Why I Dread Elections

On Tuesday, June 7, California will hold a primary election. It used to be that primary elections were relatively boring affairs. No more! It seems that every candidate, every proposition is fought à l’outrance (to the death). Now that it seems that Trumpism is at war with reasonable governance, it seems that all of civilization is at stake, even in elections of judges, school board members, and dog catchers.

Every day for the last six weeks, my mailbox has been stuffed with four-color political puff pieces printed on card stock. The biggest offender is billionaire developer Rick Caruso, who is running to replace termed-out mayor Eric Garcetti, who is currently in limbo regarding Biden’s selection of him as ambassador to India. Not that I liked Garcetti, who was much too comfortable with real estate interests. And if I didn’t like Garcetti, I should vote to replace him with a real estate developer. Gack!! Ptttui!

If the onslaught were limited to my mailbox, it would be half tolerable. But now my phone rings several times a day with a SPAM RISK indicator, mostly either politicians, political groups, or so-called opinion surveys—none of which I answer.

If American politics winds up being a months-long assault on the patience of voters, no wonder I feel a sense of dread when elections are in the offing.

Naturally, the 24/7 news media are also affected by this intense combativeness. In addition, there are all the negative political TV and radio ads, which succeed only at increasing the sense of malaise. I know that we spend an inordinate amount of money on our elections. I would propose adding another expense: mailing every voter a supply of barf bags.

The Perils of Clicktivism

Yes, Let’s Put a Stop to Internet Petitions!

Yes, By All Means Let’s Put a Stop to Internet Petitions!

Let me begin by saying that, in Britain, “barking” is short for “barking mad.” There are thousands of petitions on the Internet. Even the ones that are well intentioned could have repercussions far different from your goals in signing them.

For one thing, the creator of the petition has your name and e-mail address to sell to whatever nefarious operators are in the spamming business. If you absolutely must sign an Internet petition, give them a throwaway e-mail address that you don’t care to check on a regular basis. Don’t expect your signature to have any effect at all.

Online petitions are in the news today because of the San Jose judge who sentenced a rapist to only six months in prison, with time off for good behavior. Some one million Internet users have signed petitions to remove Judge Aaron Persky. It’s a waste of time, unfortunately, because that’s not how one influences a judge.

Even more interesting—and much more effective in my opinion—was a protest by ten members of the San Jose jury pool who refuse to serve on any case in which Judge Persky is involved. That could be devastating to a jurist and force him to resign.

Clicktivism, also referred to as slacktivism, is the lazy man’s way to try to effect social change.

In the meantime, I suggest you send a tub of lubricant preferably mixed with gravel to Brock Turner’s cellmate. That’ll work, too.

R.I.P. E-Mail

Remember When E-Mail Was Really Great?

Remember When E-Mail Was Really Great?

When I return from Peru, I expect to find approximately 2,000 e-mails on each of three accounts that I have. Approximately 80% will be outright spam, and most of the rest are offers I will have no difficulty in mass deleting. How is it that such a fantastic communication medium has become so spoiled by hackers, hucksters, spammers, and others. When I scan my e-mail, I really am not really interested in enlarging my penis, ordering lookalikes of popular prescription drugs, or taking advantage of 20% sales (when I could save 100% by just deleting the offer).

Thanks to advances in viruses and malware, I find it safer by far to just delete—especially when the e-mail contains links or file attachments. Even some e-mails from my friends are suspicious: They could be used as bots for the distribution of virus payloads. The safest thing is to call the friend before following that link or loading that file.

Even when my inbox is filled with legitimate offers, merchants frequently feel that they need to hit you every day, usually with limited time offers that are invariably extended. Just because I ordered some printer toner from one vendor two years ago, I hear from them every day. Far from being appreciative of being reminded of their existence, I go out of my way to get my toner from other suppliers that don’t bug me to death.

Technology is always that way, it seems: For every three steps forward, there are two or three steps back. And it’s all because of human nature being what it is.

On Pretending to Be What You Aren’t

NFL Jerseys

NFL Jerseys

Most of the spammers who are trying to break into the comments section of my postings are in the business of trying to sell NFL jerseys to guys built like me and Louis Vuitton handbags to women who have better things to do with their money. (One huckster is trying to sell people who need dialysis on a alternative non-invasive therapy, which I think could be even more sinister.)

