Wednesday, November 25, 2009

No More Mr. Nice Guy

The following is a comment which appeared twice today on a 2 year old post, once in English and once in French. It's written by "Anonymous" and I'm thinking Anonymous is a fancy way of saying Spam-bot. This is what the comment said, word for word:

"Our well-bred support team of hilarious equipped pharmacists resolve take you Best Discount Pharmacy On-line, consulting on disparate healthiness questions."
[Editor's note: I removed the website URL mentioned in the comment because I don't want to be an accomplice for such mindless "marketing." Plus if I re-posted the URL, it might just encourage Son-of-Spam to also lurk around the 2 year old comment section of my blog.]
If you're like me, most of the time receiving a comment on a blog post is like getting a virtual high five. It's an affirmation that what you wrote touched someone in some way. Leaving or receiving a comment is a little piece of humanity that transcends the miles and reaches out across the nameless Blog-o-sphere to offer a human touch.

The above comment, however, does not, and it just annoys me on so many levels. First, it's so poorly written and so impersonal and it has nothing to do with the post on which it appeared. Plus, it doesn't take a rocket scientist or an IT guy to know that this comment is obviously spam. Nobody likes spam; and no matter how you slice it, dice it, saute it, marinate it, or fry it, spam is still spam. . . and nobody really knows what the heck spam is even made of.
Okay now let's talk about the content of the "comment." I may not be an English professor, but grammatically, this comment is akin to listening to someone scratch a chalkboard while having a tooth drilled at the dentist. And the word choice?! Just strange. What in the world does"disparate healthiness questions" even mean? Disparate healthiness?? Maybe something was lost in translation from Spam-sylvania.

And while we're at it, did you notice how the spam pharmaceutical "support team" is described? Perhaps I'm too picky, but when I'm in the market for medicine, I'm usually more interested in the fact that the pharmacist is a real-live, breathing person and that he/she can read and fill a prescription correctly. Period. It's all business for me. I really don't care if the pharmacist is "well-bred" or "hilarious." CVS is not a country club and it's certainly not a comedy club.

I've just about had it with these insidious spam messages, so in an effort to "stick it to the man Spam-bot," I'm writing this open letter to all the weird, creepy, nosey, questionable, grammatically-challenged robots (well-bred or not) out in the Blog-o-sphere. (If I could find a way to reverse-spam this to all the robots in the world I would.)

To Spamever it may concern,

Your recent unwanted attempt at soliciting my patronage has forced me not only to leave my mini-vacation to deal with your insidious assault on my blog and my email, but it has also caused me untold annoyance and personal real-live, human distress. I am not now, nor in the future, interested in hearing about your "discount pharmaceuticals" whether or not you are hilarious, well-bred, or can answer my disparate healthiness questions.
Kindly keep your creepy, non-human robotic tentacles out of the comment section of my blog archives. If you continue invading my virtual personal space, I may be forced to resort to more aggressive means of defending my home turf; to fight fire with fire, or in this case, Spambots with Spam-i-cide, otherwise known as the dreaded Letter Verification.

Sincerely and humanly yours,

[Update: I've received 4 more comments from Sir Spam-a-lot, which has forced me to initiate the comment letter verification function. I know how inconvenient it is to wade through letter verification but I have no other choice. Sad how a few bad spam-apples can spoil it for everyone else. My apologies to all the real people.]

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Opposites Don't Necessarily Attract

This is our dog Cooper. (He looks a little like Rin Tin Tin, but don't let this classic, take-on-the-world pose fool you. He has a major Napoleon complex.)

This is our other dog Jude. (Don't let his cuteness fool you either. He goes by many names: Sir Chews-a-lot, Night Stalker, and The Destroyer. You've met Jude on several occasions: here , here, here, and here.)

This is Jude's lair. It's a one foot space behind our sofa. There's always a revolving assortment of "treasures" stashed here, including shoes, pencils, stuffed animals, bras, various candy wrappers and misplaced rolls of toilet paper. Whenever something is missing, I can almost always find it here, usually half-chewed and soggy.

This is Cooper and Jude together. This snapshot says much about their love/hate relationship. Jude loves to annoy Cooper, and play. Cooper loves to hate Jude, and hide. Just look at the eyes on Cooper's face. Talk about a picture worth a thousand words.

These two pups are about as opposite as you get. Jude is a Shih-poo, and he's a cute, fluffy, bouncy bundle of mischievous fun. And Cooper. . .well, Cooper is not. He is a rat terrier, and he was just born old. . . and grumpy. Plus, Cooper has really thin skin, both figuratively and literally. I think his old-man, frumpy nature goes back to his early days with us. Cooper was a Christmas gift from Santa, and his name really should have been "Bah-Humbug." Santa brought Cooper to our house even though Mrs. Claus really didn't think a puppy was a good idea at the time, especially not an inside puppy. So Santa and Cooper formed a bond of solidarity and Cooper has been a one-person dog ever since; and that person is not Mrs. Claus.
Cooper is all about business. His sole mission on this earth is to eat as much food as he possibly can, to protect our home from squirrels, to chew holes in every blanket in our house, and to escape from Jude. Jude on the other hand is all about fun. He lives for the moment and delights in finding (or creating) mischief. He is the definition of Epicurean. One of his favorite antics, besides splashing in mud puddles and driving Cooper insane, involves running through the house with someone's shoes or underwear.

This is what I deal with/ listen to all day long. It's mostly good-natured fun, but occasionally the gloves come off and the play-fighting escalates into a real spat. It's like I've been teleported back 15+ years when I was refereeing 3 munchkins and a newborn.

Speaking of 3 munchkins and a newborn. . . (Nice segue, huh? :) This a pic of what the 3 munchkins look like now. And wonder of wonders, they really enjoy hanging out with each other. These guys have been in and out of our house a lot this fall. It's like a revolving door of college books, ipods, and laundry.

This is my newborn. (Her photo editing too.) She recently earned her learner's permit, but that is an entirely different post. :)

And this is Santa. Santa comes home for R and R from Iraq in 3 days.

Cooper and Mrs. Claus are very happy. :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thoughts and prayers for the victims at Fort Hood and their families.