If Wishes Were ???

This post has been sitting in my drafts folder for a long time. The original title was “If Wishes Were Fishes” because that rhymes. That is a common saying, but it wasn’t the nursery rhyme I was thinking of:

If wishes were horses then beggars would ride,
If turnips were swords I’d have one by my side.
If ‘ifs’ and ‘ands’ were pots and pans
There would be no need for tinker’s hands!

I pulled the post out of the drafts folder, planning to delete it because I had written it based on a current event in 2013, but one I never thought would remain timely. My addition to the nursery rhyme was to include:

If spam counted as comments
I’d be rockin’ my stats.

That’s because if I counted the stuff Akismet has removed, I’d have 14 times more comments on my blog. 14X. An order of magnitude and then some more comments.


I know, I wrote about spam earlier this week. This is different. Trust me. This isn’t about spam and it’s not about marketing. This is about the currents and eddies and backwater rivulets of Internet activity that can’t be easily explained. OK, now I sense that half of you are saying “Ohhhhh, why couldn’t this be about spam? How about a little background?

In my all-time favorite episode of Star Trek (original series) “The City on the Edge of Forever”, Dr. McCoy gets juiced up on an overdose of a wonder drug, overpowers a few security guards and beams down to a barren planet. Captain Kirk, Commander Spock and a few other important crew members, (Start Trek was famous for putting the Enterprise’s senior staff into harm’s way) follow McCoy to the planet. There they discover the Guardian of Forever, a time portal. Of course McCoy jumps through the portal, changes history and wipes out the Federation. The only option is for Kirk and Spock to go back in time, find McCoy and prevent him from doing whatever it was he did.

Remarkably, the Guardian is sophisticated enough to be able to send people through time, powerful enough to record all of time to-date, but has no memory of where the last passenger went. No redial-last-number. No undo button, no slow-motion and no instant-replay options.

Kirk and Spock land in New York City, about a week before McCoy arrives. The time is the 1930’s, well before transporters, GPS, the Internet, jet aircraft and any reliable means of finding another person in your neighborhood, let alone somewhere-on-the-planet. Kirk is frustrated by the fear of never finding McCoy and being stuck in a past without a flagship to command, but Spock assuages the Captain’s fears with a bit of curious reasoning (full dialog is here if you’re interested):

Spock: “There is a theory. There could be some logic to the belief that time is fluid, like a river, with currents, eddies, backwash.”

Capt. Kirk: “And the same currents that swept McCoy to a certain time and place might sweep us there, too.”

Lately, I’m thinking that that that theory applies to the Internet. You see, about 30,000 of those 45,894 spam comments were attempts to comment on my post “On the Radio” from July 2012. July 2012 is back when this blog was averaging about 3 visits a day. The reason I didn’t throw this post away is because over 200 of the 323 comments in my spam queue today are for that post. I am trying to figure out what it is about that post that acts as a spam magnet. The categories and tags used on that post appear in about 20% of my posts so I don’t think there’s anything special about that one post. The post itself has not been viewed that many times (although I really like it).

I have a few theories of my own.

Theory number one: the one comment and the one pingback that post did receive are themselves spam that snuck through Akismet’s usually adept filter. If that’s true, they might be guiding other spam to a what appears as a spam-friendly blog post.

Theory number two: A ‘bot’ or a ‘botnet’ is stuck in the groove or is no longer able to update its targets.

Theory number three: Spammers and bots are being led to that post by some mysterious force and 60% of all future spam will land there regardless of what I do.

I can’t do anything about theories two and three, imagebut I can delete the comment and the pingback. The other thing I can’t figure out is why so much of that spam, well over 50% is from people trying to sell Ugg Boots. In any case, Akismet is doing a fine job. The reason people try to spam your blog’s comments is to impress Google with links to their web page. If wishes were fishes in this case, their sites would appear at the top of my search results instead of three paid-for ads and Nordstrom.

Pictures – I don’t have many pictures of horses. The ones included here are from a horseback tour Faith and I took while visiting Gettysburg in 2012.

39 thoughts on “If Wishes Were ???

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  1. I often wonder about all those stats myself. I especially wonder how some blogs get hundreds of hits every day when they’re barely literate. Maybe they don’t filter their spam. I’m just glad if my mom and dad read my blog. Everyone else is whipped cream, nuts and cherries.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The post that has all this spam only has about a dozen views Kami. I learned a lot about the ways you can like a post and comment on a post without triggering a view. It’s crazy stuff. Like you, happy when any real live can-fog-a-mirror person reads and I’m thrilled when someone comments. Thank you so much!


