Portraits of Wildflowers

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“Always deal with it up,” or “I will try to get the cling oof it!”—Quaint spam comes my way

with 58 comments

For four New Year’s Days in a row I posted a compilation of strange search engine terms that had brought people to my blog during the preceding year. WordPress’s reporting of search-engine terms has largely dried up, but there’s never an end to spam, so this year for your “edification” I’ll give you a sample of some of the strange spam I’ve received. The grammar, spelling, and punctuation are just as they appeared.

So as not to have a pictureless post, at the end I’ve added a landscape photograph from the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park on November 22. No penalty for skipping down to the scenery and ignoring the babble.

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Chisos Mountains Scenery 0027

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 1, 2016 at 5:15 AM

58 Responses

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  1. Word soup for New Year’s! Actually, the English teacher in me found the one beginning “This is our first time….” pretty clear. I guess I’ve taught too much freshman composition over the years.

    Marcia Levy

    January 1, 2016 at 7:48 AM

    • Much of the spam I get seems to have been written by people whose native language isn’t English. The meaning of the one you mentioned is clear but I included it because of the curious mismatches in pronouns: “This is our first time i visit here” and “I guess I am not on your own.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 1, 2016 at 10:17 AM

    • Your experience teaching freshman composition reminds me of my experience teaching AP Statistics, which has a substantial essay-question component. Sometimes on a test a student wrote something that didn’t make sense, and when I asked the student to explain what the sentence meant, a common answer was “I don’t know.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 1, 2016 at 11:16 AM

  2. It’s gonna be hard to top this, Steve.


    January 1, 2016 at 7:51 AM

    • There’s no reason to assume I’ve been singled out, Ken. I’ll bet that if you check your WordPress spam comments you can put together a post at least as weird as mine.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 1, 2016 at 10:30 AM

  3. Such a shame WP no longer collects those search-engine terms, they were often really funny!


    January 1, 2016 at 8:13 AM

    • They were, and I was sorry to see them dwindle to a trickle. My understanding is that Google has increasingly encrypted search-engine terms, so the fault seems not to be with WordPress.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 1, 2016 at 10:43 AM

  4. The strange world of cyberspace works mysteriously, and quite obviously reflects humanity’s own strange and wondrous ways.


    January 1, 2016 at 8:34 AM

    • I still don’t understand what spammers expect to gain from most of this gobbledygook. I doubt they’re trying to amuse us, but that’s sometimes the effect they’re having.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 1, 2016 at 10:45 AM

  5. ¡Qué barbaridad! Yo por si acaso no indago… Qué difícil es lo que haces ¿no?
    En cualquier caso, hoy estrenamos año y yo deseo que tengas un excelente año 2016.
    Un abrazo.

  6. “tintinnabulation…you produce those one-of-a-benign pieces”

    My thoughts exactly. Are you sure this one was spam?

    Hoppy Gnu Yeer

    Jim Ruebush

    January 1, 2016 at 9:39 AM

    • I envy you. For years I’ve been striving to produce one-of-a-benign pieces, but I’m not sure I’ve succeeded. If I can just get better tintinnabulation in 2016, maybe I’ll achieve benignity.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 1, 2016 at 11:08 AM

  7. Pahahahaha! I do read through some of mine just for laughs 😉 Happy New Year Steve 😀

  8. I am always amazed by the cyber world we now inhabit…Have a wonderful 2016 Steve.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    January 1, 2016 at 1:44 PM

    • “Amazed” sometimes seems like the right word, but at other times “appalled” fits the bill. Let’s hope for more of the first than of the second. Happy New Year to you, Charlie.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 1, 2016 at 1:57 PM

  9. I think that a lot of the spam is computer generated as it appears to be gibberish in many cases. I have found that some of the ones that almost approach relevance in the text are from porn sites or other sleaze. And there are many that are trying to sell things. I’ve thought about sharing a few copy and pastes but instead just select all and delete. I must be terribly naive as I just don’t understand why people spend their time on things such as this as well as hacking.

    Steve Gingold

    January 1, 2016 at 6:46 PM

    • I’ve wondered that, too. Perhaps if enough people click through to those sites the owners of the sites can claim higher numbers of hits and charge more—but charge more to whom and for what? Maybe it’s just the Internet equivalent of exhibitionism. The main reason I occasionally check WordPress’s spam file is to rescue the occasional real comment that wrongly got put there.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 1, 2016 at 8:26 PM

      • While I also go there to rescue legitimate comments, I try to regularly empty it as I think it may count against the data limit.
        It’s possible that the sites have advertisements and clicks yield larger payment by said advertisers.

        Steve Gingold

        January 2, 2016 at 3:31 AM

        • I’ll bet by now people—both in academia and advertising—have done thorough studies of spam.

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 2, 2016 at 8:03 AM

  10. Steve, I can’t decide if you did it on purpose, but it’s wonderful. First you gave us the spam, and then you offered up a photo of rocks that could function as a tower. It’s perfect — we’ve started out the new year with our very own “Tower of Babble.”


