Whether I like it or not, there are a number of tasks that require my attention every day here at the Echoes In The Wind studio.
The most time-consuming job, certainly, is dusting the mp3s. With the total count now at more than 47,000, the only way that task becomes manageable is to split it into parts and dust a section of the shelves each day. As soon as I get this post out through the tubes of the Interweb this morning, I’m going to take my box of swabs and tackle the shelves that hold the Cs, starting at Al (Jazzbo) Collins, Al Caiola and Al Casey and ending the day’s effort somewhere around Judy Collins and Junior Campbell, about a quarter of the way through that letter’s files.
It’s a real chore, but it’s necessary. I mean, you know what an mp3 sounds like when it gets even a small speck of dirt in its little bits, right? It’s not pretty.
Of course, before dusting – even before writing – I have to check on the staff. Odd and Pop, my two little tuneheads, are very bright, but they’re so focused on music that I have to keep an eye on them regarding practical details. So I check to make sure their socks match and that they have their shoes on the right feet. I’ve given up trying to coordinate the rest of their wardrobes; Odd’s doing the unappreciated singer-songwriter thing today – a blue workshirt, faded jeans and battered boots. (“Thirsty boots,” he says, correcting me and making an Eric Andersen reference at the same time.) Pop, on the other hand, went for the mid-Seventies look today: He’s wearing a cobalt blue leisure suit with shiny white shoes and he’s humming “Year of the Cat.”
And then, I have to clean up the spam.
I have no idea how many readers stop by here these days. I had a visitor counter at the first EITW location in the Blogger neighborhood, and I was getting about 350 visits a day. But when I was forced to leave the place, I left my counter behind. And by the time I realized it wasn’t in the boxes I was carting around the Interweb in search of a new place – you might recall I spent some time in the WordPress district before moving here – it was far too late to go back for it. And I’ve learned to live without it.
So, as I said, I have no idea how many actual readers show up here or how anyone new might find me. But the folks who throw spam into the tubes sure can find me. And that’s created the most tedious task of the day. Every morning, I open the door to the EITW studio and find the floor covered with spam, usually about 500 pieces of it, all of them disguised as comments on posts here. There’s so much of it that legitimate comments sometimes get buried, and I’m always fearful that I’ll miss something and offend a new visitor or puzzle an old friend when the comment isn’t put onto the bulletin board where it belongs.
Most of the spam on the floor is directed at old posts. Someone named Opetreapeli has become obsessed with a post from last June titled “Brezhnev? Yes, Brezhnev” and keeps sending me lists of URLs that link to Russian porn. No thanks. If I want porn, it’s going to be good old American porn featuring loyal Midwestern girls with liberty and nudity for all.
Another frequent spammer by the name of Hannelore Scammahorn keeps telling me of the wonders of the acai berry: “It’s like eating a fruit,” she says, adding, “Best check with your attending physician.” Well, if something’s so out of the mainstream that I have to check with my doctor before eating it, I can do without it. I mean, I don’t call Dr. Julie to see if I can have a cheeseburger or a piece of pie or even a plate of spicy curry. And how a risky berry connects with a post titled “Diggin’ On Neil Diamond In The Basement,” I have no idea. So I think I’ll pass on the acai berry, but thanks, Hannelore.
Among the names that have popped up recently on the spam on the floor are a trio that I can only assume are the Tops sisters, with the first names of Trendy, Dressy and Casual. The three leave notes on numerous posts, spending a lot of time and effort trying to educate me about convertible pants. They’re wasting their time. First of all, I have a four-door sedan, not a convertible (although a 1965 Mustang convertible would be way cool). And even if I had a convertible, I wouldn’t put pants on it. The idea is so silly that I have a sense that the Tops sisters are referring to something else, but being fashion impaired, I haven’t a clue what it is. And I really don’t care.
One of the most fascinating pieces of spam that I’ve had to pick up off the floor – and I do this by myself; neither Odd nor Pop will touch the stuff – was from Orchard Bank, which is a funny name. It sounds more like a business than a person. Anyway, at my post titled “Dancing Lions & Annoyed Vikings,” Orchard left a note that I don’t quite understand:
“I am pleased for this useful fantastic page; this may be the sort of topic that sustains me though out the day. We’ve normally heard been lately needing shut to in your web-site best just after I noticed about these from a close good friend and was delighted when I was inside a placement to acquire it pursuing wanting out for a while. Being a passionate blogger, I’m pleased to find out other men and women taking project and including to the neighborhood. I just wished to remark to demonstrate my being familiar with for any release as it is especially inviting, and many writers do not get the credit they ought to have. I’m positive I’ll be again once more and will send a several of my friends.”
Including to the neighborhood is a good idea, and I guess that if I were inside a placement, I, too, would be wanting out for a while. And the idea of being again once more is intriguing. Thanks a several, Orchard! But please, you and all the other spammers, I’m tired of cleaning up the mess. So heed the words of Fontella Bass and Bobby McClure: “Don’t Mess Up A Good Thing.”
(The tune in the video above was a pretty sizeable hit: It went to No. 33 on the pop chart and to No. 5 on the R&B chart in the spring of 1965.)