam bath, everyone, because our lives aren’t absurd enough already.

But first, a health and safety warning. Britain’s big on health and safety warnings. One I heard recently consisted of, “Don’t do anything stupid out there,” and I appreciated how quickly it got to the point.  I’d been thinking of doing several stupid things at once and it saved me from all of them. The warning I’m about to issue is this:

A lot of spam is written by people whose first language isn’t English. (Some of it doesn’t seem to be written by humans at all, but that’s a whole ‘nother issue.) I don’t make fun of people for not writing or speaking perfect English–at least not unless they’re trying to correct mine, as one spammer did. I’ve wrestled with enough languages to have great respect for people who can communicate even marginally in languages they didn’t learn as kids.  But if you’re sending out spam–messages that are meant (I assume, although I’ve never really understood the strategy behind them) to appear professional, or at least coherent–then sorry, but everything’s fair game.

For the record: I speak Spanish just well enough to hear how badly I speak it. I panic in several other languages so effectively that all I can hear is the sound of my brain moving the furniture to look for lost words. I do not send out spam in any of those languages.

Enough of that. Here’s what I found in the blog’s spam folder recently:

“We spent most of my puerility and all of my teenaged holidays near Land’s End, and we visited a few of the ancient monuments.”

Now, I do know puerile‘s a real word, but I’ve never really been able to believe it means childish. I keep thinking it should have something to do with pork. (That’s probably because I learned the Spanish word for pork, puerco, long before I saw the English word puerile, and if the connection isn’t obvious to you, don’t worry about it; it doesn’t have to make sense.) Puerility‘s also a real word, although I’ve never seen it used or heard anyone breathe life into it, so I’m going to guess it’s not on anyone’s top ten most used words list.

In spite of that, I’m prepared to testify that it’s not supposed to be used this way.

Still, I might’ve thought this was a real (if awkward) comment if it hadn’t opened with “Because, permit’s font it, back then the suspect ones would give been those anti-social weirdos who (then as now) opt to sopor alone – always assuming that they could yield their own(a) beds, of class.”

To which I can only say, “Listen, buddy, some people like to sopor alone, in their beds or in the damned kitchen if the mood takes them, and who the hell are you to get all judgemental about it?”

Irrelevant photo: field patterns near the Cornish coast

Whew. I feel better having said that.

Next up: “naturally like your web site but you need to test the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I in finding it very bothersome to inform the truth on the other hand I will definitely come back again.”

I in finding it very bothersome myself. Will somebody hire this person as a proofreader, please? The English language will never be the same.

After that came: “It is essential that women that are pregnant make a labour program ahead of the wedding event arrives. It is because when a girl is at labor, she may possibly struggle to make selections like she generally does. Make sure you possess a handbag stuffed, opt for that you want in the room whenever you give birth.”

Whenever? Excuse me, but giving birth isn’t a whenever kind of event. I know some people have lots of kids–my grandmother had eight–but even then, it’s not something you do on a whim. It’s a big deal, people.

But there’s more here than just that. I wouldn’t swear to it, but I think the writer’s recommending that the woman give birth into the handbag. Or possibly in it. I admit I’ve never given birth, but neither of those seems like a good idea. I haven’t carried a handbag in decades, but I do remember what mine was like when I did. The backseat of my cab would’ve been more sanitary. So would the pavement at the corner of Hennepin Avenue and Seventh Street.

I don’t actually know anyone who’s scheduled a wedding for a time when she was likely to go into labor. But if you’ve got a wedding coming up, it’s something you might want to consider when you get to the part of the brochures that say, “Are you looking for a way to make your big day truly memorable?”

The next comment may be related to the previous one, in a backward sort of way: “Will not spend your money on bedbug bombs. Alternatively, get some good Alpine Dust or some Phantom Aerosol and apply these products to your mattress. These no-repelling merchandise is toxic to sleep pests along with other pest however are extremely hard to identify, which means the insect is not going to conceal from it.”

