Saturday, 28 March 2009

Where does spam come from? As you may have noticed, the amount of spam scrolling down my sidebar has increased dramatically of late. This morning, for example, I deleted 22 comments consisting of: how to get young guy to do [something in/with the Cyrillic alphabet] very good teenagers that cut themselves cannoli ["margarina vegetale, farina di manitoba, acqua, sale, malto, zucchero"] I like iTouch myself help them ebony bikinis tiny cartoon porn videos very interesting monster of cocks fables to funny qwerty dreams Given the uptick, I thought I'd try to see where the spam came from. I tried to correlate the time the comment was posted with the reference in my site stats, but the result was meaningless. Take the cannoli comment, posted at 9:59 p.m. last night. Accounting for random lag (five minutes earlier and later), the people who could have posted that spam came from: a syllabus linking to my Dark Knight posts [which, by the way, very cool] moria's post on experimentation in seminar papers to my homepage my 271 notes post to my Five Year Rule post here urbino's link to My Morning a sundry links post livejournal to my post on that kerfuffle another link post via livejournal to DISADVENTURE! et al. a post on Watchmen to my posts on Watchmen Scott Madin's linking to the same at Shakesvilles a couple of random pilgrims worshipping at the Shrine of Hello Kitty All of those links and search results seem legitimate. (Unless I'm wrong about the livejournalers, but they seem like actual people.) Moreover, the comment itself was on this post. How did it get there without registering in my stats? I see no hits to that post in the entire hour before or after. Where did it come from that it can do that?
Standards? Who needs them? Or, Thomas Urquhart & That Which Is Infinitely Superior to Cricket. Teaching composition exclusively leads to (1) a greater appreciation for the pedestrian complexity of correctly subordinated clauses and (2) a bone-tiredness for the unmerited praise of student peer reviews. As someone with a penchant for paragraph-length sentences, I find (1) wholly salutary; but (2) irks me endlessly. Why? In one of my undergraduate History of the English Language course, the professor handed out slips of paper on which he had written a single sentence and told everyone to decipher what it meant, because he wanted us to present the sentence and the paraphrase to the class in ten minutes. My sentence read: Another thing there is that fixeth a grievous scandal upon that nation in matter of philargyrie, or love of money, and it is this: There hath been in London, and repairing to it, for these many years together, a knot of Scotish bankers, collybists, or coine-coursers, of traffickers in merchandise to and againe, and of men of other professions, who by hook and crook, fas et nefas, slight and might, (all being as fish their net could catch), having feathered their nests to some purpose, look so idolatrously upon their Dagon of wealth, and so closely, (like the earth’s dull center), hug all unto themselves, that for no respect of vertue, honour, kindred, patriotism, or whatever else, (be it never so recommendable), will they depart from so much as one single peny, whose emission doth not, without any hazard of loss, in a very short time superlucrate beyond all conscience an additionall increase to the heap of that stock which they so much adore; which churlish and tenacious humor hath made many that were not acquainted with any else of that country, to imagine all their compatriots infected with the same leprosie of a wretched peevishness, whereof those quomodocunquizing clusterfists and rapacious varlets have given of late such cannibal-like proofs, by their inhumanity and obdurate carriage towards some, (whose shoe-strings they are not worthy to unty), that were it not that a more able pen than mine will assuredly not faile to jerk them on all sides, in case, by their better demeanour for the future, they endeavour not to wipe off the blot wherewith their native country, by their sordid avarice and miserable baseness, hath been so foully stained, I would at this very instant blaze them out in their names and surnames, notwithstanding the vizard of Presbyterian zeal wherewith they maske themselves, that like so many wolves, foxes, or Athenian Timons, they might in all times coming be debarred the benefit of any honest conversation. That would be from the EKΣKYBAΛAYPON of Thomas Urquhart, best known for his translations of Rabelais.* In Urquhart, Rabelais found less a translator than a kindred spirit; but in Urquhart’s prose, I found an unparaphraseable wall of words, before which I stood befuddled but impressed. Granted, I should have been impressed, so the analogy to peer reviews is imperfect; but my comprehension and subsequent paraphrase of Urquhart amounted to what I...

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