For every legitimate comment to my posts, there are twelve spammers trying to push real or fake fashions to people, who, if they are anything like me, would not likely have anything to do with them. I take the time and spend several minutes each day vacuuming up the spam and dumping the ashes out in the ether. iI had never encountered anything like this on Yahoo360, Blog.Com, or Multiply.Com. Oh, there were always a few right-wingers who wanted to debate me—but I can hardly debate anyone for whom I feel nothing but contempt.

This Is All You Can Afford for Othing Clothing If You Buy a Louis Vuitton Handbag

This Is All You Can Afford for Clothing If You Buy a Louis Vuitton Handbag

As for the spammers, I don’t feel contempt for them so much as wonderment that they would make such an effort to sell their wares by making comments to photographs and illustrations belonging to old blog posts. Well, I guess it’s a living of sorts—but I can’t see how.

Don’t Shop for Fakes Here

Spammers Want to Sell You Junk

Spammers Want to Sell You Junk

I have deleted some 4,500 bogus comments which have attempted to use my WordPress website for selling counterfeit goods and dubious services. These range from fake Rolexes, to fake Louis Vuittons, to prom dresses (of course, all the major débutantes follow my posts with bated breath), to fake alternatives to dialysis, to fake NFL and World Soccer Cup jerseys.

All these comments make some bland generic comment about what I write (though even more are attached to the photographs I use), accompanied by links to where you can spend real money for fake goods. Many of these comments originate in Brazil and Eastern Europe.

I am fairly confident that I haven’t let any of these junksters through; though, if by mistake I do, please feel free to not buy the proffered merchandise. Please note that I am not selling anything except, perhaps, for some slightly moldy ideas and notions.


Giving the Mafia Free Access to Your Credit

Don’t Gamble With Your Credit!

Don’t Gamble With Your Credit!

Since I have begun this blog on WordPress, I have picked up some 1,100 Spam comments. At first, they were mostly from Lista de Email or Lista de Emails from Brazil. Now an altogether more unruly crowd has moved in: “Free” Casinos.

These are mostly people who want to have free access to your credit cards and transfer your credit to their own offshore bank accounts. That’s why I check several times a day for Spam and assiduously delete it permanently, less you think I am in cahoots with these goniffs, which I am not.

I do not accept a comment unless it:

  • Responds in some way to the web posting to which it is attached (generic praise just doesn’t cut it) and
  • It does not have a number of links sending you all over the Internet.

So if someone finds a way of escaping my vigilance, know that I do not endorse any commenter’s website unless it pertains to the discussion in my blog postings.


The Brazilians Love Me

Brazilian Samba from Rio

Brazilian Samba from Rio, Of Course!

To be more precise, Lista de Email loves me. I get at least one comment a day from them, from a sports website in Portuguese at http://www.boliche.com.br. They always have something nice to say, though it is so nonspecific that I could be talking in my web postings about roasting nude Brazilian women on a spit and they would be making the same vaguely encouraging comments.

If the intent was to get people to visit their website, well, you can click on the link above and make them happy. In the meantime, I will continue to erase all their comments from my website lest I appear to be a bookie from Sao Paulo. I don’t think I am, but maybe I’m wrong.

In the meantime, the Lista de Email siege continues unabated. I’m preparing the boiling oil, and, if they really rub me the wrong way, it will be time to fetchez la vache.


A New Kind of Spam

A New Kind of Spam That Caught Me Off Guard

In the last three months since I started posting at WordPress, I’ve discovered a new kind of Spam. At least WordPress labels it as Spam, and I go along with it. For every two legitimate comments I get, there are three generally favorable but wildly nonspecific comments that seem to be associated with commercial ventures on the Internet. My  guess is that it’s a plot to get a more favorable ranking for their own websites with Google.

Some few are “helpful,” such as those offering to help me get more visitors to my own little website here at Tarnmoor.Com. Curiously, my anti-malware program usually blocks their websites, so I can only assume they are helpful only in the sense that a pickpocket will attempt to lull you into a false sense of security.

So if you have some general comment of praise without mentioning any specifics to show that you’ve actually read what I’ve written, your comment may well be deleted by me as possible Spam.

It’s such a complicated world in which I have to be so ruthless with so many (over 160 to date) favorable comments completely out of the blue.

You see, I don’t really want thousands of visitors a day to my website. I have nothing to sell. I do, however, have some sort of compulsion to express myself. That’s why I posted for over a year on Blog.Com, a Portuguese blog host whose total membership could probably fit into a telephone booth. (You remember those, don’t you?)