I’m past the age where it’s is an issue anymore, but there was a time when I’d have paid good money for a phantom aerosol that repelled pests from my bed. Where the hell was this advice when I needed it?

That survey cleaned the best stuff out of my spam folder, but (since we all know you hang on my every word) I thought I owed you more, so I dipped back in over the next couple of weeks and eventually I found this:

“A dog’s label must basically be employed when positively getting together with the animal. Contact the dog’s brand to have him to come to your part or call his brand while you are serving his supper. Don’t, even so, contact your dog’s name if you are unhappy with his or her measures. The canine would in a negative way relate by using penalty.”

Now I do understand that a lot of people on the internet think of themselves (or their pets) as brands and have vague hopes of money flying through their windows if they sell themselves (or their pets) hard enough. And we have two dogs. So far, though, they’re completely innocent of all commercial activity and don’t think of themselves as brands. And for good goddamn reason. No one’s going to look at them and think, If only I had a dog like that my life would be complete. They’re dogs, and most of the time, they smell like dogs. Give them a chance and they’ll roll in dead fish and steal dirty underwear. If they can do both at once, they’ll be in ecstasy.

The point is, I don’t want to contact my dogs’ brand. I’d rather deal with the dogs directly: Bad dog. Put the underwear back where you found it, and no, we’re not going to negotiate this through your agent. Until you learn to dial the phone yourself, you don’t have an agent.

The joys of spam, part 2

Gather around, grownups, because it’s time to check my spam folder again.

The first gem says, “Hello! I’ve been following your website for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Lubbock Tx! Just wanted to say keep up the excellent job!”

Bravery? That’s from someone calling him- her- or itself “mushroom cock,” which is in lower case type, so I’m going to guess it’s not a given name. I’d have probably have guessed that even if it used a few capital letters. I initially guessed the writer as male, for obvious reasons, but M.C. embeds the name Margaret in his, her, or its email address, tossing an element of uncertainty into all my assumptions.

I don’t know what it all means either, but I don’t believe in keeping these things to myself.

Yet another irrelevant photo: day lilies after the rain stopped

In another comment, Stormy writes, “I am sure this piece of writing has touched all the internet people, its really really nice paragraph on building up new blog.” That was in response to a post about manners in the U.K. and the U.S., but thanks anyway, Stormy. Sooner or later that’ll land on a post with exactly the paragraph you’re describing.

Zappya for pc says, “Thanks for the good writeup. It in reality was a entertainment account it. Look complex to far brought agreeable from you! By the way, how could we communicate?”

Good question. How could we communicate? With great difficulty, I suspect, but I’m basing that—I admit—on a very short writing sample.

Mind you, I don’t want to be snotty to someone who’s writing in their second—or fourth, or sixth—language. I know just enough of several foreign languages to be incomprehensible in them myself, and I respect people who speak multiple languages. Or write in them. Or at least try. On the other hand, if I was trying to spam someone into doing I have no idea what, I hope I’d come a little closer to marking out a topic—any topic—than this.

Speaking of languages, though, I’ve been getting a lot of spam in German lately. I‘d make jokes about them but I don’t know enough German to manage it. One of them, however, starts with “Howdy,” which I’m pretty sure isn’t conventional German.

The one that starts with “Wow,” though? That’s definitely standard German. I think it’s pronounced Vov.

Cqrunt writes, “Buxton is a graduate of the National Ballet School of Canada.When you are sitting in the splits it is like you are doing a backbend ? so you must have stretch in the anterior muscles at the front of the spine, front of the hips, and in the hamstrings of the leg devant. Actually, the better sites come with an enormous database of home which are approaching foreclosure. Reserve a particular be more placed into your financial savings one paycheck and deal with that like an alternative cost. Legislation and good innovation directed at reducing the consumption of electricity especially by gadgets is a good move.”

Yup. Words to live by.

Maurice says, “Fastidious response in return of this question with firm arguments and explaining the whole thing about that.”

Thank you, Mo. I do strive to be fastidious in my responses to the whole thing about that. Even when I have no idea what thing we’re talking about. It’s all good.

