Archive for the ‘This blogging life’ Category


December 26, 2018

A Warwick Rowers 2018 tree decorating scene:


Seasonal thanks

December 24, 2018

A juxtaposition of two sets of greetings for the season, each expressing thanks for the recipient’s work.

Item A, two pieces of e-mail to Emily Menon Bender, from completely unfamiliar organizations, thanking her for her publications in computational linguistics: some new cross between holiday cards from commercial associates (maintaining the business relationship) and what Margalit Fox calls “demented p.r. releases”, what amount to cold calls (by electronic means or ordinary mail) soliciting the recipient’s business.

Item B, a brief e-mail to me from a complete stranger thanking me for my blog postings. Thanks to the fact that the sender has a name even rarer than mine, I was able to verify that he was not only a real person but a very interesting scholar — and the note moved me far more than he could have imagined, coming after a long dispiriting week. (What’s more, it turned out to latch onto my morning name from the 18th, (Lady) Ottoline Morrell.)


Numbers and names

October 20, 2018

The number of pieces of comments spam on this blog (since it began in December 2008) passed 5.5 million a little while ago. (Actually, it’s already up to 5.51 million, since there’s been a barrage of comments spam from a particular proxies site.)

Against this, about 11k actual comments (and pingbacks), and about 8k postings (roughly a thousand postings a year).

Then there are some truly inscrutable statistics about the number of views of things on my blog.


Dong Goodwin

August 23, 2018

I’m once again afflicted by spam comments — thousands a day — from a source that creates sender names by pairing random names from some gigantic database. Today’s most entertaining combo is Dong Goodwin, a personal name (from a Chinese surname) with inevitable phallic associations in English, plus an OE surname meaning ‘good friend’. So a nice mixture of louche and earnest.



June 7, 2018

The One Big Happy from May 11th, in which Ruthie discovers that there are contractions and then there are contractions:


Who views what

December 3, 2017

About the readership of this blog, examined through the very imperfect lens of WordPress statistics. Back in May 2016 AZBlog had accumulated 5 million spam comments (since late December 2008), and WP said I was getting about 1000 views a day. Then reported spam comments dropped to about 100,000 a year and reported views to 750-800 a day, leading me to wonder if I was doing something wrong, but friends convinced me that WP’s monitoring was simply screwed up.

And then, about two months ago, the views per day went back up to 1000-1200, reliably, so I stopped fretting. (Spam comments stayed down at the ca. 100,000/yr level, which I view as a blessing.)

More interesting is which postings get the most hits, and from which countries. Some of this is easily explicable — there’s a big market for sex — but some is bizarre; Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky tells me it’s probably bots ruling the netverse, and not much to do with me specifically.


LiveJournal is 18

April 25, 2017

… or so LJ tells me. They also tell me that on LJ I’m about 6 yrs. 9 mos. old:

My LJ account is AZBlogX, where I post mostly X-rated stuff (not suitable for WordPress, Facebook, or Google+). So not a great amount of activity — a bit under 100 postings a year.

Things are different on my WordPress blog.


New on my blog

February 20, 2017

Three new Pages on my blog this morning:

Penis art, under the parent Page “Xblog essays”,¬†building on the inventory of postings in my recent “Art of the penis” posting: about artworks in which penises figure prominently.

Categorization & labeling, under the parent Page “Linguistics notes”: conceptual categorizations vs. linguistic expressions, an inventory assembled by Kim Darnell on my behalf

Clothing: general, under the parent Page “Clothing postings” (which it shares with pages on shirtlessness and underwear — reflecting some of the preoccupations of this blog): another inventory assembled by Kim Darnell on my behalf

A blogging note

February 12, 2017

WordPress gives me, every day, a report on how many views of my postings there have been (a) in the last week and (b) in the last day. I’m baffled by how these stats are collected, but still I notice them. For a long time, statistic (a) was close to 1,000 views per day, then some time ago, it dipped to about 750 views per day. Puzzlement.

But the postings that draw people don’t change a whole lot. A posting on parts of the body almost always leads by a considerable margin, then a lot of sex-related postings. Sex sells. Recently there was a remarkable shift.



May 21, 2016

As the number of spam comments on this blog rapidly careens towards 5 million (yes, 5,000,000) since late December 2008, I reflect on the stats for this blog (putting aside AZBlogX, which is a livejournal site; Language Log; and the mailing list ADS-L). As of 1 p.m. PDT today, the figures were:

6,031 postings (~6k)
196 Pages
9,820 comments (~10k)
4,993,281 spam comments

Fortunately, an efficient piece of software automatically deletes most of the spam, so I don’t have to see it at all. Spambots learn ways to avoid this software, but then the software finds new patterns in the spam and gets really efficient again. We’re in a period where the software is triumphant, but that will inevitably change again.

Rather more puzzling are the daily stats on views of this blog. For a long time, this figure stood at about 1000 views per day, with occasional rises to 1500 or more, but in the last few weeks the figure has dropped to about 800, with an occasional rise to 1000. I don’t know how the view count is determined, but it’s not a count of how many times someone reads the blog, because some readers get to the blog by means other than clicking on one of its addresses ( or

The drop in the view count coincided with a huge swell in people who “follow” this blog, so maybe the drop has to do with the consequences of “following” me, however that works. Or maybe people just don’t like the topics I’ve been posting on recently, sigh.