Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category


April 2nd, 2018

I do not understand how it is “proportional” to use live ammunition against a handful of young men who are throwing stones and rolling burning tires against a fence.  Normally I try to avoid making judgments about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, because I do not think anyone who does not live there can be intimately enough acquainted with the facts and history of the situation to have a sufficiently informed understanding of it; and I try to be reticent about expressing any viewpoints about it, as I think that meddling from outsiders is in large part to blame for inflaming things (I’m thinking of you, Sheldon Adelson).  But when an extraordinary claim is made, such as that it is a proportional response to use live ammunition against people on the other side of a border fence who are armed only with stones, slings, and burning tires, I believe some additional explanation is necessary in order to avoid the conclusion that “proportional” does not mean the same thing to the IDF that it does to people who use the word honestly as if it had meaning.

Kudo rabbit rabbit!

December 1st, 2011

In addition to exquisite taste in literature, Ted Lehmann seems to have a fine blog.

Crying over fulfillment

June 20th, 2011

We all know about spam, but those of you who do not have the good fortune to be bloggers may not be familiar with comment spam.  Comment spam is an interesting, highly specialized part of the ecology of the internet, like the parasitic wasps that lay their eggs in a particular type of grub, or the orchids that smell like lobster and grow only on one species of decaying tree.

Or perhaps a more apt metaphor would be the barnacles that grow on whales, because comment spam derives its existence from that leviathan among search engines, Google.  When you search for something on Google, the list of results it presents you is ranked according to a multi-factorial formula which gives heavy weight to the number of times each site is cited on other sites.  The idea is that if a site receives more links, it is probably more authoritative.  The number one search result has the most links, and so on.  Comment spam seeks to take advantage of this mechanism by surreptitiously placing links to the spammer’s web site on as many bloggers’ sites as possible, in the form of comments to blog postings.  The spammer’s site address is embedded in some text purporting to be a comment.  If the comment is posted, it enhances the positioning of the spammer’s site among search results.  The higher you are on the list of search results, the more likely a searcher will be to click on you.

There’s a lot of comment spam.  According to the spam filter that my web host thoughtfully provides for me, in a little over a year of writing this blog I have received 4,327 spam comments.  I remember the day I turned on my computer and found that 35 had appeared overnight.  I thought I had Arrived at the Big Time!

Some of it is gibberish:

pdooflyga,.. dmikkksnsns

Some of it appeals to the blogger’s vanity:

Hello!  Interesting post!  Check my video!

or,  more typically:

It’s always good to obtain some hints like you share for blog posting.  Thank you for your top quality work and continue writing articles in such a high quality manner.

Some of it is amusingly inappropriate, like this comment that came to my web site’s biography page:

I have been searching all over the web for hours literally man thank you for this great info that I could get nowhere else.

And some of it is simply magnificent:

I precisely had to appreciate you again. I am not sure what I could possibly have sorted out without the concepts revealed by you over this topic.  It became an absolute traumatic condition for me personally, but witnessing a new specialized tactic you dealt with that made me to cry over fulfillment.  Now I’m happier for this guidance as well as sincerely hope you know what an amazing job you happen to be carrying out instructing men and women by way of your blog.  I am certain you’ve never met any of us.

Apologies to my loyal readers (both of you)

April 17th, 2011

There has been a bit of a hiatus in posts to this blog, mainly due to a delightful event in my personal life.  My daughter, a student in the film program at City College of New York, asked me to appear in the movie she is making as her senior year project.  Apparently it is difficult to find middle aged male actors in New York City who are willing to work for free and who also can be relied upon to show up for filming sober.  Having had some stage experience in high school and college, only forty years ago, I gulped and said yes.  The shoot was last weekend, and the week before was occupied with learning my lines and frantically seeking advice on how to adapt from stage training to an acting technique that wouldn’t result in immediate embarrassment on camera.  (The best advice I got was, “Don’t act.”)  Mustering enough concentration to write anything even remotely interesting that week was out of the question.

Then came the shoot.  I don’t think I am ready to write about that yet, except to say that if life has anything better to offer me than a weekend engaging in a serious, collaborative creative effort with my daughter, that’s nice, but I’ve been to the mountaintop, I’ve seen the promised land.  The problem is coming down.  To put it bluntly, returning  to normal life this week has been a bummer.  Or, as my friend Stephen Kottler put it, “Hamburger helper sucks when you’ve been eating pheasant.”

So, inspiration flags, for the moment.  I have an idea for a post about pegging income tax rates for the wealthy to the poverty rate, so that a reduction in poverty would trigger a reduction in tax rates for the upper brackets, thus giving the rich an interest in helping the poor, but having stated the premise I can’t find the words to say much else about it.  There are some interesting things to say about the Burlington open mike poetry scene – the motor-mouthed youth movement hosted by Dug Nap at Burlington City Arts, which seems to have decided once again that literature is part of its mission, and recent uproarious goings-on at the Flynndog – but they haven’t gelled yet.  I could use some prompts.  Is there something that you out there might like to have me write about?

Blues, Blogging, Boehner, Orwell, Yglesias, All in 348 Words

July 16th, 2010

After years of slogging away at a multi-volume narrative poem to which nearly nothing human is extraneous because its subject is the moral universe, it’s an interesting challenge to learn to write in the blog form.  Almost every idea seems to want to blossom into a tome of ramifications, illustrations, sources, anecdote, and argument.  Obviously, that won’t do.

One solution would be to blog on a single topic, say “poetry,” developing the theme a paragraph or two at a time.  Or let events take control, as in “politics.”  Just take the headline of the day and say something snarky about it: my god, John Boehner’s butt looks big.  Either of those strategies may work for others, but I’m a Gemini – couldn’t stay on topic if my life depended on it.

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