Every now and then I dip into the View from the Bleachers Reader Mail Bag to check out reader comments. I like to hear what my loyal following has to say about my recent posts. It may surprise you to know that my humor blog is (hardly ever) read by people all over the world – from Melbourne to Moscow to Mogadishu, and everywhere in between.
Whenever I wonder whether anybody is paying any attention to my posts, I need look no further than the blog’s comments section to discover that spammers from around the world are regularly checking out my web site. How flattering, I must say. And they always have something positive to say.
As a professional humorist and three-time Golden Globe nominee, I have found that coming up with original, entertaining topics to write about each week is a formidable challenge. But when I stop to read the highly personal reader feedback of spammers from places like Istanbul, I am reminded that this labor of love is well worth it. One week I had over 800 comments from an eclectic collection of web sites, most of which, I sheepishly admit, I had never heard of. At the risk of sounding immodest, the feedback from these spammers has been almost universally effusive. Many times, the comments are surprisingly coherent, if you can just decipher the mangled syntax.
Continue reading “VFTB humor blog garners international praise from people who can’t read English” »
Welcome back to the thrilling conclusion of my true, unedited story about my fleeting friendship with an Internet Scammer named Mr. Chris. If you missed the last week’s Part I, you can get caught up here. If you were with us last week, you know that it all started when I received the following unusual email in my SPAM mail folder.
From: kelvin chris
To: (this field was left blank)
Subject: Order Urgent
Hello. Am Mr. Kelvin Chris and will like to place an order regarding some bleachers from your company to Latvia. What is their price ranges, also your terms of payment as well. hope you answer to my request ASAP. Thank you very much and waiting for your prompt responds. God Bless You.
I would now like to let you in on a little secret – come in close…. closer… Psst: I don’t actually sell bleachers. It’s a humor blog. View from the Bleachers is a metaphor.
But Mr. Chris wanted to engage me in a bit of Internet commerce with terms most favorable to him. So I could not help but have a little fun by playing along. I never thought he would actually respond back to me after my ridiculously satirical reply. But he did. Oh yes.
Continue reading “My fleeting friendship with an Internet Scammer (Part 2 of a 2-part post)” »
Recently, I made a new friend across Cyberspace: a very nice man named Mr. Chris. Well, at least I thought he was a friend. For a week, it looked like we were going to become best buddies. But sadly this story of fleeting friendship has a heart-breaking ending.
You see, Mr. Chris is a documented Internet Scammer – listed on web sites for trying to con people out of their money by offering to overpay with a bad check or stolen credit card, and asking the victim to send back a check in return for the overpayment. Your classic Internet scam.
What made me suspicious, you might ask? Well, I think it was his first email which I stumbled onto in my SPAM mail folder which lacked any name in the “to” field. His email asked about pricing for BLEACHERS.
Continue reading “My fleeting friendship with an Internet Scammer (Part 1 of a 2-part post)” »
For ages friends have told me that I should start writing. Other than the occasional annual holiday letter or a surprise 50th birthday tribute, I admit I’ve not done nearly as much writing as I know I should. So after years and years of annoying, relentless, “you’ll regret not having ever done this when you look back on your life” pain-in-the-ass nagging (author’s note to self: Be sure to change the preceding to “supportive encouragement” before you publish – Do NOT forget!) from my wife, I decided to finally try my hand at blogging.
And all I have to say is what took me so long!! This blogging thing is a SNAP. You do not need to have five years of html programming experience or be an expert in RSS feeds, tagging, and php. And you don’t need to know about plug-ins, widgets or feed burners. You don’t need to understand the meaning of .css style sheets or header-footer dpi upload specifications. You don’t need to know ANY of that stuff -unless you want to have a blog site, that is. Then, yeah, it’s a pretty good idea to know what some of this stuff actually means.
And boy was it simple, too. Just for a chuckle, how quickly can you spot the obvious error in this html code sequence below?
<a href=”<?php echo get_option(‘home’); ?>”>
<?php bloginfo(‘name’); ?></a>
<?php bloginfo(‘description’); #>
Well if you guessed that the # symbol in the sequence <?php bloginfo(‘description’); #> should have been a “?” instead, you would have been absolutely right. It’s just that simple. Why was I so afraid? Beats me. It only took me 78 futile attempts on my own along with 15 phone calls to the web hosting support help desk (they were starting to know me by first name) to figure out how to upload my new home page header image in place of the lovely “Suzy Sunshine” sunflowers clip art that came with the page template. And here is the secret: beg, whine and plead to have the tech support person do it for you.
Well, before my baptism by html experience creating a blog site, I could not tell you the difference between a PHP code tag and an html tag, or the difference between a pingback and a trackback. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I still can’t tell the difference, but at least I now know how to spell them.
So, after just 17 hours of trying in vain to figure out what I was doing, I think I have a vague clue of how to set up a blog site and add new posts. And I did this all without bringing down a single computer network to its knees nor throwing any of our cats out the window in utter frustration.
I guess what I am saying is this: If you don’t have enough pound-your-fist-through-the-wall frustration in your life, and if your self-confidence about your computer literacy is higher than you feel it truly should be, I encourage you to create a blog site. Creating a blog site is as easy as counting to ten…. if you were a Labrador Retriever, that is.
That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.
© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2009