Archive for the ‘This blogging life’ Category

Three blog notes

June 12, 2014

On AZBlog, three developments: still more spam comments; revisions of Pages; and the “About (academic)” main Page as the descendant of my old Stanford webpage.



June 10, 2014

Several correspondents have written to compliment me on the content and organization of the “About (academic)” page on my website (here). One went so far as to refer to the goldilocksian mean — not too small, not too big, and (though this isn’t in the Goldilocks fairy tale) “everything easily discoverable”.

These nice comments inspired me to spend yesterday adding to the “Handouts for conference papers” section of the page, adding links to handouts from four Stanford Semantics Festivals.

And then there’s the nice derivational formation goldilocksian ‘just right’, a useful (and, given that you know the fairy tale, easily comprehensible) innovative adjective, moderately frequent (on the order of 6k ghits, dupes removed) but not in the OED.


Self-awareness and a milestone

May 29, 2014

Self-aware cartoon characters come up here every so often — most recently, in a Scenes From a Multiverse strip (#2 here). Today’s Zippy brings us to self-aware diners:

With this posting, we reach a milestone: this is the 4000th posting in this blog. No wonder I have trouble remembering what I’ve posted on here!


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.)


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