    January 1, 2016 at 7:09 PM

    • Leave it to you, Linda, to find a novel way to link the towering mountains with the babble of spam. That wasn’t intentional but I’m always willing to give my subconscious credit for something clever. You might say the Big Bend got bent to serve an alternate purpose.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 1, 2016 at 8:30 PM

  11. What’s amazing is that someone paid for the software that generated that babble. Love the mountain image – best wishes for you and your photography in the new year.


    January 1, 2016 at 10:42 PM

    • Big Bend is a good place to visit, especially if you haven’t yet made it there.

      I don’t understand people paying for babble-generating software, but then I’ve thought more and more often that the older I get the less I understand the world.

      Happy pictures to us as we go leaping through this leap year.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 1, 2016 at 11:44 PM

      • I’d love to visit Big Bend – one of a long list of places in US and elsewhere I’d like to check out.


        January 2, 2016 at 7:59 AM

  12. What a tintinnabulation; my ears are still ringing from the cyber babble. Perhaps the spam has been put through a poor quality translator. I feel I have to be a bit kind since thanks to the spam in your post I learned a new word…..tintinnabulation! My new version of Skype has a translation facility I have yet to explore. I wonder if it is reliable. Conversations could get messy otherwise.


    January 2, 2016 at 5:26 AM

    • Probably the place where I learned the word tintinnabulation was Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Bells,” which you can read as you listen to Phil Ochs’s song version.

      You seem to have hit it with your suggestion that at least some of the spam we get has been [badly] translated into English by computer translators. Now you’ve got me wondering what the most common original languages are. Imagine if your Skype translation were as bad as some of this spam: messy indeed

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 2, 2016 at 8:35 AM

      • I tried French Skype and German Skype today. Seem okay as long as I keep my sentences short. Phil Ochs does a pleasing translation of Poe’s poem. I do enjoy Ochs. Thank you for introducing him to me.


        January 3, 2016 at 5:20 AM

  13. Lol .. Never a dull moment blogging!


    January 2, 2016 at 12:19 PM

  14. As a child of the 60s, I find Spam unexpectedly spicy, mysterious, and delightful, whether it comes in a blue tin or as online comments. Your sharers are no less hilariously generous than mine, I see! May 2016 bring you a plethora of such adventures in verbiage, along with more purposeful gifts. 😀


    January 4, 2016 at 1:59 PM

    • While you were writing this I was leaving a comment chez toi. You may recall that my wife, Eve, is from the Philippines, where she tells me that people still prize the canned kind of Spam, even to the point of bringing some home when they visit from the United States. Oy vey. It reminds me of a time I was over there and someone asked if I’d like some fruit juice. Being in a country full of tropical fruits, I said yes; what I got was a glass of Tang. Oy vey again.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 4, 2016 at 2:09 PM

      • Ha! Yes, I know at least a few of our world’s island/tropical cultures still treasure that delectable Luncheon Meat of ‘spiced ham’. I gather from what you say that Eve herself is not a fan!

        I remember reading Paul Theroux’s ‘The Happy Isles of Oceania’—one of the darker “happy” books I’ve read, if I recall correctly—and his coming across folk who claimed that this Spam affection/addiction sprang directly from the stuff’s being reminiscent of the “long pig” (human flesh) once savored by local cannibals. I tend to prefer the view that any processed foods meant to have a long shelf life and distract us from the lower quality of available ingredients with such homogeneous texture and heightened flavors are merely a comforting throwback to our younger years, whether of childish picky palates or of individual or cultural poverty. Of course, I say this without having tasted Spam in ages. Would I be horrified now? Or would I just get a rush of nostalgia? Only a taste can tell….

        The Tang thing wasn’t big in our house, for whatever reason, but I do have vivid (orange) memories of it being mixed with powdered instant tea for the 70s’ highly popular hot potion known as “Russian Tea,” which, not at all surprisingly, bore no resemblance whatsoever to any actual Russian tea I’ve enjoyed. 😀

        My experience of this “fruit juice” phenomenon was when I was on a concert-series supervising committee that quickly morphed into a semi-gourmet dining group that simply pasted committee meetings onto our increasingly elaborate dinner parties. Most of the group were much more sophisticated cooks/chefs than I, so I ate very well indeed! Whoever hosted provided the main entree, and all others were assigned or volunteered for complementary dishes and drinks. The one couple none of the rest of us old cronies in the group (uh, committee) knew very well opted to offer Sangria when we were going to have a Spanish-tinged meal, and arrived, beaming, with a mixture of purplish plonk and Hawaiian Punch. I *think* we all managed to evade detection in our shock and horrified hilarity, but only just. Such sweet people deserved to remain blissfully ignorant of our snobbery. But it still gives me a little frisson to remember the concoction.