  2. Wow, that was a circuitous and entertaining way of giving me a sign that i really SHOULD order those Ugg boots from Amazon. I like Askimet as much as I like Amazon. No spam, no emails, just occasional Dan.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sammy, did you think I was joking when I said thst I couldn’t order a beer in less than 400 words? As long as my emails get through your systems are working fine :) Thanks so much for the ongoing support.


  3. This post had a bit of everything, Dan — I only knew the first part of that nursery rhyme; I’d never heard the turnip/tinkers bit. I’m a big fan of the original Star Trek series (though why McCoy goes on so many missions is mystifying), so that part was especially fun to read.

    Who knows about the spam? This one picture of my daughter seemed to be attracting most of the spam, so I took it out of my sidebar, and the spam decreased. That is odd about your one post. . . .

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I was pretty sure you weren’t using Klingon in your reply, Dan (just kidding: actually, my older daughter knows some Klingon; she likes fictional languages). Your post caused me to read up on The City on the Edge of Forever: I’d forgotten that Joan Collins played Edith, and I had no idea that there were several versions of the script. For a show that lasted only three seasons, “Star Trek” had some intriguing episodes, although some were what my family used to call the-monster-of-the-week. “A Piece of the Action” is a personal favorite.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I do have a Klingon dictionary and a cassette tape version of a Klingon language program, but that was pure iPhone madness. Why it would correct a misspelled word into that string is beyond me. I do like “A Piece of the Action” and I liked most of the monster-of-the-week ones. Thanks!

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Hell Dan, I didn’t know there was such a thing as pioneering spam that have the ability to sense vulnerability and then to lead the rest in. Really enjoyed the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. very interesting about how that post is driving so much spam. I like your theories. I also wonder if something in it made it to a bunch of other blogs -like from other fans of the show – or if it got pinned somewhere and then that keeps getting picked up by harvesters. Also, I heard to not trust in the views logged for pageviews- heard that many go unlogged – I dunno….
    interesting post :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I dont trust page views. Apparently there are many ways to read, like and even commemt without counting as a view. Also, my view count is all messed up right now becsuse of the times I’ve used galleries for photos. Apparently clicking in the gallery counts as a view. I’ll see if deleting those suspect comments mskes a difference. Thsnks for reading, commenting and being real :)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. well de nada Dan! and after I read this I checked in my spam folder and found that I also had a post that was generating much of the spam – and actually it was a certain blogger who seems to bring in a lot – very interesting stuff – have a nice day

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I wish for all of the world to just get along! I also am thankful for my family and friends, who for the most part don’t hurt each other. I am happy with not having very much spam lately. Not that I upgraded or any special reason, maybe the spammers gave up on me! Smiles and hope you have a fantastic month, Dan. I wrote (accidentally) on another post, I really liked your photo of a girl on the horse, is she your daughter?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love that rhyme, Dan! I’ve never come across it before. I’ve, however, come across a certain nursery school rhyme about Lizzie Borden. That one did make me burst out with laughter. I love also the photos you have posted. The background of the second one with your daughter is wonderful. The field looks great.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am familiar with the Lizzie Borden rhyme. In fact, Lizzie was from Fall River, MA and some of my wife’s family is from there. She always teases me about that when I hand her an ax to hold. That field is part of the Gettysburg Battlefield national park. It is beautiful today, but once was covered in blood and dead and wounded soldiers. Touring the battlefield on horseback was amazing, as we got a sense of how awful the conditions must have been for those men. Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Love your photos taken in Gettysburg. Still on my to-do list. Soon…
    Because my blog is a small ‘venture’ the spammers ignore me. Most of the time. Just tell me why the only post that was constantly spammed was the one about the Book Night, a book giveaway on Shakepeare’s birthday. I still don’t know if it’s the word “night” or the name of the playwriter that triggered the riot, but I got lots of spam on that post. Akismet didn’t seem to know what to do either. So I simply, methodically marked each one of them as spams and within a few months their number declined and has now stopped.
    Always cool to see that you have something funny to write on topics that would keep most of us silent.


    1. Thanks! Gettysburg was one of the best trips/tours that I’ve done. It was a little special to me since I had family on Pennsylvania and Virginia but I think it would impress anyone. If you like horses, or even if you just “aren’t afraid of horses” I would highly recommend the tour on horseback. It’s the only way to see some of the battlefield from the perspective of those who fought there. When the guide pointed up to Little
      Roundtop and said “the large cannons had a range of 2 miles, the small ones, a little more than a mile” and then added “we’re about 3/4 of a mile from those cannon” – you could feel the point sink in across the tour group. If you want to see more pictures, my album is located here – https://flic.kr/s/aHsjByY4jm

      Faith’s album (preferred) is here – https://flic.kr/s/aHsjGAh88d


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