Others—. Oh, hell, I can’t be bothered copying and pasting all this crap, but I do notice a surprising repetition of blither about money, sports, prostitution, and sex in various other forms. Presumably because they catch people’s attention, or someone thinks they do, although what use that is when they’re too incoherent to make anyone click an irrelvant link is anybody’s guess.

And then, just when I said I was done copying and pasting, I found a comment from Corrugated galvanize panels which I just had to quote. CGP writes (twice), “When I initially commented I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I recieve four emails with the same comment. There has to be a way you can remove me from that service? Thanks a lot!”

For a wild, disoriented moment, I thought that might be real. I once checked the Notify Me box, back when I first started blogging, and I’m still getting the occasional brainless comment on an About page from a blog I didn’t care about to begin with. Why did I check that box? No idea. Like Everest, it was there. I never thought I was making a lifetime commitment.

So as a way to get attention, this isn’t a bad approach, although I doubt it would make me buy corrugated galvanized panels. They’re not an impulse buy kind of thing. And I have a stack of them already, keeping us from getting to the bathtub. Doesn’t everyone? They’re getting mossy. And how many does one household need?

Okay, before you worry about me: I don’t have a stack blocking the bathtub. But a neighbor has a stack outside his shed, and they’re visible from the road so I know they’re mossy. If I need any, I’m sure he’d share. He’s that kind of guy.

Merlinruh suggests I consider medication. I was ready to think about it, especially after the galvanized panels crack, but it turns out to be for thinning hair. Merlin says it will expand both new locks and present hairs, which is important because hair-thinning medication can sluggish my hair. Then she (the email address includes “isabella,” so let’s assume) tells me about watching currency trades.

With my sluggish hairs? I wouldn’t dare.

See my comment above about not making fun of someone writing in their second of fourth language—and the loopholes I’m leaving myself.

In response to a post about Trainy McTrainface, Frank wrote, “Տinnging worship ssongs is nice however that?s not the only waay tto worship.? DadԀy stated, perhaps to make Larry cease singing.

“?Ƭhere are lots of ways to worship.”

That’s entirely possible, but I’m not interested in any of them, thanks. And you can tell Larry for me that he should make all the noise he wants. I have a feeling the writer and Daddy both deserve to be annoyed.

William, at least, is straightforward. He compliments an unrelated post and invites me to check out his post on how to gain more followers on Instagram. Where I’m sure he recommends pulling people with all the grace and subtlety he displays here.

Payday Loans likes my comparison of newest and earlier technologies. In an article on tea. Which doesn’t mention technology and doesn’t need to. And then Maurice is back praising my fastidious response explaining the whole thing about that.

Damn, Mo. I really made an impression, didn’t I?

And then, as I do almost every time I wade through the sludge in my spam folder, I found a comment from Pit, who’s entirely real, entirely on topic, and on top of all that reads German, but in spite of those gifts regularly gets banished to the spam folder by forces I can’t control. Sorry, Pit. I don’t know what you did in some alleged former life to piss off the mighty gods of WordPress. I know you’ve tried to make it right with them, but have you considered human sacrifice? They might like that.

The joys of spam

You know what’s wrong with the world today? Spam doesn’t get the respect it deserves.

I first checked my spam comments folder because I’d read that legitimate comments sometimes get dumped there, and I found a few and dug them out. But I went back because the true spam comments were wonderful.

Take this one:

“I think about the some hobbits, its a close tie concerning Sam in addition to Pippin upon who changes one of the most.”

Sure. I think about that all the time. I don’t know what I mean by it either.

It rambles on about hobbits a bit longer before it says, with no transition, “This would be a great spot to send out free coupons and discounts, or if you’re just looking to promote your kids disco hall business, you can set up a basic advertisement without any charge.”

My kids? Oh my gawd, do I have kids? Where are they? What school are they in? And when did they go into this disco business? Are they old enough to go into business?

I’ve been a really irresponsible parent, haven’t I?

To make up for it, should I tell them disco’s pretty much over and they should try some other business instead?