        The memory of this dining group, in turn, reminds me of another humorous incident, this time with the biggest snob in the gang. He was a retired professor who throughout his adult life affected what others among us called his “stained glass voice,” a booming basso voice-of-God sort of thing, and happily pontificated on any and every topic he launched or could interject his wisdom into, but he was kind-hearted and actually learned as well, so we all took it with a grain of salt. He wasn’t necessarily a chef himself, but an educated eater, and his wife was a fine baker. So when they hosted the gathering, she brought gorgeous dinner rolls hot out of the oven, much to our collective delight. No one was happier at the sight and scent of them than her husband, who intoned loudly, “I just *love* Polly’s buns!!!” Since we knew him far better than we did the aforementioned couple, none of us hesitated in falling all over ourselves with laughing, and he of course joined in when he realized what he’d announced. I, for one, was just glad he hadn’t gotten any further toward ruminating on the buns’ wonderful softness and warmth.

        Here’s to adventuresome eating and drinking!

        And thanks for giving me a post idea! 😀


        January 4, 2016 at 3:56 PM

        • I’m glad to have given you a post idea, and glad as well to have called up all those culinary memories. The fun you had comes across in your descriptions of those events, especially the episode of the buns. (And of course there was your revulsion at the would-be sangria that was akin to mine at the “juice” I was offered.

          Eve grew up eating like a typical Filipina, but when she later taught high school she came in contact with and was much influenced, along with some of her closest teacher friends, by some yogis. One consequence is that she gave up eating meat in the 1970s, as did I independently at the same in the United States, and we’ve continued in that tradition ever since.

          Bon appétit.

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 4, 2016 at 7:11 PM

          • Then I’ll also be glad to have you serve as a guide for eateries in your area that feed vegetarians well, since when we come down with my sister this spring we’ll be happy to know of those—she’s ovo-lacto-pescetarian but eschews meat.


            January 4, 2016 at 7:37 PM

            • We’re like your sister. There’s been an Indian vegetarian restaurant here for years that might do the trick. There’s another vegetarian staple that’s been here even longer, Mother’s Café, which leans Mexican. Just let us know a little before you come and we’ll gladly arrange to meet you, as we discussed last year (sounds so long ago).

              Steve Schwartzman

              January 4, 2016 at 7:46 PM

            • And I can’t resist pointing out that your sister is not someone who eschews cashews. In fact it’s meet for a vegetarian to eat cashews.

              Steve Schwartzman

              January 4, 2016 at 7:50 PM

              • Well, *that’s* just nuts.

                Okay, I suppose more accurately, it’s seedy—since the “nut” grows inside a fruit, it’d be a seed, right? [Yep, I did look it up now.] But the pun works better the other way. Here’s to tasty nightshades, over which it is meet that we all should meet. Indian *and* Mexican deliciousness—how will we ever choose!


                January 5, 2016 at 11:42 AM

                • You could eat at one on your way down and the other on your way back, if time allows.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  January 5, 2016 at 12:14 PM

  15. isn’t it priceless?! simply too funny.
    i was inspired a number of months back to post something similar based on spam in my corner, including the spelling and various creative grammatical structures as provided. in my records someone’s cousin had allegedly recommended my post as well. one of my favourites was almost a compliment – ‘i used to be able to find good advice here.’ 🙂
    one that i really enjoyed in your collection really puts it succinctly – “You really make it seem really easy with your presentation”. sorry, couldn’t resist – even though it might throw this comment in your spam box too.
    happy new year & thanks for sharing. 🙂

    pix & kardz

    January 9, 2016 at 1:04 AM

    • WordPress didn’t put your comment in its spam folder but my e-mail program did put WordPress’s notification into the Junk folder. The comment about a cousin or brother recommending my blog is a common spam ploy, as you’ve confirmed from your experience. The “used to be able to find good advice here” betrays an origin in a foreign language, because the person (or machine translation) didn’t understand the nuance of “used to” in English. And speaking of “used to,” I used to teach math, and over the years I got good enough at explaining the subject that students would say “You really make it seem easy.”

      Thanks for the link to your post about spam.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 9, 2016 at 9:27 AM

  16. Aw, man! Your search engine terms were the best! These spams are hard to beat though. Thanks for the entertaining compilation.


    January 15, 2016 at 6:26 PM

    • You’re welcome. I was sorry to see those search engine terms fade away but there was nothing I could do about it. The spam played second fiddle, and some people (you included) liked the tune.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 15, 2016 at 10:30 PM

  17. Apart from the violent, rude spam the messages I receive often amuse me. Sometimes I read them out to my daughter which makes them sound even worse. Fortunately, I don’t receive a lot of spam. Occasionally a real comment is spammed so I always check my spam folder. I miss seeing the search engine terms on my stats page. Some are hilarious and I can imagine the disappointment when they turned up on my very very tame blog! Thanks for sharing these, Steve. 🙂


    January 23, 2016 at 12:52 AM

    • You’re welcome, Jane. I preferred the search engine terms, but this was the best substitute I could think of. Even the spam, however, doesn’t seem as “good” as it used to, so I don’t know what I’ll do next New Year’s Day—assuming I even have a post that day.

      One interesting sidelight was that every time WordPress sent me an e-mail notifying me of a comment about this post, my e-mail program put the notification in its Junk folder, even though WordPress didn’t put the comments themselves in its Spam folder.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 23, 2016 at 7:00 PM

  18. […] “Always deal with it up,” or “I will try to get the cling oof it!”—Quaint spam comes my wa… by Portraits of […]

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