Tuesday, October 11, 2016


A convention of my readers.
I have no illusions about the general size of my audience. Occasionally, one of the usual readers will forward to friends a piece they find particularly illuminating or appalling. 

There are times, too, when a new reader accidentally stumbles upon the blog (Hi, John!). They then return on a regular basis, as my opinion acts as an official gateway to the world of B-movies, political fatuity, and the end of the world, which can't come soon enough.

So you can imagine my surprise about a month ago when, overnight, my readership shot up to around 300 a day. For many blogs, that would be a pathetic showing indeed. For my scribblings, however, it was not only Brobdingnagian, it was highly dubious. 

My "overview stats" page features a global map which highlighted where those hits were coming from. By a wide margin, they were located in Russia. By happenstance or not, this coincided with growing news coverage regarding Russia's alleged hacking into American sites and servers. 

But unlike Hillary Clinton's emails, I had nothing of importance to offer the Kremlin outside of nasty wisecracks about American politics and recommendations for Richard Dix movies. Many of the Russian hits came via yandex.ru, described in Wikipedia as "a Russian multinational technology company specializing in Internet-related services and products. Yandex operates the largest search engine in Russia with about 60% market share in that country." 

"Don't tell him nobody in Moscow is
looking at his blog!"
OK, a Russian Google sounds harmless, but so did "collective farming." Yandex was quickly followed by other hinky sites with domains from Russia and its confederates. Nobody there was actually reading the blog; it's just cyberbots trying to get me to click on to their sites, either to gain readership or, more likely, infect my blog and possibly computer with malware. My laptop being as old as it is, I probably wouldn't notice the difference anyway.

Still, I didn't like how these Russkie gunsels were skewing my "10 Most Read Pieces This Week" groupings on the side of the page. Every day, every week, it was the same 10 over and over again. Even after removing them from the page, they still were the "most read"-- and strangely, even after the Russian bots gave way to those in America and elsewhere. Did my fellow Americans buy the information from the Motherland?

I don't know enough about the cyberworld to hazard a guess. All I can tell you is that every day, I get what's known as "referrals" from bizarre-sounding sites. I could tell without clicking on many them that they were porn. Others, I believe, disguise their true identity under allegedly harmless names.  

"Filipinos-buried-under-arlington.tripod.com", for instance, sounds like a sexual position I've not tried, even if a Google search describes it as a tribute site for, uh, Filipino veterans buried in Arlington cemetery. Then there's "emo-girls.net", which could very well be a sex site for Dashboard Confessional fans. And I have no interest in clicking on "qavosloe.jimdo.com" any time soon. (Any word where a letter other than "u" follows "q" is not to be trusted.)

On the other hand, it would be so cool skimming along
the East River in this baby.
Another unpronounceable referral, "burevestnik24.uz", is the self-proclaimed leading distributor of boats and yachts in Russia and Ukraine. Living in New York, I have no absolutely no need for its catalog. Peddle your yawl somewhere else, comrade.

As of this moment, my stats tell me I've had 174 readers visit this blog so far this morning, a whopper rivaled only by John Podesta claiming that his emails released by Wikileaks were forged. 

One of today's referrals is from "lgps.org.uk", Great Britain's largest local pension organization. Sorry, mate. Unless you can do better than my current IRA, you're just wasting your time. But start investing some of the pensioners' money in manufacturers of mascara and purple hair dye, and you'll have an entire generation of emo girls joining up.


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