Screamingly irrelevant photo: wall pennywort, which has no interest in disco–or business

After disco balls, or halls, or whatever that’s supposed to be, suddenly the comment starts talking about acidic blood blocks, then Hokaido and a Japanese right-hander (no, don’t’ ask me; I’m an innocent bystander here, even if I am an irresponsible parent) Then we’re back to hobbits, briefly, before we’re sitting on a beach making money for doing nothing and starting a business and rectifying complaints and, I think, wearing bright pink lipstick. It ends by saying, “tone down your eye makeup” (always good advice, except when it isn’t; are my kids listening?). The last words are, “visit my site.”

Now here’s what’s fascinating: Somebody—some human mind with set of fingers attached—put this together. What I want to know is how you make this stuff up.

A second comment went from keeping weeds away from the foundation to HR resources (the R in HR stands for resources, so that’s human resources resources) to antivirus software to oil heaters—which may use oil to heat air or heat the oil itself for some other purpose, like throwing off castle walls onto the heads of tourists to remind them what it was like way back when—to turning off your phone. It ended by trying to sell cheap jerseys. Presumably to me, but maybe through me to you. I couldn’t tell.

Is there a template for this stuff? Mention five hot Google search topics, then try to sell something unrelated?

Does it ever work?

A third comment said, “That is why there are different approaches too evalouate and assess the neerd for this therapy in men. love bracelet from cartier.”

A fourth read, “Thanks, Dixie Chick! Michael is indeed innocent. Not only that but he has been coerced by the court and IRS to commit perjury, crimes and frauds ON THEIR BEHALF! But at every turn he has said ‘NO!’ Watch for my next article. Mike is a true hero. hermes kelly 32 handbags imitation for women.”

Who the hell is Michael? Is the rest of the world watching some soap opera that I don’t know about? Does he neerd therapy? Would a bracelet or an imitation handbag help, and if so how? And is it really handbag or just an imitation of a handbag?

In a grocery store in Minneapolis once, I bought something labeled “imitation noodles.” It was kind of dismaying, but I cooked them and we ate them and couldn’t tell them from real noodles. I never did figure out what the difference was.

In case it’s relevant, it was an Asian grocery store and I put the strangeness of it down to translation problems. I’m not sure I’d have forked out money for imitation food that hadn’t been translated.

But back to the comment: Assuming I actually wanted to watch for the writer’s next article, how would I find it since the link is to a site that sells handbags? Or imitation handbags, which is to say bags that are passing themselves off as handbags but may in fact be footbags. Or feedbags. The internet’s a dangerous place and someone’s always trying to pass stuff off as other, more expensive stuff.

Furthermore, why am I being addressed as a Dixie Chick? I don’t sing as well as they do and I’m from New York. Or Minnesota, depending on how you want to count these things, but either way I’m a northerner.

And you start with that chick stuff with me at your peril.

Another comment (at this point we’ll stop counting; I’m not good with heights) asked if I made this website myself, so I’m going to confess: I didn’t. I found it at the back of the refrigerator. I’m not sure who brought it into the house or how long it had been there, but I hate to see stuff go to waste so I used it.

A lot of the comments start with some form of praise. Hell, we’ll almost all read on if someone tells us how clever we are. One of them said, “I thought this post was once great.”

Geez. How are the mighty fallen.

Okay, I had to google that quote because I realized I hadn’t a clue what it’s about or where it’s from. Turns out it’s from the bible and not exactly relevant. It has to do with falling in battle, although I suppose that’s one way of becoming no-longer-great. Kind of an extreme one, and not the one I’d choose, assuming I get a choice, but highly effective.

A final comment (I’ll stop after this; I promise) says, “I see your website needs some unique content. Writing manually is time consuming, but there is solution for this hard task.”

I know. I found that at the back of my refrigerator too. I just open the jar, scrape off the mold, and blog without having to write a word of my own. Or think a single troublesome thought.

Want to bet this is how the spam comments get written?

O brave new world…

(I didn’t need to google that. It is relevant.)