Archive for the ‘This blogging life’ Category

Two more on Memorial Day?

May 26, 2014

Two more cartoons that came in this morning, entertained me, but presented some question as to whether I should in fact post them. They were both of a sort that I have posted about before: a Zippy with remarkable proper names, combining brand names, food names, names of real but obscure people, and/or words that merely entertain Bill Griffith (who is given to word enthusiasms); and a (Bizarro) cartoon noting (and illustrating) the fact that (most) characters in the comics don’t age over the years that tick past in the outside, non-comics world.

These are entirely suitable items for posting on this blog. The problem is that I’ve posted about these two topics again and again. so that it’s not clear to me that a new item of either type is worth posting, unless it presents some remarkable feature.

There’s a parallel in my postings about certain kinds of widespread linguistic phenomena: verbings, nounings, back-formations, portmanteaus, ambiguities, for example. Every so often I post to say that I do not propose to catalogue every instance of these phenomena — that would be an impossible task — so I ask people to send me only cases that seem in some way especially interesting.

Maybe it’s time to do the same for some comics-oriented topics. I’m not sure. In any case, here are the two I’ve been puzzling about.


Annals of spam comments

March 20, 2014

Sometime during the night, the register of spam comments on this blog passed the million mark (since 2008). And, of course, continues to climb. I find this mind-boggling,

Meanwhile, 8,322 approved comments — but many of these are pingbacks from my own postings on this blog.

Comments puzzle

March 9, 2014

As the spam comments on this blog rapidly approach the one million mark (since 2008), I’ve been coping with a variety of puzzles, comments that I have to moderate by hand. Most of these are quick decisions — they come from people I know, or at least recognize, though in one case the writer mistyped his own e-address, so I had to do some checking; or they have the stigmata of spam: links to dubious urls, dramatically non-native English, empty praise of my postings, queries designed to get me to reply, or at least link to their websites (for whatever dubious purpose). I’ve been very cautious, since I’m now getting a rising tide of spam e-mail as well as spam comments. But some cases are tricky.



February 23, 2014

Another item from Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky: the formatting on the English Language and Usage Stack Exchange:


Beige background on the title, conservative, somewhat old-fashioned typeface; English Language and Usage is dull stuff.


The comments spam report

February 2, 2014

A periodic report on comments spam on this blog, which has taken an uptick in recent days. In any case, the spam count (since the blog started late in 2008) passed 800,000 this morning and is already over 801,000. As against  8,210 approved comments. The avalanche continues.

2013 in review

December 31, 2013

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 350,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 15 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Blessed relief

October 21, 2013

(About life on the net.)

Back on September 19th, I wrote:

By the end of the day, I will have accumulated 400,000 spam comments on this blog since it started. Meanwhile, spam e-mail has been accelerating; I’m now getting hundreds of pieces a day: spam in Chinese, lots of spam from Dr. Oz, huge amounts of penis enlargement spam, and much more. Fortunately, almost all of this comes via a Stanford server that will shut down at the end of the month. Meanwhile, it takes a lot of time just to find legitimate mail in this heap.

Then things got worse. The amount of spam e-mail — almost all of it for penis enlargement — increased by the day, until I was getting 300+ such messages a day. Appalling, since this junk was mixed in with mundane e-mail and things I really wanted to see.

This morning, I found 17 messages in the queue, instead of roughly 200. No penis enlargement ads at all. Oh blessed relief! (On the excellent hymn Blessed Assurance, see here.)

Miscellany for 9/19/13

September 19, 2013

Twelve items that have come by me recently.


Back from the dead

September 11, 2013

A truly dreadful day. To start with, it’s 9/11. Then came the news that my friend and colleague Ivan Sag had died (at 63) yesterday afternoon. (I will post on Language Log on his death.)

And then WordPress told me that this blog had been suspended because it violated their terms of service (without further explanation). I filed a complaint. And now:

Thank you for getting in touch. Your site was flagged by our automated anti-spam controls. We have reviewed your site and have removed the suspension notice.

… We greatly apologize for this error and any inconvenience it may have caused.

Not a good day, though some of it came out ok.

E-mail addresses

August 30, 2013

Over the years, I’ve had a number of Stanford e-mail addresses. For the one I’m now using (the simplest possible), see here. This address replaced a longer one, which I used for some years. The older address went through a server that closed down some time ago, but continued as a forwarding service. On September 1st it’s scheduled to be shut down entirely, and forwarding will stop.

So make sure your address book has my current Stanford address.

I’ve been getting an astonishing amount of spam mail recently, most of it through the address that’s about to be discontinued. I’m hoping that that will eliminate much of this spam.

[Update: users of the old address have now appealed to the staff, saying that the end of August is too soon, and the shift has been postponed for a month. I was hoping for some relief from tlhe spam — now 50-70 messages a day — but I’ll have to wait a month.]


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